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Meet Santa Barbara's New Helena Mason Art Gallery

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During the Fiesta weekend, children and pets ran and played under artwork worth thousands of dollars. Leftover confetti from cracked eggs from the Fiesta and hazy glimpses of party clothes complemented the colorful displays that lined the walls around them.

Amidst all this chaos, the vision of the Helena Mason Art Gallery came to fruition: a relaxed space where precious works of art and carefree attitudes can coexist.

“It reflects young Santa Barbara,” Shelby Arthur said during the Fiesta celebration at the site in August. “I feel like a lot of art spaces in town are geared towards ‘older’ tastes.” She shook her head. “Not here.”

Credit: Courtesy

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Credit: Callie Fausey

For their collection two showcase, inspired by local pop art, visitors can walk through the gallery’s wide, garage-like entrance and immediately discover works by well-known artists Andy Warhol, John “Crash” Matos and Yoshitomo Nara. The people behind the collection connect the otherwise global chain of works to Santa Barbara in an exhibition curated by local curators Tedde Minogue and Ashley Woods Hollister of HR Hollister.

What really stands out, however, is the variety of works in the collection from local artists like Wallace Piatt, known to the art community as Wallace.

“Shortly after our grand opening, HR Hollister approached me to show their artwork by Andy Warhol and John ‘Crash’ Matos. I knew immediately it would go well with the artwork by Wallace,” Natalie said. “I thought it was pretty cool, iconic 60s-80s pop art combined with some local 90s and 22s pop art.”

Wallace 2022 Soak series, a collection of canvas paintings that put a dramatic pop culture twist on retro Nike sneakers, draws the viewer’s eye to the back wall of the foyer. The artist uses spray paint and interior paint to create his contemporary pop-art style pieces, some of which date back to the 80s and 90s.

“I have followed Wallace and am a huge fan of his work. When planning First collectioni saw one of his instagram posts showing his new work and i fell in love with his Soak series,” Natalie said. “Since her gallery is around the corner, I went to see her in person and ended up buying a poster of each.”

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