VAC Sponsor Interview: Cairo Cowboy!

By Art Events, interview, Monthly Mixer, Sponsor Interview, The Venice Art CrawlNo Comments

Happy Tuesday Crawlers! 

If you don’t know already, the Venice Art Crawl monthly mixer is coming up THIS THURSDAY, Jan 23rd, at Cairo Cowboy Mediterranean Grill in Venice Beach!

We were able to snag a drink with the founder of Cairo Cowboy, “YL,” and ask him all about how he started his amazing restaurant and we even learned a little bit of Venice Beach history on the way!  

Check it out!

Gabby: How long has Cairo Cowboy been in business and how did you guys start?

YL:  We have been in business for 2 ½ years. We started with a truck four years ago before we opened this spot.  The truck traveled all over— from Orange County to Santa Barbara. 

Gabby:  What is it like being in such a central Venice Beach location?

YL:  Humm…Whats the word I could use?  Incredible.  The customers know they want and they know what they’re getting and they appreciate the quality of the food.  Its also incredible because Venice Beach is where I grew up.

Gabby:   We bet so many things happen in and around this area! What is a really memorable experience that some of the employees and customers at Cairo Cowboy were apart of? 

YL:  The 4th of July.  Its also our anniversary and it’s the busiest day of the year.  The 4th of July is also the same weekend Abbot Kinny opened and announced Venice Beach which was originally called “Venice of America.”

Gabby: What sets your Mediterranean food apart from other local Mediterranean spots? 

YL:  2 reasons: One: authentic recipes, and two: my mom actually makes most of the food. I grew up eating it. 

Gabby: You guys have been a long time support of the Venice Art Crawl.  Have you always supported the exposure of local art? 

YL:  Definitely.  That’s what makes Venice, Venice. I grew up in the mid seventies on the Venice Pier and even went to high-school here.  Our restaurant and this area is just a continuation of art and performance and the artists who picked this place.

Gabby:  Best thing on the menu?

 YL:  The combination plate.

Thank you so much Ciaro Cowboy for an awesome lunch and even “awesomer” conversation!

And don’t forget to join us at Cairo Cowboy on Thursday at 7 pm!

Address: 6 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Blogged by: Gabrielle Wooden

Pictures received from: Google Images


Gabrielle Wooden is a writer currently residing in Southern California.  Currently she is a blogger for the Venice Art Crawl and is working on her first novel entitled Blue Barcelona at UCLA’S Extension Writers Program. 

Venice Story : MX Farina : A Venice Artist

By art, art news, interview, New Artists, The Venice Art Crawl, venice videosNo Comments

‘Venice Story’ is a new storytelling project dedicated to finding, capturing and sharing the stories and thoughts of every day Venetians.

Check out this video of our previously interviewed artist, Mark ‘MX’ Farina, as he talks a little about being an artist in Venice!


What makes Venice special to you? Do you have an interesting, funny or poignant story about your time living, working or visiting Venice? Please email : story@venicestory.org

Blogged by: Gabrielle Wooden


Gabrielle Wooden is a writer currently residing in Southern California. Currently she is a blogger for the Venice Art Crawl and is working on her first novel entitled Blue Barcelona at UCLA’S Extension Writers Program



VAC Artist Interview: Matt Warren

By art, art news, interview, New Artists, The Venice Art CrawlNo Comments

 VAC  Board Member, Nicole Muyingo, interviews Venice Based artist Matt Warren! Find out what real life experience inspired Matt to become a dedicated artist.


3913920_orig1. Who are you and what do you do?

Matt Warren. Artist.

2. In your words how would you define art?

I see art as being the expression of an idea. Something that inspires people and makes them think. Good art should raise questions and create a dialogue about the subject matter.

3. At what age did you realize that you were creatively talented?

I’ve always been interested in art and creating things. As long as I can remember, I would be drawing or making something. I guess I got seriously into art when I was in High School, and was lucky to get accepted onto a Fine Arts course at University without an interview whilst traveling on my Gap Year – and from there I’ve never really looked back.

1085053_orig4. What’s your background?

I was born in Guernsey, an Island of the coast of England.  I studied my Undergraduate degree at UWE in Bristol, UK, and followed that by studying my Masters at OTIS College in Los Angeles. I’ve worked in the film industry between traveling and lived in Beijing for a few months while on an Artist Residency Program. I’m currently living and producing art in Los Angeles.

5. What materials/paints do you generally work with? 

I work with whatever the project entails – the materials that best help convey what I’m trying to say in the work. I’m a bit of an all rounder, but currently I’m working a lot in pencil.

2136755_orig6. What art do you most identify with?

 Anything that has more to it than to just look pretty.

7. Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

The story of Christopher McCandless, on which the film ‘Into the Wild’ was based, was the catalyst for a project of mine. I was looking at the myth of the cowboy, and how the idea we have of this character doesn’t really exist, but is just a representation we have forced on us through the movies. 

For the project I rented a horse, borrowed a rifle and a .44 Magnum from a friend and headed out into the Montana wilderness for 2 weeks in an earnest gesture of reliving this stereotype while critiquing the representation of the cowboy we observe in American Pop Culture. I’d been toying with the idea for a while, but
McCandless’s story encouraged me to go ahead with the project, despite the risks, and make it a reality rather than an idea.

 8. What is an artistic outlook on life?

It’s such a big part of my daily process that it’s hard to sum up.

It is a way of life, an action rather than a thing. It is a form of freedom and individuality, and a way of thinking. It’s a commitment to make time to create – you get out of it what you put in.  It’s a great form of expression and provides the ability to show people literally what you think, allowing a glimpse of what is in your mind. I feel fortunate to have a focus, which directs my career, something I am passionate about that allows me to travel and explore, meet people, and evolve doing what I enjoy.

3713772_orig9. What superpower would you have and why?

My first trip to A &E as a child was due to falling and smacking my eye on an exposed floor beam whilst exploring a house that was under construction. My second was falling through my neighbors’ roof whilst jumping on the skylight. As I’ve grown up my thirst for adventure hasn’t diminished, so I think having Spiderman’s superpowers would be a good thing for me.

10. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Bas Jan Ader is an artistic hero of mine. He was a Danish artist living in Los Angeles, who, in a romantic gesture, attempted to sail single –handed cross the Atlantic in a 13ft sailing boat.  What was supposed to be a performance piece, ended when his boat was found off the coast of Ireland, and his body was never recovered.  477065_origHis romantic take on conceptualism really inspires me, as well as how he saw art as a literal and metaphorical journey – a process of discovery. Other artists that I can’t really compare myself to but look to for inspiration are Chris Burden and Allan Kaprow.

11. WHAT is your ‘method’? 

I work with many different mediums – pencil, paint, video, installation, or whatever is at hand depending on the best way to explore the subject matter. I start with the idea, and then decide what is the best-suited method and material to use to convey that. This contrast can be seen from project to project – a series of painstakingly rendered pencil drawings, compared to a Saloon Bar made out of cardboard and duck tape.

12. What is your preferred subject and why?

As an English citizen living in Los Angeles, my art practice explores methods of representation stemming from 5729124_origAmerican popular culture, which I express through drawing, sculpture and performative strategies. Los Angeles is fitting as I explore subjects and themes related to film, Hollywood and celebrity culture. My perspective on America is enhanced through living in the environment of my investigation and production.

13. What’s the best thing about being an artist? 

Having the opportunity to experience life as much as I can, using art as a means of production to enable myself to do that. Being able to do something I love, and building a career out of it, the freedom it offers, and getting to know and interact with other artists and creative souls.

14. What’s the worst thing about being an artist?

7178187_origNot having a steady income.

15. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Keep on trekking. Like anything, you have to want to do it. If you’re interested in art, there is always an opportunity – you just have to find it, and be willing to try. My motto is ‘Quitters never win. Winners never quit’, which I have to remind myself often. It’s black or white. You do or you don’t.  There is always an opportunity if you want something badly enough, it’s just a matter of finding it. It might take a while to succeed, but it’s when you stop trying that you fail. You have to just do it.


All art work on this page is done my Matt Warren. Prints also available online.

Interviewed and compiled by Nicole Muyingo.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 2.25.38 AM

instragram – theexiledelite
twitter – theexiledelite







Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 3.03.47 AMNicole Muyingo is originally from London, England and currently resides in Venice Beach, California. Nicole has curated and successfully produced many events and exhibitions in Europe and Los Angeles. Her focus is to get people networking and to deliver fun and impactful events in the world of art, fashion and music. Working with the VAC she believes that it is important to keep the history and magic of art and Venice alive.


Artist Interview: Mark X Farina!

By art, art news, interview, The Venice Art CrawlNo Comments

As we continue with our new year, we will be launching the VAC with a big bang– that means, more artist interviews, more events to look forward to, and of course, MORE VENICE ART!

Check out this interview that VAC board member Nicole Muyingo conducted with Venice Based Artist, Mark X Farina!

1. Who are you and what do you do?

 Mark X Farina- Pop Artist, Reverse Engineer, Roma Gypsy.

2. In your words how would you define art? 

Anything that sparks a reaction.

3. At what age did you realize that you were creatively talented? 

I’m still not convinced I have any real talent, but I received a lot of art training, and I know I’m creative.

4. What’s your background? 

Studied advertising and the media’s effects on people, but I love art and sports.

MXF I dont do Interviews

5. What materials/paints do you generally work with? 

Anything available.

6. What art do you most identify with? 

The conceptual scene that formed from the 1960’s – that’s a big area, but I really sync with that era/ movement.

7. Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?  

Took a phone shot of the beach sunset one night, then tried to paint it.


8. What is an artistic outlook on life? 

Observe (often through dark sunglasses) and report.

9. What superpower would you have and why? 

Wow that’s a great question with so many possible answers for me, but I still dream I can fly, not very well, which sometimes abruptly wakes me up.

10. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 

Not sure, I’m still exploring.

11. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to: 

Moe, Larry and Curly.

12. WHAT is your ‘method’?  

Work fast, cure slow, destroy before collecting dust.


13. What is your preferred subject and why? 

I like gradations and innuendo.

14. What’s the best thing about being an artist? 

Freedom of expression.

15. What’s the worst thing about being an artist? 


16. What advice do you have for aspiring artists? 

Do the work, open the door- if you make it, someone will check it out and let you know.

Check out more of Mark X Farina’s work on his website and tumblr!

www.mxfarina.com / http://www.mxfarina.tumblr.com

Photo Credit: Mark X Farina

 Compiled by: Gabrielle Wooden and Nicole Muyingo.


Gabrielle Wooden is a writer currently residing in Southern California. Currently she is a blogger for the Venice Art Crawl and is working on her first novel entitled Blue Barcelona at UCLA’S Extension Writers Program. .

Venice Artist Interview: Kelcey Fisher!

By abstract art, art, art news, interview, Mural, The Venice Art CrawlNo Comments

So Venice Based artist and muralist Kelcey Fisher and I got together (on facebook) and I was lucky enough to get ten questions out of the guy about his inspirational artwork that was such a hit at this past Art Crawl!

And it goes a little somethin’ like this:  HIT IT!

 1. So Kelcey…your favorite artist (living or dead) invites you to their house for dinner. You want to bring them a gift. Who is it, and what would you bring them?

Kelsey Brookes, who is alive. Ironic we have the same name but huge fan of his work and his story behind it. I would bring him one of my paintings..hopefully we would work out a triad : ) Would be super pumped to own one of his pieces.

2. How old were you when you first discovered you where an artist? What was the “lightbulb moment” when you knew you wanted to pursue art as a career?

My mom was my art teacher when I was a youngen in preschool and always pushed me in that direction.. I think that definitely played a part in my art career..I never took art seriously however until I sold my first piece junior year of college. A lightbulb definitely went off when I got that first check haha. Thank you Debby Boyd for believing in me..I will always remember you as my first true fan and friend!


3.Describe your personal Hell.

L.A. traffic combined with LAX airport security line. End me!

4. Your latest art work involves larger than life playing cards with dimensional color schemes. What was the motive behind these pieces? Are you a gambling man?

You can catch me on the wheel of fortune slot machines every once and while but definitely not a gambling man. Those pieces were actually created for a wedding in Vegas however. I worked with a good friend and amazing wedding coordinator Courtney Stone to come up with that concept. They were some of the biggest pieces I’ve created. They were 5’x8′ wood panels. We titled them, “The Royal Romantics”. One of my favorite projects by far. Thanks for getting me involved Court!

5. Define what art means to you in five words.

Passion, Commitment, Life, Love, Escape


6. There is a lot of Hoopla going about with Performance Artist Marina Abramovic and Lady Gaga collaborating. It all started when Marina asked her: Who creates limits? How would you answer this question?

You create your own limits.

7.Morning or Night?



8. Its Friday night in Venice Beach, Where can our readers expect to be able to stalk you?

First stop- James Beach> Then off to Nikkis Beach> End with some shinanigens at TownHouse> Pizza at Santinos> Pillow to the face

9. Whats your Fantasy? We like details.

Simma down now


10. Alright, Last question. I say a word and you name the first word that comes to your mind:

Refrigerator: Beer

Country: Ireland

Culture: Important

Destiny: Who Knows

Venice Beach: Thank you


Thanks Kelcey Fisher for all that jazz.  Peep more of his work HERE!

 Interviewed and Written by: Gabrielle Wooden


Gabrielle Wooden is a writer currently residing in Southern California. Currently she is a blogger for the Venice Art Crawl and is working on her first novel entitled Blue Barcelona at UCLA’S Extension Writers Program.