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Burb's Eye View: Catching the Youth Art Expo's opening

April 15, 2014|By Bryan Mahoney
  • Artist Penny Kalcoff poses with her award-winning sunset scene for her father, George, at the elementary-school opening of the Burbank Youth Art Expo.
Artist Penny Kalcoff poses with her award-winning sunset… (Photo by Bryan Mahoney )

At the gala opening of her show at the Creative Arts Center Gallery, artist Thora Moeller stops a moment to allow her public a quick photo of her with her latest — and possibly most complex — creation.

The paper collage may provide commentary on the effects of corporate greed: A green hand is outstretched on the eggshell canvas reaching toward blood-red hearts just outside the reach of its fingertips — clearly demonstrating the love and affection of one’s peers that remains ever elusive to those who seek money and fortune for their own ends.

It was, as the up-and-coming artist says, a lot of work.

“We always like to do art that people already had done and we like to copy it,” Moeller, 7, explains.

Her father, after taking her photo with her art, adds to the artist’s explanation: “Don’t say you copied it. You were inspired by it.” Thora digests that for a moment and nods, absently toying with the gold medal loosely hanging below her neck.


Dozens of Thora’s contemporaries joined her Friday for the opening of the Youth Art Expo, featuring 229 art pieces culled from an initial entry pool of 1,511 students throughout Burbank. Curator Noah Altman said this was roughly 200 more entries than last year’s show.

Artists throughout the city presented studies in form and color. A series of drawings explored the different ways in which orange could properly convey a leprechaun’s beard. Several collages explored nature and humanity’s relationship within it, as displayed in Taline Kadi’s submission, “Taline’s Favorite Animal.”

Jacob Samontina’s circular abstract painting showed how competing primary colors exist as yin and yang. Each dripping brushstroke crashes into the next, forming a hypnotic dance that carries the mind back and forth between palettes.

Jacob just calls it a monster.

“We had a plate, and a circle inside. And I painted that,” said Jacob, 7.

Also studying the interplay of competing color was landscape painter Penny Kalcoff, whose study of three fir trees immediately is reminiscent of classic impressionism mixed with Warhol-esque pop art.

It speaks to the inherent joy of changing seasons, a subject close to her heart.

“I like sunsets and trees and I like the winter,” she said.

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