Basics of the 'shack'

Laguna museum art activity lets children explore art and the meaning of words.

July 15, 2010|By Sarah Peters,

LAGUNA BEACH — Newport Beach artist Jason Maloney and the Laguna Art Museum are challenging Orange County children to think like an artist in a special hands-on workshop Sunday.

"Build Your Own Art Shack," in conjunction with the museum's ongoing "Art Shack" exhibition, will provide children with supplies and Maloney's artistic guidance as they design they're own miniature "shacks"— brightly decorated wooden birdhouses.

"The idea is to get kids in there and to see what the artists have done and how they've created this positive element out of something that might have a negative connotation," Maloney said.

Maloney, who is the resident artist for the Costa Mesa-based action-sports brand Hurley, works frequently with children and much of his art reflects this, he said.

"[Children] have no preconceived notions of what is right and wrong," Maloney said. "There are so many more things you can do with art — it's not just sitting in a studio with an easel and paintbrush anymore."


The exhibit, which opened in June, features 30 different "shacks" created by artists such as Don Ed Hardy, George Herms, Paul Frank, Marion Peck and Mark Ryden.

The creations range in size from a few inches to about 30-feet high, Maloney said.

Maloney's creation is less shack-like, more "Disney" with a dark twist, he said.

Using a previous art piece titled "Amber Alert" as his starting point, Maloney created a child's room decorated with popping colors and stuffed animals. Then, he roped off the entrance to the room with crime tape.

The creation is intended to be a commentary on the Hollywood horror genre as entertainment versus real life horror portrayed on everyday news channels, he said.

Other artists' "shacks" resemble surf huts, retro shanties and even a tattoo shop.

"The 'shack' is — instead of a negative term — a humble dwelling," curator Greg Escalante said. "It denotes the most basic structure that you can live in."

Most of the pieces in this exhibit are not for sale; the art shacks were created by the artists for the sake of expression rather than profit.

"The artists in this exhibition aim to defy the norms of rules set against them, questioning the modes of mass production, social restrictions and perhaps global capitalism," according to an online description of the exhibit.

A concluding Open House will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 3, with some of the featured artists in attendance to discuss their work.

If You Go

What: Learn the art of shack-making from a local artist and take home your very own mini art shack.

Where: Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

How: There is a $25 materials fee, and there are only 40 spots available. Reservations can be made online or by contacting Jackie Bunge at or (949) 494-8971 ext. 207

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