I drove up the coast to Malibu to meet Phoebe Sarason, an artist who showed some fascinating pieces at the Schomberg Gallery in the spring. The paintings were rich with color and detail, presented in scenes that evoked a fairy-tale quality.

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Phoebe’s studio is next to Cosentino’s Nursery, and so they share a front yard on Pacific Coast Highway, overlooking the beach.

Gary Busey was sitting on a bench in the courtyard as we walked by. “Hi Gary,” Phoebe said. Gary Busey had been fiddling with something in his hands and staring off over the ocean. The place had a breathtaking view. I nodded at Gary Busey while he waved at Phoebe. Phoebe’s studio was expansive and full of natural light. She walked me through the elements of her paintings; her style is to overburden a piece with so many distinct elements that there is no single definite area of focus when you look at a painting. Thus, they give a definite impression of whimsy and energy.

Phoebe Sarason in her studio.

Phoebe Sarason in her studio.

She incorporates a lot of symbolism and transitions between painting styles at the drop of a hat, so you’ll have an area of lush realistic detail next to a simple smiley face, for example. She speaks about the relationship of art to her life with such an easiness and intimacy that I get the sense of art literally being in this person’s blood. It’s refreshing and inspiring, and this post should really be all about her, except that at the end of the interview when I was about to walk out the door, I said “So Gary Busey was chilling out in front of your place. What’s up with that?”

She told me the tale of Gary Busey. Afterwards, I texted 73 of my closest friends to boast of my brush with fame, naturally. This is how it went:

 12459145 - pop art good hand over thought bubble background. I just met Gary Busey
That is amazing. Lol. Have you been fundamentally changed as a person forever?  ColorfulSilhouette
12459145 - pop art good hand over thought bubble background. Fundamentally? If you mean do colors suddenly appear more vivid, are my senses in general more alive with feeling, is the value of human life more clear to me, and do I suddenly perceive beauty where I could not before, then I would have to say fundamentally yes
 12459145 - pop art good hand over thought bubble background. If that is what you mean