Art festival returns to Malibu

The Malibu Arts Festival and Food Fair will feature the works of celebrity favorite, Nelson De La Nuez (above), and fusion artist Max Gold (right).

More than 200 vendors will be at the two-day festival. There will be activities for children at this year’s event to satisfy the goal to make the event appealing to kids.

By Stephen Dorman/Special to The Malibu Times

The Malibu Chamber of Commerce will host its 33rd annual Malibu Arts Festival and Food Fair this weekend. The event will include more than 200 vendors and highlight local restaurants along with a plethora of renowned artists.

Christine Rodgerson, the chamber’s president-elect who has served as the festival’s chair for the last six years, said one of the main focuses this year is to supply a fun-filled atmosphere for children.

“There will be more activities for the kids,” Rodgerson said. “Charter Communications will be hosting a painting project for youngsters; there will be a clown and many, many other activities. People will be able to have fun even if they’re not in the market for art.”

However, the artwork is probably the event’s greatest draw.

“There were over 140 new artists who wanted in this year,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Tina Firestone said. “But because we were near capacity already, there were only a few we could accept.”

Two Los Angeles-based artists who will be returning this year are Max Gold and Nelson De La Nuez.

Gold, 41, is considered to be the “Father of Fusion Art” and is the founder of L.A. Foods, a wholesale food provider.

“Fusion Art is the merger of digital art and hand painting,” Gold said. “I came up with the idea six or seven years ago and ran with it. It’s been exciting to be the [leader] of a new genre.”

His finished works are typically distributed on canvas, paper or Plexiglas, and are generally two-dimensional or three-dimensional in appearance.

“It’s [fusion art] quite possibly the most important movement for the future,” Gold said. “Not because I created it, but because with the ongoing technology of computers, it was meant to be.”

Gold will be making his second appearance at the festival and he said he will bring at least 40 different pieces for display.

“Malibu has great, great clientele,” Gold said. “There are a lot of artsy people with exquisite taste that appreciate good work.”

De La Nuez, who was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Southern California at age six, will be making his seventh appearance at the event. He said he plans to bring a wide variety of more than 500 images he has created during his career. De La Nuez’s Art Juxtaposed series-a comedic brand of work that combines history, religion and pop culture-established him as a favorite among the Hollywood elite. Stars such as John Travolta, Jay Leno and Shannon Elizabeth, to name a few, have been longtime collectors.

“I have a fairly large celebrity following,” De La Nuez said “And a lot of them buy my work.”

De La Nuez added that every year he does about 40 shows all over the country and that he always has “a positive reception” in Malibu.

In 2000, De La Nuez began working on his Pop Americana series, which focuses on 20th Century icons. He said he is likely to begin a new series next year but that the genre has not yet been decided upon. Expect to see works from both his Art Juxtaposed and Pop American collections at this year’s festival.

There will also be lots of food to eat at the festival. Roasted corn, chocolate strawberries, tri-tip, hamburgers, hot dogs, Mexican and Thai food will be just some of the cuisine being served throughout the festival. And if you fancy a good breakfast to begin the morning, the Malibu Optimist Club will be making its traditional pancake breakfast until 10:30 a.m. on both days.

Unlike previous years, there will be no honorary celebrity chairperson this time around. Rodgerson said there was no particular reason for the move, but added that some people were upset that last year’s honorary chairman, Pierce Brosnan, failed to show up for either one of the two days. Furthermore, a large stage for live bands has been nixed, although music will still be heard throughout the event, including a performance by the Malibu High symphony.

The Malibu Arts Festival and Food Fair will take place at 23555 Civic Center Way and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. Festival attendees will be able to enter the event for free, although the designated parking area will cost $4 per vehicle.