Artist and pilot celebrates opening day at his gallery on Aug. 25 in Malibu
Malibu will be the home to a new gallery. Filmmaker, photographer and pilot Dirk Braun is featuring a combination of aviation, travel photography, original neon art, and a collection of unique antiques from around the world.
Friends and fans joined the artist in celebrating the opening of his gallery on Aug 25. Guests were invited to visit the gallery and enjoy a wide selection of food and drinks.
Braun said he wanted his gallery to be an extension of himself and his art and said Malibu was the perfect place for it.
“I’m so happy to be in Malibu, it’s wonderful,” Braun said. “Malibu is a place that embodies my interests of surfing, flying, and filmmaking and I love this space on Malibu Road. I’m so excited to have all kinds of people to walk in and check out this work.”
The gallery builds on Braun’s artistic projects following the world premiere of Braun’s first film, “Flying Boat,” in 2021. The 77-minute documentary made its premiere at the EAA AirVenture Fly-In and Convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the largest aviation festival in the world.
The documentary focuses on an aircraft called the Grumman Albatross, an amphibious seaplane first manufactured in the late 1940s, and the pilots and mechanics who have restored, fly and maintain the remaining “flying boats”.
Braun said the aircraft has been an inspiration to him ever since a friend introduced him to the it in college.
“It’s the most diversely capable aircraft ever made,” Braun said. “It speaks to fantasy and adventure like no other aircraft. It’s a beautiful relic from a long-lost era that’s inspired me greatly.”
He said this interest led him to start research on the plane as well as beginning to meet people in the tight-knit community that restored and maintained these few remaining aircraft.
He began shooting his film in 2016, a project that would take five years to complete. During this time, Braun shot the film, shot photos and became a pilot.
The gallery houses a collection of Braun’s landscape and cityscape photography, shot both on land and in the air, that were shot during the production of “Flying Boat.” The collection of antiques and art that compliment Braun’s work were collected and curated by Braun to reflect his world travels and interests.
Braun was joined by collaborators who helped bring his work to Malibu to share with the public.
Adam Devkota, a consultant for BowHaus Inc., the art production company that helped present Braun’s work at the gallery, said Braun’s work is incredible.
“It’s [Braun’s work] really compelling. I think it’s unusual,” Devkota said. “It’s unlike anything shown around here like Santa Monica, Palisades. I don’t know anyone who has work quite like this, especially in the scale or quality.”
He said Braun’s work represents an ocean and travel aesthetic, and water is important to it. He said Braun is building a niche for himself that is a perfect fit for Malibu.
“It’s a gem of a spot,” Devkota said. “This is one of the last places that has parking in a nice tucked away spot in Malibu. Easy to get to, low stress and brings a relaxed fine art vibe to Malibu.”
Melissa Wisenbaker, the gallery manager and publicist for Dirk Braun Gallery, said his work is inspiring. She said the gallery has a casual, inviting atmosphere and knows Braun will be excited to meet members of the community and share his art and experiences with them.
“I think the gallery is amazing; I think it’s exactly what Malibu needs,” she said. “I think it’s going to bring some young, fun energy. Everything kind of relates to aviation, adventure and travel. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to that and it’ll get them excited.”
Among the guests at Braun’s opening day party was Thomas Wesley Pentz, also known as American DJ Diplo, a friend of Braun’s and a fan of his work.
He said Braun’s work should be seen and enjoyed by the Malibu residents.
“I’m a huge fan of what Dirk does. We surf together, he’s a cool, great guy. I love what he’s doing,” Pentz said. “Check out the gallery man; it’s actually the coolest thing in this area, you know. It’s cool to have a gallery here that shows off a local artist.”
Braun also announced that the gallery will serve as the sales office for the G111T, the newest iteration of the Albatross. The gallery will partner with Australian company Amphibian Aerospace Industries, which is bringing the Albatross back to life with turbine engines and modern technology.
According to the company’s website, the base model of the G111T will boast new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F engines providing substantially improved performance, fuel economy, and reliability. The website also says the G111T will have different variants of the aircraft to serve different purposes. The variants include a Combi Passenger/Combo, Aeromedevac, Aeromedical and Search and Rescue.
The modern aircraft will be manufactured in Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia.
AAI Chairman Khoa Hoang said the aircraft is of great practical use to humanity.
“We can’t wait to deliver the first G111T-Albatross — made in the Northern Territory,” Hoang said.
Braun is excited to be a part of the future of the Albatross.
“It’s big news in the aviation world, and this is the sales office for that aircraft,” Braun said.
To view Braun’s work, visit dirkbraungallery.com.