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A photo shoot in Frances Fisher’s Hollywood apartment surrounded by her collection of some of my work.

 



Fresh Canvas Party, May 17, 2012

ECO-FRIENDLY ARTISTS JANET ROBERTS AND BILLY ZANE PAINT NEW PICTURE FOR THE CANCER SUPPORT COMMUNITY-BENJAMIN CENTER

COMMEMORATING 30 YEARS OF SERVICE, 30 ORIGINAL FINE ART PIECES SOLD TO BENEFIT THE CSC-BENJAMIN CENTER

In honor of our 30-year anniversary celebration, on Thursday, May 17, 2012 the Cancer Support Community–Benjamin Center is bringing together two exceptional artists, Janet Roberts and Billy Zane, for an exclusive gallery event to benefit the organization with hosts Frances Fisher, Shoshana Blank and Ann Benjamin (daughter of CSC founders) along with friends and CSC-Benjamin Center President & CEO Teresa Bond. Showcasing fifteen environmentally friendly paintings from each artist, proceeds will help sustain free-of-charge programs offered by CSC.

As a four-time cancer survivor and active participant at CSC, Janet Roberts uses her art as a means to help others affected by cancer. She paints with an emotional energy that forms a mental, physical and spiritual relationship between artist and canvas, canvas and audience. Roberts explains that many professionals and experts within the cancer community speak openly about genetics and medicine but rarely emphasize the correlation between quality of life and health outcomes. In her words, “the CSC-Benjamin Center is a sanctuary; a place where people can nurture their mind body and soul.”

Roberts has partnered with her good friend, social activist, actor, and artist Billy Zane for this enriching event. Innovators at the forefront of the sustainable art movement, both share a passion for constructing their pieces with recycled or eco-sustainable materials. Zane began painting during the filming of “Titanic,” utilizing only local materials to create his abstract works. Items like old signage, shipping crates, and shelf liners become his canvas and soil, clay or wine become his paint.

Roberts creates her pieces with eco-friendly supplies by infusing soy, milk, clay and organic elements onto organic cotton and linen canvas. Each will bring their distinctive style and vision to create an incredible display of masculine and feminine perspective.

Location: Museum of Flying
3100 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Fresh Canvas Party Media Alert

For event and sponsorship inquiries contact Chantal Lundberg

More details to be announced soon


Recap: Artwork Of Janet Roberts And Billy Zane Benefits The Cancer Support Community

The Museum of Flying in Santa Monica hosted a gala to raise money for cancer – a 30 year anniversary celebration for The Cancer Support Community – Benjamin Center on Thursday May 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.

The night included live music, open bar, incredible food, all in an open air space filled with the artwork of Janet Roberts (a four time cancer survivor) and her friend actor and artist Billy Zane. The large scale art gallery paintings were incredibly moving – many of Janet Robert’s art pieces included messages of hope, forgiveness, and love, and Billy Zane’s art pieces showed an energy and passion via his swirls of paint, vibrant colors, and even a smashed guitar. I fell in love with every piece and couldn’t help taking photos of almost every creation.

As Janet Roberts says in her own words about the core of her new paintings – ” My intention is to express the ever hopeful, expansive human heart. At the core of my work, is my desire to impart the spirit of forgiveness and a sense of our shared “oneness.” She also states that together her and Billy Zane are influenced by the compassionate efforts of the Cancer Support Community, and when working in studio, we are offered a generous wellspring of inspiration.

The night including some moving speeches by comedic writer Alan Zweibel who accepted the inaugural “Gilda Award” (a bowl of cherries) from actress Laraine Newman. The award is a tribute to the late Gilda Radner, who worked with Zweibel and Newman on Saturday Night Live and who was one of the Cancer Support Community ‘s first participants. Zweibel spoke of his dear friendship with Gilda Radner, how they first met, how their careers intertwined, the fun they had, and how she just wanted him to make her laugh as she fought hard to win the battle against cancer.

The night was a moving celebration of life and how a dedicated group of people and friends can help support those who battle cancer.


Night At The Museum: Laughs, Art, And Tears At Cancer Support Community’s Fundraiser

Hundreds of people showed their support for the nonprofit group, Cancer Support Community-Benjamin Center, at its “Fresh Canvas” fundraising event on May 17 at Santa Monica airport’s new Museum of Flying.

The event celebrated the 30th anniversary of Cancer Support Community-Benjamin Center, which began as a small Santa Monica walk-in community center for people who live with cancer. Previously known as The Wellness Center, it has since been re-named and expanded to additional locations nationwide, including Pasadena and Redondo Beach.

The Center helps cancer patients and their families deal with the emotional aspects of the disease. With the idea that no one should face cancer alone, the Center gives support groups, educational workshops, mind/body classes, and individual counseling. Such psychosocial care can help ease anxiety and even reduce the risk of recurrence, but it’s not always available to cancer patients. Services are offered free to anyone who lives with cancer.

To help raise funds for the Center, 30 pieces of original abstract paintings were on display at the event. The paintings were donated by artists Janet Roberts and Billy Zane, both of whom work with eco-friendly material. Roberts, a four-time cancer survivor, told The Mirror that when you have cancer, “you have your diagnosis, your treatments, but it’s the support that really heals.” Zane – perhaps best known for his role as Rose’s hapless fiancé in the movie “Titanic” – told The Mirror that he found a creative outlet in painting while waiting between takes on the Titanic movie set in Rosarita, Mexico. He said he joined Roberts for this event because “cancer hits home with everyone.”

Under the wings of airplanes suspended from the museum’s ceiling, guests took in the artwork, dined on finger foods, and danced to the hot salsa rhythms of the Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Ensemble.

Thursday night’s event also paid tribute to comedienne Gilda Radner, who was among the first to walk into The Wellness Center in Santa Monica 30 years ago. Radner was an original member of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” on the television show “Saturday Night Live” during mid to late 1970s. She was known for creating such characters as Emily Litella and Roseanne Roseannadanna.

An inaugural Gilda Award – a bowl of cherries – was presented by “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Laraine Newman to comedy writer Alan Zweibel. Zweibel moved the audience to laughter and tears with his acceptance speech as he told stories about working with Radner in the show’s early days, and about her later fight with cancer.

“Gilda was all about having fun,” Zweibel said. “While she was sick, she would talk about The Wellness Center, going there, the people there. The Center brought joy and comfort to her, to know that she wasn’t alone.

“She put on a really good show for the world, but here at the Center she could relax and be funny but also be herself. The community aspect of it was what she craved. She wanted to bring joy to people who were otherwise suffering, and the Center allowed for that.”

Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989 at the age of 42. She would have been thrilled to know that, after all these years, she still was making them laugh.

The Cancer Support Community-Benjamin Center is located at 1990 South Bundy Drive, #100 in West Los Angeles. For more information, phone 310.314.2555 or visit cancersupportcommunitybenjamincenter.org


Beautiful accidents
Abstract painters Billy Zane and Janet Roberts join forces in a Cambria group show
BY ANNA WELTNER

Salinas artist Janet Roberts and actor-turned-abstract-painter Billy Zane met by chance one day in Los Angeles, where Roberts had an art show. The two got along extraordinarily well: With the ease and simplicity of friendship usually enjoyed only by small children, they were painting together the next day.

“We just really hit it off,” explained Zane, probably most well known for his role as Caledon Hockley in Titanic. “We were co-creating from the outset. We met in that very unique, collaborative manner.”

The pair has been working together for the past year, and a group show at Cambria’s Vault Gallery will reveal new work. The exhibit—titled “You Done With That?”—features the abstract expressionist paintings of Zane and Roberts alongside the glass assemblage and bronze sculpture of Lucy Harvey and Gustavo Torres, respectively.

Roberts’ work calls to mind Rothko and sometimes Pollack, and her giant, delirious swaths of color are the sort you could easily drown in. Her paintings are daringly optimistic, almost frighteningly so.

Roberts, an expert in art history and a onetime successful art consultant, reinvented herself as a painter after a bout with cancer gave her a glimpse into life’s brevity.

“My work is not for a cynic,” she said. “It’s not somber and dark. Francis Bacon would not appreciate it.”

Messages of hope—sometimes fragmented or obscured in the background, other times glaringly there—give voice to a soul that’s survived grief, cancer, and other hardships, and healed itself by creating beauty where once there was none. Roberts’ shows often benefit charitable causes such as Rancho Cielo, a nonprofit that provides programs for at-risk youth.

While both artists are clear talents in their own right, Roberts’ art savvy plus Zane’s name make for a powerful duo.

The two certainly take inspiration from one another, but there’s only one truly collaborative piece in the show, a work called A United Front. And that front was united, it turns out, quite by chance.

“It was a painting that I had executed,” Roberts explained. “Billy came to my studio, and I was too lazy to go and get a blank canvas from my trailer.”

Though Zane was hesitant to simply paint over Roberts’ art, she said, he obliged after she insisted “whatever you do, it will make it better.”

The resulting work, in which the words “I am love” are visible over a murky, dark background, became the de facto signature piece of the Vault Gallery show.

That kind of artistic recycling is a staple of both painters’ work. Both use materials found in the dump or donated by house paint companies. Roberts uses water-based, environmentally sustainable paints on organic cotton canvas. Zane is known for picking things up off the street and incorporating them into his art pieces.

“I like working from a place of limitation,” Zane said, “where you do what you find, what’s available, whatever’s there.”

A large wooden banquet table, discovered in a Los Angeles alleyway, was inducted into Zane’s newest body of work.

“It was just sitting there,” he said. “It was six, seven feet tall … and I just picked it up off the street and wheeled it home. You know, the anomalies in it are just very beautiful to me.”

That piece will be one of several to make an appearance at an upcoming art show in Berlin, part of the German capital’s inaugural World Peace Festival. When Zane was invited, he said, he was asked to recommend a few artistsof note to accompany him, and Roberts was at the top of his list. The festival will be host to Nobel Peace Prize laureates, world leaders, humanitarian activists, and artists in a week of lectures, workshops, and exhibits.

Zane’s passion for painting was born while he was shooting Titanic in Mexico. He found that his filming schedule left ample free time, and he began creating abstract paintings when not busy trying to quell Jack and Rose’s burgeoning, if doomed, romance.

Held at the Frank Pictures Gallery in Los Angeles, Zane’s first solo show, “Killing with Love,” was a collection of work dating back to the late ’90s.

“Filmmaking has informed my painting probably more than any other art form,” Zane said.

Over the course of his film career, he elaborated, he’d become accustomed to offering up his artistic efforts for mass scrutiny. Confidence, he knew, was key.

“It was always about amassing enough pieces that I felt comfortable with,” he said, “whether anyone likes them or not … if it’s up to my own standard, it’s fine for public consumption.”

At one point in his interview, Zane asked if he could call this writer back in five minutes, and when he did call back, he was maneuvering the streets of Los Angeles by bicycle (“I try to use the car as little as possible”).

As an abstract artist, Zane doesn’t intend to create the literal forms that sometimes appear on his canvas, he said, and when they do appear, he restrains himself from making them too obvious. This, too, he likens to filmmaking: “For all the preparation that goes into it, it comes down to being worthy of the beautiful accidents that occur.”

The artist’s 1997 work Madonnarama is a fine example. The Virgin Mary seems to appear on the canvas, as she has on so many grilled cheese sandwiches, a testament to our human craving to give shape to blobs, to find meaning in the random and make it sacred.

But Zane is ever-reluctant to give names to his pieces, seeing that practice as another way of unnecessarily pinning down a purely abstract expression.

As he puts it when describing the freedom of his first paintings, uncluttered as they were with art theory or criticism: “Ignorance is precious.”

Arts Editor Anna Weltner thinks Picasso will never amount to anything. Throw her a life preserver at aweltner@newtimesslo.com.


A SHOWCASE for Homegrown Talent: Local artisans make the difference in this stunning Quail Lodge home
By Kathryn McKenzie Nichols
Adventures Monterey Baymontereyherald.com

SOMETIMES, ONE LITTLE THING about a house can lead to an entire project. At least, that was the spark for one recent home makeover in Carmel Valley.

The starting point for this transformation was a leaking roof, but after roof and floor repairs were under way, it seemed to be the ideal time to do something completely different.

The home, built in the late 1980s with a rustic interior of wood and stone, now looks nothing like what it once was. Thanks to the genius of local artisans and craftspeople, it’s become a contemporary creation accented with metal, crystal and dark, rich tones throughout.

The renovation took more than a year, but it was a satisfying journey for contractor Robert Lee, owner of Benchmark Construction, who worked closely with the homeowners throughout the project.

“There’s a lot more talent around here on the Central Coast than most people realize,” said Lee, who counted on a number of gifted builders and fabricators to complete the extensive remodel.

Just about everything for the remodeling project was made to the owners’ specifications, down to the door handles and metallic accents. The modern look, however, is personalized with the owners’ collections of contemporary art and Asian artifacts, which can be found throughout the4,000-square-foot home.

Because the homeowners entertain frequently, the garage does double duty as a caterer’s kitchen, complete with a large refrigerator/freezer, wine cooler, sink and dishwasher, with easy access both to the kitchen/family room and to outdoor dining areas. A dark epoxy finish on the floor helps mask spills and makes cleanup easier.

One of the other unusual touches to this garage is a wall sculpture by Los Angeles artist Randall Andrews, which includes a variety of castoff and found objects arranged in a fascinating frieze. Andrews also created another wall sculpture for the guest bedroom that includes everything from starfish to doorknobs to elk antlers, as well as pieces of John Steinbeck’s fence from Pacific Grove.

Cabinetry throughout the home was crafted by Schmitz Woodworks of Watsonville, with some unusual styling in the kitchen. Typically, Lee said, the grain of the wood is vertical on cabinet doors and horizontal on drawers; in this kitchen, the grains were reversed for a fresh, contemporary feel.

Dark woods and warm tones in the kitchen and family room make the areas flow together, with an informal dining area between.

The family room is lined with shelves to display the owners’ collection of Asian artifacts, sculpture and glass vases, as well as provide a handy space for books. Here, also, is one of three fireplaces made by Fred Saunders of Sculpture Works in Seaside, with steel used as the predominant material.

Doors throughout the home were fashioned by Steve Neff of Neff Mill & Cabinet of Marina, of quarter-sawn oak finished with a dark walnut stain, many embellished with handles made of lead crystal surrounding crushed glass, crafted by Zietta Clara of Los Angeles.

One unusual feature throughout this area as well as in other parts of the house are the square recessed ceiling lights, energy-saving fluorescents made by Iris.

“It’s a new type of fluorescent light,” noted Lee, who said it’s not easy to find square recessed lighting. It works well, however, with the contemporary feel of the home.

Pendant lights over one end of the kitchen were made by Los Angeles glass artisan Alison Berger. Clever cabinetry hides appliances and the microwave, and the Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer are under-cabinet models, making them accessible but without blocking anyone’s view to the living room area.

Setting off the rich browns are metallic accents created by Gustavo Torres, a Monterey Peninsula sculptor who crafted sconces and a wall sculpture for the home. Accenting the U-shaped kitchen are custom countertops made by Mark Concrete of Moss Landing, with one15 feet long, which required special reinforcement.

One important — and rather unique — consideration during remodeling was preserving the live fiddle leaf fig tree growing in the entryway. The two-story-tall tree, sustained by an overhead skylight, had to be covered to keep debris off. Happily, it survived the process.

Beyond the tree, a living room with another geometric fireplace by Saunders also is the resting place for another Asian and glass collection in a large Chinese cabinet. The room is enhanced by window coverings made of a light-colored Jack Lenore Larson fabric.

Abstract artworks, including a painting by Salinas artist Janet Roberts, also lend a grace note to the space. Just around the corner is a comfortable guest suite with bedroom, bathroom and den, more havens for the owner’s Asian artworks and another Roberts artwork.

A curving staircase leads to a landing that overlooks the living room area, giving guests a good look at some of the homeowners’ Asian antiques, such as the warriors’ vests on top of the Chinese cabinet. Beyond the landing is the master bedroom suite behind double doors made by Neff. Here, as in the rest of the residence, the contemporary feel is softened by Asian-inspired fabrics and objets d’art; bathroom cabinetry here and downstairs was crafted by Schmitz, and sinks and vanities made by Mark Concrete.

Many of the mirrored and glass surfaces throughout the home were created by Icon Studios of Marina, a specialist in these materials. Icon Studios created a custom-made coffee table for the living room as well as mirrored doors leading to the master bath and other items.

Finding all these artisans fell to Robert Lee, and working with them turned out to be a pleasant and efficient experience, Lee said.

“Most of them I knew, and the others I got acquainted with because of the specialty items that were needed,” he said. “I couldn’t have pulled it off without these local guys to help us. It really was a team effort.”