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Meet Huss Hardan & Xenia “ZZ” Almendarez of huZ Galleries

Today we’d like to introduce you to Huss Hardan & Xenia “ZZ” Almendarez.

Huss & Xenia – kick things off for us.  Tell us your story.
We are the team behind huZ galleries. Our mission is to inspire and encourage up and coming artists by showcasing their work, as well as providing a forum for those already established. We opened our doors in the summer of 2015 in San Pedro’s historic arts district. This neighborhood is a hub of creativity with an energetic concentration of working artists, studios and galleries.

Huss is a photographer working mainly with film in various formats, responsible for creative decisions within the gallery. His work is conceptual, influenced by the eclectic combination of Helmut Newton, Weegee and David Hockney. ZZ is a painter influenced by the Impressionists and also manages the business.

The gallery has a rotating exhibition schedule featuring artists from all mediums that is changed monthly.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Our biggest struggle is the summer heat! We don’t have AC and sometimes, well, it seems we should be throwing down clay pots because it feels like a kiln in there! Kidding, sort of. 😉 The reality is that we are being slowly discovered. ‘We’ being the arts community in San Pedro. Of course we would like to speed things up and convince more people to make the drive from Los Angeles ‘proper’ and come see what the area has to offer.

The ones that do are surprised not only by the art and artists, but the history of the location. Currently the district throws a First Thursday event that brings out the food trucks and the crowds. But we are pushing for a Second Saturday monthly event, as it is a lot easier for most people to come down on the weekend than a school night.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the huZ Galleries story. Tell us more about the business.
huZ Galleries specializes in conceptual photography and painting. We are known for film photography (expired film is a favorite tool for the surprises it can bring to the process), and working with painters to collaborate on exhibitions.

huZ Galleries really tries to encourage young artists. Many kids come through our doors and are shy, not knowing if it is even ok for them to be there. We’ll start talking to them and nearly always find out that they have a creative streak. Once we show interest in that they often come back with sketch books (but mostly their iPhone!) and show us what they are doing.

I think a creative outlet is very important and we encourage that in those that we meet.

What sets us apart from others is our willingness to address current social and political events in ways that may be polarizing. Our trilogy “Anguish and Obsession” is split into “An American Love Story”, “Mother Earth” and “The Color of Money”. “An American Love Story” deals with topics including the Black Lives Matters movement, in conjunction with the country’s addiction to firearms. Some people found the imagery upsetting. Some love it.

One thing I have to mention is that we are the only place on the planet to have two never before seen images of Elvis Presley performing. The summer before he became famous. They are massive and stunning prints from 4 by 5 inch negatives that were drum scanned. There is an incredible back story -too long to go into here, but we would love to tell you about it!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We live in Venice but had to move our business because of Snapchat buying out the entire block that we were on. I think about 70 businesses were evicted. Yay silcon beach gentrification! Anyway, while mulling that over I happened to read an article on downtown San Pedro (in AAA magazine of all things! It’s free with your membership…). They mentioned the Arts District so we decided to take a little drive and check it out. We randomly parked on 7th street, looked up and saw a “For Lease” sign in the window right next to us. It was perfect!

I guess that is a combination of bad luck – Snapchat forced move – with good luck – finding our new space so easily.

Pricing:

  • The art normally starts at $150 framed/matted going all the way up to $10,000 for the limited edition Elvis Presley images

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos by Huss Hardan.
Paintings by Olympio

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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