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Meet Mary-Austin Klein of Mary-Austin Klein Fine Art in Echo Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary-Austin Klein.

Mary-Austin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
A household of creativity and things of beauty were a part of my early childhood. My mother loved art and design and I grew up flipping through the pages of magazines like Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. She collected art and antiques on a limited budget and always provided me with a little studio area and art materials to occupy my time. As a southern California native, I was influenced by my surrounding landscapes at a very young age. In Redlands, it was the abundant orange groves with the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop.

At age 10 we moved to the Palos Verdes Peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a seascape with endless horizon lines became my forte. The Mojave Desert became and continues to be the largest source of inspiration. Five acres were purchased in Joshua Tree, then a 1950’s homestead cabin in 29 Palms along with a family home next door gave a rooted love of the desert. Extended camping trips into the vast outback regions of the Mojave has become the main source of my recent work as has cycling throughout Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains.

After attending Otis/Parsons, I was the art assistant for the Los Angeles painter Frank Romero for a period of four years. A shift in the world of art production for TV and film lasted for a few years before returning to painting full-time. Solo shows at local Eastside galleries led to being represented by galleries in Laguna Beach, Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree and beyond.

Has it been a smooth road?
Becoming involved in the community of Echo Park when my husband and I moved here in 1989 and in organizations focused on the desert created deep friendships and opportunities to exhibit my work. It seems effortless in hindsight to have had sell-out shows at Ojala Gallery on Echo Park Ave and Metro Gallery in Silver Lake, but there were many volunteer hours attending meetings, organizing fundraisers and participating in active outreach. This time given to the community created the relationships that in turn fostered my career in art.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mary-Austin Klein Fine Art – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My oil paintings are highly detailed and usually small-scaled, sort of like “hand-helds”—grand scenes in miniature form—that are easy to transport and display, referencing the era before photography. They are cinematic in scope and strive to perfectly capture the essence of the regional light of urban Los Angeles, the California coast and high desert.

My work has been described as an improved version of reality – like the vision of something seen in fond memories and has been praised for an understanding of the soul of the place.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The positives of Los Angeles are the diversity of people and culture, the small neighborhood communities that make the enormous feel intimate and the city’s scenic location of being wedged between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The dislikes are the mainly entrenched in the way the city is run, the lack of support for our public parks, bikeways and people in need.

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