To Top

Meet Rafael McMaster of South Bay Artist Collective

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rafael McMaster.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rafael. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
After 16 years as a designer and creative director, I found myself at the top of my corporate ladder, and with my ladder on the wrong building. I was emotionally bankrupt and needed a hard reset in my life. I took some time off of work and began meditating daily. I decided I wanted to show my artwork locally – and in the process came to experience that my local city – Hermosa Beach – had zero galleries. This was three years ago.

Around the same time, I sold my first “real” painting, for $2300 out of a gallery. It was then that I first experienced the cold hard reality of a gallery commission structure of 50%. When I did the math, I realized my cut after materials and tax were about $650. Demoralizing.

At the moment that I was supposed to feel triumphant, I felt “less than,” and I realized this was a universal experience for “starving artists.” At the same time, I began volunteering in my daughter’s elementary school, only to realize that she had zero regularly scheduled art class in her school district.

Those three challenges – no local galleries, industry standard high commission %, and no art in local school – became an opportunity. In the last three years, I’ve dedicated my life to my local art community – and its students, artists, and patrons. I founded Resin Gallery in Hermosa Beach, where we have an “optional” 10% commission.

One month in 2018, we sold 37 pieces. Last month, we sold $8k in artwork. And now in Hermosa Beach, we have three galleries flourishing. I also founded the Hermosa Beach Artist Collective, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping artists through providing show space, workspace, artist resources and utility (such as how to build frames, websites, invoices, or artist friends) and through our after-school art program for youth.

We are now a thriving Collective family of over 30 resident artists, and we’ve hosted over 15 shows featuring 190 local artists, and are the culmination of over 5600 volunteer hours. Most importantly, I feel like we are postured to do something really special in 2019.

My artwork is reaching new inspired levels – most likely from being around other inspired artists all the time. I find that the more I am of service to my fellow artist, the more fulfilling my art/life experience is. The youth in our program are doing really extraordinary work, and naturally and gradually, the living breathing local art community is becoming the canvas of my life.

Has it been a smooth road?
Life is a challenge. And if I show up every day and be of loving service, then I do not suffer.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am the Founder of Resin Gallery, South Bay Artist Collective, and of McMaster Art School.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Our Collective Crew hails from South Bay – from El Segundo to Manhattan to Hermosa to Redondo. There is tremendous opportunity to create a thriving and flourishing art community here.

Because there were no galleries in Hermosa Beach as of three years ago, its been an opportunity to build a local art scene to our preferred design: super relatable not elitist.

Family friendly but not childish. Fun atmosphere but not a manic party. Laid back but not slacker.

Our shows and community reflect the attitude of the local community: fun-loving, hard-working, relaxed vibe.


  • • Commissioned works: $75/sq ft + materials
  • • Youth classes: $250/month
  • • Original paintings from $500-4000

Contact Info:

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in