Monterey Bay Culture

Artist Spotlight

Monterey Bay California USA

Paul Seftel.

Meet two of the region’s dynamic standouts.

By Mark C. Anderson

The Abstract Artist: Paul Seftel

Born in London and raised in New York City, artist Paul Seftel creates contemporary abstract paintings that both soothe the eyes and tickle the mind by deploying gritty, earthy ingredients — pigment, marble dust, limestone, and quartz sand, as ancient artists once did — over broad canvases that can stretch as wide as 9 feet. As the artist incorporates oxidized, metallic pigments, which can turn blue, green, and yellow over time, and continues to accumulate up to 50 layers later of stone and metal in a single piece, his art literally and figuratively takes on a life of its own. “I’m creating these pieces that breathe,” Seftel explains.

His open and airy oceanside studio in the underappreciated American Tin Cannery district in Monterey presents an idyllic backdrop to take it all in. “When people walk into the studio,” he says, “it feels like a dream space.”

One of the most striking pieces on display is the Great Wave, which looms 80 inches by 106 inches, awash with a tempest of graphite mica, limestone, marble dust, metal pigments, and polymer. “It feels like it’s moving,” Seftel muses.

“My paintings are memories and downloads of things happening on a worldly level, the ‘Great Transformation of the World,’” he writes on his website. “Finding a sense of connection, they are personal topographies and feelings that come from not only me but as if channelled from the Earth through life and many lifetimes. From deep recesses, my art aims to bring to the surface what has been forgotten.”

An invite follows: “Abandon yourself to the energy that fuels the birth of all things. This energy has no form or structure, yet all forms and structures come from it.” Turn to page 48 to learn more about the artist.

Monterey Bay Culture

Richard MacDonald.

The Sculptor: Richard MacDonald

Carmel has more art per square inch than most places on the planet, and it has the sheer tonnage in sculptural talent to match. Richard MacDonald has produced massive — and muscular — bronze athletes for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic grounds and the 2010 U.S. Open. Many of his finest contemporary figurative works also occupy Dawson Cole Fine Art in the heart of Carmel, along with paintings and drawings by Robert Heindel, Henry Moore, and Jian Wang. To stand and consider the work of MacDonald, who has long headquartered his studio and his life in Monterey County, is an energizing experience. Interesting to note is how lifelike yet surreal MacDonald’s work is; the artist spends countless studio hours with the dancers and athletes that inspire his work.,