Tel: (818) 347-9665 PST

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Unmasking the SFV - Valley Artists masks for sale at The Musuem SFV - please consider buying art

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit museum in Northridge, California, has extended its exhibition/ fundraiser entitled “Unmasking the San Fernando Valley” through February 15, 2020.   We are now offering the on-line public an opportunity to purchase a one-of-a-kind historic art mask specifically created by one of 18 SFV artists for this exhibition.  Each historic mask has a SFV story behind it and a portion of each mask’s sale will be donated to The Museum. 

You may either purchase your mask or pick-up your on-line purchase at The Museum located at 18860 Nordhoff Street, Suite 204, Northridge, CA 91324.  The Museum dates and times are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 to 5:00 pm, Saturdays, noon to 4:00 pm.  Because most of these masks cannot be shipped, please email Jackie Langa at to make either purchase, hold, or pick-up arrangements.

If you purchase a mask that The Museum can ship, additional shipping, handling and insurance charges will be added to the mask’s purchase price.  Please contact Jackie Langa either by email or call her at The Museum at (818) 347-9665 or, on Museum off days and hours, call (818) 970-9832 for further details. 

We thank you for supporting The Museum and the SFV artists who bring great art and joy to the Valley.  We also hope you enjoy this piece for many years to come.

To purchase any piece of artwork below, you can simply click on this PayPal DONATE button HERE, enter your amount, add 9.5% sales tax and we will work with you to process the order.  

You can donate/purchase with a PayPal account, but you DO NOT have to have a PayPal account. Simply click on this DONATE button, then scroll down and click on DONATE WITH DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD and fill out the form and add in 9.5% sales tax for proper total.

If you want to buy a piece of artwork, when you click on the BUY NOW below next to each piece of artwork. If you WANT TO USE PAYPAL, please LogIn and change the username and password.

If you want to pay by credit card or debit card, scroll down and click on 
PAY WITH CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD and fill out information to purchase item. The sales tax on these buttons is automatically calculated. 

CSUN - 2019
Akram Ighani Namdarian, Artist
Price: $150.00 + tax
Mixed Media and Metal - 17” x 41”

This mask is based on a student lineup for registration photo at San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN) circa 1958.  Akram, who was born in Kermanshah, Iran, believes in unification of mankind through diversity.

“I see the world as a beautiful mosaic composed of different colorful pieces in which each piece maintains its own identity with no infringement on other pieces blended in a harmonious way with other pieces to create a beautiful picture . . . That is why the catchword of this country [U.S.A.] is ‘E pluribus Unum’.”  Akram Ighani Namdarian

The Munch Box - 2019
Akram Ighani Namdarian, Artist
Price: $150.00 + tax
Mixed Media and Metal - 15” x 16”

The Munch Box is located at 21532 Devonshire St., Chatsworth. Designed by architect Marcel Dumas, this hamburger/chili dog stand that was once described by a Daily News reporter as “a hole in the wall” was designated L.A. City Historic Cultural Monument, no. 750 in 2003. 

The menu hasn’t changed too much since its opening in 1956, still offering chili cheeseburgers, hickory burgers, generous portions of peeled shoe-string fries and Coke. Huell Howser raved about it. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were among its celebrity patrons. It is said that in the 50’s and 60’s, schedules permitting, the freight train conductors would stop the train at The Munch Box for lunch. 

Originally owned by John & Linda Kentin for 30 years, their nephew Buck Barker purchased it from them in 1985. In 2003, the L.A. Health Department per Andre van der Valk, co-President of the Chatsworth Historical Society, told him The Munch Box “…is the 2nd oldest family operation that has not changed in terms of how it was done to run a business back in the ‘50’s as it is right now.” That includes “cash only” and illegal features such as the distinctive outside overhang which van der Valk says will stay because of its historic designation.

Walter Brennan at his SFV Ranch - 2019
Akram Ighani Namdarian, Artist
Price: $650.00 + tax
Metal - 17” x 41”

Akram Ighani Namdarian’s art stems from her ardent desire to depict a universal human spirit as the constant communicator. Motifs of family, friends and individuals in dialogue with each other and the viewer saturates Akram’s work.  This piece depicts a moment in time with Walter Brennan on his SFV Ranch.  By changing the position of the ranch, the work reveals the mask.

Walter Brennan (1894-1974), who was a self-taught actor best known for his portrayals of western sidekicks and lovable or irascible old codgers, is the only actor to win 3 supporting actor Oscars.  During WWI, Brennan survived a mustard gas attack in France that cost him some teeth. When he moved to the SFV and was urged to act, his missing teeth became an asset. He retained a keen eye for the people around him and would incorporate their expressions, accents and mannerisms into his own persona while looking for extra work.

The People of Earth - 2019
Andrea Monroe, Artist
Price: $385.00 + tax
Papier Mache/Acrylic - 18” x 12”

Andrea Monroe’s “tongue and cheek” intermingling of historic references and humor create an opening for serious discussion of the harsh travails of the Tongva.

The Tongva tribe has been indigenous to the Los Angeles Basin for thousands of  years.  They lived throughout the Los Angeles Basin down to north Orange County and on Catalina and San Clemente islands. Oftentimes their village boundaries overlapped with the Chumash, Tatavian and other native people. After the Spanish arrived in Southern California in the late 1700’s, the history of the Tongva and all indigenous people in California became an incredibly painful one – wrought with stories of mass killing, stolen land, and stolen identity.

“Their footpath through the Sepulveda Basin was the original 405 freeway”                                  – Annie Lloyd from LA List

“Achols” was a former Tongva Indian settlement in the San Fernando Valley located at Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana as a Mission Indians rancheria. Thousands of Tongva were forced to leave their villages and give up their language and culture to build and live in the Missions of San Fernando and San Gabriel. But in 1994, the Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe was recognized by a California legislature act as ‘the aboriginal tribe of the Los Angeles Basin.

Face of Historical Landmarks in the San Fernando Valley – 2019
(includes ”Off The Beaten Path SFV” 5th Edition)
Bronwyn Catherine Rubin, Artist
Price: $30.00 + tax
Paper - 8” x 14”

Bronwyn Catherine Rubin (aka Bronwyn Ralph) has always had a special interest in the San Fernando Valley. She grew up in the Valley and attended Valley schools, all the while exploring and gathering information on the Valley’s myriad cultural landmarks, historical monuments and other points of interest.  This prompted her to write her guidebook “Off the Beaten Path” published 2009 by Markwin Press.  Her mask, along with her book, are a testament to the richness of San Fernando Valley history.

Painted Putters Mask - 2019
Barbara Katz Bierman, Artist
Price: $200.00 + tax (includes stand)
Papier Mache/Acrylic - 32” x 26”

Barbara Katz, a native SFV artist, has clear memories of playing miniature golf at Malibu Castle Miniature Golf on Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks (which is now Castle Park Miniature Golf in Sherman Oaks).  These memories were lively, magical and wonderful, quite in sync with her artistic style and life.

“Colors color my life, for life without color would feel empty to me. 
The face and the eyes have voices of their own.
As my brush keeps moving my mind keeps floating.”

It’s Legal Now or The Secret Of My Success - 2019 Charles Sherman, Artist
Price: $650.00 + tax
Mixed Media/Ceramic/Sterling Silver/Paper/Marijuana

Charles Sherman’s work is included in museums and public collections across the U.S.  A San Fernando Valley based artist born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Sherman is best known for his Infinity Ring sculptures inspired by the Mobius strip.  His works are included in collections at the San Diego Museum of Art, the Mobile Museum of Art, and the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership at Metropolitan State University of Denver, to name a few.

Charles Sherman is also an art activist and at times uses his work to strongly express his held views through parody.  He was one of the few artists to support sculptor Tom Van Sant in his creation of the Goddess of Democracy statue in downtown Los Angeles, a sister to the statue erected in Tiananmen Square by Chinese students during protest to the Communist regime in 1989.

In 1989, Sherman also challenged Disney with The Goddess of Animation, his painted sculpture of Minnie Mouse giving birth to Roger Rabbit.  He has picked up his activist mantle again. This new pop-culture themed ceramic mask depicts Mickey Mouse red-eyed smoking a joint and claims Mickey has been a pothead since 1928 and can now smoke freely.  He transforms the beloved, iconic American symbol of innocence into a celebration of personal freedom.

Peaceful Planting Moon Mask - 2019
Chloe Cumbow, Artist
Price: $400.00 + tax
Acrylic/Aluminum/Plaster/Glass/Jute/Feathers - 24” x 17”

This mask is inspired by the decorative art and masks of local First People. There are both Tongva and Chumash roots in the sprawl that is the San Fernando Valley.  At one time, the Chumash territory encompassed 7,000 square miles that spanned from the beaches of Malibu to Paso Robles as well as inhabited inland to the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley.

During Winter solstice, the shaman priests honored their father, the Sun.  Preparing for this project Chloe was struck by design influences and style that are apparent all the way up the Pacific coast.  She chose to make a moon mask and then put away all reference material.

The mask is Verdigris, green for serenity and growing.
The handblown Cobalt eyes see everything about us.
The Black warrior feather represents victory and success.
Imagine a world where true warriors champion peace
and cultivate agrarian values.
Rest Stop - 2019
Debbie Wubben, Artist
Price: $650.00 + tax (includes mannikin)
Paper Craft/Sculpted Paper/Mannikin - 18” x 14”

Debbie Wubben’s mask “Rest Stop” reflects the migration travels of the Monarch, Painted Ladies and other butterflies through the San Fernando Valley, which has been part of their flight plan for many years.  In 2019, due to the floral super gloom, Valley residents have seen thousands of butterflies travel through their neighborhoods and stop for a spell at places such as CSUN’s botanical garden, before they continued on their long journey.

I believe that a lot of people in the San Fernando Valley have encountered that rash of yellow, orange, black and/or white fly directly into them while driving home from work. Butterflies!  I find myself wide-eyed like a child just watching them fly over my home and I get super excited when they choose my trees and flowers as a “Rest Stop” before they continue on their way. -  Debbie Wubben, Artist.

Debbie’s mask, created from 110 lb. cardstock, was painstakingly designed and put together - from the intricate cutting and painting of each individual butterfly; to wetting, shaping and painting the black mask from paper; to hand-cutting, shaping and painting the wire antennae pieces, all assembled to recreate this beauty of nature – the butterfly.

Circus Liquor - 2019
Debbie Wubben, Artist
Price: $250.00 + tax
Paper Craft/Paper/Frame - 11” x 14”

It has been said that the San Fernando Valley has no distinctive landmarks.  Not at all true.  Located at 5600 Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood stands “Circus Liquor,” a liquor store built in the 1960s that was once touted “the best liquor store in the San Fernando Valley”. And in the front of “Circus Liquor” is something greater.  Standing at its entrance is the biggest, evilly grinning 32 ft. tall clown in a bright blue neon outfit holding a big drum with the liquor store’s name imprinted on the drum.  It is a SFV historic landmark.

The store has Hollywood stories too. The clown and liquor store’s most famous appearance was probably in “Clueless” where Alicia Silverstone’s character was held up in the parking lot next to the clown. This location has also appeared in Snoop Dogg’s music video for “Murder Was the Case.”

Facial Glaz - 2019
Earl Beard, Artist
Price: $300.00 + tax
Fused Glass - 6.5” x 10”

Earl Beard, who has been working with glass for over 30 years, is known as one of the best stained-glass restorers in the San Fernando Valley. He works with every kind of glass under the sun. As a master glassmaker, he teaches glassmaking from both his Van Nuys home studio and McGroarty Arts Center in Sunland-Tujunga.  One of his favorite projects was restoring and refurbishing the exquisite antique blown glass windows at Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village. 

In support of this exhibition, Earl created this piece “Facial Glaz” in fused glass at a temperature of up to 1500 degrees, then slumping to make the shape.

Raccoons Are Cute . . . But Dangerous - 2019
Ellen Rundle, Artist
Price: $495.00 + tax
Mixed Media/Clay

Ellen Rundle calls herself a versatile ceramicist and through her work she creates intricate, detailed pieces that excite the eye.  Baked three times, her clay mask’s message is evident – those cute little raccoons annoying our orange, nut and poultry SFV farmers are not what they seem.

Many people consider raccoons to be “cute” animals, their masked faces and human-like forepaws with opposable thumbs which allow them to eat like a human are some of the reasons.  But make no mistake, these animals and their omnivorous appetite caused a lot of trouble for San Fernando Valley orange, nut and poultry farmers.  Property owners would trim branches, wrap trunks in sheet metal, employ frightening devices like flashing lights, noise and water sprinklers, but to no avail.

Raccoons are aggressive fighters.  Pound for pound they are one of the toughest animals around.  Raccoon predators include cougars, bobcats, coyotes and domestic dogs.  Large owls and eagles will prey on young raccoons.  Perhaps some of the Valley farmers put up owl boxes to help with the raccoon problem.

Singing Mask - 2019
Ingrid Elburg Shapiro, Artist
Price: $450.00 + tax
Palm Leaf/Plaster

For Ingrid Elburg Shapiro, an emotive SFV artist originally from Suriname where masks are imbedded into its culture, Ingrid’s voice is her art.  Discovering that the SFV had the largest pop concert in the U.S. of its time, she incorporated her style into her mask to celebrate Newport ’69.  Beginning June, 1969, for three days music lovers from far and wide came to the Valley to hear Jimi Hendrix, Ike & Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Jethro Tull, Spirit, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Byrds and many more at Devonshire Downs in Northridge, CA.

There were the musicians and then there were the fans, all 200,000 of them who paid six dollars a day to see a line-up of rock, folk and soul legends-to-be that put the Valley on the map.  They also had the riots, police holding back the throngs who pushed through the fencing barrier to the concert.  The Valley was finally the cool place to be.  Newport ’69 was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the closest thing to a Love-In the San Fernando Valley had ever seen.  And then, 2 months later, there was Woodstock!

The Grand Grizzly - 2019
Jennifer Sher, Artist
Price: $199.00 + tax
Air-Dry Clay/Paper and Materials/Acrylics
Artist Jennifer Sher is a Mixed Media artist who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and loves to work with air-dry clay and create one-of-a-kind sculptures.  She chose to create a mask of the San Fernando Valley region’s most high-profile predator, the Grizzly Bear.

Because of the abundance of food in the prairie ecosystem, the SFV was grizzly bear habitat.  California’s early European and American settlers felt threatened by grizzly bears so they aggressively hunted down bears and shot them.  A skull of a grizzly killed in 1875 at the San Fernando Mission is now housed as a museum specimen at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  Because of this intense hunting, grizzlies were extinct in California by the early part of the 20th Century.

One of the last surviving individuals killed by Grizzly Bears occurred in 1916, just north of the San Fernando Valley in Big Tujunga Canyon.  Ironically, the fierce but locally extinct grizzly bear still emblazons the California state flag and we proudly recognize it as our official state animal.

SFV: Past and Present - 2019
Judy Heimlich, Artist
Price:  $100.00 + tax
Collage/Papier Mache - 12” x 16”

A talented, juried artist and special-ed teacher who chaired the Very Special Arts Festival for many years, Judy once said:

“The wildlife, landscapes and flowers found in nature inspire
 my  paintings.  Using the transparency of watercolors and
the richness of oils and pastels adds a
new meaning and dimension
to the world around me.”

Judy Heimlich takes on the mask exhibition by choosing a visual journey of a number of significant SFV historic sites not usually explored.  For instance, the Chatsworth Calera Site introduced California to the European industrial process for vitrifying limestone building blocks used in constructing the missions. Judy also focuses on the Chatsworth Amtrak Station, completed in 1996, It is designed to resemble the community’s first 1980s depot.  Local residents Roy Rogers and Dale Evans attended the station’s dedication that April.

Another highlight includes “The Worm” CSUN sculpture built in 1973, a year after the school’s name change to Cal State-Northridge,

A Kiss From Universal Pictures - 2019
Michaela Hughes, Artist
Price:  $400.00 + tax
Acryllic/Mixed Media on Canvas - 20” x 20”

Michaela Hughes, an award-winning painter, has also been a child actress and a successful ballet dancer, having danced with the American Ballet Theatre and Feld Ballet in NYC as well as danced in 5 Broadway shows. Therefore, her mask’s focus on how the glamour of Hollywood came to the San Fernando Valley is not a surprise.

Universal Pictures (originally incorporated as The Universal Film Manufacturing Company and today known as Universal Studios) was formed in 1912.  It is the oldest surviving film studio in the United States and the fifth oldest studio in the world. Thereafter, on March 15, 1915, Carl Laemmle, one of the studio’s founders and first head opened the world’s largest motion picture production facility, Universal City Studios, on a 230-acre converted farm just over the Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood.

Woven together by celluloid film and tools of the trade, Michaela’s mask painting depicts the original façade of the studio and two of the well-known locations on its back lot - New York City’s brownstone street and the Bates house from the film Psycho.  And, of course, The Starlet!

Masked Carole Lombard - 2019
Morgan Kari, Artist
Price:  $600.00 + tax
Graphite Pencil - 27” x 19 ½ “

Artist Morgan Kari’s medium choice to present her mask in graphite pencil only is not unexpected.  As an award-winning pencil artist whose pencil portraits were included in the Platte Productions Publishing book “Amazing Pencil Portraits,” Morgan’s “Masked Carole Lombard” brings the glamour and grace to this actress which she so rightly deserves.

Carole Lombard had a short but wonderful life.  She was often considered the most talented of the 3 blond bombshells of all time on the silver screen (Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe).

Carole also had one of the great Hollywood romances. Carole and Clark Gable started dating in 1936, were married March 29, 1939 and, several months later, moved into a 20-acre ranch in Encino.  They were the power couple of their time. Unfortunately, in 1942, she died in a tragic plane crash while traveling from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.  Because of California’s fear of Japanese bombers, the warning beacons were blacked out and the plane smashed into a cliff near the top of Potosi Mountain.  Carole was buried in Glendale at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Clark, bereft with grief, began to drink heavily. Gable decided to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Forces spending most of the war in the U.S. and flew many combat missions, including to Germany.

Me, Tarzan - 2019
Phyllis Hansen, Artist
Price: $350.00 + tax
Pressed Flowers on Paper and Eye Mask - 10” x 8“

Phyllis Hansen works with real botanical elements in a Japanese art form known as “Oshibana”.  It means “painting with flowers.”  She collects, presses and dries her own materials, including flowers, leaves and sometimes the skins of fruits and vegetables.  She draws her inspiration from nature and fabrics, playing with the patterns, colors and textures of her botanical pressings.  Every detail is a natural element.

Phyllis’ mask choice to honor the jungle-living Tarzan during Tarzana’s 100th year anniversary is timely and of historic significance to the Valley.  Tarzan, the fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in an adventure magazine story in 1912 and was shortly followed up in 1914 by the first Tarzan novel “Tarzan of the Apes.” The public quickly fell in love with this character.  Meanwhile, in 1919, Burroughs, who had prior to 1912 just spent many years in unsuccessful jobs in Chicago, purchased General Harrison Gray Otis’ 550-acre estate, Mil Flores, which the author renamed Tarzana Ranch, after his now famous Tarzan character.   Wanting to be closer to the Tarzan movies now being made in Hollywood, he moved with his family to the Tarzana Ranch, which eventually became the town of Tarzana.

Newspaper Boy - 2019
Richard Cryer, Artist
Price:  $400.00 + tax
Solid Oak/Newspaper Reproductions Coated UV Spray - 6.5” x 10“

SFV native Richard Cryer is a custom framer, a photographer and works in the digital media. As an up-and-coming artist, Richard’s exploration of the SFV for this project is also an exploration for him in a new medium.  “Newspaper Boy” was carved out of solid oak and dressed with digital newspaper articles coated with clear UV spray in compliance with the California Digital Newspaper Collection. 

If you look very closely, you can read about trained birds at Busch Gardens, a new state college to be built in the Valley and a boulevard to be built through the SFV. 

P-61 - 2019
Sarah Hage, Artist
Price: $300 + tax
Papier Mache

Artist Sarah Hage, always fascinated by the papier-mâché sculptures associated with the Mexican celebration of Dia De Los Muertos, uses this medium to present her mask P-61, the cougar that died in September 2019 on the 405 freeway. In July, 2019, P-61 had previously been the 1st GPS-tracked cougar to successfully cross the 405 freeway at the Sepulveda Pass.  Note the map of the SFV imprinted on the mask.

For years, southern California mountain lions have been unable to cross highways safely. Cordoned off into small sub-populations, they have been forced to inbreed and could face extinction within 15 years

To help combat this, the California Department of Transportation is working on a plan to build an $87 million wildlife crossing along the 101 Freeway in Liberty Canyon in Agoura Hills. The overpass, slated for completion by 2023, would stretch 200 feet over 10 lanes of traffic, and would be equipped with vegetative landscapes. It would allow wildlife to travel between the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills in a safe and familiar-feeling environment.

818: Then and Now - 2019
Virginia Viera, Artist
Price:  $250.00 + tax
Collage/Papier Mache

Originally from Argentina, artist Virginia Viera brought her self-driven artistic flavor and ideas to Los Angeles, has taken advantage of everything beautiful in California and created a unique, eclectic style. She paints on almost any surface and loves going outside of the box.

Virginia’s mask captures the daily cultural excitement of the SFV.   She has included a plethora of SFV memories in her mask: beers (“818” beer brewed in Canoga Park, Budweiser from Anheuser Busch in Van Nuys); food (Twains Diner in Studio City recently replaced by Sharkeys, The Bear Pit in Canoga Park, Hody’s Drive-In Restaurant in North Hollywood); and musicians (Sonny and Cher are immediately identifiable). Look closely at her mask and tell The Museum who or what you found too.

Posted by Michel Stevens