All Dressed Up Like Art Galleries

Published: January 28, 2009


Axel Koester for The New York Times
Steven Borts at the Light Gallery.



The ‘Tiki FREAKout’ Art Show at the Light Gallery in Costa Mesa Proves Some Styles Never Truly Die

By Greg Stacy
Published on August 06, 2008

After decades of being dismissed as pure kitsch, the tiki aesthetic has enjoyed a revival in the past 10 years or so, with cute little cartoon hula girls turning up all over while big, carved Jack Palance tiki-god heads sit scowling in the background. But here in OC, the tiki style never really went away. The historic Sam’s Seafood restaurant debuted in Huntington Beach in 1960, and after closing in 2006, it’s now open again under the name Kona, offering up its burbling fountains, plastic birds of paradise and gorgeously hideous murals to a new generation. The birds are still singing words and the flowers have never stopped crooning at Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room, a kind of animatronic, everlasting shrine to all things tiki. And of course there’s home-grown artist Josh Agle (a.k.a. Shag), who made his name off the look. When everybody else was hiding their tiki mugs and grass skirts at the back of their closets, the hodads (and, er, homoms) of OC were still proudly letting their tiki freak flags fly.

So it’s entirely appropriate that OC’s own Light Gallery should play host to “Tiki FREAKout,” an exhibit that I’m just going to go ahead and call the largest showing of contemporary tiki-themed art ever. If it’s not, it’s surely all the tiki art you could ever want in one go. We’re talking about several banana boats full of tiki goodness, enough to sink Easter Island.


ART & SOLE Benefit

Friday, Jun. 6 2008
By Vickie Chang 

TOMS Shoes was created in 2006 by Amazing Race contestant Blake Mycoskie in an effort to help curb poverty in third-world countries—for each pair of shoes purchased, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need.

Though the brand has seen some sizable success, stores like Macy’s, Urban Outfitters, Bloomingdales and American Rag now carry TOMS, Mycoskie and co. haven’t forgotten about their original objective of social conscience and goodwill, either.

Tomorrow, the Light Gallery in Costa Mesa will be hosting “Art and Sole,” where custom-painted TOMS shoes by over 20 different artists will be up for grabs. Guest DJs and a live band will also be on hand to help the cause.

Daily Pilot

‘Infinite potential’ for change

— Brianna Bailey
January 17, 2009

new art exhibit at the Light Gallery in Costa Mesa draws inspiration from the upcoming presidential inauguration.

Titled “Change is Now,” the show features works with themes of optimism and hope for the future.

“Sometimes people get comfortable and see change as a bad thing, but people should really look forward to celebrating change and the realm of infinite potential,” said Steven Borts, owner and director of the Light Gallery. (READ FULL ARTICLE)


SurfBEAT brings together about 90 artists from around the world for their take on surf and beat culture with a bit of pop surrealism.

The mix of the two genres gives the show a vast breadth of subjects and mediums. Artists include Doug Dorr and Rick Rietveld and the work includes painted surfboards, carved tikis and graffiti.

Much of the work is considered art brut — art made by people outside the traditional culture. Light Gallery director Steven Borts said Southern California has many subcultures that mix and become art forms unto themselves.

“I definitely don’t want to play it safe. Art is all about taking risk,” Borts said.