Q+A with Lorraine Pennington | Costa Mesa, CA

We fell in love with Lorraine’s Pennington‘s minimalist paintings first. It was years later that we met her, by chance, and it honestly felt like a dream-come-to-life. Since then we have supported each other from afar but recently our brief scout at her gorgeous atelier turned into hours long conversation that still lingers and evokes thought + laughter. All we can say is, if you don’t know Lorraine Pennington, you should! We are grateful to bring everyone along on our next lark through these Proust inspired dinner party questions:

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Echo Park with a musician father and mother who encouraged being artistic.

What is your favorite places to visit? 

I really love Italy, France and Spain.

When did you decide to become an artist?

I feel like I have always been drawn to creating…I enjoyed designing jewelry and tabletop accessories like a very large wall necklace I sold at A’MAREE’S and at Garde in Los Angeles. 

Art School yay or nay?

No. I didn’t go to art school.

We love your paintings and can easily describe it as peaceful, serene, organic…can you share any other cool or fun descriptions you’ve heard? 

I have heard the words Wabi-sabi and Calming. 

One of the best compliments was a client told me, who had one of my painting in their bedroom that they loved waking up and seeing my artwork, it put them in a good mood. I am a very positive person so my art has that energy.

We also love your jewelry which speaks so much to your aesthetic, you are no longer making but can you share any photos for us to swoon over?

I still design a few pieces of jewelry but I don’t do retail anymore. 

I love that people that bought my jewelry tell me they still wear it after buying it 8 years ago.

It is still the only jewelry I wear.

What is your idea of a great dining experience?

My idea of a great dining experience is having people you enjoy with great music and lighting and of course amazing food and drinks.

Are you the chef at home?

Yes I really enjoy cooking, I usually never use a recipe. 

What is you most coveted ingredient?

Fresh herbs and salt. My favorite food is sushi.

Any interesting stories of where your paintings have landed? 

My paintings have been in a few magazines…recently I was at my moms looking at her magazines and I opened a house beautiful and saw my artwork. I think almost every time my work has been published I found out by surprise opening up the magazine. I have sold art throughout United States. My favorite is when I get to see where the artwork is going in their home so local is always nice.

We would find it hard to “let go” of something so beautiful, how do reconcile with parting with your art?

Yes, I find it hard to let certain pieces of artwork go. I usually hide a few I am not ready to part with!  

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I find that perfect happiness comes when you are fully present, and not expecting anything from the moment.

Any current books, shows or music you are enjoying?

I love to read and read a lot. I have been reading /studying Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza very intriguing book. I also read a lot of fiction. 

I really enjoy going to the library since I was a little kid so books are a big part of my life. I still like to hold a book in my hand and use a handmade bookmark so no kindle for me.

I try not to watch a lot of TV but on the weekends I do watch some like we just finished Succession and I watched Yellowstone. 

Music is another big deal for me I like a lot of different artist. One that comes to mind that I have listened to lately is Khruanghin.  

Lark imagery by @missymphotograhy & all others compliments of Lorraine Pennington.

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Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Lark #73 x Lorraine Pennington x Chef Matthew Roberts

We were honored to set the communal table, April 10, 2024, with our favorite minimalist artist @lorrainepennington at her beautiful + inviting atelier in West Side Costa Mesa.


Here we enjoyed welcome drinks & mingling, delighted in the beauty of imperfection, shared a chef curated dining experience and—best of all—partook in the (rediscovered) art of conversation.


Q + A with The Sunlight House | Newport Beach, CA

With lark, it is always about the people you meet along the way! We are thrilled to introduce the enthusiastic, whole hearted and innovative Wendy Leithem owner of the film + video design haven known as The Sunlight House ☀️ where we will soon be setting our communal table to enjoy food, wine, design & partake in the (lost) art of conversation. Come along with us as we take a dive below the surface by way of these fun dinner party questions:

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

I grew up on a farm in Yuma Arizona, and now live in Newport Beach. Newport Beach is where I raised my 3 boys and has tons of great memories.

What is your earliest design-related experience?

In my younger years I would always laugh as I could not even draw a stick man.  I never even knew I had any creative ability until I bought my first beach house in my 40’s. I was always an athlete and had corporate jobs. 

Sports: In high school and below, I played everything I could get my hands on. Volleyball, basketball, softball, I even competed in horse Jr Rodeo competitions (my dad was a professional rodeo cowboy). I also played flag football. After college I attempted to play pro beach volleyball, but it did not work out.

We love how you created The Sunlight House to not only be a warm + inviting home but also a commercial shoot location—and now you are opening it to lark! You are always open and growing, what is your secret? 

The Sunlight House

Usually by dumb luck! I have been super fortunate to work with people that have really taught me about manifesting and creating my dream life. Some trial and error for sure. All my endeavors just get more fun and more fun with meeting amazing people along the way. 

Since so many film shoots have happened at The Sunlight House—is there one or two fun/cool experiences to share?

The first that comes to mind was a shoot with Kareem Abdul Jabbar. What a treat. He was shooting a Pharma ad and his team was amazing.

The 2nd was probably being asked to have my sweet yellow lab Maddie be part of a shoot. I quickly learned how to be a  “dog handler” on set.  It was hilarious.  After the 10th take she actually began to stop on her mark.  I was nervous, but she was a rock star.

Thanks Maddie cakes!

What should people know about designing inviting spaces? Is there one easy “must do” tip you can give them?

I always want people to “feel” joy and light energy in any space I create. I want them to feel like they would love to hang out, invite friends over and just really feel a lightness of being from any space I create. 

You have two enterprises going at the same time with Hang3 which launched earlier this year (congrats!). Can you elaborate on the underlying inspiration to support local artists? 

Hang 3 is another endeavor I stumbled upon. I had a collection of my own shots from all over the world and one day I began putting them together.  I then contacted some local incredible photographers from all different  talents and asked for some of their favorite heart filled work and Hang3 was born.  I now shoot my own images as well as recruit painters/photographers and help to broker their work to the design trade and all over.  It has and is currently a wonderful learning experience. 

Inspiring artwork now available at Hang3shop.com

We feel their is an expression or feeling you want to share with your endeavors? Are we onto something?

As I grow older, I find that creative endeavors and using my own creative unique gifts and sharing it with others brings me the most joy. (Besides my amazing 3 boys of course). I feel absolutely blessed to be able to do what I love and also make wonderful revenue streams 

We know you enjoy curating spaces and entertaining, are you the chef at home? 

Ha! My 3 boys might challenge this, but I have started to really enjoy cooking and wine pairing as I have gotten older.  Sampling food from around the world and having unique eating opportunities has been so much fun. 

What ingredient can you not live without? 

Tequila and my hot tea!  Any type of fish and Mexican food comes in at a close 2nd. 

Who, if anyone in the world, would you most like to dine with?

There are so many…but today it would be Leanne Ford the designer.

Her effortless creative style is so inspiring. 

What is your most marked characteristic? 

Always finding the silver lining or positive in a situation, no matter how dire it may seem at the time.  The universe is always teaching us something for our highest good. 

Design or Business school? 

I actually  have an MBA from my corporate days. It has helped me tremendously in my real estate investing and running my businesses. Design school probably would not have been for me. I always have to be out in the world learning.

What not so obvious thing should people know about being an entrepreneur?

All the mistakes that lead you to your right path. I think also sometimes being terrified but doing it anyway. 

What word or phrase do you most over-use?

Embarrassingly, the F word can fly out of my mouth a bit when I least expect it during last minute issues or running behind for a deadline. I would also say “everything is always working out” and “you got this”. 

What is your idea of a perfect day? 

A wonderful morning meditation, a beautiful ocean hike with my wonderful girlfriends, time spent with all 3 of my boys (they are now all older and getting them all 3 together is super hard now with them on different parts of the country). Ending with a fabulous meal, my boys/ friends or any creative souls. 

Wendy Leithem and her 3 boys enjoying their annual b-day weekend snowboarding trip!

Who are your heroes?

First would be my 3 boys…they are amazing and handle any challenge that comes their way like gladiators.  Second would be my amazing Uncle Clayton Kiewel. We just lost him. He was the patriarch in our family and the man/person we all aspired to be. 

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Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Friday 3/22/24 w/the talented Chef Kyle Powers + Sous Chef Bryan Barnes!

Open invite. Limited Seats.

@letsgoonlark

Lark x Travers Residence x Chef Kyle Powers ~ Newport Beach

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

We recently brought all our good vibes together for a “private” pop-up communal dinner. We seldom do private events, but we can be convinced through sheer sincerity and determination ☆

Lark @ Travers Residence
Saturday, June 24, 2023
Newport Beach, CA ☆

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

Menu crafted by the talented Chef Kyle Powers ☆

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

Chefs whim appetizer accompanied by signature larktails:

Espresso martini

Blood orange + jalapeño spicy margarita 

Strawberry basil margarita 

1/crab + corn chowder, poblano, focaccia toast

Paired w/Penfolds 311 Chardonnay

2/mushroom salad, dandelion greens, pickled fresnos, garlic chips

Paired w/Groth Sauvignon Blanc

3/cioppino (white fish) tomato broth, white beans

Paired w/Etude Grace Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir

4/chocolate, chocolate, chocolate

Paired w/Wilson’s Organic Cold Brew Coffee

Birthday cake by @mcakesweets

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_
Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

Birthday poem by writer Nick Banning ☆

Saturnine sky with long days, long sunsets, long shadows. Summer makes the promise that take off is voluntary, yet landing is required. Is it time to show every sense but common?

The Stars eat from her hand when she lets them. Shall we dance in the sand, hummm our favorite song as the sun greets and the Stars ditch us?  The clouds are like pink Spanish Galleons in the sky waiting to be Plundered…

Blossoms on ice, sunflowers as big as the sun, design and elegance envelopes.  Time to slip on velvet slippers or perhaps barefoot shoes and acknowledge the importance of doing nothing.

Beauty surrounds, friends warm the night, glasses of pleasure in your hands…with Gratitude Optimism is Sustainable and with Grateful Acceptance we give the Nod to the Joy of what is around us.

A big THANK YOU to all who came together to make this an evening to remember! ☆

producer Alissa Travers
photos @vacation_media_
florals @ferncottageflorals
chef @mrforky of @forkintheroadcatering
tapas plates @lunareececeramics
stylist Christina Peterson
cake @mcakesweets 
poet Nick Banning

& friends! ☆

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

☆☆☆

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Guerrilla Lark | Civic Center Park, Newport Beach, CA

We have strolled the Civic Center Park’s winding trails dozens of times, enjoying the varied pieces of art, flora and fauna––and always leave feeling refreshed and carefully noting the best locations for a picnic.

Super fun (& delicious) times on a guerrilla lark in Newport Beach

We decided to settle in the towering presence of the amazing Talking Heads sculpture by the classically trained sculptor Oleg Lobykin. Fitting as time between the bigger larks is always used for reflection (our motto: do, reflect, refine, do again).

Super fun (& delicious) times on a guerrilla lark in Newport Beach

While enjoying a delicious array of cheeses, meats, fruits, and crackers accompanied by sips of sparkling water and gentle ocean breeze, we talked about what was happening in our lives, things silly and serious. 

Super fun (& delicious) times on a guerrilla lark in Newport Beach

We shared stories and laughed about the larks past and present and, of course, dreamed up what could be next.

Super fun (& delicious) times on a guerrilla lark in Newport Beach

Appearing along the path near our table is Lisa Hughes Anderson who enthusiastically snapped a few photos and her friend Suzanne Redfearn who graced us with her recently published novel. You never know who’ll you will meet on a lark!

Super fun (& delicious) times on a guerrilla lark in Newport Beach

Love that we took the time and effort to create a beautiful experience that filled us with adventure and inspiration.

Grateful to share these super fun (& delicious) times with: @chrismariepete, @laurabrophyinteriors, & @thommgrl and happy to get some BTS imagery featuring some of our favorite local artisans @lunareece.ceramics & @huitlaguna

Super fun (& delicious) times on a guerrilla lark in Newport Beach

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

New dates to be announced soon!

Q+A with Jan McCarthy of the Cannery Artist Colony – Newport Beach, CA

We’re thrilled to create + collaborate with the Cannery Artist Colony of Newport Beach. We met Artist and Creative Life Connoisseur Jan McCarthy through a mutual friend (who we met on a lark!).

We were about to set our communal table at her residence in the gorgeous green Eastern Building in DTLA when the world shut down. Then, when we reconnected, she had relocated to the seaside town of Newport Beach and became a part of the Cannery Artist Colony.

We are thankful for her invitation to set our communal table with the Cannery Artist Colony whose inspiring and delightful ateliers reside among the numbered streets of Newport Beach:

Q. Tell us about the Cannery Artist Colony.

A. The building we are in originally had 3 artists but in the last year 3 more of us have joined the collective space. It is so great that we each have our own private studio space and focus on different types and approaches to creating art, but are able to meet up when we are in residence and share ideas as well as support each other.   

Q. Who are they?

Jan McCarthy @janmccarthy 

Linda Wooters @whatabouther 

Ilona Martin @ilona_artist

Deborah Harold @deborah_harold_studios

Janet Bludau @bludau

Carole Aikins @caroleakins

Q. Where are they from? 

A. We come from all different places, Some of the women have been in the Newport area for a long time and even had children in the same school together, or met at various painting classes. I am a newcomer to the group, coming from Los Angeles and Boulder, Colorado just over a year ago, but I appreciate how welcoming everyone has been.

Q. What would you say about their personalities + style? 

JAN MCCARTHY https://www.janmccarthy.com/ Modern, Sophisticated, Bold and Edgy, each mark or stroke of the brush is a signature gesture as a way to connect and share flashpoints of time or place. Jan’s art gives a nod to independence and freedom, a suggestion to defy the norm, stay curious and seek adventure,  Influences are from a background of travel, interior design, creative pursuits, and a curious and wild imagination. 

LINDA WOOTERS www.lindawooters.com Drawn to the juxtaposition of patterns and loose brush strokes to create modern impressionistic landscapes. She is influenced by living near the ocean and observing it’s ever changing moods.

CAROLE AIKINS www.caroleaikins.com – Carole’s work could be described as bold, whimsical, and vivid! She lets the subject of her paintings present themselves as she paints, much like a drama or fiction, revealing the surprise story once the painting is completed. Her early creative pursuits, such as interior design, travel, and living in France have greatly influenced her work, 

DEBORAH HAROLD www.deborahharold.com An interior designer turned artist, Deborah is passionate about painting and travel. She considers herself an abstract impressionist with a keen sense of color, using quick and spontaneous brushstrokes to create shapes that allow the mind to fill in the blanks.

ILONA MARTIN https://ilona-art.com Ilona’s naive approach to Impressionist painting has given her a risk-taker reputation. Her love for a montage of color and shapes found in nature inspires her to paint and her work has a European influence, stemming from her German heritage and travels around the world.  

JANET BLUDAU www.janetbludau.com Janet’s work offers up a cool color palette, inspired by an impressionistic era combining it with a contemporary approach. She describes her work as abstracted realism, intuitively applying color, and using her background in design to help her insert shapes and graphic lines to create a beautiful piece of art.  

Q. Are any of the artists cooks? 

A. We have monthly dinner parties and everyone makes something extraordinary, so yes, even if we don’t cook on a regular basis, we know how to perfect the art of dining.

Q. What makes the Cannery Artist Colony a perfect pairing for a lark? 

A. It is a cozy space that lends itself to creativity and inspiration. Having the menu, table and area designed around a creative and artistic community, it is the perfect place to appreciate a lark. 

Q. Any history you can share of the building or neighborhood? 

A. In 1921, the area known as Cannery Village was a commercial fish cannery between 30th and Lido Park Drive but after it closed around 1966, it’s natural charm and seaside location attracted creative businesses, artists and tourists as the ideal site to gather.  

Q. Art School, yay or nay? 

A. I started making art just a little over 10 years ago and I’ve never been to art school. It may have been helpful to learn specific techniques, but I’ve really loved learning from others and experimenting on my own, and therefore feel confident in trusting my intuition and making mistakes. Some of my fellow artists did attend art school but we all have our own unique style. 

Q. We feel the culinary world + art world go hand in hand, do you agree? 

A. Absolutely, it is about bringing together imagination, color, design, mood, creativity, and a full experience of the senses. 

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Come on a lark with us!

Thursday, September 15, 2022 w/Chef Taylor Elam.

the Cannery Artist Colony 
420 31st Street
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(Newport Blvd x 31st Street, between Alta Cafe + The Board Room)

Lark x Chef Taylor Elam of Merkatö

We love that lark has become a platform for talented people who are passionate about their craft. Hence, we are thrilled to introduce Chef Taylor Elam of Merkatö. We met pre-pandemic and reconnected on (nearly?) the other side as our first opportunity to create + collaborate arrives 12/2/21 in the form of a private pop, with equally passionate guests, at the super hip Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach. 

Here’s a fun Q + A to understand why our chefs always have creative control of the menu!

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

From : San Juan Capistrano, California

Current : Newport Beach, California

What is your earliest memorable culinary experience?

I was probably 4 or 5 years old. It was chopping vegetables with my grandma & mother for Sunday dinners. 

What drives you to create food?

To always be better than your last plate.

We feel there is an expression or feeling you want to share with your craft? Are we onto something?

Absolutely. The satisfaction I get when people tell me that was one of the most unique preparations of an ingredient they’ve ever experienced. Those compliments reassure that all those years of hard work have paid off. 

You’ve worked in a quite a few kitchens, can you drop some names or share some highlights (thinking style, pace, vibe, high/low)?

Fleur de Lys, San Francisco – Modern French, classic & fun.  At the time they had a Michelin star. It’s where I got my start as a prep cook during my externship upon graduating culinary school. It’s also the kitchen thats responsible for me growing up. Hubert Keller is one of the nicest French chefs on the planet. That’s saying a lot haha. 

Spago, Beverly Hills – fast paced, elegant & militant. Hands down the toughest kitchen I’ve worked in. 4-6 hundred covers a night. Celebrities & Hollywood socialites were the norm. Expectations were firing high on all levels daily. The hyper focus I learned on technique, balance, detail &  seasonality helped mold me into the chef I am today. 

What should people know about fine dining?

It’s a whole other planet. It can make or break a young cook in the best possible way. It takes a certain kind of person to dedicate themselves to that world. 

What is behind the name Merkatö?

Merkatö translates to market in the esperanto language aka “International Language”. Esperanto doesnʼt belong to a particular nation it belongs to a community of people.

It’s known as a supranational language. Like many others itʼs used to communicate its culture, literature & magazines. Unlike all other languages, Esperanto does not have its own country, nor its own people. Instead, it belongs to itʼs community. We belong to a community.

Merkatö is a new concept launched during the pandemic, can you elaborate on the concept?

Breaking bread will always bring people together. We endeavor to use that language to tell stories, share space, invite partnerships and raise awareness of the farm-to-table process. 

We approach our work and our community with humility. We believe in sustainability and infuse it in all that we do. We respect ingredients, in recipes and in people.

Everyone is unique and deserves a personalized experience. We foster transparency in our work because we are proud of our ingredients, our partners, our employees and our achievements. Everyone is welcome at our table. No exceptions.

Merkatö (and/or your culinary quests) also has had other twists & turns. We like to see you hanging in there, how do you visualize Merkatö evolving?

Merkatö is evolving every day. Food is still the focal point & always will be, but I envision it to grow to so much more than that. Education, product development & destination dinners are new ideas I’ve been working on this last year. I have a small line of products that were approved by the FDA. I see it becoming more of a lifestyle brand as well haha. That sounds funny to me when I say that, but it feels like it having so many layers & ideas. Exciting stuff for the future!

What is your most marked culinary characteristic? 

I am very lucky to work with & highlight some amazing products here in the golden state. I am not a plant based chef by any means. I do love opening peoples minds with vegetable cookery & treating them as you would your favorite wagyu steak. 

Who is on your food prep playlist? 

Oh man hahah. I love everything. Really depends on the menu. Some of my cooking favorites the Grateful Dead, muddy waters, the Allman brothers, Skinshape, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Wilson Pickett, toots & the Maytals, Iggy Pop, Wu Tang, Bobby Womack, Social D. I could go for ever haha.

What ingredient can you not live without?

Quality olive oil.

Culinary school, yay or nay? 

Yay,  City College of San Francisco.

What not so obvious thing should people know about pursuing a career as a Chef?

It’s not as glamorous as the media portrays it. It has its glamorous moments, but there’s typically many years of sweat & tears before applause.

For those who cook at home, what is one easy must do tip you can give them?

Don’t compromise quality. 

Who are your heroes?

Anthony Bourdain

Jeremy Fox 

Paul Bocuse 

Andy doubrava 

Thomas Keller

David Chang

Alain Ducasse

Charlie Trotter

Huebert Keller 

Chris Consentino 

Brandon Jew

Sean Brock 

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Although this lark is a private pop, we invite you along through our images & stories.

Q + A with Victoria Kennedy of Kennedy Contemporary in Newport Beach, CA

During the summer had a fun little creative session with Victoria Kennedy who happened to open her first Art Gallery (next to Kean Coffee in Newport Beach in March 2020 and never looked back. Follow our Q + A session below to learn a bit more about this determined and inspiring Gallerist:

Where were you born and raised—and where do you live now? 

I was born in San Marino and raised in Corona del Mar/Newport Beach. It was always my goal to leave the OC bubble (which I did for a period of time!), but I am so glad to be back as an adult. My husband and I live in Westside Costa Mesa and we love the creative community out here. 

Did you dabble or immerse yourself in art growing up? 

Definitely! One of my first art experiences outside of high school was taking a summer drawing course at LCAD. It was an incredibly challenging (and humbling) experience that gave me a lot of respect for artists. Similarly, I took an oil painting course at Stanford University and realized that my skill was not in creating art (ha!). But having experience in working with different artistic mediums gave me an understanding for how the materials work and how difficult it is to create unique and coherent art.

What led you to Stanford University? 

I had always had my heart set on Stanford as my parents met there when they were undergraduates and I had many fond memories of the campus and community. Luckily, I was recruited to play water polo at Stanford, so it was a natural fit! 

What did you “learn to embrace” about Northern California? 

Living in Northern California was really my first time immersed in the beautiful diversity of thought, culture, religion and ethnicity. I really embraced the openness and willingness to learn from others different from myself. 

Victoria Kennedy at Kennedy Contemporary
@kennedycontemporary

We understand you lived abroad for a spell, how does your experience inform your present day approach to life? 

After four years at Stanford, I spent a fifth year studying at Oxford University and using that time to travel and get my fill of academic life. Afterwards, I worked for Backroads, a luxury active travel company, and moved to France to lead tours in Normandy and Brittany.

Life abroad taught me two things: don’t be afraid to ask for help and be open to new experiences. There were times when I couldn’t figure out the best cell phone plan, how to pay road tolls, French dining etiquette, etc. Just asking for advice or assistance shows that you’re willing to put in the effort to integrate with the locals and connect! And ultimately, life is all about human connection. 

What is your greatest culinary pleasure?

I LOVE throwing dinner parties, which was why I love the concept of Lark! My go-to dinner is a roast chicken – most of it is done ahead of time, which gives you ample time to socialize with your guests and relax. And the leftovers can often last the whole week!

Tabletop on a guerrilla lark at Kennedy Contemporary
features @lunareece.ceramics

What is one of your favorite culinary experiences?

When I lived in London, my roommate and I put on an American Thanksgiving for all of our British and international friends. Our oven broke that morning (and luckily got replaced the day-of!), but we managed to make a whole turkey, apple + pecan pie, stuffing, and a salad. We had a blast sharing the traditions of the meal with our friends over many bottles of wine!

What was your first introduction to art?

In high school, I took AP Art History with John Gunnin. I loved learning about history through the lens of art and thoroughly enjoyed the course. It made me want to pursue a minor in Art History at Stanford.

What epiphany about art carries you to where you are today? 

All art is contemporary. Meaning every piece is created of its own time and in relation to that day, month, or year when it was conceived. Understanding this helps to put art in context, and context is everything! It’s why we praise Jackson Pollock even though paint splatters seem so trivial and amateurish.

You can look at a piece of art and think “I love this,” which is the most important step to collecting art. You have to love it. The second step is understanding why it was created and why its creation is significant.

Coppers Tritscheller Sculpture at Kennedy Contemporary
@coppertritscheller

One of your favorite things is helping people find the right pieces of art for their home—any inspiring stories  (or advice) to share? 

When we first opened, we had a client stop by the gallery briefly while at Susie Cakes. Immediately, they grabbed their partner and pulled them into the gallery to see an artwork. They bought it on the spot! 

The best part of my job is developing long term relationships with my artists and clients. Although I have been in the contemporary art world for years, it’s been really encouraging to cultivate relationships with new clients as a gallerist representing my own artists. There’s a beauty to investing long term in our artists’ careers and sharing their stories with our clients.

Texture, color, vibe at Kennedy Contemporary
@_joejustus

You started a community called The Bohemians Women’s Club what was the catalyst for that? 

Yes! I started the Bohemian Women’s Club in partnership with Ali Faulkner from AEF Interiors. We had both recently moved to the area, started businesses, and wanted to expand our professional networks of like-minded women. Since April, we’ve grown our network to about forty local women and host monthly events to connect with and support each other. It’s been awesome to buy from/partner with local women-owned businesses like the Grazing KitchenCabaneArgaux, the Regina Oswald Collection, and (of course) Lark…!

What is the greatest myth about the Art world? 

That you need to have a masters or PhD in Art History to understand and buy art… you don’t! Many of our clients buy art because they love it and want something beautiful and meaningful to enrich their lives. You can certainly educate yourself by going to galleries, fairs, auctions, and maybe taking a course in art history, but ultimately it’s about what you love and want to live with. 

We know you also love furniture…how did that come about?

If I could outfit my entire home with Sean Woolsey‘s furniture… I would! But for now, I’m happy to showcase some of his pieces in our gallery. Sean was super kind to lend us some of his pieces to create a comfortable gallery environment. One of our artists, Heather Zusman, actually used to work for Sean which initially spurred her interest in woodworking!

Woolsey chair at Kennedy Contemporary
@thewoolsey + @_joejustus

If you could be anything other than an Art Curator / Gallerist, what would it be? 

I am very happy being a gallerist and probably wouldn’t want to do anything else full time. I’m a true believer that you make the time for things that are important to you. For me, I’ve continued working out, writing and recording songs, going on long walks/hikes with friends, and traveling all while building and running the gallery. Maybe in the future, that will shift and I will renew my scuba diving certification or take a sommelier course (which are on my list of things to do!).

Kennedy Contemporary | @kennedycontemporary

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Q+A with Laura of Laura Brophy Interiors in Newport Beach, California

Laura Brophy captured by @missymphotography at her studio in Newport Beach.

We are thrilled to set our 55th communal table at Laura Brophy Interiorsin Newport Beach on Friday 9/10/21 with the talented Chef Kyle Powers. We love her energy, eye for design and enthusiasm–and that she is always up for an adventure. Although our lark communal dinner has sold out, we invite you to come along with this brief dive “below-the-surface” into her beautiful world of design.


Q. Where do you call home? 
I reside in Southern California, but home to me is wherever I have family and right now we have an opportunity to be nomads,o  I feel like that could be anywhere. 


Q. When did you decide to open your own business? What factors came into play?
Oh gawd, that is a loaded question. Come to dinner and I’ll tell you about it. But really, I eventually got “over the fear” and just went for it. It is the best decision I ever made. 


Q. Is your interior style influenced by anyone…any heroes out there?I am constantly inspired by fashion and feel that this influence of design can play anywhere, even in interiors. Kelly Wearstler is a great example of funky and cool, constantly translating her fashion aesthetic into the homes she designs. 


Q. By the local businesses in your area, your studio location straddles both the old and new in creative conquests. How does this influence or inspire your work (or day)?Being connected to TToes on the Noseis a dream situation. Love their vintage fashion vibe and would love to see this play into the California home lifestyle. 


Q. The mood in your studio is so positive, do you a have work style/management philosophy? I like people to thrive at what they are great at. We have a group of people whose individual skills all contribute to a group effort and that makes all the difference. 


Q. We know your taste + love for beauty and style is expansive, has the world of design always been a part of your life?Yes, growing up I went to fashions shows with my parents and they also exposed me to Interior Designers. I got an early view of the creative process and became inspired. 


Q. What is your favorite question to ask a potential client? How creative can we get on this project? 


Q. What three things do you love about being a Interior Designer?

  1. How personal this business is… working on homes, you become intimately involved in a client’s life..
  2. I really enjoy being able to source things and meet really interesting people.
  3. I get to do what I love. I consider it a gift knowing not everyone finds what they are passionate about.

Q. Can you share a bit about The Next Layer? Yes, it’s something we offer our clients and it’s a great way to transform a home quickly and make a space look personal without doing a huge remodel. 


Q. We always ask our chefs about culinary school–– is design school necessary? Yes, just to gain confidence and extra knowledge. Honing in on portion and scale AND the why behind things is an important aspect when designing a home.  Once you have a solid understanding of design, well, that is when you can break the rules. 


Q. Who or what currently inspires you?Instagram, there are so many amazing great amazing people on there. You can connect with people you admire easily. 


Q. What is your favorite culinary pleasure?Chef Kyle’s food! Going on larks! I like interesting experiences — things that are different.

 
Q. How did you hear about lark? I heard about it from Lisa on “the downlow” while we were both working in similar industries…. I followed her on Instagram for year before I made the leap and fell in love.


Q. We have collaborated on many occasions, want to share a quick, fun story about lark?  Well….there was this one occasion when Lisa almost got swept away by the ocean. It was a guerrilla lark in Corona Del Mar and it was absolutely the hardest set up and breakdown…we scaled our tables, chairs and food over craggily rocks to arrive at our perfect location. We dined with our feet in the water. It was so different and so fun!

Super fun times on. guerrilla lark in Corona Del Mar. Image captured by The Delauras.

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

New dates to be announced soon!

Q+A with Maria Isles | All Things Design in Newport Beach, California

Maria & Max Isles + Izzy, Photo captured at Isles Interiors by the talented @lanedittoe

We love Maria’s style, the way she connects so easily with others, and her sense of adventure. We are thrilled to set our communal table at her gorgeous + well-curated atelier in Newport Beach on Saturday 2/29/20. Although our lark communal dinner has sold out, we invite you to come along with this brief dive “below-the-surface” into her beautiful world of design.

Q. Where are you from–and where do you live currently?

A. I grew up in Pasadena and currently live in Laguna Beach. I have also lived in Santa Barbara and abroad in Singapore.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Definitely Art!

Q. What was your most favorite occupation?

A. Obviously Interior Design.

Q. When did you realize you had a knack for Interior Design?

A. When I was about 4 or 5 years old. My dad had a construction company and I used to go in his warehouse and make doll houses for my weeble wobbles out of scrapes of wood, metal and glass. I was also obsessed with my moms Architectural Digest from a very young age. 

Q. What is your favorite and/or most ideal project?

A. My ideal project would be a new build in Montecito, a modern version of a Spanish Colonial. That would be my dream house. Clean and timeless with lots of wood, dark metal and Spanish decorative tile, my absolute love. My favorite project is my own ongoing house. We live in an adorable tiny 1936 cottage in Laguna Beach. It is the quintessential beach cottage. 

Q. You go on “buying trips” what are some of your favorite places? 

A. My favorite place to go on buying trips is of course England where my husband Max is from. I love the old country antiques that we find there. They are timeless and the craftsmanship is amazing. 

Q. What was your first trip like?  Did someone take you–or did you venture out on you own? 

  1. We always find time when we go back to England to venture out and source. Its so inspiring over there, whether we are in London at some cool old shop or in the countryside at a car boot sale. I have always just ventured out on my own. I have had tips from locals but its fun to wander and discover. 

Q. Any regrets on an object you might have passed up?

A. I just passed up an antique Oushak runner a few weeks ago, and now its gone, it was the perfect size, color and price! But my worst regret is an antique Gustavian dresser that I found at an estate sale up by Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. I purchased it but sold it in my shop. I think about it all the time and how I should not have sold it!!!  

Q. We love that you like to host/entertain is this something you’ve always done? 

A. I think I started to entertain about 16 years ago when we bought our little cottage. We have an amazing front yard with 22 fruit and nut trees. Its small but its perfect for having intimate dinner parties or summer lunches in the garden. Its pretty magical. 

Q. What is your most memorable meal?

A. I don’t know if I could say what is my most memorable meal, but I love food and my husband Max and I are vegetarian so when I find amazing vegetarian restaurants or meals I really remember them. 

Recently we went to Double Zero in Venice and I had the most amazing vegan spaghetti bolognaise or as my husband calls it spag bol. It was made with mushrooms and walnuts and so incredibly delicious. I found a similar recipe, its take a long time to make it but soooo worth it! 

Q. We feel food, conversation x design go quite well together, do you have any thoughts on this intersection? 

A. Good food and design are both so creative and appeal to your senses. So of course they both individually and combined make great conservation! It’s the perfect mixture. 

Q.. Do you have a favorite quote?

A. “Gratitude creates abundance’.

Q. Who Inspires you?

Q. Some of my favorite designers are:

Amber InteriorsShe just rocks it

Nickey KehoeThe perfect duo

Lauren LiessLove her timeless sensibility

Kendall ConradHer fashion sense

Q. How do you envision your future of Isles Interiors–what direction do you most want to go? 

A. For Isles Interiors we envision continuing with our full scale interior design studio. Expanding on our new builds and full remodels. We are also in the process of designing a new line of furniture by Max, 5 or 6 signature pieces, that we can’t live without! I would love to open a studio in Santa Barbara and eventually London. 

Create. Collaborate. Elevate. Come on a lark with us!

Thursday, March 26, 2020 at Hello Kestan in Irvine, CA {details TBA soon}!

Guerrilla Lark The Wedge | Art of Picnic Newport Beach, California

Because there is so much beauty in doing.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

We are thrilled to have discovered a fun + fast way to get our creative juices flowing, lift each other up, and thank our collaborators.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA
Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

As good as it looks! Fresh, delicious platter of beautiful arranged Crudités by the multi-talented @kaileeinthekitchen .

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

We loved incorporating these colorful hand-stitched flags by artist Scott Richards of @slightlychoppy paying homage to the good times to the past, present and future of our local surf culture.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Wintering in Southern California finds us with our sweaters off, but close at hand in case of a cool breeze or cloud cover.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Thrilled to have the talented food blogger + photographer @kaileeinthekitchen capture the moment and the good energy of patisserie @mcakesweets — both enhancing this dreamy vibe! 

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Of course you will always find @lunareececeramics gorgeous ceramic plates adorning our communal table as well as a little white jumpsuit love from stylist @maysonhauck
💛.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA
Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

A minimalistic bundle of dried florals by one our favorite florist @frenchbuckets of Lido Marina Village and Laguna Beach repurposed again + again.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Create. Collaborate. Elevate. Come on a lark with us!

# # #

Because it really has been a long cold winter, we feel it’s time to warm things up! Our next adventure finds us setting our communal table on Saturday 2/29/20 at the gorgeous Isles Interiors in Newport Beach with the talented Chef Kyle Powers.

Saturday, February 29, 2020, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Isles Interiors 

367 Old Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, California 92663
(cross streets: Newport Beach Blvd. & Hospital Road)

$125. per person, all-inclusive food & drinks by Chef Kyle Powers 
Purchase Tickets*: 
Let’s Go On A Lark! 
*Non-refundable/absolutely transferable

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!