Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Art Of The Summer Garden 2009

A Photo-Journal Feature
written and photographed by
Ginger Van Hook

Features Beverly Hills Artist

Local Beverly Hills Artist Creates Art
From Her Garden
Launching a new project called

A local artist and resident of Beverly Hills turned her garden into an art form by creating a project called “Plant It Forward”. Linda Kunik, an artist and alumna from Otis College of Art and Design has initiated a project to enhance her artistic community as well as inspire local artists to do the same. “Plant It Forward” is about establishing community while reconnecting with the earth, a vision which includes artists bartering for vegetables either by working in the garden or helping in the documentation of the garden’s delights by photographing, videotaping and or journaling about the experience. Ms. Kunik believes trading services for food in these tough economic times makes sense because while cultivating the soil, a group of artists will also cultivate friendships and nourish the community. The foundation of Linda Kunik’s work is to get back to the roots of sustainable agriculture. “Plant It Forward” does exactly what it says. The seeds are planted now and the fruits of this labor go forward to feed people who take from the harvest the inspiration to plant their own gardens.

“…My vision is for everyone to have their own garden, large or small and if that is not possible, to raise enough awareness for the people to shop locally and support their local Farmer’s Markets…” Ms. Kunik states as she points to the five large gardens she created in the back yard of her home, replacing flowerbeds and lawns in order to plant vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. Kunik wanted to give back to her community, raise awareness of the need for personal gardens and utilize the artistic medium to make her statement. “My work has always referenced the land. From my early days as a watercolorist painting landscapes to later works making paintings of deforestation or global warming; the beauty and fragility of the earth has been a recurring theme. Combining my agricultural practice with my art-making seems to be an natural evolution.”

The prospect of jumping into an artistic adventure to produce homegrown fruits and vegetables with a group of fellow artists was contagious. Thus the enthusiasm carried this labor of love into the summer as Ms. Kunik worked with a group of artists to bring in soil, create raised beds and began to fill them with the seeds of tomatoes, carrots, spinach, lettuce, corn, and a variety of herbs, citrus fruits and assorted vegetables. Some of the artists participating in Plant It Forward include Juna Amano (Painting & Sculpture), Marissa Magdalena (Installation, Performance and Drawing), Ofunne Obiamawe (Photographer), Suzanne Oshinsky (Videographer), Michiko Smith (Painting), Whitney Stolich (Photographer) and Ginger Van Hook (Photographer) as well as the new artists joining every week.

It is the zenith of summer now and already some of the tomatoes have ripened looking fat, juicy and red. In recent weeks, there have already been harvests of endive lettuce, carrots and radishes. The important element in the formation of this garden is the artistic component of Ms. Kunik’s vision. The raised beds and gardens are shaped into asymmetrical forms with a walking path between them. Large Sunflowers adorn the corners of each of the vegetable beds and the aromas of fresh tomatoes and rosemary mixes with the fragrances of roses and lavender permeating the air in her back yard.

Linda Kunik has written a blog about her work and continues to support the arts by highlighting the artistry of organic gardening in photography and painting. She also founded a community artist forum called the O Salon. The O Salon is where artists network and take part in conceptual critique as well as share information about each other’s works. Ms. Kunik is involved in a number of professional organizations including the Los Angeles Art Association, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Docent Council and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Linda Kunik photographed beside her painting
Exhibition at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles, California, 2008
(Photo by Ginger Van Hook)

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project

Additional artists websites and blogs:

  • Juna Amano (Painting & Sculpture)

  • Marissa Magdalena (Installation, Performance and Drawing)

  • Ofunne Obiamawe (Photographer)

  • Suzanne Oshinsky (Videographer)

  • Michiko Smith (Painting)

  • Whitney Stolich (Photographer)

  • Ginger Van Hook (Photographer)

  • Luke Van Hook (Painting)

"Plant It Forward" : The week of June 07, 2009

"Plant It Forward" : The week of July 01, 2009

"Plant It Forward" : The week of July 08, 2009

"Plant It Forward" : The week of July 15, 2009

"Plant It Forward" : The week of July 22, 2009

"Plant It Forward" : The week of July 29, 2009

"Plant It Forward" : The week of August 5, 2009

Artist, Linda Kunik planted a garden to share with fellow artists.

"Plant It Forward" : The day of August 08, 2009


"Plant It Forward" : The Week of August 12, 2009

"Plant It Forward" : Week of August 19, 2009

After the Harvest:
Cooking the Vegetables and Enjoying the Fruits of our Labors

The Art of the Summer Garden 2009

A Photo-Journal Feature
written and photographed by
Ginger Van Hook

Features Beverly Hills Artist