Locals Only art show celebrates best of Playa del Rey

Culver Boulevard’s Clean Aesthetic might be the hippest shop on the block due to the hard work and creative sensibilities of co-owners Aaron Rosenstock, Matt Rheault and Charlie Carroll.

Once a traditional surf and skate shop known for selling t-shirts with original designs, the shop is now attracting the attention of people, both locally and citywide, looking to buy one-of-a-kind pieces of art and prints that celebrate life, Los Angeles and the community of Playa del Rey.

“We have used t-shirts as a medium to showcase our artwork,” said Rosenstock. “This used to be just a skate shop, but now it’s turning into what we had hoped for: a gallery showcasing art by us and our friends.”

While the shop still stocks skate gear and clothing, Rosenstock is proud that they are getting to a point where the artwork and prints are selling almost as much as their t-shirt designs.

“It used to take awhile for people to pull the trigger to buy artwork, but now they’re coming in and buying it right away,” said Rosenstock. “We’ve become a reputable place to shop for art.”

On any given day, original paintings and prints line the walls of the boutique shop, located close to The Tripel and the Prince O’ Whales. On a recent visit, more than a dozen neon pop art prints of Twin Peak’s heroine, Laura Palmer, adorned one wall and digital prints of Carroll’s “Playa Stacked” were ready for purchase.

That piece of artwork, featuring local landmarks and homes stacked on top of each other, has become a favorite for visitors to the shop.Its popularity also led the shop’s co-owners to one of their biggest epiphanies: people love seeing artwork that depicts their own neighborhood, especially when that neighborhood is Playa del Rey.

While the shop always displays Playa themed art, the trio also holds a yearly “Locals Only” spring art exhibit that exclusively features artwork that celebrates Playa del Rey’s laid-back beach vibe, its landmarks, its people and its charm.

“People have a lot of pride in this community. People really do get excited when they see the local neighborhood in art,” said Rosenstock. “It’s a cool looking neighborhood—there are cool buildings, cool imaginary and with the beach, it all works. A lot of people who live in Playa see their house or their neighbor’s house or a memory they associate with the art, and they get excited. They connect to it on an emotional level.”

Now in its third year, the “Locals Only” show not only features art from members of the Clean Aesthetic “collective”—a group of friends and associates that often collaborate on creative projects–but also from local artists that heard about the show and wanted to participate.

“We have more than 20 artists participating, showing their version of what they see Playa as,” said Rosenstock. “Every year the art keeps getting better and better.”

For Westchester artist Mark Andrew Allen, the chance to have a local place to showcase artwork and the creative hub that Clean Aesthetic provides is invaluable.

“I think it’s great to have a community of artists. Artists typically work by themselves, but to have the opportunity to collaborate with others is very valuable because there’s not a lot of places that fulfill that need,” said Allen, who is one of the artists featured in the show.

A recent collaboration between Carroll, Rosenstock and another artist has led to Playa del Rey’s newest mural, finished last month, entitled “Downtown Playa.” The mural, located on Clean Aesthetic’s west-facing wall, features some of Culver Blvd.’s most popular businesses, including Playa Provisions and Mo’s Place, making it an Instagram-worthy stop for those visiting the area. Clean Aesthetic is also looking to collaborate with local artists to create a public art piece on the stairs located across from the shop that provide a shortcut from Pershing Drive to Culver Blvd.

While an art show entitled “Locals Only” might evoke the idea of an exclusive event, when it comes to Playa’s neighborhood art gallery, everyone is welcome, says Rosenstock.

“The doors are open. You don’t have to be on the list, just come on in,” he says. “We love Playa del Rey and that everyone seems to know each other. What makes this spot so cool is that we get to know the people who come into our shop. We love the local vibe.”

The “Locals Only” art show will take place on Saturday, April 28 from 2 to 8 p.m. Original artwork featured in the show, as well as digital prints, will be available for purchase. Originals start around $400 with small prints starting at $20. Clean Aesthetic is located at 323 Culver Blvd. in Playa del Rey.

For more info, please visit facebook.com/cleanaesthetic.

Published April 2018.

Pictured: Charlie Carroll’s “Playa Watercolor” and other original artwork depicting Playa del Rey will be available for purchase at the “Locals Only” art show on Saturday, April 28.