Friday, September 16, 2011

Character Sketch: Mike Magoski

My friends Morgan and Jeremy from Inside Fullerton have made a community magazine about Fullerton called Votre Fullerton. You know how lots of community magazines are like 80 percent ads, and even the articles seem like ads? Well, Votre Fullerton is a real magazine that has real articles. I contribute a monthly column called "Character Sketches" where I write about interesting people in Fullerton and draw them. Here is last months column, and be sure to pick up a copy of Votre Fullerton at a variety of locations in Fullerton, including Max Blooms Cafe Noir and BOOKMACHINE.


The first time I met Mike Magoski, he was wearing black leather pants. He was bartending at Table Ten, a now-defunct bar in Fullerton. It was a local hangout for artists and musicians. I remember talking to Mike about J.D. Salinger.

A few years went by, and I would see Mike occasionally, usually at Table Ten. Then my friend Colleen had a birthday party at Mike’s art studio, The Violet Hour, in an old warehouse on Santa Fe. Walking into that studio was like walking into another world, into a funhouse explosion of creative passion. It was filled with photographs, paintings, mannequins, oversized rabbits. I felt like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into another world. My first thought was, “I can’t believe a place like this exists in Fullerton.”

Another few years went by, and I ended up opening an art gallery (Hibbleton) with some friends downtown. And then we started the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk, and Mike and his wife Candace were involved. They opened their studio to the public once a month.

A couple years went by, and our gallery almost went out of business, because it’s hard to sell artwork in a recession. It was at this moment that Mike invited us to move into the warehouse next to his, and offered us a rent we could afford. Since we moved there, I have watched as Mike has slowly turned this warehouse into a true art colony. We now have three galleries, a number of art studios, and it just keeps growing.

We called it “The Magoski Arts Colony.” Mike has given a space for the arts to flourish in Fullerton, even in the midst of a struggling economy, perhaps at a time when the arts are most important. Mike Magoski (photographer, writer, visionary) is like the Andy Warhol of Fullerton (sometimes he even looks like Andy Warhol), giving a home and a gathering place for artists, writers, musicians, and dreamers.

The Magoski Arts Colony is located at:
223-225 W. Santa Fe
Fullerton, CA

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