DTLA MasterMINDs: Nathan Cartwright – Hive Gallery’s King Bee

Do you want to experience the cutting edge of the emerging Los Angeles art scene?  If so, The Hive Gallery and Studios is just the place.  It features artwork with a wide range of styles.  From classical painting style to illustrative surrealism, the Hive has something for everyone.  The Hive specializes in exhibiting pop-surrealism and thought-provoking work from artists around the world.  It is a combination of an enriching art gallery experience and a hub for artists from around the country.

The origins of The Hive trace back to the old Downtown LA.   Nathan Cartwright had been curating underground shows in the Arts District for about 4 years before founding The Hive.  In the spring of 2005, he created The Hive Gallery and Studios as a mix of art shows and a place for new artists to work and gain recognition.  LA is home to many art galleries, but The Hive promises a unique experience. “We seek to break down the quiet, traditional, art-on-white-walls, viewing experience and create a gallery atmosphere that is as equally alive as it’s artwork,”  Cartwright says.  The Hive is now the oldest art gallery in one space in downtown LA.  Cartwright describes the art at The Hive as “a figurative and illustrative bend on reality.  It has a surrealist feel to it with a touch of pop.”  

The Hive is constantly getting new art and artists.  Cartwright says, “My favorite part of the Hive is being involved in something that is alive and happening.”  The Hive is a place for artists who are very involved in their work to grow.  Cartwright calls these artists, “mad scientists who are pushing their trade.”  Cartwright himself is an artist with pieces featured at the Hive.  One such piece is titled, “The Discovery.”  It depicts a businessman walking into the desert.  His face is shown with many different layers.  “It is a piece about change and evolution,” says Cartwright.  The Hive features a new art show every month and has for almost thirteen years.  On the first Saturday of every month, visitors are treated to a huge opening with new works, burlesque, and more.

The “Master Blasters of Sculpture” is the current show at The Hive.  Featured are twenty sculptural artists.  Each artist has proven his or her expertise in the sculptural trade and will have from 4 to 5ft wide of featured space this month.  These artists’ styles range from marionette puppets to fine arts to special effects.  Also, there is a group of nine ceramics artists known as Neo Cali Clay.  Neo Cali Clay is a group of San Francisco Bay Area ceramic artists working in fantastical realism. Neo Cali Clay creates sculptures that often serve as metaphors for psychological and environmental issues while referencing folklore, pop-culture, and personal mythologies.  In addition, there is a group show featuring artists such as Ave Rose, known for steampunk, Cig Neutron, who won Faceoff, and Chet Zar, who does dark art.  The show runs until December 3rd.

The Hive is a hub for local and foreign artists and purveyors.  Cartwright says that the Hive is for, “new and veteran collectors.”  It features artists who are well known as well as the newest artists.

“We believe in community,” Cartwright says.  This can be seen through the hundreds of artists a month from communities all across LA and the globe who are featured at The Hive.  The Hive serves as a bridge between the underground art scene and the mainstream art world.  It is a place for new artists to develop their skills as well as learn the business side of the trade.  In addition to being an art gallery and studio, The Hive serves as an arts community hub, holding various fundraising events, and gallery programs such as yoga, figure drawing, private movie screenings, and more.

The on-site art studios are the core of the Hive.  There are over 30 permanent exhibition studios for artists to practice.  Purveyors can purchase pieces directly from artists, making the Hive affordable.  In addition, buying directly encourages the creation of relationships between patrons and artists.  The Hive features artworks ranging in price from $5 all the way to $5000,  With the boom of people moving to downtown LA, the Hive has seen a high volume of new local customers.

The Hive Art and Studios is located at 729 S. Spring Street.  Visitors are invited to make a 5$ donation. For more information visit www.thehivegallery.com


Ryan Kazemaini

Ryan Kazemaini is a student at the University of Southern California.