Aptos artists, makers to host open house event

Painter João de Brito speaks about his artistic process inside his studio at the Aptos Warehouse Complex. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

APTOS — Driving on McGregor Drive, the frontage road along Highway 1 in Aptos, it can be easy to miss the Aptos Warehouse Complex. Especially if one is traveling north, the unassuming group of buildings is somewhat hidden off behind plants, a parking lot and other structures.

But there is plenty of creativity going on inside the complex—and its list of unique tenants keeps growing.

“Gradually, the space has filled up with artists, makers and the like,” said artist Jean Sheckler Beebe, who has had her art studio in one of the warehouses for the past eight years. “It’s been a real organic growth.”

Beebe’s studio is lined with her art pieces—on the walls, tables and propped up on the floor. While she mainly works in acrylics, Beebe has dabbled in various other mediums such as mono prints, collage and encaustic wax. She has exhibited in spaces as far away as Washington D.C.

“I paint straight from my head,” Beebe explained. “I like to make people think but also for them to enjoy what I do—wit and humor in art is important to me.”

On Saturday, Beebe will join other tenants for the Aptos Warehouse Complex Artists & Makers Open Studios. Participants will open their warehouse studios to the public to show off their work, chat with guests and possibly sell some pieces.

Alexander Michael Wong owns Upcycled Skate Art, a studio that creates art and other items (bottle openers, furniture, etc.) from old skateboards bound for the landfill. Upcycled Skate Art won the Santa Cruz Nexties award for Business of the Year in 2018. He plans to have his studio open on Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be really fun,” Wong said. “We don’t always get to have direct contact with the community like this.”

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ABOVE: Alexander Michael Wong (right), owner of Upcycled Skate Art, shows some off one of his recent pieces to fellow Aptos Warehouse Complex artist Jean Beebe. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

Also on the bill is Chris and Paige Curtis (Alibi Interiors), Amadeo Bachar, Bonnie Minardi, Bryan Garrison, Gretchen Werner, Self Joseph, Ryan Nunes (Santa Cruz Engraving), Suzanne McCourt and Joao de Brito.

De Brito, a well-known local artist who works mainly in oil painting, has been influential in the formation of the event, which has happened off-and-on for the past few years.

“It gives us an opportunity to answer questions, and have conversations will people,” de Brito said. “I’ve even met people for the first time who collect my work. It’s really exciting.”

The Aptos Warehouse Complex is located on Estates Drive, just off McGregor Drive in Aptos, in buildings 800, 802 and 805. The Artists and Makers Open House will be held this Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free to the public.

“We just want people to know we’re here,” Beebe said. “It’s a great little community.”

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