June 4, 2020

HOW'S BUSINESS?—ROAM creative – Topanga’s Newest Gallery




From left, Davey Chegwidden and Illya Duzhina, proprietors of ROAM creative, with their son, Phoenix, at their gallery/workspace in Topanga.

Illya Duzhina and Davey Chegwidden, proprietors of ROAM creative, have opened a new “creative work space within a gallery setting” that features wall art, wearable art and live painting, as well as live music, music lessons, art lessons and other neighborhood events.

Chegwidden and Duzhina have been welcoming guests to their shop since it debuted last November. Along with their son, Phoenix, they have a shared interest to contribute visual, musical and wearable art to the Topanga community.

“Art is a small word that encompasses everything in life, from the way we walk, speak and dress,” says Duzhina. ­­­­“Art can break barriers and build bridges. It is the expression of Like Minds."

Duzhina, a visual arts curator and a native of Los Angeles, has had a lifelong passion for loving, living and sharing art to heal, to realize, and just “to be.” This is reflected in her “feast for eyes and souls” selection of a great variety of artists’ works.

Six local and world-class talents are currently exhibited at this creative space. The paintings of Michael Pukac, a prolific live painter, are seductive, fantastical and witty. Another live painter and street artist, John Park, integrates calligraphy, patterns and paisley into pop surrealism. Mystery, solitude and romance emerge from the paintings of Angelina Christina, who is currently collaborating on “Fierce Femmes” city wall projects. Yuki Miyazaki, communicates the whimsical and cynical in her animated story paintings. Ngene Mwaura, a third-generation artist from Kenya, shares stories through his tribal illustrations. Kinski Gallo’s work, a combination of cutting-edge color and collage, has been commissioned by, among others, CSNY, the Def Tones, Robin Williams and Ellen De Generes. These are six of several local, world-class talents being exhibited at this international creative space.

Adorning the shelves and showcases are ROAM’s original Jessica Day jewelry; Charitan’s silver handmade jewelry for men; salvaged leather accessories by Fahmina; up-cycled nature masks by Paul Hogue; Howard Kan’s Third Eye pine cones (proceeds go to the forest) and elegant gem boxes. This is the perfect place to “roam” through Illya’s handpicked creations and select special one-of-a-kind gifts.

Joining their neighbor hillbillyhip, “the royal family of vintage,” she says, with their unique apparel and goods, pingpong table and Neil Young on the speakers, ROAM displays their treasure wares in the courtyard, making this a charming gathering area. As the weekend days get warmer, neighbors and visitors gather to listen to bands under the magnolia trees.

Complementing the visual arts, ROAM creative offers musical events to illuminate the ears through Davey Chegwidden, music director, who brings an impressive résumé to ROAM.

Originally from Philadelphia via Denver, where he studied with drumming greats, Chegwidden settled in Los Angeles in 1996. As a professional touring and recording musician, he has performed with diverse artists such as De La Soul, Feist, Macy Gray, Brett Dennen, Black Eyed Peas, Donna Summer and Primal Scream. His studio work includes Oceans 13, Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Captain Phillips. Performance credits range from appearances on late night shows with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan O’Brien to the main stage at Coachella, Fuji Rock and Montreaux Jazz Festival.

Chegwidden arranges the musical mayhem called Saturday Sessions at ROAM, attracting an impressive cast of local musicians: Norwood Fisher (Fishbone), Raul Pacheco (Ozomatli), Shana Halligan (Bitter:Sweet), Dan Hastie (Orgone), Bonnie Murray Tamblyn, and Topanga’s new ensemble, Family Dog, featuring Brian Chapman, Dan Ubick, Chris Garcia and resident rhythm devil himself, Davey Chegwidden. Recently, world-renowned tres master San Miguel from Cuba joined the courtyard jam for a few songs.

Approaching the courtyard entrance of ROAM creative, colors and compositions greet casual and curious visitors strolling among the shops. Each painting and photograph tells a story, conveys a message, and announces itself in the beauty of life as art.


Through June 14
—A global visionary photography exhibit (sadhus and villagers of India) featuring Cary Sullivan, with Deja Cross and Yoji Abe.

June Master Painting Courses—Michael Pukac will teach. Begins early June. Call for information.

Saturday Sessions, 2-5 p.m.—Marija Krstic-Chinrivate will give guitar, bass, ukulele, voice, mandolin and keyboard lessons. Study with this award-winning instructor in classes that continue every week.

For upcoming events, including Wearable Artists Salon and the next children’s painting on Saturdays (10 easels and a bunch of “masterpieces”), please visit Facebook.com/ROAMcreativespace.

ROAM: To wander with a purpose. Tucked between the Topanga Creek General Store and Rocco’s, across from the Messenger and hillbillyhip, stroll on into ROAM gallery and experience the wall art, wearable art, live painting, live music, music lessons and other neighborhood events. n

ROAM creative is located at 115 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Studio E, Topanga, CA 90290 (at the Topanga Creek Courtyard between the Topanga Creek General Store and Rocco’s).

For more information: (323) 252-5918; Facebook.com/ROAMcreativespace. Hours are Thursday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Mon.-Wed. except for special events and lessons.