Claremont artisans show off their eclectic fashion lines

Stephanie Joseph
Staff Writer

On Saturday, the monthly Claremont Art Walk took place throughout the Claremont Village with the center point being in the lot of Curtis Real Estate.

The Art Walk is a chance for all types of artist to gather around and showcase their creations.

People of the Claremont community were able to set up booths and showcase their work. All of the art varied from paintings, to jewelry, handbags and cars. Visitors gathered to look and shop all of the artists designs.

“This is just the community coming together and making it happen,” said Thomas Messina, Curtis Real Estate realtor associate.

With a wide variety of art, the vision and stories of each artist was different and unique.

Landscape artist, Joe A. Oakes displayed his artwork and discussed how he had been inspired by the beautiful landscapes that he has seen, especially coming from a state where he did not have a lot of mountains around him.

“I’ve always been inspired by landscape, even as a kid but I grew up in Illinois so there were no mountains,” Oakes said. “But for some reason that was something that I liked to paint. Then when I moved out here, I got to see it all so it just made it that much better for me.”

He is a painting teacher that instructs students how to paint different types of landscapes near the Riverside and Orange County area.

Other artists, expressed their abilities in different ways.

Textile designer and artist, Lindsay O’Connell is also a painter but she takes what she creates on canvases and puts them on purses, tote bags and pillows.

“I just start painting and kind of go with it and keep painting until I like it, said O’Connell. “It’s kind of like a meditation thing for me.”

Her paintings are then made into a pattern, which is put onto her bags and pillows as part of her fashion line, Stormy Grace.

Jewelry designer Heather Meier-Gonzalez and Kerin Gonzalez, her husband, created a fashion line called Respan Retro.

She creates jewelry from sustainable metals while her husband creates all of the stands and displays for her jewelry line.

“My wife handcrafts all of the jewelry that you see and my job is to do all of the woodwork and build everything to showcase her work,” said Gonzalez.

The inspiration behind her work comes from witnessing all of the waste while working for a jewelry design company, Meier-Gonzalez said.

She wanted to do something about that so she created her own line and has been running it full time since.

“I used to work corporate jewelry design for a little over a decade and I saw all of the waste so I decided to leave and start my own company that was all sustainable. All of the metals I use are all sustainably sourced and I wanted to be able to make my own designs instead of being told what designs to make.”

The Claremont Art Walk happens every first Saturday of the month and the next one will be June 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Stephanie Joseph can be reached at

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