|GAYLE GARNER ROSKI AT HER STUDIO IN LOS ANGELES, CA|
By Bonnie Gangelhoff; Photos by Nate Bressler
You live in a neighborhood called Toluca Lake. Tell me about its history.
It’s an old neighborhood founded by the movie industry. In the early days, all the movie stars lived here. The filming lots were all right here. The industry moved to Toluca Lake because they all played golf and they couldn’t get into the Los Angeles Country Club. Movie people were second-class citizens then. So, they formed their own club, Lakeside Golf Club. We have lived here for 40 years. Mary Astor built our house. Frank Sinatra lived here. And we bought the home from Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. When my three children grew up and moved away, I took their rooms and created a big studio.
|GAYLE GARNER ROSKI AT WORK|
What do you keep in your studio for inspiration?
I decided a long time ago that I would only put things in that meant something to me. There are many things I have collected from around the world—dolls from Ecuador, puppets from Burma, brushes from a Beijing flea market, and Mud Men dolls from New Guinea.
How would you describe the style of your work?
The one thing I am is very colorful.
What is your favorite subject matter?
Right now I am creating scenes from around the world, a “travel treasure show.”
Was there a turning point in your art career?
I have always painted, but when I turned 50, I got serious. Instead of working out of a closet, I decided I needed a space of my own and built my studio after reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. That year I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and ran the L.A. marathon. I decided if I can do those things, I could be an artist. It was my dream since I was a little girl.
What are your other passions besides painting?
Travel is a big passion. In exploring the world, you are developing and learning about yourself. I went to the Himalayas to a monastery at the base camp of Mt. Everest on the Chinese side and camped out. You learn to let go of things. You don’t have showers, and you let go of changing clothes and brushing your teeth. We think so many things are necessities. It was worth it to give up creature comforts to see the stars there. It was a tapestry of light. There wasn’t any black in the sky—just a breathtaking light show. And there was total silence except for the wind. For a city girl, who loves all her creature comforts, I would hate to go through life and think I couldn’t give it all up. Travel really teaches you what’s important.
Have you always been an adventurer?
No. My parents raised me to be a princess, but I married a man who is an adventurer and who says, let’s go do things while we can. When we are old, we will go in wheelchairs.
|WORKS BY GAYLE GARNER ROSKI|
You have said that you are interested in both sides of art. What do you mean?
Besides painting, I am a commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Los Angeles, where I’m head of the public art committee. I’m also chairman of the art committee at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
The art school at the University of Southern California is named after you. Why was donating to your alma mater important to you?
It was really my husband’s donation and his generosity. He did it to honor me, because he knew how much I loved USC and the idea of making the art department better, hopefully the best school in the country. The gift [of $23 million] was a big surprise to me. It’s wonderful to think your gift can make a difference in the education of others.
You have a vision for Los Angeles. What is it?
To see Los Angeles as the center of art and creative thinking in the United States. In some ways it already is, but I would like to see everyone recognize it. I want to be part of that and help make that happen.
She is represented by Tirage Fine Art, Pasadena, CA; Edenhurst Gallery, Palm Desert, CA.
Featured in September 2008