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Maxine Custer and La Retta Small-Zamora
Maxine Custer and La Retta Small-Zamora

Artful at 91: Maxine Custer Retrospective on Display at ArtBeat on Main Street

Vista CA- Mixed media artist and art instructor Maxine Custer of North County has been an artist all of her 91 years of life; a professional since retiring from a successful business career at 55. Some 30 examples of her wide-ranging, cutting-edge artwork are on display in a Retrospective at ArtBeat on Main Street, 330 Main Street, Vista. The exhibit runs through November 9, 2014.

The pieces are representative of the thousands of colorful acrylic paintings, watercolors and printmaking works Custer has created over her prolific lifetime, 100+ of which decorate her home and the homes of Custer collectors. She has amassed dozens of awards, been featured in many juried exhibitions and served as an art instructor at the Oceanside Museum of Art from 1997-2006.

Custer no longer drives, but her drive to create has not diminished. “I don’t like to do the same thing twice. I like to experiment and try something new,” she explains, noting that one of her favorite pieces is a mixed media on watercolor paper she let “age” in her yard. The patina reflects the outdoor elements, including water from a sprinkler. She has crafted dozens of unique artbooks, some with enigmatic titles such as “Eclectic Ephemera.” She has a penchant for subtly embedding “hidden” text in paintings to add a deeper layer of thought. Looking closely at a multifaceted geisha painting, for example, the viewer can spot the phrase, “Tradition with a dash of the unexpected.”

As vibrant and spirited as her artwork, Maxine Custer drew a large crowd to the October 18th opening ArtBeat reception in her honor. The reception was facilitated by ArtBeat co-op artist LaRetta Small-Zamora, one of Custer’s many fans and friends. Guests were delighted to discover that, in addition to viewing selected pieces from Custer’s private collection, they could purchase original artworks. One visitor said, “I feel like I’m buying an original created by an original.”

ArtBeat owner Kait Matthews concurs. “It’s a perfect fit,” she believes. “We are introducing ArtBeat gallery-goers to an authentic art legend. Maxine Custer’s countywide followers are discovering our cultural destination right here in the heart of downtown Vista.”

ArtBeat on Main Street co-op gallery and wine lounge is located at 330 Main Street in downtown Vista. It is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:00am-7:30pm; Thursday-Saturday, 11:00am-8:30pm; Sunday, Noon-7:00pm. For information, visit www.artbeatonmainstreet.com, www.facebook.com/artbeatonmainstreet or discover Vista’s creative vibe in person. To learn about gallery partnering opportunities, including space rentals, email info@artbeatonmainstreet.com.