Luke Lamar's elegant summer beach bags (which we're gifting to our guests this summer) provide the ideal opportunity to reflect on the incredible artistic tradition of Carmel-by-the-Sea: one that's been flourishing for better than a century. Lamar's work--which so strikingly evokes our one-of-a-kind atmosphere--pulses with its own distinctive energy, yet the muses it draws upon have informed generations of visionaries right here.
A combination of breathtaking beauty--ah, that stunning central Californian coast--and a creative, diverse, and stimulating cultural vibe has long attracted artists of all stripes to the Carmel vicinity. Its arts colony coalesced in the early years of the 20th century through the pioneering efforts of legendary figures such as the writers George Sterling, Mary Austin, and Jack London. By the 1910s, the community hosted its own outdoor theater and a school--administered by the Arts and Crafts Club, which involved many of Carmel's bohemian luminaries--which instructed in a wide variety of artistic idioms. An environment highly fostering of the arts has only grown and diversified since.
Few have so memorably celebrated this dramatic confluence of land and saltwater as the poet Robinson Jeffers, whose name is synonymous with the regional geography. Author of such works as "Roan Stallion" and "Tamar," Jeffers, who resided on this coast from 1914 to 1962, continues to exert a profound influence on anyone putting pen to paper--or fingertip to keyboard--to render a beautiful and wild landscape with words.
The sublime land- and seascapes of the region--rough breakers, windswept headlands, contorted Monterey cypresses, broken seaward canyons--have also served as subject for some of the leading lights of American visual arts. Carmel's rich array of galleries--from Gallery Sur to Robert Knight Photography--speaks to this fertile heritage. Among the renowned photographers who have called the vicinity home are Ansel Adams and Arnold Genthe.
Lamar, a worthy representative of a new generation of young, innovative, art-for-art's-sake Carmelites, has notably celebrated his home base in the commissioned series "Why I Love Carmel" (2009) and on the cover of a recent issue of the magazine "65 Degrees."
Carmel is one of those precious locales that is both spoiled with world-class vistas and a deeply nourishing incubator of the creative spirit. There's a kind of magic to such places--and it's a magical and timeless realm in which artists such as Luke Lamar operate, as if they're conversing with all those wordsmiths, photographers, thespians, and painters who've come before and who are yet to come.