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Davis, California

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

“Art Gala” — An up-and-coming house exhibit

A trio of passionate artists making a change through their art

Beginning in Spring Quarter 2019, an inseparable artistic trio decided to make a change in the Davis art scene, starting in their own house. Creators and artists of the event, Dominic Rivetti, Axel Steeno and Gabriel Laude, who goes by the stage name Viper, will be hosting their second exhibition of “Art Gala” on Nov. 16 at 849 A Street from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. This will be a free event, where they will be displaying, selling and creating a scene of local art that is not typically seen in town. 

“We wanted to have an event that was different from all the ones that are ‘normal’ in Davis,” Rivetti, a fourth-year anthropology major, said. “[Because of] the lack of art we found interesting around here, we felt that we had to make somewhere where people can come see art that we would want to see. We had to create what we wanted because it wasn’t here […] We’re trying to build a creative community in Davis.” 

The gala is meant to bring people out of their comfort zones — “You’ll be exposed to something different — some music you’ve never heard before, some art that nobody can just make,” Viper, a fourth-year political science major and the “motivator” of the group, explained. 

Starting at $1, artists will be selling their “hella rare” canvases and prints, according to Steeno, a fourth-year design major. With a plethora of art, music, snacks and creative people, the gala is a place for all. 

“I want it to represent youth, authenticity and creativity,” Rivetti said. “I want it to make people feel happy and vibrant. To meet friends and have a fun place to be happy and feel like there’s something really cool for them to be doing.” 

Last year’s gala was a success. While Rivetti performed his music, Steeno socialized with the crowd, explaining and displaying his art. A diverse group of people gathered in this unconventional Davis event, sharing their passion for art and creativity with one another. 

Each one of the trio have their part in making the event possible and showcasing their own creative individualism that they bring to the table. It’s ultimately a collaborative, creative and supportive experience for them all. 

“In terms of organizing it, we all just kind of do it together, brainstorm together,” Viper said. “It’s like free flow form.”

The trio has been collaborating since freshman year.

“Axel and I collaborate on almost everything,” Rivetti said. “We’ll both do our own stuff entirely, but we’ll tell eachother about it, like the methods we used, and then apply it to our own things.”

Steeno recycles old canvases from other artists and then repaints them or adds to them with his own spin. He incorporates elements from other pieces to create his own style. For example, hanging in their living room is a piece that Steeno’s mom painted, which he then added to — “[We’d] rather create than consume,” Viper said. 

“I either compose [music] using pianos, synthesizers and drums, or sample and make beats, techno or ambient music,” Rivetti said. “I just want to make people happy and be chilled out and not stressed, just have fun.”

Viper added, “You have to feel his sound.”

Art plays a vital role in all of their lives. The goal of the gala is to share that passion with members of the community. The artists stumbled on choosing one word to classify their overall genre, but then agreed on “rare” and “underground.” 

“Art you might see in cities that may not find its way to a smaller town like Davis — that’s what we want to bring,” Rivetti said. “I think if you start with house shows and start showing your art, build up from there, then start bringing it into the town of Davis itself, you can create a scene.”

The trio explained their future aspirations to progress the gala outside the comforts of their house and out into the Davis community and beyond. They hope to continue their collaborative work after graduating and travel nationwide to share their artistic talents together. 

“Davis needs a youth art scene… you want to see [an artist] who excites you,” Rivetti said. “We have styles that we found and love, we just want to share it with people, and if they appreciate it, that is really nice […] we would love to inspire people to do their own thing.”

The group encourage local artists to come to the gala, introduce themselves, show their pieces and get involved in future galas.

“If you want to be around creative energy and creative people, music and art, then come to this show,” Rivetti said. “It’s not a competition. Make a difference, try to be creative, think outside the box.”

The group highlights the importance of art in their everyday lives: How art makes them who they are, how they see the world and how they want to live. Whether it’s through classes they took at UC Davis or simply through a creative vision, they hope to continue creating and making a change. 

“Art is everything I find interesting in life,” Rivetti said. “Art makes me feel really good. It’s a way to use your energy in a really healthy way. If I’m not making stuff, I go crazy. I need it, it’s like meditation.” 

The gala is not going to be a torch they pass down to the younger generations of Davis. Rather, art is an organic process which must flow naturally, they said. If creative individuals are motivated to continue their vision, or promote their own visions, they highly condone that aspiration. 

“Everyone can look at it together, and it brings people together,” Steeno said. 

Through the promotion and continuation of the art gala in the near and distant future, “we’re going to leave our mark,” he continued. 

“If people are looking for something different to do, if people are interested in different kinds of music, art and looking to meet creative people, then come to the show,” Rivetti said. 

Written by: Sierra Jimenez — arts@theaggie.org


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