The Curious Art of Valerie von Sobel

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What I do know is this: art is more than art. It’s enlightening. Thought provoking. Disturbing. Paradigm altering. Connecting. Lovely. Assemblage art is good eye candy when I’m in the mood to have a different wine so to speak. Assemblage is an artistic process. It can be mysterious and hermetic and for those who don’t know, it’s a technique, not a style. In the visual arts it consists of making two or three-dimensional artistic compositions by putting together found objects which can consist of non-art elements or even junk (the real treasures in my view) from the real world giving assemblages a disturbing rawness and poetic quality. Socializing with like-minded peeps who love art and fashion, with a curious couture-clad irreverent redhead named Valerie von Sobel in one fell swoop? What more could you possibly want…

Artist/philanthropist Valerie von Sobel sees art and beauty everywhere. Her history, personality and works are a combined expression of a complex person who lived a remarkable life. As a Hollywood actress, interior designer, mother and philanthropist (at age 73) she has a new passion for sculpture. Her work plays with shape, space, balance, texture, and drama to create one-of-a-kind assemblage and mixed media pieces. This style spy attended her debut collection of provocative and quirky objets d’art titled “The Curious Art of Valerie Von Sobel”  on exhibit at Voila! Gallery in the heart of the design district of Los Angeles. (On display February 7 – March 7, 2015.)

A little over a year ago Valerie had an epiphany, discovering her talent while on a long monotonous phone call (you know, the one that’s like a root canal without Novocaine.) She started fiddling with her fingers, diverting her attention to something more pleasurable – putting interesting objects together on her desk. Embracing this achievement, a star in the art world was born.  Already at home in the design world, von Sobel brought her work to Katrien Van der Schueren, owner of LA’s Voila! Gallery who was intrigued. As Katrien states,“Her pieces are always in perfect balance, harmoniously playful, witty and ever evocative. Each one takes us into an imaginary world of intriguing history, always with a touch of humor and a glimmer of deep-rooted sadness at the same time.”

Once inside the gallery opening night, I looked at the exotic assortment of cool vibe guests and asked myself, “what the…?!”, then proceeded to work the room, consumed with photography. I shouted, “Don’t move, strike a pose, I’ll dance around you.” And dance is what I did, capturing all the highlights. It felt more like Brooklyn’s hipster planet of Bushwick as guests celebrated Valerie’s art. Valerie rocked a Jeremy Scott design combined with a black Valentino skirt, Givenchy feather belt and 1940‘s Vreba vintage necklace. Remarkably lovely. Like all truly wonderful fashion, her style completely transcends the vagaries of time. Models with their come hither eyes and mile long legs, flanked by confident women in leather, velvet and lace, left hand on hip (as in Robert Palmer’s eostrogen passage video Addicted to Love) worked the room. Beyonce’s presence was felt the moment Dejah Gomez walked in the door (her beauty not only skin deep but remarkably talented as well.) Working hats in ways their grandmothers never imagined, guests scrunched and flopped all kinds of millinery styles and one cute pup sported a gold chained hot pink leash. Let’s get one thing straight, embracing all things creative is for me a face-first log flume of wonder and gawk. Soooo not boring!

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, making mistakes, and having fun.  So dress up, let loose and find the bar as quickly as you can for a martini. Slip off those God forsaken sexy heels and sling one back girlie-style with attitude. Is there any better way? After mingling with wicked libations and getting my eyes full of inspiring frocks, art and one very tall welcoming zebra, this party goer needed to exit. (Lordy, why do I insist on over indulging like a rock-star only to find myself curled up in fetal position on my office couch, thinking to myself: what. the. fack.)

In the midst of a society obsessed with selfies, what I am learning is this; women in the mature years of their lives harbor a secret: This is where the good stuff is! They bloom into their boldness and beauty as they age. Courageous instead of fearful, nurturing instead of critical. Haven’t you noticed? Wrinkles need not get in the way of a remarkable satisfying life. With articles entitled: A Bereaved Mother’s Gift (she lost her beloved son Andre, age 19, to an inoperable brain tumor) Nine Lives – Only One Heart, Room for Reflections, Angel of Mercy, Just When You Believe It’s Over, in Fact It Can Just Begin and years of philanthropy, Valerie’s continued fearless dedication to giving back demonstrates that we should embrace getting older — it gives us more time to make a difference.

As her website states, “Striving to evolve will likely be a lifelong occupation, as I yearn to earn a wink from maestro Dali”. I think the world would agree with me, wink, wink – nod, nod.

A night where art and fashion merged. And they did…with reckless abandon.

 

*A portion of the proceeds of work sold will go to the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation the charity that is named for her son. The foundations mission is to help single parents of terminally ill children (www.andreriveroflife.org). They assisted more than 10,000 families to date, in a 24-hour turnaround time, to the tune of over $7 million dollars.

22 Comments

  1. Ruth Yunker

    February 13, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Wonderful! I love inspiring stories about women of that certain perfect age. I love assemblage. And I loved the beauty of Valerie von Sobel’s work. On top of all that, Sandie, it sounded like one fabulous cornucopia of an evening!

    • thefoodstalker

      February 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Ruth, you simply must meet Valerie. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talents with the world. Your books on Paris are delicious…xoox

    • Valerie von Sobel

      February 14, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Thank you for taking the time for your lovely comment
      Valerie

  2. T

    February 13, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    All what I can say is WOW! Sandi you are such a creative friend and so inspiring to any artist.. Thanks for sharing fabulous writing. Will hurry back to LA to catch the exhibition.

    • thefoodstalker

      February 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Teddi, Since you close, please stop by the gallery to see her work. Better yet we shall meet in LA and go together. Love your episodes on television..what a hot bundle of energy you are my dear. xoxo

  3. Wendy Stuart Kaplan

    February 13, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Your piece made me wish I was back in LA to view this fabulous collection and just love that the portion of proceeds are going to a good cause!

    • thefoodstalker

      February 13, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Wendy, It was fate I met Valerie at the LA Jewelry/Design Show. She asked me to take her photo with Hutton Wilkinson and the rest as they say is history. Your story “The Last Model Standing” is an inspiration to all!

    • Valerie von Sobel

      February 14, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Many thanks Wendy for both your comments???to know more about the cause www?andreriveroflife.org
      Valerie

  4. Motti Shulman

    February 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Great art is where you find it. Well done.

    • thefoodstalker

      February 13, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Motti, thanks Mr. Music Man. Since this is your hood, stop by for inspiration. Gotta see your cute face soon or else…xoxox

    • Valerie von Sobel

      February 14, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Motti, so true…recognition and discernment are the essential ingredients :)
      Valerie

  5. Janna MacDowall

    February 13, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Sandie Ward you never cease to amaze me, keep these interesting stories coming. I love your eye for style, always note worthy.. Banana

    • Valerie von Sobel

      February 14, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      I just joined the Sandie fan Club…chance meeting, the rest is both pleasure and commitment
      We are lunching this week…we will bless the wine and send you some
      Valerie

  6. William H. Watson, III

    February 13, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Sandi,

    Fascinating story! I would love to see the exhibit. Well done!

  7. Elaine Barnard

    February 14, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Her face is a valentine!
    elaine

  8. Mr. Best

    February 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Once again, the Food Stalker strikes and captures the essence of her interviewee with clarity and and a refreshing insight that only someone with remarkable artistic sensitivities could accomplish in one short setting. Valerie’s comments regarding “getting older…only gives us more time to do the things we couldn’t when we were younger….” resonates so poignantly and captures the spirit of her soul that the Food Stalker so delicately exposes for all to see. One of the more carefully constructed interviews by someone who has mastered the art of “less is more” and brevity accompanied with substance is a long lost art form. Kudos to the Food Stalker.

    • Valerie von Sobel

      February 14, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Dear mr best
      I am just learning about the every way special Sandie…I will report back to you how she hold up under close scrutiny…of course affection blinds one, so I may not be entirely objective :)
      Valerie

  9. Peter Clothier

    February 14, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Nice tribute, Sandie. As the father of a single mother, I was moved by the story of Valerie’s son and by her philanthropic foundation. I’ll be downtown this afternoon and will look out for Voilà!

  10. thefoodstalker

    February 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you Peter for your donation to Valerie’s Foundation. Most kind of you and hope you can stop by to see her art before March 7th ( last day). Hope you and yours are FAB!

  11. sallycoles2013

    March 1, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Just got around to reading this article and this is definitely one of my favorites of your blog posts so far! What a fabulous evening it was! Would loved to have been there. Valerie’s style is so beautifully eclectic, chic and fresh yet with a wonderful sense of the bygone era of glamour and panache of old Hollywood. Love idea of the older woman having so much more to offer, being bold and fearless and not letting the wrinkles get in the way….bold is beautiful. Well done Sandie on a great story!

    • thefoodstalker

      March 1, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Sally, Glad the story reached across the pond to London! Hat’s off to women of every age. May you be your authentic, fabulous self!


With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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