Bistango will celebrate on Saturday, October 20th  the opening of its 4th  Quarter Art Exhibit. This occasion also marks the 140th  exhibit the amazing culinary and artistic establishment has hosted over the past 31 years.   The opening reception brings art lovers and foodies together to meet the artists and enjoy their incredible creative work.   Bistango has for over three decades presented museum quality, curated exhibits by Antoinette Sullivan with owner John Ghoukassian , showing works in all shapes and forms, created by gifted artists from as near as Orange County and as far away as Japan, Uganda, India, Zimbabwe, China, and the list goes on and on.

The Bistango 4th Quarter Exhibit is in collaboration with two galleries from the very artistic town of Laguna Beach: Hugo Rivera Gallery and T.LEOART, both in the center of the art scene on Pacific Coast Highway.  Bistango provides the galleries and their artists a new and different platform to present their works to those who, while loving the culinary arts, might not always frequent art galleries.

Hugo Rivera is a contemporary, figurative artist who left his civil engineering studies in Guadalajara, Mexico, to dive full force into brilliant colors and bold lines and shapes. His passion to work on big surfaces has become his trademark.  Having relocated to California, in 1994 he started working as a muralist, inspired by great masters like Diego Rivera, Orozco and Tamayo and then experimenting and creating his own individualized style and technique of painting. In 2012 Hugo opened his own gallery in Laguna Beach.

T. Leo Art, in person, is Terri Leo, who having been in the fashion industry in New York City and Paris for 20 years, learned from some of the most noted photographers and designers of our time. She travelled extensively and her experiences inspired her to develop her own fine art photography style. Terri seeks to create transformative beauty that draws the viewer into the work, creating a deep sense of connection to the flow of nature.

The principals of these two Laguna Beach galleries will show their own works, joined by Maryam Rouhi (oil on canvas) , Diane Zinn (acrylics), Giora Angres (oil on canvas), Ana Laura Salazar (watercolors and acrylics), Sharon D’Amico (photography), Traci Owens (mixed media on canvas), Jim Hancock (wood turner), David Heath (photography), Janet Bludau (mixed media), Diana Ghoukassian (photography), Emmy Lu (mixed media), Stephen Lustig (sculptor) and Jeff Schwalm (sculptor).

All art lovers, food and wine lovers and all lovers of creativity and good times are invited by world renown restaurateur John Ghoukassian to join the celebration with all these talented artists on the afternoon of October 20th at Bistango in Irvine.

Click on an artist’s name below to view more about them.

Giora Angres

GIORA ANGRES, gleaning inspiration from Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and the French Impressionists, has fashioned an impressive body of vivid images based on the human spirit.

As a boy he won a scholarship to the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago and spent years studying art in Europe. In Paris he slowly developed his distinctive style that made him internationally famous. His art is exhibited in Art Museums, over fifty galleries world-wide and permanent art collection.

Angres’ paintings speak of “Joie De Vivre” depicting animated figures in various states of activity and repose. Musical and dance, cityscapes, mother and child comprise much of his work. In the late 60’s he put aside his paint brush and became a different kind of artist, a Cosmetic Surgeon.

After the 9/11 tragedy, Dr. Angres put aside his scalpel and picked up his paint brush once again and started to create his best work. Portraying color, dance, wine women and song and joy that life is, even in the face of adversity.

Today, the artist paints in a studio tucked away in a small village overlooking the Pacific. It is here, basking in the sensitivity of the tropics, that he finds inspiration for his truly provocative paintings combining the beauty of the present moment, nature, music and art for all to enjoy.

Janet Bludau

JANET BLUDAU’ s love of home design led her to spend years renovating properties and owning a furniture and design store. She continues her study of trends, color theory and design, claiming it spurs creativity for her work. She’s won several awards over the years and her work has been shipped to most of our 50 states, as well as abroad.

“Color, Application and Abstraction are the focus of my work. I’m more interested in color combinations and juxtapositions than in capturing exactly what the eye sees in nature. I enjoy applying color that stretches past realism. The entire feel of a painting changes with the addition of just a speck of new color. The process of spreading buttery oil paint is like frosting a cake or playing in the sand”.

Sharon D'Amico

SHARON D’AMICO says: “Composing the scene while holding and moving the camera, I blend what is visually before me with what I feel is the essence of that moment to ‘paint’ the image. My intention is to co-create—along with nature—a kind of poetry of light.” I’ve tried to create photographs that capture that fleeting moment in time when light falls a certain way: colors explode over the land, sea and sky or form and texture are strikingly revealed.

With several of these images, I tried to capture the power and majesty of the ocean roaring before me. In others, I wanted to convey a certain peace that nature can bring, often at twilight, as earth turns to the light of day or the dark of night.

Sharon offers these photographs framed and unframed in a variety of sizes, including custom sizes. These photographs are fully archival, museum quality, fine art creations, and I actively oversee the production process. In producing these photographs, I chose to utilize the highest quality, state-of- the-art materials available. The photographs are printed on metallic exhibition paper. They are then face mounted with museum grade acrylic with polished edges, mounted on Dibond backing, attached to an aluminum subframe and are ready to hang.

Diana Ghoukassian

DIANA GHOUKASSIAN’s journey into the realm of photography is a fairly recent one. Though she received her first camera at age 9 she had not pursued photography, except for the typical photographs of travels and of her children. It was not until she decided to show one of her photographs at the Orange County Fair in 2009 and got accepted that Diana’s interest in exploring her artistic side became ignited. That was the turning point and there was no going back.

Steven McHale, an art blogger, wrote an article in 2017 describing both Diana’s photographic art and her gallery in the following excerpts below: Diana G. creates. ‘I paint with my lens’ is her motto. Her approach to photography is similar to her approach to art. She looks for what moves her. She says all her shots are impulsive. ‘I find the extraordinary in ordinary things’. She does not stage her shots and does little in terms of retouching. Many of her shots are snapped from a moving vehicle. As she puts it, ‘imperfections are very much part of my art’. Steven McHale’s article can be read in its entirety on

Diana’s daughter describes her mother’s art below: “Diana’s aptitude lies in finding beauty in the least expected places. Her ability to transform the everyday mundane acts and objects into extraordinary photographs is what makes Diana’s photography so unique. She possesses this innate sense that allows her to see what others overlook. Being able to capture fleeting moments and then immortalizing them into beautiful pieces of art is a talent that Diana has exquisitely mastered. Her photographs somehow speak to the observer. While the technique is not Diana’s forte, and she will be the first to admit it, her discerning eye and her love of photography are what makes her an unrivaled photographer”. Despite her unconventional start at photography, Diana has blossomed into this fine photographer whose skill of capturing the ephemeral I have yet to see anyone match.”

In addition to capturing unique photographs, Diana decided to open her own gallery “Diana’s Finds” in 2012 adjacent to Bistango. There one can find a myriad of artworks from artists, both past, and present. Diana’s Finds’ collection can be seen on as well as on Diana has displayed her own photography at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), Newport Beach Cultural Center where she won second place in 2016, UCI, Orange County Fair and Bistango Restaurant.

“Windows are the link connecting our worlds inside and out. Windows tell stories, tell the time of day, bring in the moon as they do the sun and the mood of the day.

I looked out from the warmth of the Minneapolis Arts Institute. My gaze carried me out onto an expanse of cold, hazy, melancholic, yet beautiful late afternoon cityscape. This photograph was taken four years ago, around this time of year in 2014. Its memory still lingers on.”

Diana seeks and sees beauty in the least expected places. Transforming the everyday mundane acts and objects into what she considers the extraordinary, is what her work is about. While very eclectic, her main subjects are architectural and abstract minimalism. A solo exhibit of her work titled “COLORS AND SHAPES” will be shown at the Newport Beach Library starting November 5, 2018 continuing through January 4, 2019.

More of he own work and consigned art can be seen at her gallery in the ATRIUM building where Bistango resides. A new show ARTS ON CONSIGNMENT”” will be on display October 20th from 3 to 7 p.m.

Jim Hancock

JIM HANCOCK. A lifelong resident of Arizona and retired Arizona Superior Court Judge, Jim started turning in 1992. Early projects included bowls and plates turned out of wood collected around Prescott. He learned early on that turned wood is unique, each piece a finished art object. After learning the basics of wood turning, Jim became interested in segmented or constructed turning. Piece by piece, rings of wood are glued together with meticulous attention to minutiae. Some contain as many as 1500 different pieces. Different woods are used to achieve the color and design desired. Oak, ash, walnut, mesquite, and purple heart, among other exotic woods, are used. Jim has created an even more unique art form by adding turned alabaster and turquoise to the segmented wood. Creating a piece from these raw materials is especially satisfying, from painstaking assembly to polished bowl, pot, plate or vase. Jim’s turned objects are spectacular and would make a beautiful addition to any home or office.

David Heath

DAVID HEATH‘s work has been featured in the LA Times, Daily Mail, and Travel & Leisure. It was the desire for adventure that led David to the world of artistic travel photography. Raised in Southern California, David is an avid surfer and skier, pursuits which have allowed him to spend what some might consider a borderline – unreasonable amount of time outdoors. Yet it is these activities which provide an intimate connection to the environment — and which ultimately compel him to capture the stunning moments he witnesses each day. It became David’s unflinching desire to explore the world, to photograph unique, uncommon experiences and share them with others.

Terri Leo

TERRI LEO, Having been in the fashion industry for 20 years, Terri learned from some of the most noted photographers of our time. She has traveled extensively and her experiences inspired her to develop her own fine art photography style while photographing her surroundings wherever she went. Today, Terri’s passion for the visual arts finds its expression in photography, painting, and interior design. Regardless of the medium in which she is working, Terri seeks to create transformative beauty that draws the viewer into the work, creating a deep sense of connection to the flow of nature.

“My paintings and photography are often focused on the ocean…the flow of the currents and how they calm and nurture us; the beauty of the human body; and the nature that surrounds us. Art is a way to explore the meaning of that scene, thought, or moment in time”.

Emmy Lu

EMMY LU is a renowned artist whose work, featured in many international magazines and newspapers, has also been internationally exhibited in galleries and museums. His works are in corporations such as Sony Records, Warner Brothers, Motown Records and many others. His colorful paintings are in 5 star Hotels, like Hilton, Inter-Continental, The Patio Hotel in Scotland, Dana Hotel in Israel and Diani Reef Resort in Kenya.

Perhaps the biggest endorsement of this prolific artist comes from the many celebrities, including British Royalty, and political figures who have acquired his masterpieces. Emmy has supported various charitable causes including Multiple Sclerosis, the Magic Johnson Foundation, Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy, Breast Cancer and Aids Foundation.


STEVEN M. LUSTIG’s sculptures are born out of a love of the human form and its natural motion. It is powerful, passionate, and embraces both human and natural forms. He was born and raised near the North Shore of Chicago where he began drawing at age 5. In high school, he met a regionally known sculptor and began his fine arts education. His early work combining computers, art, and human motion became the genesis of Steven’s fine art. Steven moved to Southern California in the 80’s to work at an Olympic research center focused on Sports Medicine and Biomechanical Engineering. He has illustrated four books and completed a series of life science illustrations for the Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He currently teaches a stone sculpting class at the Laguna College of Art & Design, and Digital Media and Photoshop classes at Golden West College.

Traci Owens

“Are You My Mother?”

TRACI OWENS, was adopted at 6 months old, and raised by two loving and very analytical parents, it was quite clear at a very early age that Traci was cut from a different cloth. Always the creative, carefree, and wandering soul, she grew very comfortable being different. In fact, the thought of having no past, only a future, ignited her alter ego… “I can be anyone I want to be and no one can prove me otherwise.”

She thrived in art and anything creative. In high school, she excelled as a budding artist, won awards, and was trusted to paint murals for the first time on the school walls. Clear signs pointed in the direction of design or arts for her future.

It might have been the times, or that no one really knew what to do with her, and perhaps that famous statement, “You can’t make a living drawing on walls.”, which she replied, “Disney did”…

Hugo Rivera

HUGO RIVERA is a contemporary, figurative artist who left his civil engineering studies in Guadalajara, Mexico, to dive full force into brilliant colors and bold lines and shapes. His passion to work on big surfaces has become his trademark. Having relocated to California, in 1994 he started working as a muralist, inspired by great masters like Diego Rivera, Orozco and Tamayo and then experimenting and creating his own individualized style and technique of painting. In 2012 Hugo opened his own gallery in Laguna Beach.

Maryam Rouhi

MARYAM ROUHI’s art is a reflection of my life, a reflection of myself…

I am a Laguna Beach-based artist with a bachelor degree in graphics design. I started my career in commercial art working as a graphic designer for over 10 years

From the very beginning, I knew that drawing and painting were my lifelong passion. My continuous love for the female figure and portraiture has led to numerous drawings and paintings from live models. I work mainly in oils and capture the inner essence of the sitter. I am inspired by the graceful elegance of the female form and my love for color is unique to my senses. My brush strokes and textures create an unforgettable experience for the viewer. Each brushstroke builds up a story, a life, and a passion. I also enjoy creating sculptures from live models. I
received an award for excellence in Oils/Acrylics from the Dean of Saddleback College. I am proud to show my art each summer at Art -A-Fair in Laguna Beach

Ana Laura Salazar

ANA LAURA SALAZAR comes from a family of talented Artists, born in Mexico City. Showed her artistic talent at an early age and guided by the hand of her mother, mentor, and teacher (Notorious Mexico City portrait artist Martha Orozco) learned the classical oil and watercolor techniques of La Academia de San Carlos. Her talent is highlighted by her discipline always exploring and playing not only with water and pigments but also by transforming in images her creativity capturing imaginary worlds she calls “Magic Realism”.

– Art embellishes the Human Spirit and elevates it to a higher level of the purely natural. It is important that who exercises art finds a profound union and enrichment with it’s internal being, in my case I also look for a dialog with God.-

ANA LAURA SALAZAR – “Cascade of Voices”

From 1995 to 2018, Ana Laura has received multiple prizes from The Watercolor Association of Mexico. Her Artistic education includes formal Workshops with Martha Orozco, McGuire workshops, San Diego, Ca. The American Society of Portrait Artists, Engraving techniques at II Bisonte Scuola d’Arte Grafica, Florencia, It.


JEFF SCHWALM’s earliest stone carving influences date back to his old world Italian Grandfather. For the past thirty-five years Jeff has worked as a master craftsmen creating and executing beautiful stone and tile designs in private homes. Jeff has always known he would pursue a lifestyle where he would use his hands and follow some form of art. From the first stone sculpting class that was offered to Jeff in 2004 at Laguna College of Art and Design, he knew he had found his passion. Jeff’s artistic vision became taking those raw uncut stones, and being the master craftsman, to discover and uncover the beauty that is hiding within each piece. Sometimes that journey takes him to a place where he tests the stones boundaries and sometimes the stone test his boundaries. There is no greater pleasure than shaping raw stone boulders, whether it’s marble, alabaster, onyx, or any other stone, into finished sculptures of art. Now after twelve years, this is his heart and soul. This is the path he plans to follow for the rest of his life.

Diane Zinn

DIANE ZINN, was born and raised in the Imperial Valley – a large agricultural area in southern California on the border of Mexico. It was a magical place to grow up – surrounded by thousands of acres of bountiful farmland and every kind of farm animal. Lots of wild critters, coyotes, cockroaches, and crickets too! Low desert living brought us beautiful winters and sweltering summers. Life was simple and everyone was your friend.

By the time I was 3 or 4 years old I was pretty much obsessed with drawing and coloring and making up stories. Art and music were always my fortes and through art and music I have lived out my passions and angsts and joys.

I studied commercial art at Northern Arizona University for a couple years and then eventually graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts. I segued from college to marriage and rearing my four children in the Imperial Valley. It wasn’t until I moved to Anaheim Hills five years ago that I was able to start seriously painting. It has been my lifelong dream!

I paint primarily with acrylic on paper and canvas with bold, bright colors. My technique is based on the element of surprise – the subject evolves as the colors and shapes dictate – whatever I perceive is happening – and then suddenly the painting is complete! Painting for me is serendipitous and a joy!

It is a pleasure to be associated with Hugo Rivera and his gallery here in Laguna Beach.

For all art inquires, please contact us at

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