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Meet Local Artist Dawn Whitney-Hall

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

El Segundo resident and Art Walk artist Dawn Whitney-Hall is showing her earth-toned, ethereal works at local boutique Frocks & Rocks this summer.

By Jenny Gardner

Artist Dawn Whitney-Hall poses in her studio in front of her paintings
Artist Dawn Whitney-Hall in her studio at Hawthorne Arts Complex

"You don’t have to get so locked in to what it’s a painting of—it’s how it makes you feel,” Dawn Whitney-Hall said of her art, quoting her mentor from her college years. This idea gets to the essence of the El Segundo artist’s work: “My paintings are more about the energy they portray than about a particular topic.”

A trip to Whitney-Hall’s studio, located at the Hawthorne Arts Complex, offers many examples of her approach. Hung from floor to ceiling are numerous large canvases, depicting surfers, cowboys, and bucking horses, and imagery of the human form, animals, bones, and more.

One painting features a cowboy who seemingly floats cross-legged in the sky. “You know he’s up in the air, because the fringe is flying,” Whitney-Hall said. “There’s a certain element of time that stops.” The effect is mesmerizing, like you’ve caught the cowboy in the heart-stopping moment after he’s been bucked off his ride.

Other works present more abstract elements, such as her shamanic series focusing on animal totems. Many of these paintings are framed with reclaimed wood from her in-laws’ farm and adorned with rocks, shells, teeth, antler shards, and other found pieces—all of which enhances the otherworldly feel of the works.

Visitors to this summer’s El Segundo Art Walk (ESAW) can experience Whitney-Hall’s paintings for themselves at Frocks & Rocks, the funky boutique on West Grand. Each month, she will exhibit works following a theme: for the June 20 show, she chose cowboys and horses. This is the second year that Whitney-Hall has been featured at the boutique and her fourth year participating in ESAW.

Also at the venue: a live band featuring Whitney-Hall’s husband, Brett Hall, and daughter, Mae von Flue, as well as Nich Von, Shaun Tidwell, and Matt Chero, playing an eclectic selection of music.

“I live in El Segundo, and it’s super fun to bring the music with me,” she said of appearing at ESAW and partnering with the band. “We have a great time.”

The remaining two El Segundo Art Walks will take place on July 18 and August 15.

This story appears in our July 2019 issue.

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