The Art of Living

Angela Ashman, Keri Bridgwater and Ann Wycoff | November 27, 2018 | Feature Features National

San Diego's vibrant art scene runs the gamut from film to fine art, photography and music—meet some of the compelling artists who are propelling it forward.
After spending time with ecological researchers, Marissa Quinn found artistic passion surrounding marine growth.

Marissa Quinn
Delicately composed pen and ink illustrations by the Encinitas-based artist are rich in metaphor and ancient symbolism.
Totem animals—wolves, whales (keepers of Earth’s collective memories), and bees (symbols of the divine feminine)—frequently feature in the captivating drawings by Marissa Quinn, narrating stories of endangered species, extinction, environmental degradation and growth. “I’m interested in a bigger conversation,” Quinn says. “My life as an artist is about creating work that engages people, and that helps animals and the planet heal from within.” A passionate environmental advocate deeply connected to the ocean, Quinn frequently collaborates with the Changing Tides Foundation and co-runs a surf and watercolor workshop alongside Be+Well, an exclusive co-working space for women in Encinitas. In addition to teaching art history and drawing at Point Loma Nazarene University, she floats on all three North County 101 Main Street Associations; a recent partnership with Bing Surfboards raised a sizable amount for the Leucadia arts fund. Her first book, The Re-Wild(her)’s Journey, which documents a solo road trip from the border of Mexico to Canada and back exploring land use, native species and conservation, is slated to be released early next year.

Rafael Payare
The San Diego Symphony’s new conductor is bringing impressive credentials and a touch of magic to the 108-year-old institution.

One of the shining stars of his generation, Rafael Payare, 37, has conducted some of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic,Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. After a two-year global hunt, the San Diego Symphony search committee unanimously chose the highly charismatic Venezuelan to lead the city’s orchestra, beginning in January 2019. A graduate of the celebrated El Sistema in Venezuela and an acclaimed French horn player, Payare carved a new path after winning first prize at the Malko Competition for Young Conductors in 2012. Bursting with technical brilliance and artistic genius, Payare often conducts from memory rather than a score. “It gives you more freedom and connection, which is important with artists on the stage. I learned this from my mentor, maestro José Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema. He liked to say that the score should be in your head and not your head in the score.” So what excites Payare about being the next music director in the San Diego Symphony’s 108-year history? “Everything! There was an instant chemistry—a magic—when I had my first concert with the San Diego orchestra in January 2018. This chemistry was even shared with the audience. It’s a fantastic feeling. I feel blessed to be a part of it.”


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