Skeith De Wine Turns Hate Crime Into "Positive" Art

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Santa Ana artist Skeith De Wine says he was "the victim of a gay bashing hate crime" in September 2008 that left him with severe dental damage, a nose broken in two places and a fractured skull and jaw. Before the incident, he'd made many pieces inspired by hate against gays. That's how you'd assume he spent his six months in recovery, painting as a form of therapy. But the fruits of De Wine's recovery labor to be unveiled this weekend have nothing to do with violence against gays--or anyone else.

Saying he "wanted to move beyond his negativity and bitterness of the incident," De Wine presents "Pop Dot Art Shop Show-Heroes," which focuses on the positive and honors local artists and friends who gave him "strength, inspiration or support to overcome in time of crisis."

Among those paid tribute at De Wine's Dancing Dog Art Gallery, which is in the Santiago Train Depot Arts District at 927 Santa Ana Blvd., are: Laurie Hassold, Sandow Birk, Peter Alexander, Don Bachardy, the composer James Horner and movie director Ron Howard.

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"Every morning I would get up and see my face all deformed from the attack," De Wine explains. "My heart just shattered and my self esteem was so low. My art was the only place I could go for salvation and refuge. As I painted every day in the studio I thought about artists or individuals who had given me the strength or fortitude as an artist and a person and drew upon them once again to overcome this terrible tragedy."

He said many pieces "are pointillist in nature with high color contrast and vibrant palate inspired by Latin-American and Early Modern 20th Century art."

A reception will be held 7 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Dancing Dog--and if you really want to show your solidarity with De Wine and his exhibit, you'll show up dressed in polka dots. The opening is followed by  an after-party at an undisclosed location around the corner.

The show will be up in the gallery through June 16. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment. Call (310) 804-5841 or (714) 510-1629 for more information.
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