Original Idioms

Catalogue/Price list

The Great Highway Gallery is excited to present Original Idioms – curated by Matt Wessen of the LA County Historical Society. Matt was recently profiled in Surfer’s Journal. The group exhibition will feature, installation, paintings, photography and ephemera from pioneers of surf and skate art culture.

Skip Engblom

Ned Evans

Anthony Friedkin

Mörizen “Mofo” Föche

Dan Freeman

Jim Ganzer

Ivan Hosoi

Steve Olson

C. R. Stecyk III

Curators Statement

“Original Idioms” an observation and celebration of art in the four following mediums: surf, skate, street, and beach. The fourth comprehensive survey from the LA County Historical Society.

A diverse body of artworks created in over five decades and characterized by experimentation. To be able to achieve the show’s curator Matt Wessen created a filter: the importance of years of effort spent by each artist in a particular medium, photographs, sculptures, paintings, mixed media, three dimensional objects, and installations.

“Original Idioms” features a collection of rare items that serve as documentation of self-contained retrospective of lives spent in pursuit of one’s journey of expression. The quest for a perfect wave drives the creatives and sparks friendships. All the artists of the show formed their relationships with Wessen in or around the water medium. An objective of the show is creating an immersive experience for the viewer with flexible yet considered and resolved formats used as an instrument of communication that stimulates free expression in today’s constantly shifting and evolving technological world.  “Original Idioms” is more of a documentarian mindset than a formal approach.

The show features a repertoire of practices and a collective artistic style of LA living legends and practitioners and their continuous and inescapable presence in everything from fashion to product development, street art, and the way Los Angeles culture is portrayed and distributed worldwide in film and design. Those used to justify and legitimize the elite professional skateboarding, surf, fashion, and various artistic mediums.

“Original Idioms” offers a look into the history of LA Pharaohs that shaped the world we live in while questions a highly relevant modern paradigm of the future, a memory disseminated in the seismic changes that usher in a period of one’s life.

The LA County Historical Society was founded by Skip Engblom, Anna Wessen, Matt Wessen.

Back Story

In the early 1907 George Freeth, the country’s first surfer, a part-Hawaiian, part Irish arrives in Los Angeles to create an embryonic point for the birth of surfing culture and becomes the first lifeguard of California. Known as a ‘man who walks on water’ he introduces to the public an ancient Hawaiian sport of kings formed on a belief the bigger the board, the higher class in society that person represents. Freeth teaches Duke Kahanamoku, the first person to be inducted into both the Swimming Hall of Fame and the Surfing Hall of Fame, how to swim competitively and how to surf. This was the moment surfing came to America. This was the moment surfing came to Los Angeles.

Curator Links




Reception February 29th from 6pm to 9pm 
El Tonayense Taco Truck 6:30-8:30

Join us for the opening reception and meet curator Matt Wessen.

Exhibition February 29th – March 29th


The Great Highway is a fine art gallery and working studio featuring contemporary works in all mediums. The gallery has a deep appreciation for images and ideas that explore where lands meet water.

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Location and Hours

The Great Highway
3649 Lawton St.
San Francisco, CA 94122

phone: (415) 680-3891
email: info@thegreathighway.com

By appointment 7 days a week

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