by Tyler Blue
Since opening the Riviera Fine Art gallery earlier this year, Caleb Johns has earned his reputation as a risk-taker. Rather than being intimidated by the challenges of running a business on State Street, the 33-year-old San Diegan seized the opportunity to transform a prime piece of real estate into a museum-quality showroom. Drawing from years of experience running galleries in Hawaii and Las Vegas, Johns has gifted our town with a glimpse of cutting-edge, contemporary style. Nobody said it would be easy, but with an unshakable commitment to the integrity of his art, Johns’s ambitious vision is already coming to fruition.
Stepping into the bright, open space of Riviera Fine Art, one’s senses are enlivened with a palette of visual stimuli. The lighting is a study in perfection, illuminating the vibrant paintings with warmth and finesse. Johns has worked with most of the artists for years, gravitating toward renowned trendsetters. The wine-bottle still lifes of Thomas Arvid jump off the wall while the windows of shadow-master Don Dahlke invite the viewer into tropical desert dreams.
Other than the art, the best thing about Riviera is its relaxed, unpretentious ambience. Johns is the antithesis of the snooty gallery stereotype as he welcomes visitors into his world of impeccable taste. Most pieces are under $3,000, with some gems attainable for just a few hundred. For Caleb Johns, “The best part of the business is making people happy. I love being the guy who can facilitate that.”
FOUR • ONE • ONE Riviera Fine Art, 927 State St., 892-5051.