When he was 7, Greg Sutton's parents searched frantically for him, only to discover he was outside painting candy canes on his sister's bay window in Long Beach. The talented artist is still at it and has become one of the top decorators of his kind in California.
Trained in art at several local colleges and in workshops led by legendary painters Milford Zornes and Henry Fukuhara, and encouraged by famous artist Bill Anderson, Greg paints murals, signs and watercolors but he still has a love and incredible eye for making ordinary windows come to life for the Christmas holidays as well as Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthdays, graduations--you name it.
In fact, many of the business windows on Main Street, Seal Beach have become Greg's Outside Art Gallery (GOAG) during the holidays. "I won't use anyone else," declared Joanne Craig, longtime owner of Joanne's Antiques at 213 Main. "What he does is elegant. I've seen other painters and they can't compare."
"It must be Christmas season, there's Greg," bellowed a woman merchant across the street as Greg painted holiday designs on Joanne's storefront windows. While decorating a restaurant pane, a stranger walked up and said, "Every year, when you decorate the windows, it makes my wife so happy. Thank you for what you do."
"I like to make people happy and I'm glad my window decorating adds to the holiday spirit," said the friendly Fountain Valley resident, who also paints window glass in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Dana Point and all along Pacific Coast Highway.
Watching him perform is in itself a joy. Greg paints with confidence; deliberate brush strokes; he sprinkles glitter making "snow" fall down the pane; he's definitely a magician, who transforms a plain old window into a canvas-like masterpiece. Passersby are in awe. "It's fun to watch him create beauty out of nothing," said Wally Long, who stopped with his two kids, Barney, 3, and Bernice, 5, to enjoy the sidewalk star. A passing dog on a leash, cast a curious eye at the brush-waving fellow atop a ladder.
Business owners who spot him, rush over to make sure he'll come and do their windows. He discusses what they want, sometimes showing them his sketchbook, but most just let him create what he thinks is best for their space. Greg once painted a fantastic Santa Claus, totally focused on reading the Seal Beach Sun on the newspaper's office window.
Most are repeat customers. He has some florists and restaurants that have him decorate windows for several major holidays throughout the year. Greg does residences too. "For years, one Rossmoor family hired me to paint a different animal character with a balloon on their daughter's window for her birthday. I'd put her age on the balloon. This lasted from ages 7 to 13," he said.
When he was painting images on a salad bar and pizza island at a local grocery store, someone approached him to spread his joy on the apartment complex they owned in Belmont Shore. For 40 years, Greg has window decorated at cleaners, hardware stores, dress shops, salons, bars, antique retailers, two US Post Offices and a lot more. He even has created logos, business shingles and helped announce sales and specials.
"When I start painting in the morning, I know in my mind what I want to do and where to place it. Then, I pick up the pace and develop a rhythm that helps the art flow from one window to another," he said. He sometimes works from dawn to dusk--a true entertainer, who captures attention and awe while making anyplace, a better place, through the creativity and color he leaves behind. It's a true gift for those who hire him and those lucky enough to view his art. To find out more, you can contact Greg at 562-715-4149 or at GregSuttonArt.com.