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Wylie Schwartz, pictured with a 36” by 48” cut paper piece called “Solana,” which was featured at her Culture Brewing Co. exhibit in August 2017. Photo courtesy of Amy Clemens
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Slices of young North County artist’s life on display at pizzeria

SOLANA BEACH — Walk into the local pizza joint URBN in Encinitas’ downtown corridor in October, and you might notice a whole spectrum of artistic style on the walls, from the colorful and charming to the dark and abstract.

A kraken laying siege to a Baja California-inspired resort; a nude woman basking under a giant, pastel-colored hat; and a skeleton riding a wave into a ‘60s-band-poster-esque sunset are just a few of the print pieces on display.

For the show’s curator and artist, Wylie Schwartz, it’s all about “planting a seed” of an idea.

“I like shaking people up and getting them out of the monotony,” she said.

Schwartz, 23, grew up in Solana Beach, with the ocean as a backdrop for her innate love of drawing. Her North County pride shines through her art: her pieces incorporate sea creatures galore, and although her artist alter ego “Wylie Coyote” was inspired in part by the cartoon, she also chose it in order to highlight her appreciation of the local ecosystem. As a frequent surfer, one of her favorite projects is a series of bold “psychedelic” prints called “What Surfers Know.”

“Shred Till You’re Dead,” a piece by Wylie Schwartz. Schwartz said that several “dead heads” – die-hard Grateful Dead fans — have approached her about making a T-shirt from the image, which is part of her “What Surfers Know” series. Courtesy Photo

Schwartz refers to much of her art as “celebratory,” putting a magnifying glass to the beauty and nature “in our backyard.”

“I don’t think people understand why it’s so important to preserve these things,” she said, while explaining the thought process behind a cut paper piece she created illustrating the San Elijo Lagoon.

Schwartz, who studied Illustration at California State University, Long Beach, is beginning to find her footing as a freelance artist. She has left her mark on album covers, wedding invites, T-shirt designs, educational handbooks, and logos. A client favorite has been pet portraits, running the gamut from digital sketches to large oil paintings.

Schwartz works almost exclusively on her iPad, favoring a technology-based, on-the-go approach to artistic creation.

“I want to be remote and see the world,” she said. “I’m still able to express myself (via iPad) in a more physical, tactile, textural way, but still not carry 50 pounds of art supplies with me on airplanes.”

She has recently taken her work international, designing a sticker for a co-working space in Bali, Indonesia. Although almost half of her clients are located in North County, she said she has collaborated with clients from “all over the place,” including a writer in Georgia.

Her first solo show was in August 2017 at Culture Brewing Co., where she displayed 27 pieces. Much of the show was an amalgamation of pieces she’d assembled during her days as a student. The young artist remembers being “so scared and nervous,” just waiting for something to fall off the wall. But for her new, smaller and digital-focused display at URBN, Schwartz could enjoy the fruits of her hard work.

“I can feel myself relaxing into the artist I’m supposed to be,” she said.

Schwartz’s pieces will be on display at URBN throughout the month of October. See more of her art at