Until now, Billy Shire has not had a video surveillance system in his space, simply relying on patrons to check oversized bags at the counter. The theft has left him discouraged and puzzled: “The art world is so small. Who would put these [paintings] on their wall without someone noticing them?”
Gardiner recalls seeing a “suspicious” man, who had reportedly been next door with a friend at the costume shop, Ozzie Dots, around the same time. But she doesn’t know if she and her colleagues are just looking for people to blame: “There were a few moms with strollers,” she laughs, “and we’re like, ‘Was it them?'”
The paintings had already been bought by clients of the gallery. Dismissing any rumors that the works could have been stolen from someone he knows (or someone who felt “entitled” to them), Gallery owner Billy Shire says he has the reputation “as the most honest dealer in town.”
When asked how she feels to be the artist of stolen paintings, Gardiner tells Flavorpill, “If someone had taken put a hammer to them, I’d have been crushed. But this way, at least someone’s enjoying them. I feel bad for the people who bought them, though it is weirdly flattering, I guess. What bothers me is, why do you just get take $1700 worth of art?”
As for the video monitoring system, Billy Shire says it’s being installed now.
If anyone has any information about these two paintings, they are asked to contact La Luz de Jesus Gallery at 323-663-0122, or send an email to sales@laluzdejesus, info@laluzdejesus, and email@example.com. A reward will be given for the return of the paintings, no questions asked.