Face of Malibu

The Malibu Cultural Arts Commission’s next public art exhibit at City Hall will feature 60 of the portraits of local residents painted by area artist Johanna Spinks that have appeared in the Malibu Times since 2012. 

Spinks’ work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, American Artist Magazine and Art Talk. She won The Daler Rowney Award for Painting Excellence at the Oil Painters of America National Show in 2008. The Face of Malibu portrait series is a labor of love for Spinks, who does not accept any payment for the portraits.  She is driven by a desire to highlight the many unique personalities and newsmakers who shape the modern Malibu community.

The artist only spends two hours on each painting, while a reporter from the Malibu Times interviews each subject. The portrait and the interview are published in the Malibu Times.

“This great project helps residents get to know the people in their community better,” said Mayor Skylar Peak. “For all of us who have seen the portraits in the newspaper for years, it’s really exciting to be able to see all of the original paintings hanging in Malibu City Hall.”

Johanna Sparks
Final Face of Malibu Flyer

Jefferson "Zuma Jay" Wagner


He’s a surfboard designer, Hollywood stuntman and practical effects specialist. He was the Marlboro Man for seven years. He was on the Malibu City Council and has a degree in law. He does E.O.D (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) for the U.S. Navy. He’s an author with a book at the Library of Congress. 

Sixty-two-year-old Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner is the owner of Zuma Jay Surfboards since 1975 and he designs all of the surfboards himself. He’s been an avid surfer all his life and became Jay from Zuma when he helped build The Whale Watch and first set up his shop next to it. He’s a joint master concessionaire for the Malibu Pier and in his spare time enjoys gardening, playing chess and knife throwing.

Excerpt from Jefferson "Zuma Jay" Wagner Malibu Times article- The Face of Malibu by Johanna Spinks

Joan House

Joan House, 78, moved to Malibu in 1975 to live at the beach. She has played an integral role in Malibu in the 42 years she’s lived here. House worked hard to bring Malibu to cityhood, including going door-to-door and passing out cards. She has served as mayor a record four times. She also played a key role in forming the city’s mission and vision statement.

Excerpt from Joan House Malibu Times article- The Face of Malibu by Johanna Spinks

Joan House

Henry Stern

Henry Stern

 He grew up in Malibu. He went to Juan Cabrillo and was a member of one of the first graduating classes at Malibu High School. He was captain of the water polo team. Today, 35-year-old Henry Stern is state senator for the California Senate District 27.

Stern has a history degree from Harvard University and a law degree from UC Berkeley. With humility in his voice and passion for his work, Stern’s legislation focuses on youth empowerment. Most recently, his bill to increase voter registration opportunities for foster youth was signed to become state law.

Excerpt from Henry Stern Malibu Times article- The Face of Malibu by Johanna Spinks

Walt Keller

Walt Keller, 84, has lived in Malibu since 1961. He was the city’s first mayor and a leader in the cityhood movement. He had a successful career as an aerospace engineer before retiring from Northrop in 1988. He’s been married to his wife, Lucille, for more than 58 years and has two children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild on the way.

Excerpt from Walt Keller Malibu Times article- The Face of Malibu by Johanna Spinks

Walt Keller