Fire and Art in Venice Beach


Bestow et al. founders (left to right): Charlene Mayo, Virginia Ostrin,  Robin Wisdom, and Lisa Schmidt. Courtesy Bestow et al.

by Melanie Camp 

A group of Venice woman has teamed up to create a new, provocative home decor concept. Bestow et al. blends candles and art. The idea sparked when Robin Wisdom, Lisa Schmidt, Virginia Ostrin, and Charlene Mayo decided to venture together for their “next chapter” in life. Selected prints from artists’ collections adorn candles infused with natural fragrances and essential oils. Yo! Venice spoke with the Bestow women to find out more.

Who are the women behind Bestow?

We are four friends who love art. We originally connected through playgroup years ago and have been friends ever since.  Bestow is a true collaboration of each of us doing what we do best.

How did the idea for Bestow et Al come about?

We’ve taken so many classes together to keep ourselves busy and involved with art. After a candle making class, and over drinks during the Venice Boat Parade, the idea came about to connect art with scented candles. Bestow et al. was born.

What makes a Bestow candle so special?

Bestow candles redefine the category and broaden the concept of home decor. We’re inspired by Venice artists and look forward to working with more artists as Bestow et al. grows. We make Curations; art paired with scented candles.  Our Curations are more than decoration; they are a multi-sensory, one-of-a-kind experience. Our candles are hand poured with natural ingredients infused with essential oils. Together, the fine art print and candle embody an intention and experience we want to share; bestow “scentiments.”

5. Candle Ladies
Selected Norton Wisdom prints adorn candles infused with natural fragrances and essential oils. Courtesy Bestow et al.

Why did you decide to collaborate with the artist Norton Wisdom?

Each of us displays original Wisdoms in our homes and offices. We’ve seen his performances and art shows, know him to have the same values, and adore him as an artist and father.  It was so inspiring to select pieces out of his body of work and understand his visions an artist. We’re fortunate to have direct access to this artist as Robin Wisdom has been happily married to him for 25 years.

His art for the candles is very sensual. Why did you choose this aesthetic?

We’re drawn to Wisdom’s dynamic performance pieces which are captured in photographs and fine art prints. The subject matter, as well as the medium used in each of Wisdom’s work captures intentions we wish to convey.

For PEACE we selected the lion and woman because the colors and imagery are both powerful and calming.  We paired this image with the scent lavender. For BLISS we used one of Wisdom’s signature abstract paintings, which are a meditation of space and volume. Even though the pieces are flat, the trapezoids move in and out depending on the perception of the viewer, like breath and air; we paired this image with fig and juniper. For INSPIRATION we used Wisdom’s water colors that capture the Southern California ocean and beach surf culture, pairing this image with cool, crisp cucumber and mint. For LOVE and PASSION, we selected Wisdom’s intertwining figures done in charcoal and ink are playful, erotic, striking and evokes conversation.

Norton Wisdom is an Abstract Expressionist California painter who has revolutionized Performance painting and has performed around the world at venues as varied as the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Butoh Dance Company in Berlin, Walt Disney Hall, and Coachella.  To view more of Norton Wisdom’s work and information go to

3. Candle Ladies
Light the fire within and celebrate love and passion this Valentine’s Day. Courtesy Bestow et al.

Tell us about your Valentine’s candle?

Our Valentine’s candles and “scentiments” are named LOVE and PASSION; to encourage people to light the fires within.  Love and passion are two emotions that should never be taken for granted and are always welcome.  The LOVE candle is floral with tuberose, orange and a hint of musk. The essential oil is an aphrodisiac that calms the mind and body. PASSION candle is pure grapefruit with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy notes. Grapefruit oil is known to relieve stress, uplift and energize mood and dispel negativity.

The scents and fine-art prints, paired together in our Curations, are intended to inspire intimacy and connection.  Our Curations work as gifts for friends or loved ones, as well as a reminder to pay attention to our own needs and relationships.

Our Valentine’s candles will speak differently to different people.  For some, they are sexy, some suggestive and playful, and for others, the images are arresting. We want to grab your attention, light the fire within, and just celebrate love and passion.


Yo! Venice has some Bestow et Al limited edition Valentine’s candles to give away. Email your tips on how to best spend Valentine’s Day in Venice to [email protected] Keep in under 150 words, and the Bestow ladies will pick their favorites. Each winner’s Valentine’s tip will be published in the next Yo! Venice.

2. Candle Ladies