This annual juried exhibit showcases artwork from all over the state of California. MICA strives to highlight artists in all stages of their careers and offers them a chance to compete for a number of awards, including the coveted solo show opportunity. This regional show features artwork from an extensive variety of mediums and explores creative movements happening in California.
Ben Quinn - Brett Amory - Caleb Hahne
Emma Webster - Erik Bender - Kenichi Hoshine
Maja Ruznic - Paige Valentine - Sam Spano
Part 2 Gallery is proud to present Calico Sunset, a group exhibition opening July 14th at 12pm in Downtown Oakland. Calico Sunset will feature to works of local artists Ben Quinn, Brett Amory, Erik Bender, Paige Valentine and Sam Spano, alongside Caleb Hahne, Emma Webster, Kenichi Hoshine, and Maja Ruznic.
Calico Sunset derives its name from the blended spectrum of Bay Area sunsets. From dark to bright, the Sun’s rays interact with gasses in the ozone that, by the time they reach the surface, have taken on vibrant hues. In this show, these 9 artists’ work reinterpret light, and therefore color to represent an array of introspective narratives and concepts. Although varying in subject matter and technique, these artists are bound together by looseness, color blending, and emotional articulation. Each artist uses painting as reflection and exploration, revealing important truths and dismantling antiquated ones.
The gallery is located at 1523 b Webster St. and is just blocks away from both 12th & 19th st Bart Stations. Opening receptions at pt.2: are always free, kid friendly and open to the public. To receive a preview of the exhibition please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Quinn is an artist living and working in Oakland, CA. He received a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and MFA from California College of the Arts in 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include Fused Space in San Francisco, Littman Gallery at Portland State University, and Massman Gallery in Oakland with group shows at Spaceheater in Brooklyn and Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco. Quinn’s work deals mostly with post-psychedelic reflection and sensitivities to the supernatural through painting, sometimes accompanied by image and sound
Brett Amory is an artist based in Oakland, CA. He has exhibited his work in solo shows at Jonathan Levine Projects, (Jersey City, NJ) Thinkspace Projects, (Los Angeles, CA) Lazarides, (Newcastle, UK) Luggage Store Gallery, (San Francisco, CA) Fort Wayne Museum, (Fort Wayne, IN) Singular Gallery, (Pula, Croatia) among others. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, New American Paintings, SF Weekly, East Bay Express, and other publications.
Caleb Hahne graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in 2014 and currently lives and works in Colorado. He was the artist in residence at ShowPen, Denver from September 2013 to August 2014. His art has been included in multiple solo and group exhibitions in Denver, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Montreal, Berlin, and the United Kingdom and most recently at MCA Denver, as well as the New Museum, NY in collaboration with Adidas. Hahne has been featured in New American Paintings, Juxtapoz, Hi- Fructose, and Booooooom.com. Denver Westword named Hahne one of the 100 Colorado Creatives of 2014 and one of the Top 10 Artists to watch in 2015. He is also listed as one of the top 10 contemporary artists under 40 by Wide Walls.
Emma Webster is a California-based painter with an MFA in Painting from Yale (2018) and BA in Art Practice from Stanford (2011). She was awarded the Dumfries Royal Drawing School Residency at Yale and the Raina Giese Award in Creative Painting at Stanford. In addition to studying in one-on-one mentorships with faculty at both universities, she studied abstract and figurative painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and l’École d’Art Plastique in Paris. Webster has been awarded residencies at Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, Michigan and Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.
Her work has been exhibited at Thomas Erben (New York, NY), Diane Rosenstein (Los Angeles, CA), Hashimoto Gallery (San Francisco, CA), Pro Arts (Oakland, CA), Woskob Gallery (Penn State, PA), and the Oceanside Museum of Art (Oceanside, CA). Her painting is featured in the collection of Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts.
Erik Bender is an Oakland based artist who has received a BA from the University of California Berkeley in Art Practice, and has exhibited work at 3rd Street Village Gallery (San Francisco, CA), SOLA Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), NIAD Art Center (Richmond, CA) and Luggage Store Gallery (San Francisco, CA).
Kenichi Hoshine is a Tokyo, Japan-born artist who is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. His work has been featured in New American Paintings, and he has exhibited work in Harpy Gallery and others.
Maja Ruznic is a California-based artist who received her BA from University of California, Berkeley, and later received her MFA from the California College of Arts. Her work has been exhibited at Duplex100m2, (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina) Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, (Denver, CO) Conduit Gallery, (Dallas, TX) Galeri G-Art, (Istanbul, Turkey), MASS Gallery, (Austin, TX) Galerie Ernst Hilger, (Vienna, Austria) Jack Fischer Gallery, (San Francisco, CA) Charlie James Gallery, the Torrance Art Museum, Shulamit Nazarian Gallery and ACME in Los Angeles. Ruznic’s work has been written about in ArtMaze Magazine, Juxtapoz, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Studio Visit Magazine, and twice in New American Paintings, including the cover, as selected by curator Anne Ellegood.
Paige Valentine is based in Oakland who received her BFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2018. Her work has been featured in Juxtapoz Magazine and she has shown at Guerrero Gallery (San Francisco, CA.)
In this episode of Art and Cocktails, Kat and Anna Valdez share a few drinks and dive into Anna's incredible journey as a painter. We chat about how her experiences in archeology and anthropology influenced her current work. Anna talks about her love of processes and rituals and explains the inspiration behind her beautiful paintings.
Born in 1985 in Sacramento, California, Anna Valdez’s interest in cultural formation and collective consciousness began in her hometown. Exposed from a young age to a uniquely Californian cultural milieu, her proclivity for collecting and crafting a poignant and meaningful visual vocabulary took root during time spent sharing in the traditions and environments of people within her community. Her fascination with the ways in which cultural identities intersect lead her to pursue a career in sociocultural anthropology.
It was on an archeological dig in Ireland that Valdez first discovered her skill for art making. Valdez was encouraged to keep a sketchbook of the site, creating scale drawings and maps. Visually reinterpreting these “abandoned sites” allowed Valdez to explore the connection between anthropological and artistic methods of cataloguing and record-keeping.
Today, working across painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, and digital media, Valdez examines the relationship between material and cultural identity. Valdez incorporates articles found in domestic spaces such as plants, textiles, vessels and keepsakes into her work as a method of storytelling. Her colorful work invites the viewer to consider objects as emblematic of personal and collective experience, shifting between still life and portraiture.
Anna Valdez received her MFA in painting from Boston University in 2013. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States. Valdez’s work has been featured in Juxtapoz Magazine, New American Paintings, Booooooom.com, and Daily Serving. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Masur Museum of Art, the Danforth Museum, Boston University Art Galleries, Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, and Parts Gallery in Toronto Canada.
Recent Museum Exhibition at Crystal Bridges:
Photos by Nora Lowinsky
First Amendment Gallery is pleased to announce “One Trick” a solo exhibition by Mando Marie. Amanda Marie also known by her artist moniker 'Mando Marie' born 1981, is an American painter formerly based in Colorado, and currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Mando exhibits in both the United States and Europe. She trained at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and is best known for her work as a stencilist, including large scale street art designs.
Amanda Marie uses graphic stencils and images redolent of 'Golden Age' storybook imagery. She frequently features the signature characters of a young boy and girl. In 2012, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art held a solo exhibition of her work and noted that these stylised figures: "seem to have been lifted from the pages of a mid-twentieth century children’s book and have traded the protective home of childhood nostalgia for a slightly more adventurous and unsettling world, somewhere between dream and reality”. Alongside recurring graphic themes of children and animals, she favors twin, repeated or mirrored imagery, developed with multiple uses of the same stencil on the artwork.
Her street art and outdoor paintings and murals incorporate the same primary technique of stencil painting on a large scale. In gallery, museum or other indoor exhibitions, she typically creates artworks using aerosol paint, acrylic and sewing pattern paper, on watercolor paper, canvas, or wood. She also uses screen printing technique and gel transfers. For outdoor work, the dominant materials are aerosol and acrylic.
The opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, June 22nd at 12pm. The gallery is located on 6th St. and Howard St. in Downtown San Francisco. To receive a preview of the exhibition before the opening on June 2nd please contact email@example.com.
“Marie’s work is widely known for repeated or mirrored imagery by using hand-drawn and hand-cut stencils. American, but now based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Marie continues to present her work with recurring themes of children, animals, flora, and ghosts, with a particular sense of strength in youthful innocence and a hint of the oddly eerie.”
- Anna Suzy Lee (Daelim Museum Director, Seoul, South Korea)
“Amanda Marie is a true original. Her ever-present subject matter – animals, children, and everyday objects – walks a fine line between 1950’s nostalgia and unnerving narratives that call into question our own memories and interpretations of childhood. She does this with a beautiful blend of humor and pathos.”
-Quote from Jill Hartz, Executive Director - Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon
"Interrupting Lines" is a group exhibition opening Saturday, April 14th at 12pm at Part 2 Gallery. The exhibition features the works of David Ryan, Delphine Hennelly, Kyle Vu-Dunn, Lena Gustafson, Nat Meade, Sophie Larrimore, and Woodrow White. The gallery is located at 1523b Webster St. in Downtown Oakland, conveniently located by both 12th and 19th St. Bart Stations. The exhibition is free and open to the public until 11pm. "Interrupting Lines" will be on view Thursday to Saturday 11-6pm until May 4th. To learn receive a preview of the exhibition contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two new exhibitions are on view at First Amendment Gallery: "The Horror Vacui" and "Lately". "The Horror Vacui" is a trio exhibition compiled of local artists, Grady Gordon, Kyle Lypka, and Nicomi Nix Turner. "Lately" a group exhibition opening in our project space will feature the works of: Anastasia Tumanova, Dan Lam, Ellen Rutt, Jared Tharp, Jillian Evelyn, Marina Capdevilla, Roan Victor. The exhibition is free and open to public. Both exhibitions are on view through April 13th, Wednesday to Saturday, 12-6pm. First Amendment Gallery is located at 1000 Howard St. in Downtown San Francisco. To learn more contact email@example.com.
Spoke Art is pleased to present FLASH, a group exhibition featuring over 30 tattoo artists from around the world bringing their own unique style to the ubiquitous tattoo flash sheet. Building on the rich visual history of tattooing, FLASH brings the contemporary parlor into the gallery.
Working in a wide variety of styles, each work has been created by an actively tattooing artist. Freed from the bounds of the increasing demand for custom and client-driven work, each flash sheet represents the artists’ personal art practice.
As the tattoo community and perceptions of the art form shift with changing tools, revival of traditional methods and styles, and increased visibility, flash and tattooing’s role in contemporary art has also evolved. Bridging between the tattoo shop and the gallery, FLASH gives tattoo collectors and the unadorned a new context to appreciate the work of the contemporary tattoo artist.
Please join us for FLASH, opening Saturday, February 3rd, with an opening night reception from 6pm - 9pm. Mike Davis and Jeery of Everlasting Tattoo, San Francisco will be doing specially priced flash tattoos in the gallery opening day from 2 to 7pm. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, February 24th. For more information or additional images, please email us at SF@spoke-art.com.
Participating artists include:
Albie | Jeremy Ross Armstrong | Holi Barahati | Charline Bataille | Louis Bicycle | Stephanie Brown | Joseph Cassina | Jess Chen | Nomi Chi | Tati Compton | Arielle Coupe | Mike Davis | Henry Hablak | Rachel Hauer | Sera Helen | Jeery Ilkenhon | Ross K Jones | Caleb Kilby | Jess Koala | Rex LC | Matt Leibowitz | Henry Lewis | Noel’le Longhaul | MAB | Andrew Mann | Talia Migliaccio | Curt Montgomery | Lauren Napalitano | Niña Piña | Duke Riley | rat666tatt | Sad Amish Tattooer | Suzani | Meg Tuey | Amanda Wachob | Jan Willem | Winston the Whale | Laura Yahna | Jessica Zed
Creative Director and Designer Olivia D’Orazi creates mesmerizing, psychedelic photographs and projections inspired by the natural beauty that exists all around her in her home state of California. D’Orazi studied fashion merchandising and marketing before studying creative direction in London, where she first debuted her talents in video in the form of what the artist refers to as “liquid light shows.” Her hypnotizing work is a kaleidoscope of color, revealing a depth of beauty in her native flora as well as the American southwest landscape. Join us as we discuss with D’Orazi the aesthetic influence of the 1960s/70s in her work, her experience in the music scene in London, and the artistic motivation that comes from traveling.
Where does your creative talents come from? Have you always considered yourself an artist?
I never considered myself an artist growing up but always thought of myself as a creative person. I had an interest in photography and film from a very young age. I wasn’t the best at traditional art forms such as drawing and painting, which when I was young is what I thought meant you were an artist. It makes me laugh now when I think about it. It wasn’t until I attended the University of the Arts London I discovered my artistic talents and really started to pursue a career as one.
You’ve grown up in California, surrounded by its naturally beautiful landscape. Has this influenced your aesthetic eye?
It has a huge influence on my aesthetic eye and work! I grew up in a small forest town in Northern California in the Sierra Nevada foothills called Paradise. There was never much to do in Paradise, but it is very beautiful and I really appreciate going back there now. I think the fact that it was so secluded forced me to be more creative and seek out adventure. When I was seventeen, I moved to Long Beach to study Fashion Merchandising & Marketing at California State University, Long Beach. Living in Long Beach allowed me to explore Southern California, and now at 27 I am based in the cute area of Echo Park in Los Angeles. The landscapes of Northern and Southern California could not be more different, but I find inspiration in both of them; from photographing the stunning forests & coasts of Big Sur (my favorite spot!) to the cacti & palm trees in the deserts of LA.
Let’s talk about your creative process. How do you achieve such mesmerizing, saturated colors in your work?
A lot of my creative process is a secret! I took a long time developing my own tools and skills while I was studying in London, which are still constantly changing and evolving as I grow as an artist. I shoot all of my photos and films on my iPhone. My whole life I've been big on color and patterns, which clearly has translated in to my work. I want to make the world a more colorful place! My art is how I show my view of the world.
Do you use analogue film or digital tools, or perhaps both, in your photography?
I use a bit of both. Not really analogue film, but certain techniques I use to create are not digital. I tend to merge the two.
You not only work in photography, but in video as well, creating projections and music videos. Can you tell us about your psychedelic films and video projects?
Yes! I love working in video! My dreamy psychedelic aesthetic actually started because of the first video I made. While I was studying in London, I was given the assignment to create a film. It could be of anything. We had to select an image for inspiration and go from there. I am heavily influenced by my love of the countercultures of the 1960’s and 1970’s, which I get from my creative, musical, hippie parents who grew up in these eras in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had wanted to create my own liquid light show like those from the 1960’s. So, I selected an image of Jefferson Airplane performing with a liquid light show for my inspiration and went from there! In 2013, I created my first liquid light show using traditional techniques from the 60's mixed with my own modern twist. From there, my psychedelic, trippy, dreamlike style was born!
As a result of this assignment, I started creating and working on more videos in this aesthetic. At one point I was creating up to 10 films a week! The 2nd psychedelic film I made was for fun to a Night Beats song and they ended up using it as a music video. After I created this film, I purchased my first projector and started creating projections and live visuals for events and bands including Night Beats. The music scene in London was incredibly vibrant at the time and I was fully immersed in it. I was constantly making great connections with musicians, bands and event producers. Lucky for me they liked what I was doing, which led to some great opportunities. Just six months after creating my first Liquid Light Show, I was selected to exhibit my psychedelic films at the world renowned Royal Academy of Art in collaboration with a Dennis Hopper exhibit! It was one of the most surreal and exciting moments of my life, I was only 24 at the time. I also was able to start touring as a live visual artist through my new connections! My first tour was in England and Italy. Touring is one of my favorite things to do as it combines my loves of art, music and travel. It’s a very inspiring adventure! Last year, I worked with the amazing women of Stonefield, a rock band composed of four groovy sisters from Melbourne, Australia. I created a music video for them and then did live visuals for them when they toured LA earlier this year.
You’ve previously lived in London, studying at the University of the Arts. Tell us about this experience. Did your time here alter the development of your work?
Before I attended University of the Arts I did not consider myself an artist. Before I had even finished my BA in Fashion Merchandising I knew I wanted to move to London, as it was my dream city. I applied to UAL and was accepted into their Creative Direction Honours BA program. I moved to London in 2012, three months after graduating from Long Beach. From there, my creativity and art took off! It was like being on a constant vacation with never-ending inspiration right at my fingertips! The people, music, art, style, and culture was and is indescribably cool and exciting. It was my perfect dream world for that period of my life. I was rarely in university, which allowed me the time to completely immerse myself in the city and explore every corner of it as well as travel the rest of the UK and Europe. My friends who were born and raised in London still to this day joke about how I've seen more of London then they ever have or will! My art developed because of London and I'm forever grateful for my time there.
How has your travels changed your personal perspective or the way you approach your artwork?
Traveling is what keeps me sane and fuels my creativity! I can get bored with places pretty easily, as I constantly need new sights and sounds to inspire me and my creations. Like most creatives, inspiration comes and goes, and if I'm seeking it I know I will find it in travel. There really is nothing like traveling and exploring new places. It is so important to see how others live and take yourself out of your comfort zone. From my travels, I’ve learned about myself, developed my art, and met some of my best friends in the whole entire world!
Besides producing work in photography and video art, do you work in any other creative avenues?
My mom and I have an eco-friendly fashion and home décor line together featuring my art as the prints. My mother is an incredibly talented designer and seamstress. We teamed up to create our own line that fuses our design talents together. We started this venture back in 2013 with tote bags while I was still studying in London. When I moved back to California in 2015, we expanded and began designing our womenswear line and our home décor of pillows and canvas wall hangings. It’s super fun to work together! My mom creates all of our sewing patterns and beautifully sews every piece. It's awesome because this collaboration allows me to utilize both of my degrees and creatively work with my mom who is my best friend!
What music do you find particularly inspiring to listen to when creating your art?
It depends on my mood, what I'm working on and the weather (definitely inspired by gloomy, rainy weather)! But I am always listening to music when I create. Usually it ranges from It 60’s rock n roll to 70’s folk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, my absolute faves!) to modern bands like Animal Collective, DIIV, and Phoenix to name a few.
Athen B. Gallery is excited to announce “Hinterland”, a solo exhibition by Troy Lovegates in Downtown Oakland. The opening reception is Saturday, November 11th at 7pm conveniently located from both 12th and 19th St. Bart Stations in Downtown Oakland. To receive a preview of the exhibition contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Troy Lovegates, widely known as "OTHER", is an artist currently based in Oakland, CA. His works are heavily patterned and saturated with hyper color. With a knack for the use of found materials and the unification of wildly disparate elements, both material and aesthetic, Lovegates uses everything from spray paint, oil stick, water color, acrylic, and ink to create works on canvas and paper as well as wooden sculptures.
A self-described "collector of lost souls,” the artist focuses on the figure as story, building motifs through heavily condensed mark making. The figures in his work are sympathetically drawn from equal parts caricature and realistic observation. Lovegates is constantly revising and adapting previous efforts, reintegrating them into current bodies of work that reflect the history of their making. His hand-carved wooden pieces bring his paintings to life as objects. The powerfully weathered people in his imagery are often real, captured through photographs and observation taken while on his travels over the years. Motivated by his own dreams and nightmares, Troy Lovegates works are emotive arrests of an awe-inspiring imagination.
Athen B. Gallery is excited to announce the debut solo exhibition by Brett Flanigan, "Bad Order" opening this Saturday, October 14th at 7pm. Brett Flanigan’s new paintings expand on the tug of war between order and entropy present in much of his previous work. In this series, he dives deeper into a system of games that draw parallels to the way he approaches life.
The gallery is located at 1525 Webster St. conveniently off of both 12th and 19th Bart stations in Downtown Oakland. The artist will be present. Photographs by Athen B. Curator Brock Brake. To receive a preview of the exhibition contact email@example.com!
The impetus for this body of work is "the game". Games are a way for me to navigate a series of decisions through terms that I understand, because they are devised in ways that mirror my life. They can involve pattern, probability, logic, language, representation, or repetition. Some are funny or awkward. Although games can contain rules, they are not rules in themselves. They can accomodate dichotomy and cognitive dissonance. Any agitation or mistake can change the game or set a new game into motion. When a game can no longer be played, the information gained can be used to formulate a new game, and the process continues. It is a reductive process, which is repeated until I have created something that I no longer understand.
Brett Flanigan was born in Great Falls, MT, and holds a degree in Biology from the University of California. He has lived and has lived and worked in Oakland, CA since 2009. He works primarily in painting, sculpture, and public art. His works are often driven by processes influenced by his science and mathematics background. Since 2010 his work has been exhibited in San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, Portland, Atlanta and Chicago, as well as internationally in Hamburg, Germany and Warsaw, Poland. Flanigan has also completed a number of public artworks, including a mural at the Museum of the University of Nevada, Reno, and a large scale public sculpture in downtown Oakland.
Heather Day grew up in Hawaii and along the east coast of the United States, finally moving to San Francisco after graduating from Maryland Institute College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and art history. Her background in travel and culture encouraged her to see more of the world, where she discovered a connection to nature—her main source of inspiration.
Day’s art is a form of visual storytelling interested in conveying moments of interactions. She works primarily with paint and non-traditional materials, and is known for her murals. The philosophy that everything is a product of an experience frames each work, conveying stories of movement and ideas of color through seams,lines, and layers.
Day is currently preparing work for her solo show with Athen B Gallery in San Francisco this coming fall 2017. Recent group exhibitions include The Affordable Art Fair in New York City, Hashimoto Gallery in San Francisco, and Athen B. Gallery in Oakland. She is currently working on murals around the Bay area.
(Above photograph by Margaret Austin)
We are incredibly inspired by your process. You bring so much energy and poetry into making your paintings. Tell us about how you get in the right mindset for making art and what inspires you.
To be honest, I think this is something that varies by the week. Oftentimes I need a break from the studio and don’t want to think about picking up a paintbrush; other days I can paint for 8 to 9 hours a day, six days a week. There seems to be a common misconception about artists being perpetually inspired. Rather, we have to seek it out and not wait for it to show up like a lightning bolt from the sky. Just as Chuck Close says, “Inspiration is for amateurs--the rest of us show up and get to work.” To paint, I need to get into a “flow state.” This state is the result of a mass of images, thoughts and feelings joining together and cracking us into action. For me, it’s the moment in the studio when the music stops and I don’t even notice because I’m absorbed in painting. I like to backtrack after a flow state starts and figure out what triggered it. Sometimes it’s going for a hike outside the city, or a particular chord in a song, a cloudy day or a documentary. The order in which we feed our brains certain images or ideas creates a domino effect, and that is what causes the state.
What are a few of your favorite travel experiences so far?
The most rewarding trip I’ve ever taken was a solo road trip to the Canadian Rockies. I went last fall, right around the time I started dating my now boyfriend. I reflected on the transitions happening in my life and career. I thought about myself as an artist and human while I camped in my car and stayed in an off-the-grid cabin in the town of Golden, B.C. Each morning I woke up, hiked and painted. I rose with the sun and went to bed when it set. There’s something about traveling in nature that makes me fully aware of the sun and present moment.
How do you manage to travel and paint? Do you have a special kit you take with you?
I have a pretty good system for painting on the road. I sleep on one side of my hatchback car and keep supplies on the other. I always travel with a large paper portfolio, a backpack with pastels, markers and sketchbooks and a box that I keep in the car to hold paints and jugs of water. While I’m on the road I’ll scout out good places to stop and paint. Sometimes I’ll use my car as an easel, or I’ll use campsite tables or just the ground.
What would you say has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
I left my day job a little over three years ago and ever since I’ve been moving at light speed. I felt excited during the first year when I could pay my rent and student loans with sales from my paintings. But even more exciting was the encouragement from the community in San Francisco and the one I found on social media. They believed in what I was doing, which blew me away.
What inspired your paintings for the exhibition at Athen B. Gallery?
My upcoming show with Athen B. is called Conversations and Color. It evolved from a year-long project of observing the connection between conversation, lines, emotion and hue. To some, conversation and color have nothing in common. But to me, they couldn’t be more connected.
Conversations are interaction and exchanges, not only between people but between nature and human. Observing the rhythm of a tide and the rhythm of a city—it all breaks down into line, texture, color and constant reactions. Conversations are merely reactions to this rhythm. There are also the conversations that live within us. Our own voices and those of others affect the way we think and go about our day. These conversations become ideas and memories that grow and evolve—or dissolve. At the center of everything is color. It’s pure emotion, movement and response. It’s the means to control energy and direct the eye. Each new painting is me exploring and delving deeper. With each piece, I’m in a new place—one only seen through my language of dynamic motion.
Give a few emerging artists a piece of advice for getting more recognition and advancing their career.
Take a step back and try to look at your current work with more perspective. Dissect all aspects of both your practice as an artist and as a business. What are you good at and what needs work? As a whole, artists need to get organized. Naturally being an artist, your work is the most important aspect, as it should be. But how do you make sure your hard work gets seen? It’s a balance. Use social media to support your work and on the flip side, support your community. For everything you expect from you community, I think you should give.
What's next for you? What do you hope to accomplish and look forward to as an artist?
The last three years have been so much about balancing painting and getting my work out into the world. Now that I’m at a stable place, I want to step back and dive deeper into my work. I want to be a better painter and think wholeheartedly about experiences. I want abstraction to be more approachable. That means leaving the canvas and jumping into new mediums that create experiences for all of the senses.
Peter Adamyan is a self-taught artist based in Oakland, CA. His work explores humanity’s lost connection with the natural world. He explores how brand identity has replaced cultural identity and what has changed and remained the same between contemporary society and early human civilizations. Creating a new iconography, based on the refuse of rampant modern day consumerism, Adamyan wishes to make us question what makes us human, and what do we really need to feel human.
These are paintings for a lack of a better word as they incorporate found wood, and materials reflective of the subject matter, from VHS and cassette tapes to spray cans, water bottles and even the soles of shoes. The raw materials in these works are transformed from the waste of a throw away society, creating decorative motifs intended to elevate them from their former lives as garbage into an object of beauty.
These paintings of shamans, goddesses, chiefs and others are a gateway into a society rising up from the garbage of modern man. They beg many questions of the viewer. What does it mean to be human? To be civilized? To be a steward of the planet we rely on for our own survival? What is it that we truly hold sacred, and why?
b. 1989 Long Beach, CA
Lives and works in Oakland, CA
My current body of work flirts with the feelings that arise from testing the absoluteness of everyday life with the strict, rigid fragments found in architecture and manufactured spaces. Utilizing skewed perspectives of space and shape collapsed into flat two-dimensional planes, I create surreal geometric landscapes and structures. Inspired by ideas of cultural reflection and developed by questioning the validity of memory, my work often depicts worlds I've created in response to social introspection and challenging my own perceptions of reality. This process involves taking imagery from the physical world and reducing them to rudimental forms that then populate fragmented universes compiled by perspectival fallacies and tied together by harmonious color composition. The viewer is compelled to understand the space, question its dimensionality, dive inside and walk around.
Thursday, September 28th is the opening reception of "Natural Plain" a group exhibition coming to First Amendment Gallery in Downtown San Francisco. The exhibition will feature the works of : Aeron Roemer - Conor Kolk - Ian Ferguson - Jared Duncan Tharp - Lenworth Joonbug McIntosh - Luke Pelletier - Mando Marie - Nelio - Oliver Hawk - Saddo - Samual Weinberg - Scott Albrecht.
To learn more about available works contact firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to lear more about each of the artists below.
Photos courtesy of Brock Brake
Bio - Aeron Roemer grew up in Salt Lake City and graduated from the University of Utah in 2013 with a BFA in Art Education. Aeron’s work is influenced by their lifestyle which includes a decade long connection with radical/punk/DIY spaces and travel. Elements of their travel experiences through the Western U.S.—which includes riding freight trains, hitchhiking, and embarking on other forms of low-budget movement—are a major influence in Aeron’s current work, both conceptually and aesthetically. Many of the places shown are based on the landscapes of California, Utah, and Nevada as well as more specific locations such as the Bay Area or northern California's weed farms.
Artist Statement - Aeron's current work is based on representing an Extraterritory - that is, a space outside the bound of law and state jurisdiction. The images Aeron paints are a sort of documentary painting of a place inhabited by friends and associates that live there. This world that involves continual transformations; finding a sort of home on shifting ground, and making transience into a kind of security. Although Aeron's work highlights a specific group, environmental and economics shifts necessitate more of this kind of living for many people.
Artist Statement - Rather than planning my pieces in advance, I allow dreamscapes to take form as I layer patterns and symbols onto each other. In this way, the characters and scenes of my artwork come alive as if by their own volition, retaining in the process, the many separate parts that make up the whole. My work thereby represents the infinitely multifaceted realms of the imagination and the often disjointed parts that are ever-present beneath the surface of anything that appears complete.
Bio - Conor Kolk creates sculptures and paintings that bring to life pleasant dreams or strange nightmares. His sculptures are composed of layered woodwork with repeating geometric shapes, forming creatures and beings from unwritten mythology. Kolk has a high school level of education and learned most of his artistic skills through life experience. He was originally born in Fremont, CA, and now lives in New Orleans, LA- where he is an active member of the artist and punk rock communities.
Bio - Ian Ferguson (Hydeon) is a contemporary artist, illustrator, and designer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Born in 1985, originally from San Diego, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of California – San Diego in 2006.
Artist Statement - Inspired by life experiences and consciousness, his thoughtfully detailed illustrative style evokes a sense of contemplative meaning in each piece. Using his characters and subjects as conduits for storytelling, Ferguson is able to deploy his thoughts and ideas through them. The aesthetics of his works, are often inspired by ancient historical civilizations, European Renaissance, Victorian Era, and the 1800’s American Civil War Era. He has worked with clients such as The Oscar Niemeyer Museum (Brazil), The World Trade Center (NYC), Converse, Red Bull, Flavor Paper, PBR, 1 9 9 4 ., The Very Warm, and Brick & Cotton. His work has been in publications such as VICE Media, Forbes Magazine, Hyperallergic, Hi Fructose Magazine, Juxtapoz Magazine, Tape OP Magazine, Time Out Chicago, and more. Ferguson has exhibited his work in cities throughout the United States as well as internationally in cities such as Paris, Denmark, Oslo, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, and Curitiba.
The attention to detail and meticulous line work in his drawings reflects his patience and passion for his work. He often uses Indian ink, acrylic paint/markers, and gouache to create his drawings, paintings, and murals. Ferguson’s dream-like pieces harbor a vivid post folk art/graphic surrealist presentation emphasizing consciousness through the life experience.
Jared Duncan Tharp
Bio - I'm originally from Stockton California, currently teaching and making art in Sacramento California. My work consists of paintings, drawings, murals, and immersive art installations.
Artist Statement - Using cartoon-style iconography I create paintings that convey a variety of themes and narratives. My aim isn't to make an obvious message come across in each project, but to give hints to the viewer as a way to stimulate their own personal response.
Bio - Joonbug works full-time as a visual creative, and is now based in Oakland, Ca—by way of Dallas, Tx. Joonbug has carefully cultivated his skills for illustration, painting, and graphic design over the years. His classic wit and hand-styled approach coupled with a digital polish, gives his work soul and character.
Artist Statement - Lenworth McIntosh is a Jamaican-born artist now living in Oakland. His character, Man Wearing Hat, personifies the multiple complexities of the black man’s both internal and external plight, and how he navigates through social norms and systemic oppression. His work features renditions of said character, stemming from personal experiences and cyclical historic happenings.
Bio - Luke Pelletier grew up in western North Carolina. He graduated with a BFA in fine art from SAIC in 2015. Living in a tourist town for much of his life, he has been heavily influenced by seasonal economies, as well as the multi-level relationships, dependence and resentment, between tourists and locals.
Artist Statement - Much of Luke’s art blurs the lines between celebrating and condemning a culture that agrees to be taken advantage of while it takes advantage of others. His art is filled with personal anecdotes, dark humor, dualities, contradictions, repetition, and scenes of paradise that are simultaneously pristine and decaying. Luke Pelletier uses photography, painting, sculpture, social practice, writing, and craft to riff on his moral dilemmas with romance, objectification, labor, competition, tourist culture, capitalism, addiction, free will, masculinity, fun, and Americana.
Bio / Artist Statement - Mando Marie is an American artist and painter living in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She uses nostalgia as a tool to engage an audience. The work has a remarkable ability to give nearly any viewer the ‘I know that from somewhere’ feeling, regardless of age or background. Mando’s work subtly straddles a line between comforting and spooky. Often compared to Golden Book era illustrators like Eloise Wilken, and fine art outsider Henry Darger, her use of children at the threshold of adulthood relays both innocence and impending change. Mando uses stencils to create her signature twin imagery. As stencilism has grown in importance in contemporary art, primarily through the popularity of artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy, Mando’s work is set apart by her vast visual library of hand drawn imagery, and her painterly attention to the work. Unlike other artist using stencils as an artistic tool, Mando’s work goes well beyond the overtly sexual, easily political or punchline imagery of most of her Street Art peers. Instagram @seeyouthroughit
Bio - Romanian born contemporary artist Saddo, currently based in Bucharest, has a labile way with style, techniques and subjects. He juggles between paintings on canvas for galleries, large scale murals and commissioned illustrations for different projects and brands. His work mixes his taste for painters like Rousseau, Bosch, Walton Ford, Matisse, Iranian miniatures or Asian carpets, with his street art formation, visible in his love of contemporary illustration, decorative arts, hip hop, urban culture. He’s been part of numerous group shows all over the world, he’s had two solo shows, in Viana do Castelo ( Portugal ) and Berlin ( Germany ), collaborated with many brands and agencies from Romania and abroad, and has painted murals in Germany, Romania, Canada, Bosnia, Thailand, Morocco, Portugal, Israel.
Artist Statement -His subjects range from surrealist imagery, day of the dead like iconography, explorations on death in different myths and religions, to more light stuff like portraits of rappers, flowers, intricate patterns of birds and plants - and he usually samples many different details, compositions, themes, from all the paintings, illustrations, carpets he likes, and incorporates them in his own complex iconography.
The “Stories of Violence” series dates back from the beginning of 2016, and it was made for a show that was part of the Bukruk Street Art Festival. The pieces inspired by naturalistic illustrations of animals and Islamic miniatures, deal with themes such the cycle of death and violence, the balance of nature, and are born from an earlier work titled “The Circle of Death”, part of Saddo’s first solo show, in Viana do Castelo (Portugal), titled “Rise of the Bird People”
Bio - Scott Albrecht was born in 1983 in New Brunswick, NJ, and raised in Bethlehem Township, NJ. In 2003, he received a degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Philadelphia. Scott is currently based in Brooklyn, NY and a member of The Gowanus Studio Space. His work incorporates elements of woodworking, hand-drawn typography, geometric collage using vintage printed ephemera and found objects and has been published and exhibited both domestically and internationally.
Artist Statement - The work I create is inspired by the day-to-day that happens around me — from the undeniably larger events, down to the smaller ones that we regularly interact with but almost always ignore. I draw inspiration from these moments, and use my work as a way to highlight these experiences and through the process, reflect on what they have to offer. Because of this, I often see my process and final works as though I’m creating reminders or artifacts for myself of these ideas and situations, and have come to use this perspective as a guide in my work — to create something worth being reminded of.
Bio - Samual Weinberg’s paintings depict strange, uncertain narratives where relationships are tentative and the Pink Man runs wild. In this world, there’s a popular television drama called, “The Hand” (Soap Opera), there’s a man who’s slowly turning green, there are Sad Trippy Smileys which signify god knows what, and no one knows who anyone else is anymore because it seems that everyone has masks of everyone else.
Weinberg most recently discovered that Young Pink Men have a coming of age ceremony at age thirteen called “Pool Fights” -kind of like a Bar/Bat Mitzvah- where, you guessed it, they fight at a pool; as well as probably his biggest discovery about the Pink Men yet, namely that he didn’t invent them. In the last year, Iterations of and obsessions with the Pink Man have been found all over Japan dating back to 1960. Weinberg received this news earlier this year along with eight Japanese paintings/drawings of the Pink Man from an enigmatic Italian man named Dr. Bruno Federigo.
Weinberg recently had solo shows at Sadie Halie Projects in Minneapolis, Fogstand Gallery in Taiwan, and Thierry Goldberg Gallery’s Project Room in New York City. In 2015/16 he was awarded a Jerome Fellowship, which culminated in a fellowship show at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and is a 2017 recipient of a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin–Stout and currently lives and works in St. Paul, MN.
The ongoing series The Labor of Her Body // The Work of Her Hands explores the philosophy of work and examines the difference between task and labor. I am looking at this in a literal sense (images of sheep shearers) as well as through a more abstract, often feminist lens. I explore the universality of repetitive task through image repetition and mirror images making the composition an abstracted reflection of the theme. Identically uniformed, workers’ hands move in sync, producing consistent, precise outcomes. In some cases, through color and shape, I evoke the female sensibility as applied to manual labor and traditionally masculine industries. Whether shearing sheep, breaking down duck or marching into war, uniformity is essential. Although the success of a worker's effort is defined by its precision and invariability, the spirit and desires of the worker remains unique.
I see my native Bay Area strung between the ubiquitous technology sector and a revived interest in handwork. In the future, might “work” be performed only by machines while humans perform “labor” as a form of leisure? Will craftsmanship be valued only for its aesthetic qualities and not for its usefulness? These are questions that I want my work to ask and for the viewer to engage in answering.
This selection of paintings also focuses on my growing awareness of the silent, unacknowledged, often incidental work that I’ve experienced and also witnessed the women in my life do, constantly. There is a female sense of urgency, of responsibility, of bondage that insists we maintain momentum and forward pressure no matter the context. There is no name for it, small concrete evidence of it. However, there is joy, ease, playfulness and efficiency that comes from women working together. By fostering instead of suppressing these instinctual approaches, in every facet of life, we can begin to rebuild the social construct that is currently bisected by a gender-normative chasm.
I use my painting to realize the creative potential of the unconscious mind. My drawings act as a filter between my eye and my subconscious, bridging the gap between what I take in visually and what I later put down on the canvas. I simplify shape and form in an attempt for the viewer to, on one level, acknowledge the subject or idea that I am exploring but on another level the simplification adds importance to composition, plane, color and mood.
Isis is influenced by the wind and the salt and the craggy shores of her native Northern California coast, while being inspired too by the urban angles of the cities in which she has lived. Isis studied visual arts and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, NY and printmaking at Fondazione Il Bisonte in Florence, Italy. Isis is currently a Young Artist Fellow at Gallery Route One, Pt. Reyes Station, CA and a Resident Artist at The Midway Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Isis has exhibited locally and internationally, including at Vorres Gallery, San Francisco, Sandra Lee Gallery, San Francisco, Gallery Route One, Pt. Reyes Station, Sagan Piechota Architecture, San Francisco, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, and at Galleri Oxholm, Copenhagen, DK. Isis has had curatorial experience at The Midway Gallery, San Francisco.
Tell us a little bit about your journey. When did you decide to become an artist?
My father is a painter and my mother was a photographer and fiber artist. In our family, art was never an extracurricular-- it was the fabric of our lives. To not be making, in some capacity, was never an option. That said, it was such an integral part of my life that my initial instinct when entering Sarah Lawrence College in 2005 was to pursue other subjects, most of all, creative writing. I did study painting while in school and lived in Florence, Italy for a year studying printmaking at Fondazione il Bisonte but it wasn’t until I moved home to the Bay Area several years after graduating that my other primary pursuits (writing and butchery) were absorbed into the sponge of my painting practice. While those things will always be a part of my identity and a vital aspect of my daily life and art practice, when I paint I feel an urgency and satisfaction that is, as of yet, unmatched.
What inspired your current body of work?
For the past five years I have been exploring task and labor; the physical, through the lens of work and industry; and the emotional, through interpersonal relationships and incidental gender dynamics. I often use mirror imagery and repetition to evoke the sensation of repetitive task. These interests are framed by a strong connection to my natural environment and to an affinity for humor, color and narrative.
In this work, I respond to the constant, unacknowledged, often incidental work of women. There is a desperation, a female sense of urgency, of responsibility that, despite our bondage, we maintain momentum and forward pressure. There is no label for it, small conscious evidence of it. However, there is joy, ease, playfulness and efficiency derived from women in unity. By fostering instead of suppressing these instincts, we may rebuild the social construct bisected by a gender-normative chasm.
Additionally, I see my native Bay Area strung between the ubiquitous technology sector and a revived interest in handwork. In the future, might “work” be performed only by machines while humans perform “labor” as a form of leisure? Will craftsmanship be valued only for its aesthetics, not for its usefulness?
Where do the images of workers in your paintings come from? Do you collect references or paint from your imagination?
In 2011 I began working at a butcher shop and charcuterie here in San Francisco. This ignited my first interest in task and labor, particularly as a woman working in such a male dominated industry. Amazingly, most of my coworkers at the butcher shop at that time were also women. This was highly unusual. This was when I first became fascinated with repetition- two workers standing side by side breaking down duck. They are in uniform, hands moving in synch. To do the task successfully their outcomes must also be uniform, each thigh perfectly shaped, each breast neatly trimmed. Yet the workers’ intentions remain unique- one hopes to eventually open her own butcher shop, another leaves after a long shift to bike to her painting studio to imbue her canvas with the experience of the day. This juxtaposition between the individuality of each person and the uniformity of task fascinated me. (See Shearers III)
As the years went by I found myself running the shop- co-managing with two other incredible women. I began to compare our communication and management styles with the way I collaborated and managed with male colleagues. Around 2015 the subjects in my paintings moved away from the direct depictions of task and labor (ie breaking down duck, shearing sheep) and into the labor implicit in gender and relationship dynamics. This was a period when things were shifting in my personal life. There were adjustments in my relationship of 10 years, and my mother’s death was advancing. Systematic and almost invisible gender-normative behaviors began to make themselves more visible to me as I felt the consistency of my world begin to break apart and reform. Despite my best efforts at gender blindness, I began to see the women in my life as operating on an entirely different plane than the men. It was as though men passed through life atop the forest canopy while we women scurried about on its floor, storing nuts, tending roots, ensuring the ecology of the forest. While there is an absurdity to this scene that lends itself to the humor in my work, my paintings during this period took on an indignant tone. (See High Noon in the Wifery II) Over the last couple of years though, that indignation has evolved into a clearer sense of how to harness the power of a typically “female” approach. While I’ve always taken a lighthearted approach to my work but my recent paintings have been vibrant, lush and fertile and a new and opulent way. (See Bury the Body II, diggers)
My immediate source material is typically an amalgamation of my own photos, old books and magazines and plenty of time down the Google Image rabbit hole. However, I surround myself with stimuli. My living space in Oakland (a built out warehouse), my painting studio in SF (a former brewery), and my childhood home on the coast (built as a boarding house when the railroad went through in the early 1900’s) are full of collections; textile, pottery, toys, books, fossils, seed pods etc. I’ve been called a bit of a hoarder but one never knows when that particular square of embossed foil saved from a Danish chocolate, whose taste has long been forgotten, will be reincarnated as the texture on a figure’s painted headdress or the stones along the edge of a painted road.
What do you hope to convey to the viewers? Are there any new ideas or lessons you hope they walk away with after seeing your work?
The internal work I do as I develop a series (as discussed in the previous response) isn’t necessarily meant to be perfectly conveyed to the viewer. I am currently obsessed with the tactile nature of my paint and other materials and the way that the effects of the piece change depending on how I’ve manipulated the medium. Composition, color and texture excite me and have a lot to do, for me, with the success of a piece. In my most recent work I’ve been combining India ink with oils (on the larger pieces, either on canvas or wood) or with gouache and colored pencil (for smaller works on paper). I love that the ink can exhibit a diverse range of density while providing a true, intense black. Finishing a piece with oil stick chalk pastel or colored pencil adds a final layer of texture so that I can go, for instance, from watery ink to opaque oils to scumbling, over the course of a single painting. My subject matter and materials are symbiotic - one is a necessary vehicle for the other. Pleasure and humor are also very important for me. Even if there is darkness to the piece or a certain discomfort, the viewer is open to these thorns because of the painting’s inherent visual satisfaction. Of course I hope to provoke something in my viewers but I also want to delight. I also like the incongruity of pairing serious subject matter with lively colors and improbable titles. This allows for three separate access points for the viewer and the interpretations are limitless.
What interests you the most in the painting process?
I never know why I set out to make a painting, at inception, my questions are not yet formulated, my intent is nebulous. As I work, I find answers. These answers lead to new questions and so on forever. Each piece is in dialogue with the work that came before, with those pieces that I am working on simultaneously, and with all the paintings that I will make in the future. I typically work on three or more oil paintings at a time, over the course of several months, with a series of ink and gouache works on paper popping up like wildflowers along the way. These are moments of meditation where the stakes feel low and I can take risks and get through blocks. I might make an impulsive parrot green mark along the edge of a ochre tree trunk in one of my ink on paper pieces and suddenly know just what my larger oil painting has been asking for. Slowly, each painting asks for less and less until eventually, making my rounds, I will bypass a piece all together. After a week or so I can be sure that the painting is self-sufficient and I consider my part to be complete. I can trust the painting to make its own way in the world.
Name a few of your favorite artists and influences.
As a child spent hours dividing my time between painstakingly copying the work of renaissance masters such as Michelangelo and Botticelli and the whimsical illustrations of Beatrix Potter and Jill Barklem while being overseen by shelves full of books on modernist painting, black and white photography and fiber/textile art. I think that this tableau does much to illustrate my early influences. Of course my parents’ work too has always been hugely influential, especially when it comes to color and composition. Growing up, my mother read aloud to me every night and for many hours during the day as I drew or painted. Even after I moved away for college she would send me her own recorded books on tape for me to listen to in the studio. I’m sure that this has much to do with the narrative elements in my work.
Being from the Bay Area, Richard Diebenkorn was the first painter to speak the language of place to me in my own tongue. Carl Larsen’s narrative mastery resonated with my illustrative urges. Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, R.B. Kitaj and Francis Bacon have all been part of artistic conversations to which I feel my own work responds.
As for contemporary working artists, I am very excited by Dasha Shishkin, Peter Doig, Adam Lee, and Natalie Frank right now.
How do you replenish your creativity?
I get a lot of inspiration from outside the studio/gallery world so when I’m feeling stuck it is important to examine my studio to life ratio. Sometimes all I need is to grant myself time doing other things that I love such as going to the farmers market and making a special meal or allowing myself time to read the New Yorker cover to cover. This allows me to miss being in the studio and makes space for ideas to pile up. Then I can’t wait to get back into gear. I also cherish the feedback and dialogue I have with friends who keep regular creative practices. A close friend from college and subsequent house and studio-mate here in sf now lives and paints in New York City. We’ll often exchange photos and ideas and trade feedback on how our work is going. There are several other people in my life, many of whom are women, who serve this role. Not all of these people are artists in the traditional sense. I have some writers, a couple musicians, some who work in design in building and in food. it’s fascinating that in any dedicated creative work the process is often reduced to similar blocks and surges. When I am close to people gaining satisfaction and success from something they love, I feel stimulated and buoyed, proud and driven. This shared momentum, support and joy is something that I hope my paintings contain.