Saturday, July 15, 2017

time + color + memory

Memory is a funny thing — when hearing a piece of music or getting the whiff of a smell can instantly transport you to back to another time and place in your life.  We have all experienced it – and as we get older, the opportunities for these moments of sensory recall increase.  What about color?  Can a certain color, or more precisely a shade of a certain color, take you back?  It happens to me – these moments of color recall.  When I see a 1970s blue – you know, that true blue that is not so common today. I never drove black or silver cars.  My vehicles were shades of orange and even purple.  The modern architecture we now call brutalist is the cold gray of formed concrete associated with my formal education.  Whenever I see that sad salmon color, I think of subway stations in Stockholm or wallpaper in Poland.  I landed in San Francisco in 1990 – a city full of cafés with sponge painted walls (I confess even my kitchen succumbed to the trend for a few years).  My local café never repainted for over 20 years.  Bean There’s walls felt historic, though sadly the café was recently brought to end by a greedy landlord.  The nightclub black, was it what we wore or the matte black paint that covered every surface back then?  And when you end up working for an interior designer you learn they only have one color in the box.  At least it wasn’t beige or taupe — I worked in a world of tasteful brown — just lots and lots of brown.

This week I have expressed those colors in a new series of ATCs that also, unintentionally, are a little color autobiography.  They are now off in the mail. 

My Happy 20th Anniversary!

Leidesdorff Street - Time Travel Photos Series -mixed media, photo collage on board, 14"x11", 2016
For seven long years I worked in the shadow of the Pyramid.  It amazes me to think that 20 years ago today – July 15. 1997 – I gave up a full time job — I have not had another one.  My focus has been pursuing my art ever since.  Yes, I have worked part-time, still do, and there have been some lean times and struggles.  But, I am still working as an artist – well, that is my true full time job.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Revelations at the de Young



 I was in Golden Gate Park the other day and decided to pop in for a look.  The de Young, like so many art museums nowadays, feels their mission is to have mega-hyped up blockbuster shows as way to earn revenue and draw in the crowds.  Currently they have installed a massive Haight Street gift shop for the Summer of Love.  But that does not interest me.  I was just planning on a wander into the permanent collection.  Instead I found a fantastic, big show that is given scant attention by the museum’s PR-machine.  I often find that the shows to see, at any museum, are the under-promoted ones that, I guess, museums assume have less appeal. 
Upon entering the museum the first thing you encounter is Leonardo Drew’s huge installation Number 197.  A floor to ceiling (very high ceiling) grid of his assemblages fill the lobby it what also could be called a maximalist collage.  
Where the permanent collection begins on the first floor, a major rearrange has happened and a new show titled Revelations: Art from the African American South has taken over the better part of the exhibition space on the floor.  The exhibition (see link for details) includes 62 newly acquired works by contemporary African American artists from the U.S. South.  I am always happy to see more of the quilts from Gee’s Bend and then explored galleries of sculpture including Lonnie Holley’s Him and Her Hold the Root an assemblage including his-and-hers rocking chairs exploring family, memory and loss.  Ralph Griffin’s sculptures, including Panama Jack (shown here), is one of his just slightly frightening pieces.  I really like them.  
The pieces are part of the permanent collection and the current show is up to April 2018 – giving many opportunities to pop in again when I am in Golden Gate Park.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Never Waste Paint!


I work in acrylics and once they are dry — they are dry.  My palette is a shallow plastic box with a tight fitting top.  A spritz of water and sealing up the lid usually will keep the paints for a day or so.  But sometimes when I reach a stopping point, I know some paint might go to waste.  This is when an artist should reach for a piece of paper and work fast before making dinner.  This example (9”x7”) was painted the other day from a springtime photo of the Inverness Ridge Trail at Point Reyes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Streets of San Francisco

This week’s batch of mail art heading to the post office includes a new series of ten San Francisco streetscapes – collages made with assorted San Francisco ephemera from my collage box — including old tickets, MUNI transfers and a reproduced Sanborn Map of Nob Hill.

Lights on at the Conservatory of Flowers







I am usually not a big fan of gimmicky light shows, but Obscura Digital’s Summer of Love installation at San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers is a winner.  I avoided last week’s crowded opening with concert and mob.  Last night we walked down to Golden Gate Park where it was calm and quiet with just handful of people enjoying the show.

It is happening every night until October 21, 2017 and worth checking out.

Monday, June 26, 2017

June Mail Box

It’s been a busy couple of months and some great mail art has been arriving and piling up.  These are just some of the artists who have sent work to brighten my P.O. box the last few months:
  1. Katerina Nikoltsou
  2. Rebecca Guyver
  3. Meral Ağar
  4. Gregg Biggs
  5. R.F. Côté
  6. MIM
  7. Madame Butterfly Valerian
  8. Eduardo Cardoso
  9. Andrea Grimes
  10. Marina Salmaso