Thursday, May 27, 2010

Are the fish swimming upstream or downstream?

For a few weeks I have enjoyed seeing the stenciled fish near the MUNI stop on Haight at Filmore. Then today I noticed more fish swimming down Filmore in the direction of Market. This photo was taken on Filmore in front of Upper Playground. Where are they going?

Zoltron and his Zombies are back!

Any bets as to who is going to win out on this one? Here are some photos as of this morning of that ever changing construction wall at 580 Valencia St.

There are also three new additions. Nice Homeland Security statement... hmm... anyone think that these are official government approved? At any rate, official or not, they are wonderfully drafted images, worth checking out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

”Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway .” -- Eleanor Roosevelt

It is nice to paint at home, and in many ways is my preference, but as an artist it’s sometimes important to get out of your personal space; it can get isolating and all too consuming.

Point being when my partner said to me; “Honey, isn’t it easier to paint little canvases?” I knew it was time to get a painting space. The paintings were stacking up; the mess was in our home space.

Like many artists, I struggle to keep my studio. It is financially draining. The advantages are many. Should I go through the short list? Well, having a “room of one’s own” (Virginia Woolf) allows for a certain creative advantage.

You have a space that is yours, your creative space, which is what you do there. That is what you go there for. It’s your space and your paints are where you know they are, your canvas is ready. Your routine is waiting. You go when you don’t feel like going because you need to go. So you paint, you doodle, or you find an excuse to hang out at the local café to talk about what you should be painting, but you create.

My studio is on shared floor with other artists in a building located in the Media Gulch section of the Mission. We are lucky as so many of the studio spaces in San Francisco are quite large and crowded. Although we all have private studios, we often gather in the kitchen or each other’s studios to share what we are working on/ what’s going on show wise/ what’s the word on the street and the proverbial artist meltdowns. It’s rewarding to share and sometimes comical to compare what we all go through in the process.

Last week, artist Kirsten Tradowsky ( was hanging out and was kind enough to give me a pretty intensive critique on the painting that I am working on, Bi-Rite Market. Was such a help, she pointed out things that I was aware of, but had not come to the surface for me. I went back to the canvas, made changes and was able to move forward. She gave me some real insight around the difference of my drawings vs. my paintings. (BTW, I love her work, so much that I am proud to say that I bought one of her paintings… it’s of theater chairs and so fits into the space that I live in, being a converted loft movie theater from the 1920’s.) The benefit of working in a community, trading off - helping each other through our meltdowns.

Kirsten’s painting in my home below

Continuing to work on the painting of the Bi-Rite market, taking my time to reflect my love for this oasis. I would say that I am about 70% done… now begins the real work around finishing the painting. I am at the place where I need to back off and just take a look before doing the finishing work (this is where it is a plus to paint from home).

Taking a break, I went back into the Lower Haight Roof View painting. I had said it was done, but it wasn’t. The painting had been layered in with the intention of a fog view. Then that pesky heat wave hit. I just could not get into painting fog. I know it’s not done, so back to it.

Interesting. I have learned and have done a lot of introspective from my conversation with Kirsten. My experimentation and work has been focused on color, and now I think it’s time to pull together color and line and drawing to move forward in my creative goal.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The San Francisco hills are alive!

Well, maybe not with the Sound of Music but with Banksy fever that’s for sure!

What an exciting couple of weeks for fans of great street art. Banksy ( was in town and brought out some of the best, like Zoltron (

Great new stencil art sightings all over town, but mostly in the Mission/ Valencia Street area. But you had to scramble to see them because unfortunately they were defaced and painted over as fast as they went up.

Point in fact; Saturday I walked by the progression of the Zoltron’s on Valencia (on construction plywood, with permission of owner) and Sunday, they were covered over with movie advertisements (without permission). Gone in one day. What a statement this is about our culture, or lack there of. Banksy’s art has lasted for years in Europe. Here, his work and Zoltron’s is almost immediately defaced. Sad. This is a progression of modern street art, not gang tagging. It’s a judgment call, yes a fine line, but whether you agree or disagree, it certainly is interesting to think about. I for one believe it enhances the public art space in the city, if done in those neighborhoods that embrace the avant garde.

“Bus stops are far more interesting and useful places to have art than in museums. Graffiti has more chance of meaning something or changing stuff than anything indoors. Graffiti has been used to start revolutions; stop wars, and generally is the voice of people who aren’t listened to. Graffiti is one of those few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make somebody smile while they’re having a piss.” Bansky

In fact, it has felt like a mini public “art” renaissance. Just this week new grates are being installed on Valencia Street for the new trees (construction is still a mess, but it’s going to be great with Boulevard style sidewalks – hope we get lots of sidewalk cafes and new galleries).

And just a couple of others along the way.... Odd Fello in the Dubose Triangle/ Lower Haight and the bike in Hayes Valley.

Busy, good kind of busy… Friday April 23 was opening reception of the Mission United Artists Spring Open Studios, then following Friday, was opening reception at the Artist Xchange Gallery. It was Miss Taxie Cab-ernet’s first opening, and as The 202 Studio Pup, she took her job of “meet and greet” quite seriously. She was not alone, this being San Francisco, other pups were there to give her pleanty of conversation (and, well, since Taxie has recently discovered her ‘big voice”, there was a bit of conversation). I want to thank friends, family and the dog for joining me, had a great time.

I think Taxie must have cracked a joke? Sara, Anne and Taxie in 1st photo. 2nd photo looking into gallery with my paintings showing. 3rd photo Isik checking it out. 4th photo Taxie in “heavy, what is life, what is art” discussion with other dog.

Then on Sunday the opening reception at STUDIO Gallery.

Phew... now back to painting!