Seeing the Man in the Moon

liz@RG09Liz Mamorsky’s work is a trip.  Living through the late 60’s and early 70’s, I know a trip when I see one.  I distinctly remember sitting on my bed, watching a montage of Liz Mamorsky paintings play out on the cinder block walls of my dorm room in 1971.  Well, maybe not distinctly.  By that time, Liz had relocated from the East Coast.  She graduated from Bennington in Vermont; spend time in the Village in New York City; then, made her way to San Francisco where the counter-cultural revolution was in full force.  Liz has a wondeful studio just south of Market off of 9th Street.  We spent an afternoon chatting about shared history.  Not surprisingly, when I pointed out the similarities between the light shows of the 60’s and some of her work, Liz noted that she produced light shows for rock bands with liquid gels – both in New York and in San Francisco.

Liz Mamorsky’s work has been referred to as “organic abstraction”.  Like the forms in the light shows, the abstact shapes are amoeba-like.  The roots of her art in the Op Art movement of the 60’s is clearly evident.  There are also distinct echoes of artists stretching from Hieronymous Bosch to James Ensor.  Some of her works, such as the montage in the current banner above, are identifiable as mainstream Op Art.  It is “right-brain” art, regardless of medium.  In heBeneaththesurfacer signature drawing and painting style, forms mysteriously emerge “from a tangle of brushmarks, spills and splatters, randomly applied to the stretched canvas, obliterating the oppressive whitespace”.  Those forms seem to live and breathe. I was very intrigued with her techniques.  With painting, she lays down the color and form abstractly.  She then spends a lot of time contemplating the result.  Human beings are hard-wired to see patterns in seeming chaos.  It is why we see animals dancing across the sky in cloud formations.  It is why we see the Man in the Moon.  So, as Liz contemplates her painting, faces and bodies – both human and animal – take shape.  She re-works the painting and the strongest impressions ultimately define the final painting. 

popRictusLiz’s drawings are similar, but also different.  With the drawings, the surface is not a blank canvas.  She draws on amate bark.  The texture of this remarkable bark is already etched with distinct patterns.  Again making art is a contemplative, meditative process.  But here, she coaxes her images out of the existing texture.  The drawing is surprising meticulous.  But the result is once again psychedelic.  Liz describes them as “little dreams or haikus dancing in the realm of the psyche”. ab4Catchsm_aw

In recent years, Liz has become well known for her sculpture, notably her art-bots.  She has been using recyled materials to produce sculptures since the 60’s.  However, it was only after meeting Allison Walton at Float Gallery that she started to seriously produce her whimisical bot creatures.  Float Gallery is a pretty interesting gallery in its own right.  It is a “urban art spa”.  Inspired by a movie that Allison saw when she was 16, the iconic “Altered States”, she started a flotation tank spa and expanded it to include a gallery.  Not surprisingly, Liz Mamorsky’s work fit right in.  And when Allison invited Liz to make art-bots for a show she was curating, Liz really enjoyed herself.  The process of the art was very much in tune with what she had been doing for years.  She would take recycled materials:  foundry patterns and old computer motherboards.  Then, she bigtiemoose028would lay them out on her studio floor, rearranging the parts until something anthropomorphic suggested itself.  The results are great fun.  Most importantly, she has enjoyed meeting the collectors and fans of the artbots.  It is, as she says, “like going to geek camp”.  For the past two years, she has competed in the “Artbot Division” of Robogames, where her work has consistently garnered acclaim.

Lizland will be opening its doors to the public for San Francisco Open Studios this weekend.  There is a reception tonight that you do not want to miss.  Liz’s husband, Mel Knox will be pouring his Ici/La-Bas & Uvaggio wines.  The studio will also be open from 11am – 6pm both Saturday & Sunday.  Liz exhibits frequently in California and beyond.  She keeps her calendar updated and current.  And, of course, you can always call to arrange for a studio visit.

SF Open Studios Weekend Three – “So, Where’s Mike Off to Now?”


SF Open Studios This weekend, over 200 artists will be opening their studios from Third Street -> SOMA ->  Downtown -> over to North Beach.  It is a daunting journey, but if anyone is up for the challenge, it is me.  And, once again, everyone is asking “So Mike, where are you off to now?” 

Well, I have already outlined my traditional strategy:  I go to the San Francisco Open Studios Preview Gallery at SomArts, 934 Brannon Street.  Before I go, I pick up a copy of this week’s Bay Guardian.  There is a pull-out map for Weekend Three that lists everyone who is an official San Francisco Open Studios participant, along with their location on the map.  I go to the Preview Gallery, map in hand (there is also an online copy here), and chart out where I am going based on which works exhibited appeal to me.  While there, if I have not picked up a copy of this year’s Guide, I definitely get myself a copy.  


Friday Night Receptions

This is a big weekend for Friday Night Opening Receptions.  I have a compilied a list here under “San Francisco Fall Open Studios“.  I am going to try to get to as many as possible.  For efficiency, I am going to start with the SOMA Open Studios that are having Friday Night Receptions.


SOMA Open Studios
689 Bryant Street

Io by Erica Meriaux

Io by Erica Meriaux

This is the largest of the Friday Night opening receptions with over 40 artists exhibiting.  They are hosting a reception and silent auction, with proceeds from the auctions benefiting RAMS.  This studio has a number of my favorite artists.  Erika Mériaux was featured in a profile: Artist and Collector – A Spark of Recognition here earlier this year.   Mike Kimball is featured in a profile on an excellent local art blog: Arteaser.  Other artists that I never miss the chance to visit include Tama Greenberg, Jana Grover, Renee Eaton, Suzanne Radcliffe and Deloris Thomas.

1544 Market Street 
Alan Mazzetti

Alan Mazzetti

Just a couple of doors down, Garage Gallery will be featuring the work of Alan Mazzetti (paintings), Dan Newman (photographs), Tara Gill (photographs), Dennis Smith (paintings), Henry Epstein (paintings), and Susan Tuttle (photographs).  Definitely worth a peek.  Plus it is a cool space with a cool owner, who couples his automobile repair business with a gallery!

340 Bryant Street
Sandy Yagi

Sandy Yagi

A few blocks up Bryant Street is a relatively new artist studio building.  The entrance is a little bit tricky.  You go like you would be getting on the freeway in the carpool lanes; but stay right and go past the freeway entrance.  The building is immediately on your left.  Featured artists:  Alan Brenner, Amanda Blanton, Florence Gray, Heather Sandler, Jonah Ward, Karl Roeseler, Margot Hartford, Sandra Yagi, Susan Joy Rippberger, Susan Taylor, & William Cooper

739 Clementina Street
ab4Catchsm_awHidden away on a small street just off 9th, is Liz Mamorsky’s magic castle.  I never ever miss her openings.  It is a really fun place to visit.  And, her husband is in the wine business so the house wine should be just wonderful.  I will be kicking off Weekend Three tomorrow (Friday) with a profile on Liz, so check back tomorrow morning!
One Rankin Street
hausDeparting SOMA , I head out to the industrial section of San Francisco just off Third Street for two last studios.  First up, the mostly sculpture studio fronting on Islais Creek.  Over a dozen artists have open studios.  I featured Rebecca Fox here on SF Art News earlier this year.  But there are many other talented artists, as well.  Some of my favorites include Alex MacLeitch (work pictured here) and Min Hwan Park
1750 Armstrong Avenue
patchen-vaseContinuing further south on Third Street towards Candlestick, I am finishing the night at Public Glass.  They say that they are only staying open until 9pm, but I am hoping the party turns into an after-party.  It’s been known to happen.  This studio is a real crowd-pleaser with hot glass generally being blown.  You may want to come back, in fact, next weekend for the Halloween Party on the 31st!  Hot Glass, Cold Beer makes another appearance.  Make a donation; get a hand-blown mug; use it to drink beer while you watch the glass blowers perform their alchemy.  Davd Patchen, shown here, was featured in a SF Art News profile earlier this year.

No time to waste on Saturday.  A friend of mine from Berkeley, Yoko Ueno Lewis is a Japanese designer.  She has never been to San Francisco Open Studios so I am going to show her around.  I am picking her up at BART and we will re-trace my SOMA steps from Friday night for the most part, but with a couple of notable additions.


Hot Studios
585 Howard Street, First Floor

Carlo_Abruzzese_552Hot Studios is a  design studio, founded by Maria Giudice. an artist and calligrapher.  It will open its doors for the second year in a row and exhibit artwork created by its employees: Renee Anderson (kiln-worked glass), Peter Jacques (collage) and Holger Struppek (photography) along with an equally diverse group of local artists: Ramekon (mixed media, assemblage), Carlo Abruzzese (painting, mixed media), Christopher Craig (mixed media) and Benji Hunt (mixed media).  Since my guest is a designer of some renown, I think she will really enjoy visiting this studio.  Also, Carlo, whose work is pictured here, is one of my personal favs!
61 Bluxome Street
BubblesIIMy guest also designs ceramics, so we will be stopping by The Clay Studios.  Most of the clay artists are pretty traditional, but Jane Grimm, whose work is prictured here, is definitely not.  I try to visit her studio every year to see her new works.




61 Bluxome Street 
storeshotWell, this is not SF Open Studios.  However, I love this store and it is not too far out of the way.  More importantly,my guest for the day, YokoUeno Lewis, has designed some of the ceramics in the store from Bee House.  And, she has never been to the store.  It will be fun to introduce her to Lisa Congdon, the proprietor (and a talented SF artist herself).






Sunday, I am going to be a little more relaxed.  I am heading over to Just For You Cafe for some eggs & grits.  Then I am going to visit the studios around Dogpatch. 

Noonan Building
Pier 70 near 20th & Third
HuaThis building houses some outstanding artists and it is well-worth visiting.  Iwill be stoppin by to visit Philip Hua (work pictured here), Suzy Barnard and Adele Shaw, for sure.  I also love the view of the San Francisco bay from this building.  There are some abandoned buildings along the waterfront that are incredibly photogenic.  If you have never been out there, be sure to add it to your itinerary.




2565 Third Street

PVOne of my favorite artists, Pete Villasenor shows at Graphic Arts Workshop.  Including Pete, there are ten artists showing here.  It is a great place todo your Christmas shopping!  Many of the works are produced in editions and. as a result, the work can be really affordable.  I am definitely bringing my checkbook. 




I am going to finish by visiting some of the individual studios.  There are dozens and I have not completely decided which I will visit yet.  But I will definitely go see  Kathryn Arnold, Reiko Muranaga, John Melvin, Katie Gilmartin (who is giving demonstrations & free stuff!) and Annie Galvin.

Support San Francisco Art & Artists & GET YOUR ART ON!

Burnt Kettle – The Art of Rebecca Chang


She was jolted out of bed by a smoke alarm. Miserable with a cold, she had dozed off and left the tea kettle on the burner. Rebecca Chang‘s first thought when she saw the blazing kettle was “Where’s my camera?”.  Thus began her most recent series: “Studies in K”.  It is a series that encapsulates many of the elements that Rebecca has touched on throughout her career as a photographer.


Much of Rebecca’s work begins with a journalistic idea.  If she is traveling abroad, the photo seriesChangR_OnTheNileDiptypch_2001 begins as a chronicle of that journey.  What makes her work more interesting for me, however, is the inevitable departure from that original story.  The early photographs are clear photographs of people, places, things.  They are easily comprehended as pictorial adjuncts to written journalism.  Her photos “In Egypt” could easily accompany a National Geographic story.  But then, at a certain point, her focus narrows.  She starts to photograph details directly or she crops photographs, excising those details.  The images no longer chronicle people, places, and things.  They transcend what she is seeing; and become how she is seeing. 


Another recent series of photographs illustrates this process wonderfully.  Piedmont Stables started as a mini-series about workers on break in various industries.  The ChangR_PeepingThomasina_2000concept was a photo-essay on who the workers were; as opposed to what the workers do.  Rebecca had met a woman who worked at the Piedmont stables.  They talked about this concept and it was arranged for Rebecca to start photographing workers in and around the stables.  She met and spoke with the owners a number of times; conversations that led to discussions of their relationship with their horses.  This led Rebecca down the path of exploring her own emerging relationship with these same horses.  She went back time and time again.  Sometimes she photographed.  Sometimes she did not.  Gradually she developed a sense of how the horses wanted to be photographed.  This led to images of details of the horses; images that became, in the end, quite abstract.  A series that started as a photo essay about workers became instead a series about equine nature.



With the burnt kettle, some of these steps were skipped.  Certainly the image of the burnt kettle was photogenic.  The early photographs in the series are simple photographs of the actual kettle in its entirety.  They are an exploration of an interesting object.  However, something about the kettle deeply resonated with Rebecca.  She would wrap up the kettle and put it away.  Then, later she would pull out the kettle and just sit with it, an object of meditation.  As she began to dissect the kettle photographically, it became a conduit of artistic communication bridging a number of worlds.  While attending high school on Guam, Rebecca played oboe in the Guam Symphony Orchestra and dreamed of a career as a professional musician.  Re-directed by her parents into a more “practical”ChangR_K3-13_2009 channel, Rebecca detoured for some years into finance.  Eventually, she decided that she needed a more creative job.  She studied graphic design, becoming credentialed.  Photographic elements of graphic art were particularly appealing to her, with that leading her to seriously study photography.  In the images of the kettles, one can clearly see the influences of her graphic arts background.  More subtly, when you view the work in a series, you can also see a distinct rhythm in the works.  Here is the influence of her musical interests.  In fact, this is why she named the series “Studies in K”, after the concept of musical studies: “etudes”. 


You can see Rebecca’s work on display with the Nocturnes tonight, Saturday and Sunday at Fort Mason.  Have her pull out her “Studies in K” and listen to the visual music.  You can also see her work at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco.  And, of course, you can contact Rebecca directly for a studio visit.

SF Open Studios – Weekend Two: “Where’s Mike Going?”


This weekend, there will be nearly 150 artists opening their studios from Ocean Beach in the west; running up San Francisco on the north side; all the way to Fort Mason.   And, once again, everyone is asking “So Mike, where are you going?” 


SF Open StudiosWell, I outlined my traditional strategy last week, and it is unchanged:  I go to the San Francisco Open Studios Preview Gallery at SomArts, 934 Brannon Street.  Before I go, I pick up a copy of this week’s Bay Guardian.  There is a pull-out map for Weekend Two that lists everyone who is an official San Francisco Open Studios participant, along with their location on the map.  I go to the Preview Gallery, map in hand (there is also an online copy here), and chart out where I am going based on which works exhibited appeal to me.  While there, I also pick up a free copy of the Guide. I have been to the Preview Gallery.  Once again, I have a plan.  



Friday Night Receptions

There are several Friday Night Opening Receptions.  I have a compilied a list here under “San Francisco Fall Open Studios“.  Since there are also a couple of other major art events on Friday night, I am going to mix and match. 


Studio Nocturne & Bay Area Printmakers:
Fort Mason, Bldg D (directions)

h1_h72_hospitalThis is the largest of the Friday Night opening receptions with over 50 artists exhibiting.  If there is only one opening reception that you are going to on Friday Night, this would be the choice.  I am particularly enamored of the Nocturnes who have collectively been producing amazing photography for over a decade.  The founder, Tim Baskerville is one of the most influential photographers in the Bay Area.  I will also have a profile up on Rebecca Chang, another photographer showing with the Nocturnes, probably tomorrow. 
The Bay Area Printmakers will also be showing on Friday Night, Saturday and Sunday.  Along with the Nocturnes, this is where I try to get my Christmas shopping done.  Photography and printmaking are some of the more affordable fine art formats; and, both of these organizations are populated with amazing artists.
1544 Market Street 
droppedImageI am then heading across town to check out some of my favorite artists.  The featured artist are: David Avery, Mirto Golino, Mike Kimball, Ron Newman, and Stephen C. Wagner.  Stephen’s work, pictured here, was profiled earlier this year, here on SF Art News.  There will be lots of opportunities to see Mike’s work all month.  He is part of the Bay Area Printmakers.  And, he will be showing in his own studio next week:  SOMA Bryant Studios. 
3030 20th St.
image2This is the two day celebration of the Grand Opening of Southern Exposure’s new home; their 35th Anniversary, and their inaugural exhibition , Bellwether. Friday night and most of Saturday, it’s  a block party.  I am planning to be there.  You should too.  Time to pony up and join Soex.  They are apparently selling memberships at the door for their member reception, so that is my plan.  It is a great organization in a great new space!
SomArts, 934  Brannon Street
3977561918_34ae0c37c8This is the party that I look most forward too!  Over the years I have seen some astonishing installation works here.  There’s going to be music, theater, and some of the most original Day of The Dead art that you will ever see by a huge range of artists.  Participants include:  Patricia A. Montgomery, Elizabeth Addison, Dena Al-Adeeb, Susana Aragon, Adrian Arias, Azul Arias-Aragon, Mara Barenbaum, Jesus Barraza, Virginia Benavidez, Nathaniel Bolton, Nic Bucchi (AKA Flynt, )Carla Caletti, Melanie Cervantes, Deborah Cohen, Alicia Cruz-Hunt, Rick Darnell, Lucinda DeNatale, Kathy DeRosas, Lanell Dike, Annamarta Dostourian, Candi Farlice, Gisela Feid, Juliet Flower MacCannell, deCoy Gallerina, Santiago Gervasi, Francisco Gomez, CJ Grossman, Peter Gurein, Bjorn Heinbach, Rosa Hernandez, Carol J. Stewart, Melinda Johson, Caylly Jones, Fredda Kaplan-Robles, Gina Lim, Philip Long, Ytaelena Lopez, Dean MacCannell, Yoli Manzo, Jeff Marshall, Cris Matos, Susan Matthews, David Molina, Steve Molina (AKA Stix), Fernando Montiel, Mary Molly Mullaney, Carla Oden, Aydasara Ortega, Cassandra Parshall, Txutxo Perez, Audra Ponce, Brenda Rasmussen, Renaldo Ratto, Denise Richards, Russell Robles, Veronica Rojas, Michael Roman, Jeff Roysdon, Enrique Salazar, Nick Salazar, Jos Sances, Nicole Schach, Valerie Schlafke, Shizue Seigel, Malik Seneferu, Julie Slinger, Rosario Sotelo, Ilona Sturm, David Tafolla, Lia Tealdi-Heinbach, Cynthia Tom, Elka Vera, Ellen Vogel, Marcy Voyevod, Alain Waeber, Wilton Woods, Rio Yañez, Rene Yañez, Victor Mario Zaballa.  Admission is on a sliding scale.

This weekend is a little more leisurely than Weekend One.  I plan to start with a scrumptuous breakfast at Green’s looking out over the Bay.  Might have a little champagne – who knows.  Then, I am going to spend most of the day re-visiting the Fort Mason artists that I was only able to briefly see at the party on Friday.



742I plan to start Sunday with a visit to California Studios.  I have not been there before, but there are eight artists showing.  The featured artists are:  Caren Lorber, Cheryl McDonald, Fabienne Bismuth, Joe Cunningham, Len Musacchia, Andrew Ogus and Chuck Thurston.




Then, I have mapped out a number of studios in the neighborhoods to visit.  Circled on my map are: 


BatesBates Poland Bates
2526 26th Avenue.




4RecoveryTachina Rudman
2433 Lawton Street





2Fong Fai
239 12th Avenue





philippe_jestin_189Phillippe Jestin
646 Laguna Street





deutschland_400Barbara Kleinhans
1240 Hayes Street #6




1Eleanor Dickinson
1240 Hayes Street #6





And, finishing with a flourish at the always fabulous studio of

veerakeat_tongpaiboon_411Veerakeat TongPaiBoon
2613 Pine Street




Support San Francisco Art & Artists & GET YOUR ART ON!

Before & After the Fall – The Art of Jennifer Ewing

p-Ruth's Boat_0104I have been familiar with Jennifer Ewing’s work for a number of years.  She lives at Developing Environments, where she and her husband, Leo Germano, are business partners in Ewing & Germano, a multifaceted commercial art business.  Jennifer and Leo have a studio that is “work-work”, from which they operate their business.  This means that the original “live-work” space is now converted to primarily “live-live”.  I talk about this background, because for many years after Jennifer started showing in San Francisco Open Studios in1986, I knew her and Leo primarily for the large murals that they made for Baym-03 Area businesses, such as Café Trieste in San Francisco and the Peet’s Coffee corporate headquarters in Emeryville.  The murals were lovely, Italianesque paintings.  The work was very accessible.  Leo laid out the backbone structure of the painting, doing most of the design and drawing.  Jennifer, with her natural affinity for color and texture, added those elements to the paintings, finishing the works.

 Then, when I visited Open Studios in 2005 suddenly, with seemingly no warning, there was a new Jennifer Ewing.  In that year, her father passed away.  It was a watershed moment.  Her very self-definition changed.  She was no longer someone’s daughter.  Now she was someone different.  And, she began to explore this new s-Wisconsin_7929_person in her art.  Before he passed away, her work had not been particularly personal.  It was skilled work, but in some ways it was more in the tradition of European craftsmanship.  It definitely did not evoke the French romanticists or the American luminists.  After her father passed away, the work became intensely personal.  It was a stunning transformation. 

 It all began innocently enough.  When Jennifer’s father passed away, he left behind reams of paper with chess diagrams and mathematical markings.  She did not want to simply throw the papers away.  They were physically infused with hisp-Changing_8143 spirit; and she did not want to let that go.  So, she began crafting and incorporating the papers into sculptural forms.  The forms, almost with a will of their own, took shape and morphed into boats – Spirit Boats.   In her studio, a fleet of physical boats hung from the walls and ceilings, dancing interplays of form and shadow.   In her paintings, intense color and texture directly manifested her raw emotions onto the canvas.  Clearly in these works, there is a reference to the traditional mythological role of boats as vehicles of transformation.  However, curiously, Jennifer’s boats never seem to have any passengers.  They are personal vehicles of transformation.  And, the soul being transported over and over again seems to be the soul of her father.

p-Even Breathing_3805You can see Jennifer Ewing’s work this weekend in San Francisco Open Studios.  Her work is featured at the Kathleen McMahon Gallery in an opening reception tonight.  Her studio is open at Developing Environments this weekend from 11-6 pm.  Additionally, Jennifer’s work will be on exhibit at 323 Gallery from mid-October for a month. The artist reception will be held on October 30th.   And you can, of course, always visit her studio by appointment.

SF Open Studios Weekend One – Where’s Mike Going?


SF Open StudiosWith over 300 studios to choose from this weekend, everyone is asking “So Mike, where are you going?” 

Well, here is my traditional strategy:  I go to the San Francisco Open Studios Preview Gallery at SomArts, 934 Brannon Street.  Before I go, I pick up a copy of this week’s Bay Guardian.  There is a pull-out map for Weekend One that lists everyone who is an official San Francisco Open Studios participant, along with their location on the map.  I go to the Preview Gallery, map in hand, and chart out where I am going based on which works exhibited appeal to me.  While there, I also pick up a free copy of the Guide. 

That is my traditional strategy.  However, I have been going to SF Open Studios for a long-time.  Therefore, I have a pretty good idea of where I am going this year and why.  So, time to spill the beans.


Friday Night Receptions

There are a ton of Friday Night Opening Receptions.  I have a pretty comprehensive list here under “San Francisco Fall Open Studios“.  Realistically, there is no way I am going to get to all of them on Friday night.  So my strategy this year is to start with some of the more “Off the Beaten Track” openings.  Here are my choices and why:


Secession Art & Design
3361 Mission St (across from 30th & Safeway)


Heather Robinson


Nate Tan


Brain Schcuk


Twelve Designs


Coleen Mauer

 Secession Art & Design  is near my house, so that is where I am going to start.  Since it is going to be a jamming night, I might go by before they officially open and see if I can get a private preview!  I featured Secession in an article I wrote earlier this year: “Alternatives in Alternative Spaces“.  It is one of a number of boutique/gallery spaces that have expanded the exhibition opportunities for local artists.   
3318 22nd Street (near Valencia)
Ursula_Young_281Next up: Fabric8.  This is another one of the boutique/gallery spaces.  Here the emphasis is definitely on younger artists with a Manga sensibility.  The emphasis is also on “gallery”.  Since opening their back space, the gallery exhibition space here is really impressive.  Fabric8 is hosting the open studio for UrsulaX and her “Altered States, Dreamscapes and Underworlds” solo show.  It kicks off with a Friday night reception.  And, since there is a distinct possiblity of some of my favorite street vendors showing up, with some luck, I am going to hopefully be able to fuel up for the evening’s art trekking, in addition to checking out a great show.
1084 Capp Street (between 25th & 26th)
hilary williamsdk haasThese are another two of my local neighborhood artists.  I have seen their work at City Art Gallery, Artist X-Change and Secession Art & Design, but I have never been to their studios.  I am guessing that this is their home, so it really harkens back to the original spirit of San Francisco Open Studios, when the artists who created the event, largely were showing in live-work spaces.  The work on the left is by Hilary Williams.  The work on the right is by dk haas.  About this time, I should be thirsty.  Rumour has it that the wine will be flowing, so I am going to see if that is true.
1890 Bryant Street (at Mariposa)
1890Bryant-ad-sm2If you can only go to one party all night, this is the one!  Cynthia Tom and Tanya Wilkinson are sharing a studio – both have been featured on SF Art News.  But there are 50 artists in the building and most will be showing on Friday night.  Don’t miss Jeremy Sutton‘s studio.  Always a crowd favorite, there is a good chance he will be dancing the night away on his permanently installed dance floor (who knows when the urge to dance will suddenly strike?).  This building has some of the Mission’s most impressive artists.  In addition to the one’s that I named above, I always try to make it to see Annie Arrasmith, Aubrey Rhodes, Katja Leibenath, Trish Tunney and Sevilla Granger.  Visit everyone!  This building has attracted some amazing artists – discover your own favorites.  This should pretty much stick a fork in me for the night.  After 1890, I’m heading home to rest up for Saturday and Sunday – so many artists and so little time.

I am going to try to get to as many studios as possible over the weekend.  For anyone who wants to join me in my marathon efforts, I will be starting at the Coffee Bar on both days around 10am – email me at to let me know you want to tag along.  This means that my intinerary is simply too long to post, so I am going to just give you the highlights.  For starters, in addition to 1890 Bryant Street Studios, there are several large group sites that are part of Mission Artists United, which you definitely want to start with:


Project Artaud
499 Alabama Street

OS09-1.inddEvery year, I start my SF Open Studios adventure here.  Why?  Because this is “ground zero” for San Francisco Open Studios.  This is, as they put it, the pioneering artist live-work space in San Francisco.  A number of the original Open Studios founding artists lived at Artaud when SF Open Studios started 34 years ago.   I come in through the Alabama Street entrance and walk into the courtyard studio of Pico Sanchez, “The Prince of Artaud“.  I walk through his live-work space and enter into the maze of studios that is Project Artaud.  Once again, this is a building with a lot of serious artists.  Try to get to as many as possible, not only because they are wonderful artists, but also because the live-work environment is so incredibly interesting.  A few of my favorites, in addition to Pico:  Victor Cartagena, Carrie Nardello, William McElhiney and Dale Erickson.


Developing Environments
499 Alabama Street

EwingFrom Artaud, I am going to start following the footsteps on the sidewalk and street to the other Mission Artists United group sites.  Developing Environments, just around the corner is another seminal live-work space.  Not as many artists actually open their live-work spaces here, but it still definitely worth visiting.  I plan to visit the studio of Jennifer Ewing.  Her work is also featured at the Kathleen McMahon Gallery over at ActivSpace, where there will be a Friday night reception.  I will check out her work there, as well, since ActivSpace will be my next stop on Saturday.



3150 18th Street


Kristin Grahn

Where Project Artaud and Developing Environments have been part of San Francisco Open Studios from the beginning, ActivSpace is very much the new kid on the block.  They opened there doors to a vibrant mix of artists, entrepreneurs and trades people in 2008.  From the start, they have been demonstrated that they value community, actively participating in the Mission community and the community of San Francisco artists. Kristin Grahn, David Bontempo, Sandra Masae Kawano and Jonathan Yen are among the artists circled on my map.



Workspace Ltd
2150 Folsom Street

WorkspaceThe last major group site (whoa – think I need some caffeine!) is going to be WorkSpace Limited.  This is a major site with more than 50 artists, many of them participating in SF Open Studios.  This is one of my “don’t miss” studios every year.  This year, I have circled Maxine Solomon, Derek Nunn, Charli Ornett and Delfina Piretti on my map; but who knows what other artists I will discover during my visit?



Silvia Poloto
442 Shotwell Street

ObservationsGreen1And finally, my personal favorite – the fabulous live-work space of Silvia Poloto.  It is an oasis for a tired art trekker.  Who would ever guess that a studio this fabulous lurked behind the industrial facades of Shotwell Street.  And the art? Oh my.  I profiled Silvia on SF Art News earlier this year in an article that I titled “Art=Life=Art“.  Truly hers is a life that is fully immersed in life.  I am a traditionalist.   When I dine, I save dessert for last, because I love dessert.  On Saturday, when I over-indulge in art, I will still have room for Silvia, because there is always room for dessert.




After Saturday’s marathon, I plan to be a little more relaxed on Sunday.  Mostly, I will be focusing on individual or small group studios.  Here are a few that I will definitely be visiting:


Alan Mazzetti
834 Moultrie Street

MazzettiI have known Alan for years.  As usual, he will be exhibiting at the Garage Gallery on Weekend Three.  Here, however, is a rare opportunity to see his actual, real studio in Bernal Heights.  And since this is my stomping ground, I will be stopping by.



Rebekah Goldstein
69-A Richland Avenue

GoldsteinAnother Bernal Heights artist – I am not really familiar with her work.  Just liked her image in the catalogue.  I am a sucker for collage.



Somboun Sayosane
292 Whitney Street

SombounI have always been partial to Samboun’s work.  Plus, once again, the home studio is spitting distance from my house.  And, to some extent, the original idea of Open Studios was to open real working studios to the public.  San Francisco Open Studios is dominated by the large group sites and I love visiting them.  But I also love to visit the home studios right in my neighborhood.  And, that is what Sunday will be largely dedicated too.  I have not decided what other studios I will visit on Sunday.  And, I may visit some smaller group sites too.  But, I am definitely largely reserving Sunday to Bernal Heights, Glen Park and Noe Valley – as many artists as  I can fit in.


Hope everyone has as much fun this weekend as I am going to have and GET YOUR ART ON!