Art at the Base Canteen

For many visitors to the Hunters Point Shipyard, their open studios experience begins and ends in the main complex, Building 101.  There are, however, seven buildings housing artists at the converted shipyard.  And, one of the most impressive studio complexes of all is shared by brother/sister artists: Robin and Monica Denevan in Building 116.  Both are very accomplished artists and both have enjoyed professional success.  Robin produces luminescent landscapes that are quiet, mysterious and yet strangely inviting.  Monica’s transcendent images of the landscapes and people of Burma are like prayers for harmony in the world.


I was curious to learn how their current success was reached.  In speaking with both of them, the quote from the Roman philosopher, Seneca, came to mind:  “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Both Robin and Monica are professionally trained artists.  Robin, a painter, graduated from California College of Arts in Oakland.  Monica, a photographer, graduated from San Francisco State University.  Their artist careers intersected at San Francisco Open Studios about ten years ago when they began exhibiting together in the hallways of 101.  Both love to travel and they began to travel together.  It was those travels, particularly in Burma, that helped provide new directions for both of them in their work. 

rio-tuichi-g1For Robin, painting has always been a part of his life.   Like most artists, he worked in a variety of jobs after college that allowed him to continue to paint.  He attributes a lot of his current success to his participation in Open Studios.  That is where he had his first real success selling his work to the general public. That is where his work was discovered, leading to early representation at galleries in Palo Alto.   And, that is where he continues to show and sell his paintings even now.   He has focused on his encaustic landscapes for the past ten years, creating a highly identifiable, unmistakable style.  When opportunity knocked, he was ready.  His commitment to his craft was palpable.

Robin Denevan is represented by Addinton Gallery in Chicago where he will have a solo show opening on June 5th.  He is also represented by Julie Nestor Gallery in Park City, Utah where there will be a solo show opening on July 31st.




For Monica, the path to success has been a little bit different.  She also worked multiple jobs, jobs that allowed her to pursue her passion for photography.  However, even though she too credits Open Studios with a lot of her success – Open Studios success has been mostly in direct sales.  For gallery representation, chance has definitely played a part.  Certainly it was fortunate that one of her clients, who saw her work in Black & White magazine, championed that work to a gallery owner in Los Angeles.  And, it was fortunate that Henry Rasmussen (founder of B&W Magazine) was ill when he was supposed to critique her work – which led to a follow-up critique at his home – which led to a profile in B&W magazine.   And, it was fortunate that a colleague showing with her in a group show in Cambodia forwarded a postcard of her work to his gallery in Hong Kong, leading to representation there.  But in the final analysis, quinn-and-ashleydiscovery, leading to gallery representation came from taking every opportunity to exhibit in group shows; participate in artistic critiques, and join professional organizations.

Monica Denevan is represented in San Francisco by Scott Nichols Gallery.  She is represented in Hong Kong by Tao Evolution.  And, she is represented in London by Capital Culture.

Be sure to visit the Denevan studios at Hunter’s Point for Spring Open Studios.  Their Preview Party will be on Friday, May 1st, from 6-9.  Open Studios is on May 2nd & 3rd, from 11-6.  Monica will be showing a new, exciting series of ballet dancers, in addition to her signature Burma photographs.  Robin will be showing some of his painting on metal for the first time, in addition to his encaustic works.