2016 West Coast Craft Fair

West Coast Craft

 

Here are just a few I enjoyed, out of hundreds of vendors. Click through to see more from the designers.

My hips don't lie

I have really been terrible about keeping up with posts lately and it's mainly because I took a break from everything while I recovered from hip replacement surgery. That's right, I am now bionic! I feel much too young to have gone through this, but it's a genetic thing and I've been needing a new one for a while. I'm excited to see what a pain-free life can bring me now. I love to walk outside for inspiration and I was greatly limited for a long while, but I will be back in action again very soon. In the meantime, I can post about a trip to a museum I made before the surgery.

I went to the teamLab interactive exhibit at the PACE Gallery in Menlo Park. It runs through December 18th of this year and is absolutely worth a trip if you are in the Bay Area. As stated on their website: 

"teamLab, the renowned Japanese art collective, recognized for challenging and expanding the digital art making practice, and Pace Art + Technology will present Living Digital Space and Future Parks. The large-scale installation will invite participants of all ages to immerse themselves in the multi-room environments spanning 20,000ft² and showcasing 20 digital works."

It is pretty incredible and I could have stayed for hours. Take a look at these videos for a peek at what's in store if you can make it.

 

Crystal Universe

Artist Spotlight - Ugo Rondinone

I came across an image on Instagram of these colorful stacked rocks in the desert. Anything this bright is bound to catch my eye. After investigating a bit further, I found Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone's website and on it he says he has made his site-specific installation, Seven Magic Mountains, "a creative expression of human presence in the desert...that  punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color."

And that it does. It's hard to grasp the true scale in the photos, but these colorful boulders stand 30 feet high, which means the bottom rock alone, is taller than a person. Cool! They are located about 10 miles south of Las Vegas and are up for another year or so. Road trip anyone?

Watch a really cool video on how this installation came to be over a 5-year period HERE>

  All images are from Ugo Rondinone's website. Click through to see more.

All images are from Ugo Rondinone's website. Click through to see more.

Peter Zimmerman Installation

I love these beautiful candy-colored floors of poured resin created by German artist Peter Zimmerman. The resin covers 1,400 square feet of floor at the Museum für Neue Kunst in Freiburg, Germany, where it complements his abstract art hanging on the walls above. Click here to read and see more on thisiscolossal.com

All images: © Bernhard Strauss

Selfies on Paper

 Lee Friedlander, Self Portrait NYC 1966

Lee Friedlander, Self Portrait NYC 1966

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam currently has an exhibit titled "Selfies on Paper". It shows artists from the past four centuries capturing their own images in various mediums. As noted on their website: "Virtually every artist in the past looked in a mirror and captured his or her image for posterity – just as we do now." But we all know that they just took a little more time to do it.

In this age of immediate and fleeting gratification, the exhibit intends to make people slow down and take a moment to appreciate the art and the time it took to create. Cameras are not allowed, and instead, attendees of the museum are encouraged to draw or sketch what they see instead of using their selfie stick. I love this!

You can read more on the exhibit on the museum website here, and also on thisiscolassal.com.

 Rembrandt, Self Portrait 1639

Rembrandt, Self Portrait 1639

 Oskar Kokoscka, Self Portrait 1923

Oskar Kokoscka, Self Portrait 1923

West Coast Craft 2015

I had an amazing time this past weekend at the 2015 West Coast Craft Fair at Fort Mason. There were so many great vendors my eyes were just popping out of my head! I could have really done some damage but I was good, and restrained myself from breaking my bank.

Here are just a few of the 250+ artists, designers and craftspeople who exhibited. There were so many wonderful things but these stalls particularly caught my eye. I met a lot of really nice people and was very inspired by these talented artists. If you missed it this time around, I highly recommend staying on the lookout for the next show. It was by far the most enjoyable one I've been to at the Pavillion. 

p.s. please excuse the not great quality iPhone shots - I forgot my camera at home! Also, when you click the images below you will be taken to the sites. Just click the back button to return to the blog.

Janet Echelman Installation

Wowza! I came across this amazing outdoor art installation on thisiscolossal.com. Janet Echelman, the artist, has created a knit sculpture of twine netting that spans 600 feet across and floats 600 ft. high above the ground. From day to night its appearance changes—with vibrant colors that glow, triggered by tension sensors as it blows in the wind. It is currently located along the Boston waterfront. How much do I want to be in the grass looking up at that at night!

Read more about it here.

All images from thisiscolossal.com.



Artist Spotlight: Anna Valdez

I don't recall how I came across Anna's work, but when beautiful artwork is bright, colorful and full of pattern it will most definitely catch my eye. I love her still-life paintings depicting scenes in her room and studio—of various books, collected objects, plants and decorative fabrics. I like to say that they "make my eyes hungry". Hungry for more! 

Anna lives and works in Oakland, CA and you can read more about her artwork and process here. Any inquiries about purchasing her art can be sent to info@annavaldez.com.

All images shared are with kind permission of the artist.

Strike Away Show a Success

The Strike Away show at Paxton Gate Kids is over, and it was a big success with over 100 pieces sold (still waiting to hear if mine was one of those). But in the meantime, some pretty cool articles popped up about it. 

Check them out on SF Art Enthusiast and Jealous Curator

My piece for the show

A variety of artists' works.

Chelsea Wong



Iris

If your life is feeling a bit ho-hum and you need a little kick in the pants, the movie Iris will give you that little burst of inspiration you might need. Watching 92-year old Iris Apfel in her home with her husband Carl and seeing how free and youthful they are is just so sweet. She is witty, honest and fearless with her style, and it is just so invigorating to watch her in action! 

Seeing how active and full of art, travel and fashion her life is, makes me never want to complain about an ache or pain, or waste another lazy day lounging on the couch. After seeing what she takes on, reminds one of how much living there is to do! 

If you aren't familiar with the fashion icon, here's a great article in April Vanity Fair to give you a taste of who she is. And check out the movie trailer here.

Getting Unstuck

As a designer, I need fuel. Creative fuel. When my tank is empty and I've hit a block, the paint doesn't flow as easily and I know I need a spark to reignite my creativity. That's when I go to my three favorite ways to get inspired:

  • Taking a walk around town or in nature.
  • Perusing a library or used bookstore for great art book finds.
  • Visiting a museum—preferably alone and very early in the morning.

When I take walks, I love to bring a camera with me. It encourages me to not only see things differently, but to look for things. I will come home with photos of the day and see what I can make with them. Sometimes I'll make a collage of images to create a mood board (or a blog post). Other times I will use the photos and manipulate them to create a pattern. Even just the act of walking, and getting fresh air will clear my head and wipe the slate clean.

Books are another fantastic source of inspiration. You don't have to spend a lot of money on them either. I often make trips to used book stores or the public library and sit on the floor flipping through art reference books—not just on textiles and pattern—but illustration, photography and art. They just open up my mind to different ideas and ways of looking at things. Sometimes I will even snap a picture from the book to remind myself of a color palette, or jot down the name of a designer to investigate further online.

My all-time favorite way to get inspired is to go to a museum. The earlier the better, the fewer crowds the better. I recall a time I went to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco on a Tuesday morning at 9:00AM, and I was the first one in. The hair on my arms kinda stood up. It was the quietest, loveliest experience and just made me feel all kinds of creative! 

Removing myself from my workspace is really the key. No matter what I choose to do, I trust that the creativity will come back. I have learned not to panic and accept it as part of the process. I allow myself the time to recharge and it always pays off. Plus, it's pretty fun. 

How do you recharge?

©Katja Ollendorff
©Katja Ollendorff
©katja ollendorff

Strikeaway Show

Do you like art? How about tiny art? How about art the size of a matchbox? If you said yes to any of those questions, then come out and enjoy some tiny matchbox art at Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids tonight from 6:00-9:00. I have a piece in the show and so do my talented friends over at Falconette. Hope to see you there! (And if you can't make the opening, the show runs til June 20th).

 Photo: Courtney Cerruti - Strikeaway Show 

Photo: Courtney Cerruti - Strikeaway Show 

Ai Wei Wei @ Large on Alcatraz

   As stated by the For-Site Foundation (who made this show possible) "Ai says that for him, the dragon represents not imperial authority, but   personal freedom: '  everybody has this power.'   The individual kites that make up the dragon's body carry quotations from activists who have been imprisoned or exiled, including Nelson Madela,   Edward Snowden, and Ai himself."     Side note: Take a close look at the eyes of the dragon.

As stated by the For-Site Foundation (who made this show possible) "Ai says that for him, the dragon represents not imperial authority, but personal freedom: 'everybody has this power.' The individual kites that make up the dragon's body carry quotations from activists who have been imprisoned or exiled, including Nelson Madela, Edward Snowden, and Ai himself." Side note: Take a close look at the eyes of the dragon.

When I'm in between jobs and have time on my hands, I love to take advantage of the free time to explore the city. Most of the time, I travel alone since my friends are at work or home caring for their children. I don't mind seeing exhibits solo because it allows me the space to become involved with the show and sometimes (as was in the case of this particular show) become very emotional. Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen this show and are planning to go, I must warn that I am going to show much of what the exhibit has to offer. 

On a whim, I bought an Early Bird ticket to see the Ai Wei Wei exhibit at Alcatraz. I paid a bit more to bypass the general flow of traffic (well worth it) and have a private guide scoot me up to the good stuff before anyone else got there. She told me that it was the first time EVER that she only had one person in her group—lucky me!  

So on this blustery and foggy Tuesday morning, my guide and I stepped into the New Industries Building where the exhibit begins with the With Wind installation. Whoa. The light, the blast of color, the contrasting surroundings. Incredible! I felt very privileged to be here before anyone else and also to be in this room alone with these beautiful, hand painted kites. The colors and motifs are chosen from the countries' flags where the prisoners of conscience are being held. 

 

Ai Wei Wei
Ai Wei Wei
  Looking out toward the bay and beyond.

Looking out toward the bay and beyond.

AiWeiwei Dragon

"By confining the kites inside a building once used for prison labor, the artist suggests powerful contradictions between freedom and restriction, creativity and repression, cultural pride and national shame. he also offers a poetic response to the layered nature of Alcatraz as a former penitentiary that is now an important bird habitat and a site of thriving gardens." (quote: from For-Site.org)

Swallows Ai Wei Wei

Continuing into the next room, we approach the installation called Trace. Laid out on the floor is a vast sea of faces made of individual lego pieces which were hand assembled in squares and pieced together like a quilt. The portraits depict 176 prisoners around the world who have been exiled or incarcerated because of their beliefs or affiliations. Ai Wei Wei calls them “heroes of our time.” It was very moving for me to see these faces and not recognize most of them. I was awed by the sheer number of them, and by the way they were portrayed in this confined space. Literally brought tears to my eyes.

Ai Wei Wei Trace
Ai Wei Wei
Ai Wei Wei
Ai Weiwei
Katja at Ai Wei Wei

The last exhibit in this building is entitled Refraction. It is a large metal wing weighing several tons, made up of reflective solar panels. The theme of "confined freedom" continues here where "this piece uses imagery of flight to evoke the tension between freedom—be it physical, political, or creative—and confinement. The weight of this piece keeps it earthbound, but one might imagine its array of solar panels silently mustering energy, preparing for takeoff." 

The confinement of the guard's walkway where one is forced to view the work through cracked and rusted window panes is noticeable; and the irony of the glowing EXIT sign is not lost on me in this moment. 

Refract2.jpg
Refraction.jpg

The next series of works are found in the A block building. The Blossom sculptures are on display in the hospital ward and are made up of an abundant and delicate array of porcelain flowers. "The work could be seen as symbolically offering comfort to the imprisoned, as one would send a bouquet to a hospitalized patient. The profusion of flowers rendered in a cool brittle matieral could also be an ironic reference to China's famous Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956, a brief period of government tolerance for free expression that was immediately followed by a severe crackdown." (quote: For-Site.org)

Blossom2.jpg
Blossom Ai Wei Wei
Blossom Ai WEiWEi

The last exhibit that I participated in is called Yours Truly. You are able to correspond directly with any of the listed prisoners by filling out a postcard (they are adorned with foliage and birds from each country of the incarcerated). There is a binder with descriptions of the captives and their stories and you may write any message to any prisoner of your choosing. The staff will mail the pre-addressed cards for you for free. Whether it reaches them or not, will remain unknown although it has been recorded that many do reach them and are greatly appreciated. Around 6 or so prisoners have been released since the beginning of this exhibit.

Here's another excerpt of the description from the For-Site website:

"Ai Wei Wei has spoken of the deep feeling of isolation that afflicts incarcerated people. He says that political prisoners often fear that they — and the causes they fought for — have been forgotten by the outside world. This work is a response to those concerns, reminding detainees that they are remembered — and reminding exhibition visitors of the detainees’ individuality and humanity. In the spirit of free expression, visitors may write any message they wish. Yours Truly brings home ideas at the heart of the exhibition: the responsibilities that we all bear as members of a community, and the importance of communication as both personal expression and a force for social change." 

Yours Truly Ai Wei Wei

To know more about these as well as a few remaining pieces in the show, I would recommend A) Go to see it in person if you can or B) Read more about it on the For-Site.org website.

It was an incredible show and day all around. I felt all sorts of emotions—from awed and fulfilled, to sad to inspired and hopeful. 

 

 

Diebenkorn Rules

I spent the afternoon at the de Young Museum, totally enthralled by the Diebenkorn exhibit. He has always been a favorite of mine, and when I walked in and was surrounded by his work I felt a total rush and I think I even cried a little. It was so exciting to see his artwork up close as well as from a distance—so very inspiring and a must see!

I was also really struck by his notes to himself on beginning a painting:

  1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
  2. The pretty, initial position, which falls short of completeness, is not to be valued—except as a stimulus for further moves. 
  3. Do search. But in order to find other that what is searched for. 
  4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities, but consider them absolutely expendable. 
  5. Don't "discover" a subject—of any kind. 
  6. Somehow don't be bored—but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential. 
  7. Mistakes can't be erased, but they move you from your present position. 
  8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna. 
  9. Tolerate chaos.
  10. Be careful only in a perverse way. 

—Richard Diebenkorn

 

 Untitled (Yellow Collage) 1966   Richard Diebenkorn

Untitled (Yellow Collage) 1966   Richard Diebenkorn

   Cityscape #1, 1963  Richard Diebenkorn

 

Cityscape #1, 1963  Richard Diebenkorn