Garage Graffiti

Late Night Garage Graffiti Art in a San Rafael Garage. With the ladies of Art Club.

Italian Street Painting

In the early 90’s when I was working as the Art Director of the MIYO Teen Center I was asked by Youth in Arts, our sister non-profit, to mentor students in their annual Italian Street Painting Festival. I gathered five of my most art obsessed students and started planning their little art spaces. Hundreds of boxed off squares and rectangles lined four blocks in downtown San Rafael. The squares were all sponsored by local businesses, and each year I was given an additional larger space next to the teens to create my own piece of street art. The first year I worked with another artist on my piece because I was worried I couldn’t mentor the kids and fill my space in two days. But as I got more comfortable with the process and the long hours laying on the blacktop, I began creating my own pieces.  The kids were always finished the first day and would bring their families back the second day. While I relished in my tiny little piece of blacktop in this massive art show. People would walk over me and provide moments of shade in the blazing heat.  At the end of each day all of the artists would walk three blocks to the Falkirk Mansion to get fed and relax. The “after party” was always like heaven. Just outside the mansion there were hoses to wash off your dirty feet and hands. Then a line of chair masseuses to give a quick massage. And inside there was a full buffet of beautifully catered food. I was able to connect with different artists through these parties and the awareness of an artist community was born in me.

The pictures above are of just a few pieces I did in the 7 years I participated in this event.

Memin's Memorial Mural

While I was working as the Art Director of the MIYO Teen Center, I befriended a 17 year old named Emmanuel, Memin for short. He was a sweet overweight kid who seemed to be friends with everyone.  Memin told me stories of the two gangs that were trying to jump him. Once he came in to the center upset because he had passed out at a party and someone tattooed his hand with the three dots.  He did not want to be in a gang, so I took him to get the tattoo removed. This bonded us.

So months later when Memin missed a few days at the center I was concerned. I asked around and heard he had the flu. A day later I found out that Memin had died. His father took him to the Doctor and was told that he had the flu. He was told to go home and drink lots of fluid, to which he drank a ton of Snapple. After he died it was discovered that he had un-diagnosed Diabetes.

We held the memorial at the Teen Center. During the course of the memorial I was approached by several of Memin’s friends who wanted to create something in memory of their friend.  Within a few days I had purchased a 30 x 17 foot canvas sail from a boat builder. Over the coarse of a year I worked with 15 of Memin’s friends to paint this mural. I designed an oasis for the kids to add to There is an Aztec temple, dragon, the earth, sun and palm trees with the faces of heroes. Memin’s face is a coconut in the lower left. Every kid contributed something. whether it was a shell or a bird each kid poured their heart into the loving memory of their friend.

Every Thursday evening, Memin’s father would come to watch us paint and feed us authentic Mexican food. The mural was finished a year after his death and we held a dedication ceremony.   

When you are real

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real) by Margery Williams, 1922

My First Art Show

I had been painting most of my life with the understanding that I would never be a real artist. I just loved painting. I went to it when I needed to keep my mind busy. It relaxed me. In 2009 I became immersed in my painting. It took over my life and my home. I was processing the grief of my fathers death and ended up creating a ton of work that I had no space for. A friend found out I had been painting and invited me to show my work in a small grass roots art show. I agreed to be in the background and show 6 of my pieces. I ended up selling several of them and getting really great feedback from artists I respected. This motivated me to paint more and show more. This show is when I realized that I have always been a real artist, I just needed to believe it.  

Fish and other Critters

I love painting backdrops. Yes, just the background. Then these beautiful canvases sit in my studio for years, unfinished because I can’t decide what to paint on them.  So recently I decided that these backdrops need critters, like Butterflies, Fish and other critters. This is a challenge for me because if you are going to paint a critter the details kind of have to be on point. So recently I finished this rad fish painting. It’s my first fish.

Honey of my Failures

Last night, as I was sleeping,

I dreamt-marvelous error!-

that I had a beehive

here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

were making white combs

and sweet honey

from my old failures.

    -Antonio Machado

The sweetness of living comes to us when the very humanness we regret and try to hide, our seeming flaws and shameful secrets, are worked by time and nature into a honey all their own. Ultimately, it is where we are not perfect-where we are broken and cracked, where the wind whistles through-that is the stuff of transformation.

Like others, many things I have wanted to be, have crumbled over time into cinders that have sparked the very next dream. And each time I’ve failed at being what someone else needed or wanted or hoped for, each time I’ve failed at being what I needed or wanted or hoped for-each failure at love has solidified into unexpected learnings. The painful shavings of one love have become the spices of joy in the next.

None of this lessens the pain of our journey, but it gives me comfort that our failures, are the very human past from which we are made sweet.

Just know, when everything is falling apart, that you are preparing the ground of you for something ripe that can’t be seen yet, but in time will be tasted. – Mark Nepo

Community Art Wall

I have been producing these Community Art Shows with about 40 local up and coming artists. Usually I do this once a year. My little production is called Local Art Productions. At these shows we always put up a community art wall. This allows all of the artists and public to contribute to the show.

We simply get a big piece of plywood. Prime it, and place a border. Then we provide pens, stencils, spray paint and paint.

Local Art Productions

Five years ago I started a grassroots art production company called Local Art Productions. The purpose was to gather my artist friends and throw kick ass parties where we could sell our art to the public at “non-gallery” prices. Since I have a background in event production and am currently managing two large venues I had everything I needed to make these shows happen.

The shows have gotten a lot of press and many of the artists that have shown with us have moved on to become big names in the urban art scene.

Check out our webpage www.localartproductions.com

Painting with Love

For most of my life I have painted for people. I loved painting, but never considered myself a “real” painter. So I would have to find reasons to paint. Either to decorate my walls or as a gift. Years after discovering I could make a living on my paintings, I still paint for loved ones. When I paint a piece for a friend I always found myself putting everything into it. Making sure that it not only was their style but would convey my love for the person. Painting with Love is always more enjoyable and produces better art.

If you have one of my paintings. I love you.

I just finished this painting for my best friend and her husband’s new house.

Experimenting

I am experimenting with some new styles. I’ve become obsessed with texturing my canvas with Gesso and other mediums before I lay down any color. I want the meat of the painting to be in the subtleties of the texture and colors. I have deviated pretty far from the birch trees with this bright green painting. But I am excited to see how the final product looks.