Archive for the ‘California Project’ Category

Stepping down the natural wood  staircase into William Tunberg’s studio, is like walking into a jig saw puzzle of small fragmented specialty studios that create the ultimate studio complex. In creating marquetry sculpture, Bill calls upon his lifelong love of assemblage and classical drawing. His materials are exotic natural and dyed veneers that he fragments, assembles, and reassembles, and ultimately laminates over complex sculptural forms. Each step of this process has it’s own space and each space it’s own use. Much like Bill’s fragmented and reassembled imagery, his studio forms an assemblage of his own making and is at the heart of the home he shares with is wife and the 11 year-old cat, Kitty. It is infused with whimsy and artistry. Cleaver touches of marquetry creates shadows of banisters on the natural wood staircase and coffee stains on the floor. Huge ink and pencil portraits peer down from high ceiling perches. This home was designed and built from a small Venice bungalow and still retains it’s charm and sunny disposition.

Bill’s contemporary technique has little in common with traditional marquetry. Historically, during the time of Louis XIV, marquetry was the most highly prized of all art forms.  Marquetry was used almost exclusively as a decorative appliqué to furniture and functional objects of art. Traditional marquetry uses floral designs and natural scenes as decorative motifs. Bypassing all traditional applications, Bill concentrates on fragmenting imagery and arranging the imagery into surreal combinations.
In the 60’s, Bill began working for Ed Kienholz and became friends, who along with Westerman and Cornell introduced and inspired his love affair with assemblage that lasted for over three decades. His work is amazing and he also makes the BEST cup of coffee in California.



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Lisa Adams is a painter and public artist who lives and works in the original brick portion of the Santa Fe Art Colony of LA, which was built in 1906 by entrepreneur C.B. Van Vorst, and was used as a mattress factory until the 1940’s. Train tracks wound through the property and up to the building itself in order to load and unload raw materials directly from freight cars. These tracks were recently paved over in 1999. Additional buildings were added in the 1930’s and 40’s, and the site saw later incarnations as a robe factory and a carpet business. In 1988 the complex was renovated and developed into artists’ lofts.


Lisa has taught, exhibited and studied with artists most of her life, and knows nearly everyone in the art business. It is not surprising that she would also live in an artist community. She has been an artist-in-residence in Slovenia, Finland, Japan, Holland and Costa Rica, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Lisa is also an independent curator and published author.


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In an alley South of Market, among the weird street interchanges of Gough, Mission, South Van Ness, and Otis…John Gruenwald runs a stone lithography, intaglio, and letterpress studio for art printing…and walking up the stairway to the second-floor loft feels very New York and insiderish. John works in oils and solar etching too. We had allot in common with John- he spent time in Milwaukee, Taos and Phoenix.


The front of this space was a gallery, lit by a huge wall of windows that opened to the street below and a metal fire escape. The sights and sounds of the city and traffic wafted up into the space that was once a Ben Davis Jeans sweatshop. I fell in love with the whole ambiance of the place. The very high ceiling, the creaking wood floor, the dust dancing in the sunlight streaming down through the old wavy glass. Just look at the huge round columns….. who could fall in love with this?

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Suzan Woodruff reads about physics, space and metaphysics and use that in her work, which includes gravity, evaporation, pigment and water. Suzan is at the forefront of the FLOW art movement. While she works, she mediates – to control the chaos and highlights the importance of knowing when to stop and move on. As the saying goes “There are no mistakes, it’s only Buddha dust.” Suzan was tremendously influenced by the spirituality of her grandmother, who raised with philosophy of Self Realization, and the distinctly Bohemian lifestyle of her mother.


Suzan lives and works in Mar Vista, with her husband, author Bruce Bauman. Her detached studio was built to her specs, as was her custom easel-table. Being a native of Phoenix, Suzan loves the sunlite and added the high windows so she could feel mother nature. Her studio space is calm and light and at the same time entirely messy. She never had sunlight and space like this living in Manhattan.


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The paintings of Los Angeles based artist, Shane Guffogg, first appear as pure color shimmering across the canvas. But look a little longer and figurative shapes slowly reveal themselves. Look a little closer and intricate details become clear. The shapes and patterns hover somewhere between writing and design. Using the idea of illumination as a literal and metaphorical framework for his work, Shane makes oil paintings radiant with refractive light. They typically feature 70-80 layers of translucent colors that have been mixed with a glazing medium, which causes them to seem incandescent, aglow from within. Shane has long been interested in the way communications are processed and sorted, consciously and subconsciously, the way meanings are assigned by the psyche to events and images, and the way memories are created and deployed. It is no surprise that he starts the patterns in the top left corner and moves across as if he were writing a letter.


Shane lives and works behind a pink flatiron fence, in a converted storefront, of a 1920’s Victorian version of a stip mall. The U-shaped building, rings a courtyard dominated by 2 huge, feathery pepper trees. Each small storefront join together by off-setting doorways facing the courtyard and creates what was once the center of a lively market area in a very old Hollywood community. It makes sense that he would find himself at the center of a community artist’s collective, as well. Popular downtown art hub Pharmaka came to life when Shane ran into 2 other artists, John Scane and Vonn Sumner, at a Christmas party in 2003. Now Pharmaka—with its program of exhibitions, panel discussions, pod-casts and the like—is at the heart of the neighborhood.


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Marc Katano is an American artist born in Tokyo, Japan and even if viewers were unaware of his heritage they instantly see the calligraphy of the East in his signature elliptical strokes. He likes to paint continuously and his marks were originally the result of the “c” movement of his wrist directing his hand and brush. Over the last decade and a half his work has steadily progressed along a path of “less is more”. In his new works, the mark making and color washes describe a void, using tender and subtle washes of color and with the merest suggestion of the original elliptical form, he has opened up a vast and lyrical space for color and mood to express itself.


Marc utilizes the ellipse, resembling a collapsed pair of parentheses with no corners to interrupt the natural hand movement. He allows the painted ellipses to dry partially and then washes away the wet paint in a slow-dripping process that leaves only a series of outlines. The resulting matrix of thin lines, drawn in this meticulous fashion, gives the impression of movement and speed.
We met with Marc and his biggest fan, his wife Nicole, a professional photographer, in their North Hollywood home, on a rainy Monday morning. He buildt his studio afew steps from their backdoor, making it easy for Nicole to pop her head in through out the day to ohh and awww at the work he produces.


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Artist, architect, sculptor and furniture maker, Po Shun Leong is also known, since the late 1980s, for his highly intricate and flamboyant one-of-a-kind wood art boxes that have been enthusiastically collected and are in museums all over the world for their sense of shape, surprise and presentation . The “Landscape” box, a constantly evolving series since 1983, is architectural in character and built up of many different woods in their natural colors.  Still today, the unique look and playfulness of his artwork has helped keep that style relevant and inspirational. He maintains a studio in a beautifully maintained garden of his residence in the City of Winnetka, in the San Fernando Valley, northwest of Los Angeles.


Like many master woodworkers, Po Shun creates his masterpieces in a well lit studio about the size of a two car garage, augmented by a concrete apron under an overhanging roof, where the tablesaw, router table and stationary sander are kept.
Indoors, flanking the drawing board, two tables hold work in progress, augmented as needed by two wheeled carts. One end of the studio serves as the lumberyard, where surfaced boards stand in neat rows awaiting selection. At the other end of the studio, is a maze of shelves and drawers, each holding dozens of Po Shun’s distinctive architectural and geometric shapes.
We drank tea with Po Shun, his wife and a big yellow Labrador retriever and enjoyed every soft sunny minute listening to him talk about his work in his smooth musical British accent.


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