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Dianna Cohen

There are few objects more representative of contemporary First World culture than the plastic bag. Having worked with the medium as her primary material for the past fifteen years, Dianna Cohen halts the usual cycle of production, distribution and disposal and asks her viewers to reevaluate the aesthetic potential of such a common object.

Cut like paper, sewn like fabric, these constructions have been presented as flat art (framed or mounted) with crumpled and shiny surfaces that are dulled by dirt and time: un-useful pieces of their former selves. They’re playfully asymmetrical in composition and most are deliriously multicolored. In her hands, they offer tactile temptation as they lay flat against or spill off the wall in voluptuous folds. Dianna’s  trashy materials take on undreamed of  seductive qualities. Rather than treating the used bags as byproducts, she focuses on their most exciting intrinsic qualities: bright, plastic color and sensual surfaces.

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Dianna works from a studio, in a classic area of Hollywood, that she and her father built years ago. She is quite, thoughtful, extremely engaging and very passionate about plastic. The material’s relationship to marketing and advertisement culture is ever present, unavoidable and inherent in her work. The graphic text on the bags often influences the theme of a piece, but just as often disappears into the background of color, almost becoming subliminal in the work.

www.diannacohen.com

Art Hazelwood

Art Hazelwood is the National Organizer of the Art of Democracy. Art of Democracy, is a national coalition of political art shows that took place in the fall of 2008, leading up to the US Presidential elections. Political Art Printer with the feeling of biting political cartoons, Hazelwood’s pieces mix satire with commentary, plopping in a world or two of sycophants, war profiteers and mercenary violence in Iraq. Anger is always more constructive when it’s focused on something positive.  Hazelwood says the medium’s rich history of social and political commentary inspires him to constantly push the envelope, always striving for edgier pieces that enable others to make strong connections with the art and the messages it conveys.

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Art is a versatile artist, working in linoleum, wood, copper etching and silkscreen. Each print is filled with figures that seem to squeeze inside the edges. These visually engaging prints present a feeling and moment in its entirety, with never enough room to display all he wishes to convey within the borders of the print. Angry art does not an angry artist make. Art Hazelwood was a funny and thoughtful host as he welcomed us into his studio located in the Industrial Center, an inlet abuzz with railroad cars, freight trucks and enlighten social commentary.
www.arthazelwood.com

Thomas Creed

Thomas Creed is a realist wilderness oil painter. He moved to Sonoma County in 1993 and rediscovered his early love of the natural world. Thomas now explores the beauty and power of landscape painting using the unspoiled Northern California countryside as his primary subject.

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This is Thomas’ 2nd floor home studio/office. He removed a wall in this meticulous home, just north of San Fransisco, to create a larger space to work everyday. His copious plein aire journey notes document the sounds, smells, times of day, temperatures and lighting, turn his field study sketches and photographs into 25 years plus of the smallest details he has discovered in the California landscape.

www.thomascreed.com

Matt Devine

Sculptor Matt Devine believes in simplicity as an antidote to contemporary life. He works both large and small. When he’s not concentrating on a commissioned work for an architectural exterior, he’s creating sculptures in the studio. Some are elemental-looking forms punctuated by beautifully worked apertures. Other have multiple components, like half-circles (“half-moons” is his term) and slender poles. All have elegant patinas.

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We were lucky to meet and photograph Matt in his new studio space, complete with a large overhead crane, railroad tracks and a great plan for this old glass factory. The Glashaus is a renovated space turned into artist’s lofts and shared space with business partner and fellow sculptor, Greg Bortherton. Together, they hope to create an artist community in the Logan Barrio of San Diego. Matt is pictures here with his canine buddy, Buddy, in the first days of construction. We plan to return to photograph the studio when the Glahaus has it’s grand opening and the artist and design center is completed.

www.mattdevine.net

Lynn Hershman Leeson has worked extensively in photography, video, film, installation and pioneered interactive computer and net-based media art. She has been at the forefront of “new media” art since the 1970s, developing fluency in new digital technologies as they evolved. Lynn has been responsible for a number of technological innovations, including the first interactive computer-based artwork, the first artwork to use touch-sensitive screen technology, and the first networked telerobotic art installation. She was a part of the Feminist Art Movement in the United States and still demonstrates today her originality while continuing her feminist mission to explore female communication practices, insight and sexuality.

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Lynn’s studio was a buzz of activity on the 2nd floor of a brick building in the Mission District. She has a handfull of assistants who are kept very busy by her hectic schedule.

www.lynnhershman.com

Billy Al Bengston

Billy Al Bengston is one of the Los Angeles ”car culture” stars of the 1960’s and 70’s, was among the first to leave traditional oil paint on canvas for sprayed layers of automobile lacquer on aluminum in soft colors, achieving a highly reflective, translucent surface. He was once a semi-professional motorcycle racer and early on, painted custom bikes. After seeing the work of Jasper Johns at the 1958 Venice Biennale he adopted the motif of a set of sergeant’s stripes. This recurring chevron image was painted with industrial materials and techniques associated with the decoration of motorcycle tanks and surfboards.
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In 1962, Billy rented the Venice News building to use as a studio. He is still there today and that is were me met him and his small white puffball of a dog, Louise. He had just returned from from 3 years in Victoria Canada. Billy is retired and doing what he wants to do…. like body surfing every morning…. we caught him about 1/2 hour after his am swim, he looked fit and very happy.

www.billyalbengston.com

Bella Feldman

The old mayonnaise factory, in Oakland, has been Bella Feldman’s studio since 1975, where today, she makes extraordinary objects-objects that rivet your attention by their physical appearance; the weight, mass, volume, material, posture, balance, and motion. Bella creates what she calls “anxious objects” — ranging from large-scale, imposing pieces to smaller more intimate pieces. We visited Bella in her studio to see her mechanical glass and metal sculptures, which were breathtaking.

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Bella came to California in 1951 and became one of the first women professors at California College of the Arts. She has been working in steel and glass since 1995. The morning we visited her and artist JP Long, her assistant, she was experimenting with digital image grind marks in metal that she was adding pastel to enhancement. Bella spends a great deal of time in London which may explain the European flair and sophistication of her work

www.bellafeldman.com