Posts Tagged ‘San Fransisco artist’

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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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.


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.


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As a Chicano art student in the mid-70s, Juan Fuentes was part of the wave of new students of color who had been recruited through the Economic Opportunity Program.  The struggle for ethnic studies, the Third World Student Strike, along with the anti-war and anti-imperialist movements, shaped his world outlook.  This ultimately influenced his approach to making art and living life.


Juan, his wife Michelle (a prof of Art History) and their daughter, live over his silkscreen studio, in a beautiful 1920’s uptop, on a hill in San Fransisco. Walking through the backyard garden filled with succulents, butterflies and wind chimes, following the reclaimed brick walkway to his printing studio- an orange building built by a grateful former student, I could see through a reclaimed eyebrow window, into a charming sunlite studio. Juan’s focus has continued to use the figure or portrait as a means to tell a story, elaborating on the human condition. The prints that he has produced in the last two years are of people carrying objects or in the process of work. This carrying of things has been a metaphor for the heavy load on one’s shoulders through experiences of living.


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For more than two decades, Deborah Oropallo has been pushing the boundaries of style, media, and technology. Her newly constructed space is an add-on to a building she shares with her husband’s furniture building company. The building was once a brass fitting foundry, located in the center of an industrial section of San Fransisco. The couple kept as much of the original as possible making the space bright and lofty.


For her newest series, Deborah uses the magic of digital photography to create provocative, multi-layered portraits of women that are based on Internet ads selling sexual fantasy costumes. These paintings merge the ads with elements of her childhood love of the “West”ern themed Rodeo Clowns. She combines her painting and Internet advertising to explore ideas about women, desire, power, and the commercialization of sex. Deborah is using aluminum to provide a canvas for her translucent images that shimmer with the contrast of cool metal and warm color. She has designed the frames that her husband fabricates for her work.


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