Category Archives: murals

Oakland Is… another installment by TDK Crew

This is a happy story. It’s a win-win. It’s a collaboration between art and business and it’s a boon for the local community and our beloved city. We’ll start at the beginning…

Wrist Ship Supply is the business. According to their website they are “the world’s largest ship supplier,” providing goods and services to support the shipping vessels & crews that transport goods around our planet. Pretty cool. About two years ago they acquired a new location in West Oakland on Peralta Street (between 16th & 17th) and it looked like this:

photo courtesy FGP

photo courtesy FGP

As you can see the building was a bit of a mess. Through a desire to be good stewards of their new neighborhood, they decided to invest in a building makeover that would honor the spirit and tradition of Oakland.

This is where Sage comes in. Sage is the founder of Fuming Guerilla Productions (FGP), a production company that specializes in “matchmaking” between artists and clients wishing to commission works. Sage was the middleman: developing the proposal, handling the budget, and managing the project so Wrist could rest easy knowing their makeover would come in on time and under budget, and, of course, finding the right artists for the job.

Meet Oakland graffiti artists and members of TDK Crew, Norman Chuck (aka “Vogue”) and Mike “Bam” Tyau. Vogue was the lead artist for the project and the mural concept and design is all his. A long time Oakland resident, he knew of the neighborhood’s important railway history, and chose that as the driving theme.

I wrote a bit about this here, but basically in the late 1800’s, Oakland was designated as the western terminus of the Transcontinental Railway. The trains ran all the way across the country to land in West Oakland, turning Oakland into a major transportation hub early in its development. Just blocks from Wrist’s building, the old 16th Street station was built in 1912 and served as the major disembarkation point for a large population of African Americans migrating from the South for jobs and better lives. It resulted in a major transformation of the city, and it’s that history that’s being honored here.

oaktownart_20140821_1The mural is huge, spanning three sides of the building, and has been several weeks in the making, with work still continuing. While Vogue and BAM are leading the effort, several guest artists and interns are contributing as well, adding a level of complexity to the project, as Vogue noted it’s important to assess each artists’ skill level and determine how best to put their talents to work. Additionally, this work is all done with aerosol spray paint which is typically applied to relatively smooth surfaces, so the building’s walls of textured brick and metal screened windows proved challenging. But the results are absolutely beautiful!

Here is the 17th Street side of the building which features a massive ship and the iconic Oakland shipping cranes as a nod to Wrist’s industry and Oakland’s importance as a major port. The top reads “Oakland is… ” which is a series the TDK Crew has begun in an effort to highlight the history and unique flavor of our great city. This is the third installment of the “Oakland is… ” series.

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The first was painted across from Brown Sugar Kitchen on Mandela Parkway and is an homage to the old Cypress Freeway that once existed there before being damaged by the ’89 Loma Prieta Earthquake. It reads “Emerging from the rubble and dust clouds of tragedy is the spirit of Oakland: bright, abundant, and relentless!

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The second was painted in Jack London square near Kimball’s as a tribute to the Oakland A’s and in an effort to sway the team to “STAY” here in Oakland, which thankfully, is now resolved. Go A’s!

photo courtesy TDK Crew

photo courtesy TDK Crew

These efforts are the TDK crew’s way of showing that graffiti isn’t just a nuisance. It really is Art (with a capital A) that can be used for positive purposes such as beautifying neighborhoods and building civic pride. Their goal is also to act as role models for young graffiti artists, showing that aerosol art can be used for much more than simple tagging.

And on that note, let’s see the rest of their latest homage to Oakland… The longest wall (running down Peralta) features a series of railcars, complete with graffiti tags for “authenticity”.

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Note: locomotive above only outlined. This wall still in progress. oaktownart_20140821_5 oaktownart_20140821_6 oaktownart_20140821_7

And here’s the 17th Street side:

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These guys will be putting the finishing touches on the mural over the next couple of weeks. Stop by and check it out…

Also, there’s an event happening tomorrow called Dream Day 2014 to honor the life and legacy of Mike “Dream” Francisco, an original member of the TDK crew. There’ll be live painting, music performances, DJ’s, food, and more. Here’s the scoop:

Saturday, August 23rd from 2pm to 7pm
Greenpeace Yard
955 7th street, Oakland

How well do you know Oakland? Name these mystery art locations.

It’s our last day abroad and we are back in the buzzing, sweltering metropolis of Athens after several days in the gorgeous Greek Isles. It’s been an amazing trip so far, and though I know the amazement will continue as we head to the Acropolis later this afternoon, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m just a tad homesick for Oakland.

So in homage to my hometown, I’m posting a small collection of random art snapshots from various locations throughout the city, and I’m curious to see how many of these you recognize.

So let me know how well you know Oakland… can you name the locations of these art pieces???  Post your answers in comments and we’ll see who gets the most right! (no cheating please)

Eyes Mural

1. Eyes Mural

Crest with Dragons

2. Dragons & Crest

Church of the Buzzard

3. First Church of the Buzzard

Metal Flower Sculpture

4. Conservashun Flower

Love Oakland Mural

5. Love Oakland Mural

Metal Man Sculpture

6. Metal Man

skull mural, black and white skull

7. Skull Mural

The Weekend What-To-Do List: this one goes to eleven!

It’s a big weekend people. It’s June. It’s Art Murmur. First Friday. AND Open Studios. And though it’s not technically summer yet, it’s going to feel like it this weekend. It’s gonna be hot!

So whether you’re motivated to take in the arts, bask at the beach, dawdle in the garden, or dance till the sun comes up, there’s something here for you. Check it out my list of ten what-to-dos for this weekend. There are some unique events that only occur once per year so if you miss it, you miss it. Till next year of course. I’ve even mapped something outside Oaktown–shock of all shocks–ready for the island mon? This may be the perfect weekend for it… Hope you enjoy.

10 WHAT-TO-DOS

1. Honeydrop Hometown Throwdown at The New Parish

Friday, June 6th – 7:30 pm
The New Parish – 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland
Cost: $20

The California Honeydrops, a self-described “party band” with a humble, down-to-earth dedication to exploring the vast spectrum of American roots music—New Orleans second-line, soul, funk, and Americana—will be throwing down at the New Parish Tonight. No doubt this will be a good time at a great little club.  Cajun blues band Tri Tip Trio and New Orleans-style brass band MJ’s Brass Boppers will open the show, and the food truck Roderick’s BBQ will be selling Southern food.

2. Art Murmur

Friday, June 6th – Most galleries open till 9pm

I don’t need to tell you about Art Murmur. It’s awesome. Just go. Here’s one of my favorite pics from May’s Murmur… I had an incredible time but never got around to posting about it. Sorry.

Art Murmur, Free Masks

3a) Emory Douglas: Artist for the People, Opening Reception And Artist Talk

Emory Douglas, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Artist for the People, Black Panther PartyFriday, June 6th  6-9pm
Joyce Gordon Gallery – 406 14th Street

Emory Douglas is a provocatively political artist. He was the designated Revolutionary Artist and former Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, and you’re likely familiar with many of his bold graphic posters and flyers, their stark aggressiveness emblematic of the “insurrectionary atmosphere of the [60’s and 70’s], with urban rebellions igniting from city to city and strikes from campus to campus.” Emory will be on hand for this event which should prove to be a fascinating look into the black history of Oakland.

3b) First Friday Shorts Presents: Youth Radio

Friday, June 6th – 6:00pm
The New Parkway – 474 24th St., Oakland
Cost: FREE

Tonight, Youth Radio will present a showcase of its youth videos, creatively portraying the everyday issues that most affect young Oaklanders today – community violence, relationships, education, and more. Also featured will be live performances by the young artists and a discussion about art, media-making and growing up during the height of Oakland’s major cultural and economic shifts. Don’t miss this provocative conversation with the next generation of Oakland artists, newsmakers, and leaders.

3c) Doomed and Misguided: Reggie Warlock and Chris Micro, Opening Reception

Reggie Warlock, Chris Micro, LoakalFriday, June 6th – open till 10pm
Loakal – 560 2nd St. (Jack London Square)

You may not have heard of Reggie Warlock and Chris Micro, but you’ve likely seen their character-based graffiti in murals and tags around Oakland. “A battle cry for underground counterculture’s place in fine art, the exhibition will feature new individual and collaborative paintings and a site-specific installation… Filled with neon colors, humor, and a cartoon-like aesthetic, their work celebrates the worlds of graffiti, hip-hop and skateboarding.”

 3d) 5th Annual Temescal Art Hop

Friday, June 6th  6pm – 9pm
Temescal

This year’s Art Hop features over 20 participating locations including galleries, shops, and cafes around Telegraph Avenue in North Oakland. 48th St (@ Telegraph) and the Temescal Alleys (@ 49th) will feature food vendors and live music.

Pick up an official Art Hop Map from one of the participating locations and collect stamps to enter a raffle drawing to win one of a slew of cool prizes.

4. Urban Farm Tours

Saturday, June 7th  10am – 4pm, tours at each site start every hour
4 sites in Oakland, 4 in Berkeley
Cost: $5 per site ($3 for kids under 12), pay at the door on the day of the event
NOTE: you must contact/register in advance – email iuh@sparkybeegirl.com at least one hour before the event to receive details and locations.

Have you wanted to check out Novella Carpenter’s Ghost Town Farm? Well, now’s your chance!  Her plot, as well as 3 others in Oaktown and 4 more in Berkeley, will be featured on the Institute of Urban Homesteading’s Annual Tour. If you want to learn out how to implement low-water food-production systems or even set up a goat dairy operation in your backyard, this is your chance to hear from the experts. The largest farm on the tour is Full Harvest Urban Farm in East Oakland, spread across 3 lots comprising nearly 27,000 square feet. It’s a super sized full service farm with 25 chickens and 8 ducks for both meat and egg production, 3 kinder dual-purpose goats, dispersed orchard and vegetable plots and a potbelly pig!

Ghost Town Farm is the setting and inspiration for Novella’s well known memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. It’s an amazing story of the little farm she’s set up on a empty lot in West Oakland, not far from my old loft (I wrote a post about my first visit here). The other two Oakland farms are Kansas Street Farm in East Oakland, a small food farm with free-range chickens and rain catchment on a rental property, and Lower Bottom Strange Grange in West Oakland, with ducks, bees, aquaponics also on rental property.

5. 48th Annual Sand Castle & Sand Sculpture Contest

Saturday, June 7th  Registration 9-11am, Judging starts at 12noon, Awards Ceremony at 1pm
Robert Crown Memorial State Beach – Westline Drive & Otis Drive, ALAMEDA
Cost: FREE

It’s going to be 80 degrees on Saturday… what a perfect day to hit the beach! But to participate in this event you’ve gotta get up pretty early. For those who plan to tear it up tonight, it may be more realistic to stroll by midday… you’re sure to be astounded by the fantastic creations whipped up in just a few hours. It’s amazing. And oh so temporary.

 

alameda sand castle contest

photo courtesy of Alameda Journal blog

6. East Bay Open Studios (weekend 1)

June 7th & 8th  11am – 6pm
Multiple Cities throughout the East Bay

What can I say? Open Studios is hosted each year by Pro Arts. They’re an institution and this year they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary! How fabulous is that? Four decades of community building, pushing boundaries, and supporting the artists of the greater East Bay. This weekend (and next) is an incredible opportunity to see a seemingly limitless smorgasbord of art in super intimate settings. I think my favorite part of Open Studios is getting to see each artist’s workspace… so different from seeing pieces displaced to a pristine gallery.

This year over 400 artist studios are included during the two weekends of self-guided touring. Media include book art, ceramics, conceptual, digital, drawing, furniture, glass, installation, jewelry, metal, mixed media, mosaic, painting, paper, pastel, photography, print-making, sculpture, textiles, watercolors, and wood! You’ll need the directory and maps to guide yourself. If you don’t already have one, you can download the East Bay Open Studios Directory here.

7. 38th Annual Redwood Heights Block Sale

block-saleSaturday, June 7th  9am – 3pm
Enter sale at Redwood Rd & Jordan Rd. Sale continues on Bennett, Guido, Norton & Retig.

This is the mother of all garage sales. My girlfriend is participating and will be selling off gorgeous mid-century furniture, dining items, barware, and more. With over 20 families participating,  you’ll also find tons of kid and baby stuff, kitchen items, books and lots more all at great prices. Tons of treasures in an easy three or four block area. Sale wraps around Jordan Park (AKA Avenue Terrace Park) so the kids will have something to look forward to after you are done shopping.

8. Shapeshifters Cinema

Sunday, June 8th, doors 7:30, show 8-9pm
Temescal Art Center – 511 48th St (@ Telegraph)
Cost: FREE

“Shapeshifters Cinema is a monthly expanded cinema series featuring experimental filmmakers and video artists presenting moving image work live with accompaniment from musicians and sound artists. Dovetailing off recent programming at the Exploratorium, Shapeshifters is excited to present the work of pioneering light artists Dennis Keefe and (the late) Glenn McKay who are two of the artists responsible for creating the famous psychedelic light shows of the 1960s. Working together under the name of the Headlights Light Show, Keefe and McKay performed at many west coast venues, including the Fillmore, and also toured extensively with the Jefferson Airplane. The highlight of the program will be a live light art performance by Dennis Keefe with collaborators Jim Baldocchi and Lori Varga and musical accompaniment by Chris Musgrave (Lumerians) and Sarah R. Brady.”

Ok everyone, I know what you’re saying to yourself… that only looks like 8, and she promised 10. But I think if you’ll look back… you’ll see I did some pretty tricky stuff with #3. This one actually goes to eleven. Have a great weekend y’all!

 

SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot at OMCA

We checked out Friday Nights at OMCA last week, spending the bulk of our time at two exhibits… First, Vinyl: The Sound & Culture of Records, which I’m hoping to post about next week. And second, SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot which I’m featuring here…

Now I have to admit that I’m not much of a zine fan. I didn’t know the history of Giant Robot, have limited knowledge of pop-Asian culture, and honestly didn’t think I’d find this exhibit all that interesting. Boy was I wrong. Let’s just say the installation is aptly titled… it IS Super Awesome!

I learned about the history of Giant Robot… its early beginnings in 1994 as an arty pop-culture zine fashioned together on the floor of founder Eric Nakamura’s bedroom, “collage style with text, scissors, images, and glue sticks.” Talk about humble beginnings.

Since then the Giant Robot brand has grown to include retail stores, gallery spaces, and a hugely popular website, extending itself as a broad creative platform that continues “to explore the intersection of contemporary art and the ever-evolving relationship between West Coast popular culture and Asia.” (Carin Adams, OMCA Associate Curator)

Featuring new and recent works by California and international-based artists who have been a part of the magazine’s social and cultural evolution, the exhibit is extensive and includes a wide range of mediums, including mural art, sculpture, illustration, portraiture, large-scale installations, graphic novels, photography, and more.

You really need to allow some time to explore because there’s just so much. I feel we barely scratched the surface… Exhibit is up through July 27th. Don’t miss it!

PS – and if you head over there tonight (Friday, May 30th) there’s a Zines & Print Culture Salon happening from 7-9pm. You can meet Guest Curator Eric Nakamura and pick up rad new reads from a selection of Bay Area zinesters at the zine bazaar organized with Oakland collective Rock Paper Scissors. There’ll be live music, screen printing demos, gaming stations and much more.

SuperAwesome, Giant Robot

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Painting by Andrew Hem

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Deth P. Sun

Untitled by Deth P. Sun

Deth P. Sun, Oakland by Deth P. Sun

Untitled (detail) by Deth P. Sun

eric nakamura

Curated Collection of Zines by Eric Nakamura

video game car

Custom Scion XB Gaming Car by Eric Nakamura & Len Higa

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Artists’ Sketchbooks I

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Artists’ Sketchbooks II

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Lazy Eye

Ode to California, Kozyndan

Ode to California by Kozyndan

More Dimond Love

Forgive the focus on my immediate neighborhood these past few posts… I haven’t gotten out much lately! But this collaborative mosaic and paint mural is a stunner and well worth highlighting.

It’s another installment by the folks who brought us the lovely mural on the side of Farmer Joes on Fruitvale Ave. Created by local artist and teacher Debra Koppman, the mural is titled “I LOVE Dimond.” It features a tapestry of images woven together across three panels to portray the diverse and beautiful neighborhood that is the Dimond District. Left and right are elaborate mosaics installed by Martha Trujillo, Brad Holland, and Shardee Thomas, while the center panel features an intricate painting by Mandy Lockwood.

Wonder what this stretch of Mac Arthur used to look like? See further below…

Debbie Koppman, PGE Substation Mural

dimond district mural, mac arthur mural, mandy lockwood

debbie koppman, mosaic mural, mac arthur mural

I couldn’t find a shot of the whole wall pre-mural, but you can imagine from the snippet of dilapidated fence below. I love how you can still see the PG&E substation info in relief within the new mural.

PG&E substation

The project was funded through multiple sources:

  • Oakland Cultural Funding Program – supporting Oakland-based art and cultural activities that reflect the diversity of the city for citizens of and visitors to Oakland. (more on this below)
  • Dimond Night Out (Montclair Lions Club – Howard Neal)
  • Oakland Parks & Recreation (Karen Long)
  • Individual Donors – Edward Norton, Carrie Campbell, Kathleen Russell, John Olson
  • Dimond Improvement Association (DIA) – working on issues and projects ranging from streetscape improvements, business development and crime reduction to beautification and community celebrations.

I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly highlight the Oakland Cultural Funding Program, because it’s nearly that time of year again when they open the applications to their grant funding process. They provide support in three categories: general support to arts & cultural organizations, individual artist projects, and art in the schools.

I’m going to focus on the individual artists (others can visit the link above for more info). Do you have a community art project you’ve always dreamed of executing but couldn’t figure out how to fund? Well here’s a chance to secure some cold hard cash to help make your dream a reality. The individual artist grants max out at $5000 and do have a few requirements to qualify:

  • You must be a resident of Oakland.
  • You can’t have received one of these grants within the past two years.
  • Your project must take place in Oakland and should culminate in a local public outcome for the benefit of the community. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, performances of dance, music or theater, visual art and public art projects, classes and workshops, exhibitions, and literary activities.

It says on their website that the applications should open on April 1st, but I confirmed yesterday that they are not expected until May 1st. The deadline will likely be June 30th, but both dates are still tentative at this time.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, you can sign up for email notification regarding applications, review grant guidelines and recipients from last year, and see answers to frequently asked questions all here:  Oakland Cultural Funding Program.

Love Oakland – Make Art!

Ernest Doty in the Dimond

I’ve been a bit lax in posting this past week or so… I came down with a nasty cold/flu which has kept me moving at the pace of a three-toed sloth. Actually slower.

But the universe has an interesting way of providing when we need it most, and as a result, I’m excited to tell you that I’ve got a guest post coming up later this week. Please stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is a continuation of the focus on a cool multi-artist installation site in my local hood, with the foreground image below by street artist Ernest Doty. I’ve actually featured his work on this site before without realizing it (see Art Murmur is cool. And it’s tonight. which I now know includes one of his multi-eyed creatures, another regular theme in his work.)

I love this piece for its focus on the bird, more specifically a raven (at least that’s what it looks like to me).

The Bird

I recently completed a small body of photographic artworks that, while focused on various themes and settings, all had one feature in common: birds. In the process of developing this body I did a bit of research for an accompanying essay and discovered that throughout history, images of birds have been used to symbolize the link between the spiritual realm and the physical world.

A Raven

Just last week I read a short creative nonfiction work called The Raven by Barry Lopez. It’s an allegorical meditation on the differences between crows and ravens, but really its meaning is much deeper, exploring issues frequented in his works: the relationship of human culture to the physical landscape, identity, ethics, etc. Here is a short excerpt:

Finally there is this: one morning four ravens sat at the edge of the desert waiting for the sun to rise. They had been there all night and the dew was like beads of quicksilver on their wings. Their eyes were closed and they were as still as the cracks in the desert floor.

The wind came off the snow-capped peaks to the north and ruffled their breath feathers. Their talons arched in the white earth and they smoothed their wings with sleep, dark bills. At first light their bodies swelled and their eyes flashed purple. When the dew dried on their wings they lifted off from the desert floor and flew away in four directions. Crows would never have had the patience for this.

You can look up the PDF if you want to read the full piece (it’s quite short at just three pages). I found its beauty echoed in the imagery of this mural.

Ernest Doty, Dimond Murals, Bird Murals, Ernest Doty Mural, MacArthur Murals, Dimond Murals

Many of Doty’s works incorporate bird imagery (see another below, from West Oakland) and since his Facebook profile describes him as “a mystic”, I have to believe he’s got some similar intent at work with this symbolism. Very cool.

bird mural, ernest doty, bird graffiti

Photo by Graff Hunter

Oakland Treehouse by Griffin One

There’s been a hubbub of art activity in my Dimond neighborhood in the past few months… new murals and mosaics popping up along our little stretch of MacArthur. This was one of the early installments.

It went in late last year and I simply love it–love how the large canvas of this building is used as a portal to transport us from the urban “hectivity” of this busy boulevard to the peaceful pastoral delight of northern California farmland surrounded by gentle foothills.

Mural is by Griffin One, Oakland-based muralist, fine artist, illustrator and digital designer.
dimond district, dimond murals, macarthur murals, griffinone, griffin one