Category Archives: posters

Kuhl Frames + Art

Just a quick shout out to the awesome Kuhl Frames + Art, framing shop & art gallery in Uptown Oakland.

kuhl frames, oakland framing shop, kuhl art gallery, uptown art galleries

I’ve been meaning to write about Kuhl Frames + Art for over a year now, for a number of reasons.  After a painfully frustrating framing experience with Michael’s a couple years ago (don’t be seduced by their 50% off deals!), I opted for a different experience altogether.  F*ck the big box Emeryville stores, I say! Our local independent shops are where it’s at, and this one is no exception…

Located in the thick of it all, at 22nd & Broadway… you can grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner and any fashion of associated beverages, all within a block of this lovely little shop. There’s Farley’s East, Uptown Cafe, Luka’s, Plum, Punchdown Wine Bar, Era… and those are just the one’s in spitting distance.  So plan accordingly.  And bring your appetite along with your art.

Owner Travis Kuhl has a great curatorial sense and the eye for display that goes along with it.  Quite simply, he will transform your works of art into true heirloom treasures. He’ll spend an unbelievable amount of time with you, exploring framing options that will highlight the subtlest aspects of your pieces; he’ll examine 73 shades of white to get the one that looks just right; he’ll work within your budget and can offer gorgeous hand-made Italian frames (at a premium) or economical pre-sized standard frames that are still far more interesting than anything you could get at Ikea.

Additionally, the space is a lovely little gallery, hosting not only rotating art exhibits, but also small retail displays of interesting and eclectic items: like mid-century lamps, Travis’s gorgeous fireplace yule-log-ish glass lamp constructions, art books, letter-press cards, and more.

The first time I went to Kuhl Frames (to frame a piece of art I bought during Art Murmur no less!) they had a fantastic show up called Lil Tuffy, showcasing dozens of stunning hand-screened posters by the artist of the same name…

Lil Tuffy, hand-screened posters, silk screened posters, lil tuffy posters

I meant to write about it way back then, but somehow didn’t get around to it. More recently, the gallery hosted the Lily Black exhibit I wrote about last week.

And also the wonderfully serene and spacious paintings of his wife Elisa Carozza-Kuhl. Her nature-inspired pieces can frequently be seen on rotation here… the current exhibit is a body of recent work exploring the new medium of acrylics, with a series entitled “Flights”. As we walked past them, Tim said, “I can almost hear these paintings.” I love her color palette of greens and golds… she says these colors hold an “emotional resonance” for her.

elisa carozza, flight series,

I love her color palette of greens and golds… she says these colors hold an “emotional resonance” for her, which, at least in my case, resonates for the viewer as well.

If you have a chance, do check out the current exhibit… I believe they’ll be working on a new installation at the end of the month.  It will also give you a chance to ask Travis about Oakland’s Guardian Angel, who personally, in the dead of night, slipped this loving tribute to Kuhl Frames under their door…

“Invest, build, prosper, and live happy in Oakland.”

guardian angel of oakland, oakland guardian angel notes

Dear Kuhl Frames,

Your craftsmanship and dedication to art in Oakland is nothing short of inspiring.  Wishing you unbounded success, I remain yours truly.

Oakland’s Guardian Angel

Art in Commerce.

I was downtown last night for dinner and a drink with a girlfriend… specifically we were in the Oaksterdam area of 16th and Franklin, meeting at The Layover,  and I guess I haven’t been down there for a little while but it just seemed that everywhere I looked, there was something I wanted to document or photograph or check out further… tons of flyers, posters, stickers, wheatpastes… it was kind of overwhelming because, frankly, I was late…  and thirsty.

So I didn’t really to take the time to slowly explore like I might under different circumstances, but these two large what-appeared-to-be-wheatpastes were so striking they made me stop and take a quick snap.

art in commerce, wheatpaste advertisements, oaksterdam

Upon closer inspection, they both turned out to be ads.  Which kinda disappointed me.  But then again, there are some amazing creatives working in advertising, so I didn’t feel too bad for being duped.

I’m the person who typically mutes commercials, because, for the most part, they strike me as manipulative and banal.  But some… some are truly inspired. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this damn hamster car commercial!  It’s hilarious.  Brilliant. And interestingly enough, shot in Hamsterdam.

Anyway, the first poster is for an upcoming Dreamworks movie (Megamind), which actually looks pretty entertaining (Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and Brad Pitt). It’s what the original artist, Shepard Fairey, would call a “bootleg.”   You can see more here.

The second is for a Nintendo game, which I can’t say much about because I don’t play video games.  But I went to the website to check it out, and the one thing I’ll say is, it does have a cool soundtrack… kind of like that to a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie.

Political Expression is an Act of Art.

I went to a community meeting in West Oakland last night to discuss some neighborhood issues that have been escalating to the point where many long term residents are, frankly, fed up.

I’ve ranted about a few of these issues from time to time… hopefully not too often, as I generally like to focus on the positive (“keep on the sunny side…”) But it always surprises me when people respond in a way that indicates that by choosing to live in marginal neighborhoods, we somehow aren’t entitled to the most basic quality of life rights as others.

I remember a particular incident one evening when a car full of young kids/adults was parked outside my window, partying with the stereo blasting at 3am on a school night. I threw on some clothes and went outside and very cordially asked them if they could re-locate the party. In a nutshell, they were snotty brats about it and as their car peeled out racing down the street, one of the girls shouted out the window… “you live in the ghetto! what do you expect???” Like somehow people in the ghetto don’t need to sleep like everyone else. I could forgive her because she was a kid and she was drunk, but it’s interesting how often adults have similar opinions.

The truth is, unless you happen to be a pimp or a prostitute or a drug dealer or a drug addict, which comprise a small minority of the people living in West Oakland, then you most likely are not a fan of these activities in your neighborhood. And even the people participating in these activities would likely choose otherwise if they had the means or resources to change their lives. They often have few other options…

But I digress.

I’ve been thinking more politically lately due to the upcoming election and was speaking with a local activist the other day who quoted our current Mayor about Oakland being a “model city.” She said in order for us to truly be a model city, we all need to be model citizens, which needless to say, is easier said than done. It requires time and effort. And in a rat-race society where many are working nose to the grindstone to get their slice of the pie or simply make ends meet, there’s not much time left over.

I applaud those who make the time. I am striving to make more time.

I walked to get coffee this morning because I was out of beans at home. In front of the cafe in the Dimond district, a woman wearing a volunteer vest was picking up trash along the retail stretch of sidewalk. I thanked her. She’s making a difference. And I can’t help wondering what a difference we all might make collectively, if every citizen of this city volunteered to do something. Anything.

These are a handful of political signs I saw as I made my way back home, through the lower hills of Dimond’s lushly landscaped homes… indicative of a community that seems to be really engaged.

women in politics, political signs, dimond district oakland

political signs, support teachers, oakland teachers, dimond district

political expression, political expression as art

support the troops, political signs, dimond district oakland

peace signs in oakland, dimond peace signs, political expression

Painted peace sign on garage, peace signs oakland

same sex marriage, support same sex marriage, no on prop 8

Not your basic lost dog…

Well I thought I’d be a bit more present after Labor Day, but this short week’s been cut even shorter by the need to attend a funeral, so in the interest of brevity (and cheering myself up) here are some unusual pet signs spotted around Oaktown recently…

lost chicken, unhappy chicken, funny lost pet signs, unusual lost pet signs

unusual pet signs, funny lost pet signs, bunny missing ear

unusual lost pet signs, unusual found pet signs

Hope to be back on a more regular schedule next week… please stay tuned.