Spring Open Studios in downtown Oakland proved to be a tremendous opportunity allowing me to connect with my local community in a way I had never before. There were more visitors than I was accustomed to seeing, and it was also the largest body of work I had ever shown outside my tiny 120 square foot Berkeley studio. I was completely freaked out. The experience opened me up to speaking with more people about my paintings, and one of those standout moments for me was meeting artist Toru Sugita - A master printmaker and head of the printmaking department at Diablo Valley College. Toru invited me to consider signing up for his class which would involve a commute, and moving a few things around with my work schedule - including making a few personal sacrifices.
Honestly, going back to school this year surprised me. It's been over 15 years since I've been back to college. It was exciting, but I also felt clumsy and overwhelmed by my surroundings. My 2017 new year's resolution was to focus more on pushing myself to pursue new techniques I've always wanted to learn, and to spend more time on my own personal projects even if it meant this journey was going to be very uncomfortable.
Growing up around my father's woodworking has definitely nurtured my interest in woodblock, and he's all for it. I love being able to borrow some of his shop tools when I need to try something out. I didn't study art in college, but things always have a way of finding their way back if they are truly meant to be... I've loved printmaking long before I even understood what relief art was. Now I'm amused to find ink all over my clothes, and band aids on my fingers. Tiny knives do require a lot of respect (because it's not a good idea to carve when you haven't had enough sleep.) The smell of the ink is becoming more and more familiar to me. The physical movement of rubbing out my own prints is hard on my limbs, but extremely satisfying. All in all, this semester has not been without it's share of challenges. lt's been a very personal one for me in the wake of the North Bay fires where much of the Northwest side of my hometown of Santa Rosa was destroyed. With so much loss, it's been difficult to describe my feelings through this time, so I have tried my best to stay steady with my work, continue with my classes, and support relief efforts when I return to visit my folks on the weekends. Carving has been meditative.
This Fall my fellow board members at Arts For Oakland Kids asked me to design a limited edition print for our Winter Benevon community event. An ambitious project YES - but I was up for the challenge to keep my mind focused on a positive and meaningful task over these last few weeks. Volunteering has always been a big part of my life, and specifically what we do at Arts For Oakland Kids is exciting and making a real difference. I spent a huge chunk of my childhood in Oakland, and for nearly two years I've served on the board of this non-profit. It's been a great learning experience to produce a numbered edition by hand in a large quantity to benefit such a great cause.
Each 8" x 10" rainbow print is totally unique in color variations. These original prints will be available beginning December 3rd to the first 100 Winter donors to A-OK. An average donation is around $35, but give any amount and you shall receive! Help support this incredible non-profit organization so that we may continue to fund more arts education grants to under-served children in the Oakland school districts in 2018. Your donation is 100% tax deductible.