Usable artworks in terrycloth 

100% cotton towels 
For the beach or the home 
Designed by rising artists 
Jacquard-woven in the USA 
And never mass-produced

Limited editions for art lovers 
And gourmet bathers alike

With other sunshine essentials 
Handmade by our talented friends

A project by Jessica Thornton Murphy
In San Francisco, California

Made possible by:

ARTISTS

  • Tyler Cross

  • Sun Buns | June 2020

    Tyler Cross is an artist based in Oakland, California. Although he is best known for the ceramic sculpture he makes in collaboration with his boyfriend, Kyle Lypka, Tyler maintains a focused solo practice of sculpture, painting, and drawing which poetically explores his fascination with the complicated relationship between art and functionality. Using a private language of color and shapes, echoes of which dance fluidly from his flat to three-dimensional works, Tyler constructs paradoxical artifacts and the abstracted, uncanny landscapes from where they came. 

    Photos by Macayli Hausmann

    A conversation with Tyler from June 2022
    Featured in Plunge Rag Vol. 2

    PLUNGE: What part of your art process excites you?

    TYLER: Drawing in my notebook is my favorite part. It’s less risky. I think when it comes to making ceramic sculpture with Kyle, if it’s being made off of a drawing I know what the beginning point, is whereas with painting I don’t really know where it’s gonna go. If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with clay it’s that patience is really important and that’s something I’ve carried over to my painting practice. I’ve started to go a lot slower and take more time with things. I think it allows me to sit with things and have things arrive versus make them happen. I think the beginning is something that always excites me, or gives me an unknown feeling.

    Do you spend most of your time working collaboratively with Kyle? How much of your practice is devoted to your own work?

    Recently I’ve been working on my own stuff more but in all honesty I’m more excited about the work that we make collaboratively. There are things that I’m doing for my show that I haven’t done before, so I’m excited to see how that goes, like light sculptures, and also I haven’t made a lot of metal work so that’s gonna be a new thing.

    Will this be your first solo show?  

    Yeah, it feels good. I feel like I’m just making what I want to see and before I was concerned about what people want to see. After talking to Kyle I realized it’s not important and I should really just focus on what I want to make.

    Do those concerns come from thinking about how the work will sell? 

    Yep, I was making things and wondering, “Is anyone gonna buy that?”. I don’t really feel like that should be the reason why people make artwork. I should just make it because I want to. I don’t think I’m at the point in my career where I should be concerned if someone’s gonna buy something or not cause to even consider myself as an artist is kinda hard for me to think about. 

    Why is that?

    I’ve done art for myself in a private way for so long that putting a word to it always felt uncomfortable to me. I don’t really want to consider myself as an artist. I think it’s hard to explain and I don’t really know how to put it into words…

    Do you feel like the production jobs you’ve taken on, like making the JB Blunk cups and vases for Carter & Co, have pushed your practice because you’re doing things that you wouldn’t normally be doing? 

    Well, Kyle and I started making vases for fun and that’s what sparked our whole collaborative project. Making vases was the beginning, so it’s resorting back to something that we were already doing and it’s also a way to get back into the swing of things. When we moved studios and weren’t making as much work for a little while we started making vases to warm up. 

    How did you first start making vases together?

    Kyle made a vase for me as a gift and I liked it and wanted to make my own. Then I started drawing sculptures and Kyle wanted to make them.

    Was that your first time making ceramics? 

    No, I actually did a lot at San Francisco Art Institute. I could have minored in sculpture. I needed to take one more class but that would have required me to stay for another semester, which would have been a lot of money so I didn’t.

    Where do you find your inspiration?

    The graph paper in my notebook. I can start with straight lines, which I feel like is something that is reoccurring the sculpture that Kyle and I produce. 

    I like that because the Sun Buns towel you made has the grid on it. You have a snake shape that recurs often, too. Where does that come from?

    When I was going to school at SFAI a lot of the paintings I was doing had these kind of forms, like an alphabet of shapes basically, and I wasn’t really aware that I was even doing that until we had a class visit by Jenny Gheith, who works at SF MoMA. She made me think about what I was doing a little more and pointed out that I was working with a reservoir of shapes. 

    Has that impacted how you go about making work now? 

    More so in the beginning, not as much now. The snake shape became a stamp that we put on the bottom of our production work and Kyle’s and my collaborative sculpture. That’s our signature now.

    How often are you making art?

    I feel like it’s not enough. I felt like when I wasn’t working as much I would be in here days during the week and on the weekend. But then I also spend my job making work, so I feel like I am always working on art but it’s for someone else. I work for the artist Liam Everett and have been for seven years. 

    Does making art with Liam give you momentum to work on your own projects? 

    Yep, totally. Because then I get to think about things in a different way. Here lately it’s been more sculpture and with him it’s painting. They’re not two different worlds but they’re two different mediums that function very differently. I joke with him that sculpture is harder because there are more things that can go wrong. I feel like you can finish a painting in a month but then working on a large sculpture and having it finished in a month is risky with dry-time. 

    In your personal practice are you mostly making sculpture? You mentioned making lights and metal objects for your upcoming show. 

    Well I don’t want them to be “lamps” so I’m trying to think about how to talk about them. At first I was thinking that the element that would cover the lightbulb would be ceramic and Kyle made me think about them being metal because a ceramic sconce is more common. But then also the lighting sculpture idea came from working at the JB Blunk Estate. In the Blunk house you could see all these lights on the wall attached to a pull chain… I used to think art and function should be two different things and now I don’t think it’s that cut and dry. I feel like design is a kind of high art just like a painting or a sculpture. So for me to be deterred from wanting to make a light because it’s something that has a function just isn’t a good enough reason not to make it. I wanted to see it in the world so we made it. Metal as a material is so foreign to me so I think I’ll be sticking with clay for this project. 

    It seems like it was inspiring to have spent time in a place like the JB Blunk house where art consistently meets functionality. 

    Totally, and I love that. Whereas I feel like Kyle’s and my work is going in the opposite direction and is seeming less functional. 

    But it’s a nice illusion — the sculptures look like functional vessels but they’re impractical and non-working. They become very painterly in that way... How does making art make you feel? 

    I feel like when I’m really in it, I’m in a trance or something… time kind of speeds up and I’m completely in what I’m doing. 

    How will you know when you’ve arrived or succeeded?

    I don’t really know. In some ways I feel like I have because I’m still making work and I feel like a lot of people go to school for “art” and don’t really continue the practice, but I feel like I have to. I have to be working on something or something has to be in the works. Whether it’s Kyle making a sculpture, I’m glazing a sculpture, or there’s paint drying upstairs, et cetera… 

    What are you most proud of?

    I think the sculpture work I’ve made with Kyle has been some of the work I’m most proud of, because we have arrived at something that we both didn’t know could exist. 

    TYLER HAS BEEN BUSY OVER THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS. SOME OF HIS WORK WITH KYLE WAS FEATURED IN A GROUP SHOW AT MARIN MOCA, HE HAD HIS FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION AT PART 2 GALLERY  IN APRIL AND NEARLY SOLD OUT THE WORK, AND IN MAY HE CURATED HIS FIRST SHOW WHICH INCLUDED HIS AND KYLE’S COLLABORATIVE SCULPTURE ALONGSIDE SITE-SPECIFIC ARTWORKS BY LIAM EVERETT, LAEH GLENN, AND TERESA BAKER. TYLER AND KYLE WILL BE SHOWING EVEN MORE OF THEIR WORK AT BLUNK SPACE  IN SEPTEMBER 2022. 

    Tyler's Instagram 
    Tyler & Kyle's studio instagram

    I Surrender at Pt. 2 Gallery
    What Part of the Whale at Pt. 2 Gallery
    Gravity Corner at Blunk Space

     

  • Mark Ochinero
  • Friendly Assembly

    August 2020

    Mark Ochinero is a Bay Area-born illustrator and photographer currently based in San Francisco. His work captures the humor and irony of everyday life and objects: whether he's using a camera, gel pens, crayons, or ceramics, Mark always offers a playful change of perspective.

    Mark's Instagram
    Mark at Legion Projects

  • Rachel Kaye
  • Wavy Blades | September 2020

    Rachel Kaye is an artist based in San Francisco, California. Her love of fashion and textiles has informed a meditative study in collage, pattern, and movement where her paintings come to life in vibrant melodies of color and shapes.

    A conversation with Rachel from Plunge Rag Vol. 2:

    PLUNGE: I remember taking your collage class at Case for Making ages ago. Do you still work in collage at all?

    RACHEL: Every now and then. For a long time collage was always this thing for me when I felt I was stuck in painting or drawing. It’s like cooking in a way, it is immediate, instant gratification. I could make these quick loose things and then they would help me. For a while I would make paintings off of them, then they just became this way to keep myself active.

    What is your daily practice like?

    I’m probably in [the studio] on average 30 hours a week. Then I feel like things ramp up with a show. I used to be a night worker and I’m not so much anymore because I’m just tired from having kids and I want to get a good night’s sleep, but that being said when I have deadlines I’ll come here at night too and get extra hours in. Something that switched in the last couple years is the paintings and drawings clicked together. I feel like they were always two separate bodies of work and now I’ll make a lot of drawings that then I can scale up for paintings, which feels really good. I feel I have a line of process to get to the paintings.

    So are you finding that you’re doing more painting than you ever have?

    When I had that show at Part 2 [Gallery], I was definitely painting a lot and then Hawaii kind put the brakes on that, which was unfortunate because I had all this momentum.

    Is that just because you were limited by your materials?

    Yes. I just couldn’t bring canvas, I didn’t have a big enough space, painting is so messy… and just the functionality of making drawings. But I did make bigger drawings though which was cool in the sense of the scale being bumped up.

    Do you find that your practice changes when you’re moving around a lot or traveling?

    It just always goes back to drawing which is kind of my [default] and I feel like in some ways the drawing’s always stronger because I never stop. I love drawing but it is frustrating as a painter when I do want to push the paintings and I have to stop and go.

    Do you think that’s why the paintings and drawing have meshed?

    Maybe. I think it’s more when I started working in bigger blocks of color. For 10 years now I’ve been making these colored pencil drawings and they were so heavily patterned in the beginning, and then all the pattern slowly kept getting whittled out, and suddenly now the forms are more important, which makes painting more accessible for me. Painting a heavily patterned painting felt more laborious than gratifying, so I’d make one or two and be done. Now I see endless ideas in the paintings. I guess it took 10 years for the two to click for me.

    I’ve noticed a lot of movement and emotion in your work and it often feels very lyrical. There also seems to be some allusion to music in your show titles, like Loop Melody and Song in a Room. Do you listen to music while you work?

    I go through phases of listening to a lot of music and then for a while, like during the last election, I listened to a lot of the news and then I completely shut out the news and I’ve been listening to a lot of books. I guess when I look at the pieces as a whole, that’s when I start to think about the rhythm between them and the repetition of shapes and the movement that you see that’s the thread between them.

    Can you talk about where some of your shapes and forms come from?

    Definitely the environment… like for [Drawings from the Pacific at Sarah Shepard Gallery] I was in Hawaii -- I did all the work there so I was alway thinking about the place. Literally you look out the window and it’s just an incredible landscape, really cinematic. I usually make quick sketches, then when I find something I like, I start to really slow down and play and work out compositions before I get a drawing going. So there it was much more about natural environments, but before I was in Hawaii I would often find shapes in debris, like when I was working in the garden, or my kids cutting up stuff… it was really domestic for lack of a better word. [I was] always home and so that’s how far I saw things, and then [in Hawaii] I would go on a hike and I would see things. I sometimes photograph things but they never turn out how I like and I prefer the memory of remembering something, so I’ll try and capture a shape and then play around with it and it’s a loose interpretation of that memory.

    There’s a nice inner-world-versus-outer-world conversation, and then you’re finding these really beautiful moments, studying them, and then working them out in your painting. That’s really lovely. In thinking back on your career as an artist, are there moments that you feel were really pivotal?

    The JB Blunk Residency was probably the most pivotal, even though it was simultaneously a really hard time. It’s something that I think a lot about because my work did a major change around that time. When we got there, we’d landed in Inverness [California] from New York and I think it was really pivotal in the practice of just being an artist. We had a stipend, so I wasn’t hustling. Also, I grew up in the suburbs and always lived in the city, so being in a remote place changed me. I never knew how much I would love living tucked away in nature. But I didn’t really make anything big when I was there… major growing pains. Leaving New York coincided with my work doing a 180, so I didn’t know what I was doing, I was trying to make paintings; they weren’t working. And in the end, the last two weeks, I started making these drawings based off of an actual pattern. I made six of them or something and I left with, “I can do something with this”. Basically, those last drawings that I made, I still see as the thread to where I am now.

    So it seems like the residency shook you up in a way that allowed you to explore.

    Yes. I basically went there and was like, “I’m not making that work, but I don’t know why.” It was really stressful because here I am being told I can work and I don’t know what to do. Also, being there with [Jay] who is always super prolific, he was there and ready to work, he made a boat, he made a bunch of paintings. I would pretty much be in the studio crying, “this is so hard, is it done for me?” Anytime you read anyone’s autobiography, there’s rarely a case where an artist isn’t confronted with those moments. However when you are in it, it’s hard to see how you’ll get past it. 

    Totally, and those moments can be really important for the work to progress. Do you ever find yourself stuck now?

    I’m lucky I haven’t been stuck for a while. Honestly, strangely, the pandemic was really productive for me and I’m excited for where the work will go next. 

    Do you find that you’re most interested in the process of making work or the outcome or something in-between?

    I think both. Painting is so much of the experience of painting in itself. There are many moments in making a painting that can feel magical and unexpected. I’m so process driven in my practice that I need those moments to feel excited in the studio. Sometimes I know a painting is done but I’m not even sure I like it. I often ask myself how do I make a painting that has that same immediacy (as the drawings), and also have the medium integrity that I want — it sounds very “beginner”. But isn’t the goal to have that feeling, like a child who makes something with such immediacy and stops with the same fierce intention. The brain’s thought isn’t leading, it’s visceral. 

    It seems like keeping a “beginner’s mind” is really important to many artists I’ve talked to for growth, not getting stuck in a certain way of making, and not having an ego about being at some level where you can’t move backwards to explore new things. 

    People who are artists can think in a different way. They don’t think in yes-or-no answers. They don’t think something’s a failure because it wasn’t done right. You constantly are failing and that’s how you get on with it. To me being in that mind-state of learning is so valuable because it’s a fucking crazy world! And there’s not just “one way”.

    Can you talk about your path to first becoming an artist? Did you go to art school?

    Yes, CCA for undergrad. I never went to grad school… maybe one day.

    Were you always creative growing up? Was there creativity around you?

    I was but I was not a good drawer. My mom was always sewing but she’s by-the-book, and my dad was always fixing things. It was very practical, utilitarian creativity. I was obsessed with dance as a kid. I danced until I was 16 and then when I stopped, I was like, where do I put my energy? I had a really good art teacher in high school. I always liked those classes, but there’s those kids that have that innate gift of perfectly rendering whatever it is they’re looking at and I wanted to do that, so I started taking classes at community college. I’d go to the local art center and do all the figure drawing sessions, I was really formal in my training. I wanted to be able to master the figure and that’s how it all started.

    Do you feel like you got what you wanted out of art school?

    I think so. Some of my closest friends are people from the CCA, and I think so much of being an artist is finding community of people to support you because it’s such a lonely field.

    How did you make the leap into a career as an artist after school?

    I just always had a side hustle. It was always like, how can I make good money and not work full-time so I can be working in the studio?

    Even then, were you always making art?

    Yeah. It would ebb and flow. I’d have really prolific times and then not-so-prolific times. In the last three or four years I’ve just been really head-down and consistently making work. 

    Do you ever find it difficult to tell people what you do?

    Yes. Something that drives me crazy is people will be like, “How did you get all this work done?” It’s a job. I work. So much about motherhood gets tangled into that too, which if I had a normal job, no one would question.

    It’s so interesting because at the same time, being an artist is very glorified somehow.

    There was a really good quote which I don’t know verbatim, I think it was something someone said to Picasso or something: be a freak in your studio, and just live your normal life… Which resonates because my life looks conventional in marriage and home life or whatever. But it’s not, because we’re both artists and are working for ourselves and making money… I could look at paintings all day. Painting is like… you start with nothing. It’s a complete illusion of the world. To me nothing is more interesting than making something out of nothing. I’m a painter’s painter in that way. There’s so much magic there and there’s a reason it’s still being made — because it’s endlessly fascinating for the maker. Maybe the work is nothing new in the history of painting and maybe it is, but it’s not about that. Sometimes the most interesting stuff happens just when you’re making the work, it’s not always when it’s a finished thing.

    How does making art make you feel?

    I mean, it makes me feel like everything. Some days, it’s really good and some days I’m like, “What am I doing?” Sometimes things feel really fast and then things feel a little slow. A lot of times drawing is really calming for me, grounding and centering. Yes sometimes, it feels like everything…

    SINCE THIS CONVERSATION RACHEL HAS COMPLETED A MURAL FOR GOOGLE, HER LARGEST TO DATE. IT’S 32 FEET TALL AND WRAPS AROUND THE EXTERIOR OF AN ELEVATOR SHAFT. SHE AND HER FAMILY ARE HEADING BACK TO MOLOKAI FOR THE SUMMER AND SHE’S EXCITED TO MAKE WORK THERE AGAIN.

    Rachel's Instagram
    Rachel's Website
    Rachel in Luxe Magazine

     

  • Chelsea Wong


  • Dans le Sable

    October 2020

    Chelsea Wong is a painter and muralist whose work reflects a deep love of her San Francisco, California community. Celebrating diversity and color and infusing happiness and joy, Chelsea creates flourishing scenes (both real and imaginary) that share some of life's best moments.

    Chelsea's Instagram
    Chelsea's Website
    Chelsea on Its Nice That

  • Rob Moss Wilson
  •  

    Cumulus Humilis
    November 2020

    Rob Moss Wilson is an artist based in Martinez, California. His work captures the simplest things that make you feel the best: lying on your back and finding creatures in the clouds, doing cartwheels on grass, swimming in the buff under the warm sun. His words from an interview with It's Nice That ~ "I want people to feel good about being alive".

    Rob's Instagram
    Rob's Website
    Rob on It's Nice That

  • Kidtofer
  • Wetboi
    December 2020

    Christopher Gale, also known as Kidtofer, is an artist and illustrator based in Oakland, California and originally from Bangkok, Thailand. His work in ceramic, paint, and illustration unabashedly celebrates sexuality, color, and pop culture.

    Kidtofer's Instagram
    Kidtofer in Wired

  • Lena Gustafson
  • Open Water
    February 2021

    Lena Gustafson is an artist from San Francisco, CA who lives and works in the East Bay. Between her multi-disciplinary art practice and Night Diver, the collaborative press she runs with her partner, Lena keeps pumping out incredible work that touches on transformation, the body, the environment, and connects herself to her community.

    Lena's Instagram
    Lena's Website
    Night Diver Press 

  • Charlotte Beavers
  •  

    Poppies & Poppies 2 
    March 2021 & August 2022 

    Charlotte Beavers is a California artist currently based on a sailboat floating along the central coast. Her delicate and delightful watercolor paintings celebrate the magical landscapes found all across her home state.

    Charlotte's instagram 
    Charlotte's website 
    Charlotte on If You Were Here Now

  • Oliver Hawk Holden
  • Shrimp Boy
    April 2021

    Oliver Hawk Holden grew up in a small coastal town in Maine before moving to San Francisco and giving it a go in the arts. He makes humorous, often kinetic sculpture, sculptural paintings, and runs a small art handling company called Expert Art Workers.

    Oliver's Website
    Oliver's Instagram
    Expert Art Workers

  • Maria Paz
  • My Angels Are All Of You
    May 2021

    Paz, born in Quilpue, Chile, is a self-taught sculptor based in Oakland, California. They paint gripping visions of their past on large ceramic vessels, using bright colors to tell intricate stories of their history, ancestry, and identity.

    Maria's website
    Maria's Instagram
    Maria's interview with YBCA

  • Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
  • Center Black Rest
    June 2021
    In support of Headlands Center for the Arts

    Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo is an artist, activist, educator, storyteller & curator who lives and works between Ohlone Land [Oakland, CA] and Powhatan Land [Richmond,VA]. Lukaza creates lyrical mixed-media artworks that weave craft, text, and bright color to speak about identity, activism, and community. Their diligent, immersive work is a call to action, reminding us all that positive change and a brighter future is possible through ongoing mutual support and organization.

    Lukaza's website
    Lukaza's Instagram
    Lukaza's interview on Variable West

  • Momo Gordon
  • Chair Towel 
    June 2021 

    Momo Gordon is a self-taught artist born in Hessen, Germany and now based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Momo is focused on the emotional landscape; Working with graphite and handmade paper, their work explores sentient spaces, hostile architecture, and anthropized objects. In sequential works or standalone pieces, characters often have four walls.

    Momo's Instagram
    Momo's website
    Momo's interview with Post-Comics
    Momo in So Young Magazine

  • Wardell McNeal
  • Moon Stories 
    August 2021

    Wardell McNeal is a painter from San Diego who is currently making work in Oakland, California. His background in industrial design informs an introspective exploration of the emotional landscape in sensual color and wandering depths.

    Wardell's Instagram
    Wardell's interview with Pt. 2 Gallery

  • Yulia Zinshtein
  • 1-800-CALL-ME 
    August 2021 

    Yulia Zinshtein is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles who was raised between Moscow and Philadelphia. Through her paintings, photography, and illustrations she playfully explores themes like the beauty of longing, human connection and nostalgia.

    Yulia's Instagram
    Yulia's Website

  • Solange Roberdeau
  • Moonglade 
    October 2021

    Solange Roberdeau is an artist and educator based in Elk, California. Her work focuses on her relationship to materiality and process; a maker deeply connected to the present moment and her practice.

    Solange's Website 
    Solange's Instagram 
    Solange at Municipal Bonds

  • Daisy Sheff & Karen Barbour
  • Blinky Dress 
    November 2021

    Karen Barbour and Daisy May Sheff are a mother and daughter pair based in Inverness, California. Both are exquisite, prolific painters whose work dips into the subconscious and summons magical narratives overflowing with wild, fantastical color. Twisted folky fairytales swirl and swell, landscapes appear and disappear, characters spin within scenes that are at once comical and dark. Although they show work separately it is clear Daisy and Karen have influenced each other’s work immensely, making their towel collaboration extra sweet.

    Karen's Instagram
    Karen's website
    Daisy's Instagram
    Daisy at White Columns

  • Craig Calderwood
  • Butterfly Sprain 
    December 2021

    Often using affordable craft materials and found textiles, Craig Calderwood creates thoughtful and wildly intricate, vibrantly colored illustrations that offer a glimpse into their private world. Their artworks incorporate a personal language of signs, symbols, and patterns that are heavily researched and repurposed to narrate visual expressions of "desire, biodiversity, and otherness". Craig is based in San Francisco, California.

    Craig's Instagram
    Craig's website
    Craig at George Adams Gallery

  • Tate Kim
  • Alien Vs. Predator
    February 2021

    Tate Kim is a mysto artist from San Diego, California, and our in-house graphic specialist. He’s one of the most authentic people ever, a curious and prolific drawing maker who’s extra talented on just about every level and makes it all look easy ~ surfing, skating, making movies, drawing, existing. He’s creative and humble and sweet. The world is a much better and stranger place with Tate in it.

    Picnic & Bugs Tees and hoodies ~ October 2022
    Mermaid Caps ~ May 2022
    Swimmers Tee ~ February 2021

  • Aaron Elvis Jupin

  • Sticky Everywhere

    April 2022

    Aaron Elvis Jupin is a painting and drawing maker based in Los Angeles, California. His work grapples with nostalgia, memory, and change; his subversion of symbols drawn from American suburbia and popular culture creates moments that are at once silly, uncanny, and sometimes too familiar. 

    Aaron's Website 
    Aaron's Instagram 
    Layman's Terms, Tongue Tied
     at Moskowitz Bayse

  • Molly Bounds
  • Body Heat 
    May 2022

    Molly Bounds is a painter and printmaker currently living in Los Angeles. Born in Texas and raised in Colorado, she works to communicate the fault in the understanding of human agency. Torn between an aggravated still and a sequence of motion, subjects appear calm but unsettling, caught between frames as their states of being are exaggerated through posture and profile. In less than uncanny portraits, she instead dwells on the likeness of indecision, wavering through urgency, doubt, and complete ambivalence. Forcing viewers into spectating roles, she poses woulda-shoulda-couldas in windows and doorways leading to a purgatory of her design, stuck in an elongated moment where someone needs to make a decision. 

    Molly's Instagram 
    Molly on PLATFORM
    Molly in Juxtapoz

  • Lucy Stark
  • Frutti di Mare
    July 2022

    Lucy Stark is a painter and printmaker living in Oakland, CA. In her art practice, she documents food and dishes with personal significance as a way to capture and celebrate the euphoric yet fleeting moment right before a meal commences.

    Lucy's Instagram 
    Lucy's Website

  • Natalie Bessell
  • Goat to the Stars 
    September 2022

    Natalie Bessell an artist from La Jolla, California who is currently based in a tiny Australian town called Saint Andrews Beach in the state of Victoria. In her work she uses paint, paper, wood and clay to illustrate our human relationship to the plant and animal kingdom.

    Natalie's website 
    Natalie's instagram

  • Sanaa Khan
  • Supreme Sunbather 
    October 2022

    Sanaa Scherezade Khan grew up in the South Bay Area. Her favorite mediums are painting, drawing and printmaking. Sanaa helps run Max’s Garage Press, a community print shop in Berkeley that offers affordable access to a wide range of equipment for traditional fine art printmaking, risograph printing, and zine-making. She is also 1/3rd of Tiny Splendor, an independent press that collaborates with artists around the world (and us!) to share a love for putting ink on paper.

    Sanaa is an incredibly talented artist whose fantastical, often humorous drawings of animals, humans, combinations of the two, and so much more come to life in expertly  rendered detail. 

    Sanaa's instagram
    Sanaa's website
    Tiny Splendor press
    Max's Garage Press

  • Elana Cooper
  • Flower Power | November 2022 

    Artist Elana Cooper is primarily known for her striking, large-scale floral silhouettes, though animals are also a common subject of her work. Cooper paints in bold strokes, the background in one color and the subject in a contrasting color, giving her representational work an abstract quality. Drawing from a journal of flowers, Cooper has created her modern floral silhouettes with ink, watercolor, acrylic and even as 3-D wood cutout sculptures. We are thrilled to have turned four of her original Flower paintings into an exclusive, limited-edition artwork in terrycloth. 

    Cooper began working in Creativity Explored's studio in 2013 and says, “I never made art before coming here. I didn't know I had the skills for it!” Cooper's popular floral silhouettes have been licensed by Open Editions and commissioned as large-scale public murals by State Bird Provisions. Her iconic flower designs were re-imagined in large-scale for Of Here From There | De Aquí Desde Allá, an interactive digital installation created in partnership with Ana Teresa Fernández in 2020.



    Animations by Elana Cooper courtesy of Creativity Explored.

    Creativity Explored is a studio-based collective in San Francisco that partners with developmentally disabled artists to celebrate and nurture the creative potential in all of us.

    "Creativity Explored serves 130 artists and has facilitated the careers of hundreds of artists. Creativity Explored artists have seen their work exhibited in museums, galleries, and art fairs in over 14 countries and have earned over $2 million from their art.

    Their life-changing programs continue to open doors of inclusion to center the personhood and creative vision of people with developmental disabilities. Most importantly, Creativity Explored is a source of community, empowerment and dignity." (Creativity Explored website)

    Donate to Creativity Explored’s hybrid programming todayYour support directly impacts the well-being of C.E. artists and provides the resources they need to empower their artistic community.

    Q&A with Elana Cooper ~ November 2022

    What made you “take the plunge” into an art career/creative life?
    I like flowers a lot.  I first drew animals and now focus on flowers. When I came to C.E. I began making artwork.

    What do you love about Creativity Explored
    It’s fun... I like doing flowers... I’m getting my butt up... Flowers, it’s my favorite thing to do... Painting and drawing animals, first.

    You're known for your famous black ink flowers and designs. What is the inspiration for your flower paintings and drawings?
    It's fast to do... I look at them on my phone, the flowers. I have a flower A-Z list – Flowers from A-Z website... It’s fun. I look at drawings of flowers in my book or on my phone. The shape attracts me.

    Do you like to garden or are there any gardens you like to visit in San Francisco?
    No garden at home. I like the smell of flowers.

    What are your favorite flowers?
    All of them.

    Favorite color?
    Purple

    Do you have a favorite musician or album?
    I like disco, Dirty Dancing soundtrack, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande 
    Click here to find a compilation of Elana's favorites on our Spotify :)

    What are you working on now and what’s next?
    More flowers.  Working on another flower drawing.  

    Anything else you'd like to share?
    I draw large flowers for a change of pace… I call some of the larger pieces “Crying Flower” because it has drips going down.

    "Since starting at Creativity Explored in 2013, making art has been a way for me to translate and process the way I see the world. When I first started working at the studio, most artists came in 5 days a week. There was so much lively energy in this space, I loved having that community as a regular part of my days. I grew so much as an artist from having the opportunity to get instruction and practice every day in the studio. 

    When C.E. studios switched to virtual programming during the pandemic, it was a difficult transition for me to make. In a lot of ways, it felt like I was on a long-term vacation; it became harder for me to focus and find motivation, and I missed being a part of the C.E. community. However, after some time, I began to embrace the community-driven model of our virtual classes with C.E. Teaching Artists. Now, in my own artistic exploration, digital art has become one of my favorite mediums.

    As many of you probably know, my signature art pieces are floral silhouettes, made from black ink and watercolor on painting paper. I love creating my silhouettes and have an entire reference document of flowers that I choose from each day. Oftentimes, I make flowers that express a lot of emotion, flowers that are ‘crying’, or flowers that are in love. It can be a way to represent myself and bring objects to life.

    Digital art has expanded my ability to bring my craft to life. Through ProCreate and digital animation classes, I’m able to turn my drawings into moving pictures. My digital art process begins similarly to my physical process. I start with a base drawing of whatever I can imagine, then, with the help of Teaching Artists Lacey Johnson and Enrique Quintero, I’m able to turn my drawings into adaptable pieces of digital art and animation.

    One of my more recent projects is a digital drawing of an ice cream shop, in honor of my dad. My dad loved ice cream, and since his passing, I have been finding ways to reconnect with his memory. When the piece is finished, I plan to draw my dad into the scene eating his favorite snack. 

    During one-on-one mentorship sessions with Lacey, I’ve really been able to learn and grow as an artist. It's so rewarding to find a new way to express myself in the digital art world. With hybrid programming, I’m able to work on the same art projects at home or in the studio, which offers me more space for inspiration, instruction, and growth." (Elana Cooper and Creativity Explored)

    Four flower paintings by Elana Cooper courtesy of Creativity Explored

    Find more about Elana: 

    Elana Cooper's profile on Creativity Explored 
    Shop Elana's available artwork 
    Elana on Artsy 

  • Jessica Thornton Murphy
  • Nude Beach
    July 2020

    Jessica Thornton Murphy is based in San Francisco, California. She started Plunge in May 2020 as a way to celebrate the work of the many talented rising artists in her community and beyond. 

    Jess's Website
    Jess's Instagram
    Hand Towel ~ September 2021
    Butt Stuff ~ January 2022

COLLABORATORS

Photos by Macayli Hausmann

Sun Buns | June 2020

Tyler Cross is an artist based in Oakland, California. Although he is best known for the ceramic sculpture he makes in collaboration with his boyfriend, Kyle Lypka, Tyler maintains a focused solo practice of sculpture, painting, and drawing which poetically explores his fascination with the complicated relationship between art and functionality. Using a private language of color and shapes, echoes of which dance fluidly from his flat to three-dimensional works, Tyler constructs paradoxical artifacts and the abstracted, uncanny landscapes from where they came. 

Photos by Macayli Hausmann

A conversation with Tyler from June 2022
Featured in Plunge Rag Vol. 2

PLUNGE: What part of your art process excites you?

TYLER: Drawing in my notebook is my favorite part. It’s less risky. I think when it comes to making ceramic sculpture with Kyle, if it’s being made off of a drawing I know what the beginning point, is whereas with painting I don’t really know where it’s gonna go. If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with clay it’s that patience is really important and that’s something I’ve carried over to my painting practice. I’ve started to go a lot slower and take more time with things. I think it allows me to sit with things and have things arrive versus make them happen. I think the beginning is something that always excites me, or gives me an unknown feeling.

Do you spend most of your time working collaboratively with Kyle? How much of your practice is devoted to your own work?

Recently I’ve been working on my own stuff more but in all honesty I’m more excited about the work that we make collaboratively. There are things that I’m doing for my show that I haven’t done before, so I’m excited to see how that goes, like light sculptures, and also I haven’t made a lot of metal work so that’s gonna be a new thing.

Will this be your first solo show?  

Yeah, it feels good. I feel like I’m just making what I want to see and before I was concerned about what people want to see. After talking to Kyle I realized it’s not important and I should really just focus on what I want to make.

Do those concerns come from thinking about how the work will sell? 

Yep, I was making things and wondering, “Is anyone gonna buy that?”. I don’t really feel like that should be the reason why people make artwork. I should just make it because I want to. I don’t think I’m at the point in my career where I should be concerned if someone’s gonna buy something or not cause to even consider myself as an artist is kinda hard for me to think about. 

Why is that?

I’ve done art for myself in a private way for so long that putting a word to it always felt uncomfortable to me. I don’t really want to consider myself as an artist. I think it’s hard to explain and I don’t really know how to put it into words…

Do you feel like the production jobs you’ve taken on, like making the JB Blunk cups and vases for Carter & Co, have pushed your practice because you’re doing things that you wouldn’t normally be doing? 

Well, Kyle and I started making vases for fun and that’s what sparked our whole collaborative project. Making vases was the beginning, so it’s resorting back to something that we were already doing and it’s also a way to get back into the swing of things. When we moved studios and weren’t making as much work for a little while we started making vases to warm up. 

How did you first start making vases together?

Kyle made a vase for me as a gift and I liked it and wanted to make my own. Then I started drawing sculptures and Kyle wanted to make them.

Was that your first time making ceramics? 

No, I actually did a lot at San Francisco Art Institute. I could have minored in sculpture. I needed to take one more class but that would have required me to stay for another semester, which would have been a lot of money so I didn’t.

Where do you find your inspiration?

The graph paper in my notebook. I can start with straight lines, which I feel like is something that is reoccurring the sculpture that Kyle and I produce. 

I like that because the Sun Buns towel you made has the grid on it. You have a snake shape that recurs often, too. Where does that come from?

When I was going to school at SFAI a lot of the paintings I was doing had these kind of forms, like an alphabet of shapes basically, and I wasn’t really aware that I was even doing that until we had a class visit by Jenny Gheith, who works at SF MoMA. She made me think about what I was doing a little more and pointed out that I was working with a reservoir of shapes. 

Has that impacted how you go about making work now? 

More so in the beginning, not as much now. The snake shape became a stamp that we put on the bottom of our production work and Kyle’s and my collaborative sculpture. That’s our signature now.

How often are you making art?

I feel like it’s not enough. I felt like when I wasn’t working as much I would be in here days during the week and on the weekend. But then I also spend my job making work, so I feel like I am always working on art but it’s for someone else. I work for the artist Liam Everett and have been for seven years. 

Does making art with Liam give you momentum to work on your own projects? 

Yep, totally. Because then I get to think about things in a different way. Here lately it’s been more sculpture and with him it’s painting. They’re not two different worlds but they’re two different mediums that function very differently. I joke with him that sculpture is harder because there are more things that can go wrong. I feel like you can finish a painting in a month but then working on a large sculpture and having it finished in a month is risky with dry-time. 

In your personal practice are you mostly making sculpture? You mentioned making lights and metal objects for your upcoming show. 

Well I don’t want them to be “lamps” so I’m trying to think about how to talk about them. At first I was thinking that the element that would cover the lightbulb would be ceramic and Kyle made me think about them being metal because a ceramic sconce is more common. But then also the lighting sculpture idea came from working at the JB Blunk Estate. In the Blunk house you could see all these lights on the wall attached to a pull chain… I used to think art and function should be two different things and now I don’t think it’s that cut and dry. I feel like design is a kind of high art just like a painting or a sculpture. So for me to be deterred from wanting to make a light because it’s something that has a function just isn’t a good enough reason not to make it. I wanted to see it in the world so we made it. Metal as a material is so foreign to me so I think I’ll be sticking with clay for this project. 

It seems like it was inspiring to have spent time in a place like the JB Blunk house where art consistently meets functionality. 

Totally, and I love that. Whereas I feel like Kyle’s and my work is going in the opposite direction and is seeming less functional. 

But it’s a nice illusion — the sculptures look like functional vessels but they’re impractical and non-working. They become very painterly in that way... How does making art make you feel? 

I feel like when I’m really in it, I’m in a trance or something… time kind of speeds up and I’m completely in what I’m doing. 

How will you know when you’ve arrived or succeeded?

I don’t really know. In some ways I feel like I have because I’m still making work and I feel like a lot of people go to school for “art” and don’t really continue the practice, but I feel like I have to. I have to be working on something or something has to be in the works. Whether it’s Kyle making a sculpture, I’m glazing a sculpture, or there’s paint drying upstairs, et cetera… 

What are you most proud of?

I think the sculpture work I’ve made with Kyle has been some of the work I’m most proud of, because we have arrived at something that we both didn’t know could exist. 

TYLER HAS BEEN BUSY OVER THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS. SOME OF HIS WORK WITH KYLE WAS FEATURED IN A GROUP SHOW AT MARIN MOCA, HE HAD HIS FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION AT PART 2 GALLERY  IN APRIL AND NEARLY SOLD OUT THE WORK, AND IN MAY HE CURATED HIS FIRST SHOW WHICH INCLUDED HIS AND KYLE’S COLLABORATIVE SCULPTURE ALONGSIDE SITE-SPECIFIC ARTWORKS BY LIAM EVERETT, LAEH GLENN, AND TERESA BAKER. TYLER AND KYLE WILL BE SHOWING EVEN MORE OF THEIR WORK AT BLUNK SPACE  IN SEPTEMBER 2022. 

Tyler's Instagram 
Tyler & Kyle's studio instagram

I Surrender at Pt. 2 Gallery
What Part of the Whale at Pt. 2 Gallery
Gravity Corner at Blunk Space

 

Friendly Assembly

August 2020

Mark Ochinero is a Bay Area-born illustrator and photographer currently based in San Francisco. His work captures the humor and irony of everyday life and objects: whether he's using a camera, gel pens, crayons, or ceramics, Mark always offers a playful change of perspective.

Mark's Instagram
Mark at Legion Projects

Wavy Blades | September 2020

Rachel Kaye is an artist based in San Francisco, California. Her love of fashion and textiles has informed a meditative study in collage, pattern, and movement where her paintings come to life in vibrant melodies of color and shapes.

A conversation with Rachel from Plunge Rag Vol. 2:

PLUNGE: I remember taking your collage class at Case for Making ages ago. Do you still work in collage at all?

RACHEL: Every now and then. For a long time collage was always this thing for me when I felt I was stuck in painting or drawing. It’s like cooking in a way, it is immediate, instant gratification. I could make these quick loose things and then they would help me. For a while I would make paintings off of them, then they just became this way to keep myself active.

What is your daily practice like?

I’m probably in [the studio] on average 30 hours a week. Then I feel like things ramp up with a show. I used to be a night worker and I’m not so much anymore because I’m just tired from having kids and I want to get a good night’s sleep, but that being said when I have deadlines I’ll come here at night too and get extra hours in. Something that switched in the last couple years is the paintings and drawings clicked together. I feel like they were always two separate bodies of work and now I’ll make a lot of drawings that then I can scale up for paintings, which feels really good. I feel I have a line of process to get to the paintings.

So are you finding that you’re doing more painting than you ever have?

When I had that show at Part 2 [Gallery], I was definitely painting a lot and then Hawaii kind put the brakes on that, which was unfortunate because I had all this momentum.

Is that just because you were limited by your materials?

Yes. I just couldn’t bring canvas, I didn’t have a big enough space, painting is so messy… and just the functionality of making drawings. But I did make bigger drawings though which was cool in the sense of the scale being bumped up.

Do you find that your practice changes when you’re moving around a lot or traveling?

It just always goes back to drawing which is kind of my [default] and I feel like in some ways the drawing’s always stronger because I never stop. I love drawing but it is frustrating as a painter when I do want to push the paintings and I have to stop and go.

Do you think that’s why the paintings and drawing have meshed?

Maybe. I think it’s more when I started working in bigger blocks of color. For 10 years now I’ve been making these colored pencil drawings and they were so heavily patterned in the beginning, and then all the pattern slowly kept getting whittled out, and suddenly now the forms are more important, which makes painting more accessible for me. Painting a heavily patterned painting felt more laborious than gratifying, so I’d make one or two and be done. Now I see endless ideas in the paintings. I guess it took 10 years for the two to click for me.

I’ve noticed a lot of movement and emotion in your work and it often feels very lyrical. There also seems to be some allusion to music in your show titles, like Loop Melody and Song in a Room. Do you listen to music while you work?

I go through phases of listening to a lot of music and then for a while, like during the last election, I listened to a lot of the news and then I completely shut out the news and I’ve been listening to a lot of books. I guess when I look at the pieces as a whole, that’s when I start to think about the rhythm between them and the repetition of shapes and the movement that you see that’s the thread between them.

Can you talk about where some of your shapes and forms come from?

Definitely the environment… like for [Drawings from the Pacific at Sarah Shepard Gallery] I was in Hawaii -- I did all the work there so I was alway thinking about the place. Literally you look out the window and it’s just an incredible landscape, really cinematic. I usually make quick sketches, then when I find something I like, I start to really slow down and play and work out compositions before I get a drawing going. So there it was much more about natural environments, but before I was in Hawaii I would often find shapes in debris, like when I was working in the garden, or my kids cutting up stuff… it was really domestic for lack of a better word. [I was] always home and so that’s how far I saw things, and then [in Hawaii] I would go on a hike and I would see things. I sometimes photograph things but they never turn out how I like and I prefer the memory of remembering something, so I’ll try and capture a shape and then play around with it and it’s a loose interpretation of that memory.

There’s a nice inner-world-versus-outer-world conversation, and then you’re finding these really beautiful moments, studying them, and then working them out in your painting. That’s really lovely. In thinking back on your career as an artist, are there moments that you feel were really pivotal?

The JB Blunk Residency was probably the most pivotal, even though it was simultaneously a really hard time. It’s something that I think a lot about because my work did a major change around that time. When we got there, we’d landed in Inverness [California] from New York and I think it was really pivotal in the practice of just being an artist. We had a stipend, so I wasn’t hustling. Also, I grew up in the suburbs and always lived in the city, so being in a remote place changed me. I never knew how much I would love living tucked away in nature. But I didn’t really make anything big when I was there… major growing pains. Leaving New York coincided with my work doing a 180, so I didn’t know what I was doing, I was trying to make paintings; they weren’t working. And in the end, the last two weeks, I started making these drawings based off of an actual pattern. I made six of them or something and I left with, “I can do something with this”. Basically, those last drawings that I made, I still see as the thread to where I am now.

So it seems like the residency shook you up in a way that allowed you to explore.

Yes. I basically went there and was like, “I’m not making that work, but I don’t know why.” It was really stressful because here I am being told I can work and I don’t know what to do. Also, being there with [Jay] who is always super prolific, he was there and ready to work, he made a boat, he made a bunch of paintings. I would pretty much be in the studio crying, “this is so hard, is it done for me?” Anytime you read anyone’s autobiography, there’s rarely a case where an artist isn’t confronted with those moments. However when you are in it, it’s hard to see how you’ll get past it. 

Totally, and those moments can be really important for the work to progress. Do you ever find yourself stuck now?

I’m lucky I haven’t been stuck for a while. Honestly, strangely, the pandemic was really productive for me and I’m excited for where the work will go next. 

Do you find that you’re most interested in the process of making work or the outcome or something in-between?

I think both. Painting is so much of the experience of painting in itself. There are many moments in making a painting that can feel magical and unexpected. I’m so process driven in my practice that I need those moments to feel excited in the studio. Sometimes I know a painting is done but I’m not even sure I like it. I often ask myself how do I make a painting that has that same immediacy (as the drawings), and also have the medium integrity that I want — it sounds very “beginner”. But isn’t the goal to have that feeling, like a child who makes something with such immediacy and stops with the same fierce intention. The brain’s thought isn’t leading, it’s visceral. 

It seems like keeping a “beginner’s mind” is really important to many artists I’ve talked to for growth, not getting stuck in a certain way of making, and not having an ego about being at some level where you can’t move backwards to explore new things. 

People who are artists can think in a different way. They don’t think in yes-or-no answers. They don’t think something’s a failure because it wasn’t done right. You constantly are failing and that’s how you get on with it. To me being in that mind-state of learning is so valuable because it’s a fucking crazy world! And there’s not just “one way”.

Can you talk about your path to first becoming an artist? Did you go to art school?

Yes, CCA for undergrad. I never went to grad school… maybe one day.

Were you always creative growing up? Was there creativity around you?

I was but I was not a good drawer. My mom was always sewing but she’s by-the-book, and my dad was always fixing things. It was very practical, utilitarian creativity. I was obsessed with dance as a kid. I danced until I was 16 and then when I stopped, I was like, where do I put my energy? I had a really good art teacher in high school. I always liked those classes, but there’s those kids that have that innate gift of perfectly rendering whatever it is they’re looking at and I wanted to do that, so I started taking classes at community college. I’d go to the local art center and do all the figure drawing sessions, I was really formal in my training. I wanted to be able to master the figure and that’s how it all started.

Do you feel like you got what you wanted out of art school?

I think so. Some of my closest friends are people from the CCA, and I think so much of being an artist is finding community of people to support you because it’s such a lonely field.

How did you make the leap into a career as an artist after school?

I just always had a side hustle. It was always like, how can I make good money and not work full-time so I can be working in the studio?

Even then, were you always making art?

Yeah. It would ebb and flow. I’d have really prolific times and then not-so-prolific times. In the last three or four years I’ve just been really head-down and consistently making work. 

Do you ever find it difficult to tell people what you do?

Yes. Something that drives me crazy is people will be like, “How did you get all this work done?” It’s a job. I work. So much about motherhood gets tangled into that too, which if I had a normal job, no one would question.

It’s so interesting because at the same time, being an artist is very glorified somehow.

There was a really good quote which I don’t know verbatim, I think it was something someone said to Picasso or something: be a freak in your studio, and just live your normal life… Which resonates because my life looks conventional in marriage and home life or whatever. But it’s not, because we’re both artists and are working for ourselves and making money… I could look at paintings all day. Painting is like… you start with nothing. It’s a complete illusion of the world. To me nothing is more interesting than making something out of nothing. I’m a painter’s painter in that way. There’s so much magic there and there’s a reason it’s still being made — because it’s endlessly fascinating for the maker. Maybe the work is nothing new in the history of painting and maybe it is, but it’s not about that. Sometimes the most interesting stuff happens just when you’re making the work, it’s not always when it’s a finished thing.

How does making art make you feel?

I mean, it makes me feel like everything. Some days, it’s really good and some days I’m like, “What am I doing?” Sometimes things feel really fast and then things feel a little slow. A lot of times drawing is really calming for me, grounding and centering. Yes sometimes, it feels like everything…

SINCE THIS CONVERSATION RACHEL HAS COMPLETED A MURAL FOR GOOGLE, HER LARGEST TO DATE. IT’S 32 FEET TALL AND WRAPS AROUND THE EXTERIOR OF AN ELEVATOR SHAFT. SHE AND HER FAMILY ARE HEADING BACK TO MOLOKAI FOR THE SUMMER AND SHE’S EXCITED TO MAKE WORK THERE AGAIN.

Rachel's Instagram
Rachel's Website
Rachel in Luxe Magazine

 



Dans le Sable

October 2020

Chelsea Wong is a painter and muralist whose work reflects a deep love of her San Francisco, California community. Celebrating diversity and color and infusing happiness and joy, Chelsea creates flourishing scenes (both real and imaginary) that share some of life's best moments.

Chelsea's Instagram
Chelsea's Website
Chelsea on Its Nice That

 

Cumulus Humilis
November 2020

Rob Moss Wilson is an artist based in Martinez, California. His work captures the simplest things that make you feel the best: lying on your back and finding creatures in the clouds, doing cartwheels on grass, swimming in the buff under the warm sun. His words from an interview with It's Nice That ~ "I want people to feel good about being alive".

Rob's Instagram
Rob's Website
Rob on It's Nice That

Wetboi
December 2020

Christopher Gale, also known as Kidtofer, is an artist and illustrator based in Oakland, California and originally from Bangkok, Thailand. His work in ceramic, paint, and illustration unabashedly celebrates sexuality, color, and pop culture.

Kidtofer's Instagram
Kidtofer in Wired

Open Water
February 2021

Lena Gustafson is an artist from San Francisco, CA who lives and works in the East Bay. Between her multi-disciplinary art practice and Night Diver, the collaborative press she runs with her partner, Lena keeps pumping out incredible work that touches on transformation, the body, the environment, and connects herself to her community.

Lena's Instagram
Lena's Website
Night Diver Press 

 

Poppies & Poppies 2 
March 2021 & August 2022 

Charlotte Beavers is a California artist currently based on a sailboat floating along the central coast. Her delicate and delightful watercolor paintings celebrate the magical landscapes found all across her home state.

Charlotte's instagram 
Charlotte's website 
Charlotte on If You Were Here Now

Shrimp Boy
April 2021

Oliver Hawk Holden grew up in a small coastal town in Maine before moving to San Francisco and giving it a go in the arts. He makes humorous, often kinetic sculpture, sculptural paintings, and runs a small art handling company called Expert Art Workers.

Oliver's Website
Oliver's Instagram
Expert Art Workers

My Angels Are All Of You
May 2021

Paz, born in Quilpue, Chile, is a self-taught sculptor based in Oakland, California. They paint gripping visions of their past on large ceramic vessels, using bright colors to tell intricate stories of their history, ancestry, and identity.

Maria's website
Maria's Instagram
Maria's interview with YBCA

Center Black Rest
June 2021
In support of Headlands Center for the Arts

Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo is an artist, activist, educator, storyteller & curator who lives and works between Ohlone Land [Oakland, CA] and Powhatan Land [Richmond,VA]. Lukaza creates lyrical mixed-media artworks that weave craft, text, and bright color to speak about identity, activism, and community. Their diligent, immersive work is a call to action, reminding us all that positive change and a brighter future is possible through ongoing mutual support and organization.

Lukaza's website
Lukaza's Instagram
Lukaza's interview on Variable West

Chair Towel 
June 2021 

Momo Gordon is a self-taught artist born in Hessen, Germany and now based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Momo is focused on the emotional landscape; Working with graphite and handmade paper, their work explores sentient spaces, hostile architecture, and anthropized objects. In sequential works or standalone pieces, characters often have four walls.

Momo's Instagram
Momo's website
Momo's interview with Post-Comics
Momo in So Young Magazine

Moon Stories 
August 2021

Wardell McNeal is a painter from San Diego who is currently making work in Oakland, California. His background in industrial design informs an introspective exploration of the emotional landscape in sensual color and wandering depths.

Wardell's Instagram
Wardell's interview with Pt. 2 Gallery

1-800-CALL-ME 
August 2021 

Yulia Zinshtein is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles who was raised between Moscow and Philadelphia. Through her paintings, photography, and illustrations she playfully explores themes like the beauty of longing, human connection and nostalgia.

Yulia's Instagram
Yulia's Website

Moonglade 
October 2021

Solange Roberdeau is an artist and educator based in Elk, California. Her work focuses on her relationship to materiality and process; a maker deeply connected to the present moment and her practice.

Solange's Website 
Solange's Instagram 
Solange at Municipal Bonds

Blinky Dress 
November 2021

Karen Barbour and Daisy May Sheff are a mother and daughter pair based in Inverness, California. Both are exquisite, prolific painters whose work dips into the subconscious and summons magical narratives overflowing with wild, fantastical color. Twisted folky fairytales swirl and swell, landscapes appear and disappear, characters spin within scenes that are at once comical and dark. Although they show work separately it is clear Daisy and Karen have influenced each other’s work immensely, making their towel collaboration extra sweet.

Karen's Instagram
Karen's website
Daisy's Instagram
Daisy at White Columns

Butterfly Sprain 
December 2021

Often using affordable craft materials and found textiles, Craig Calderwood creates thoughtful and wildly intricate, vibrantly colored illustrations that offer a glimpse into their private world. Their artworks incorporate a personal language of signs, symbols, and patterns that are heavily researched and repurposed to narrate visual expressions of "desire, biodiversity, and otherness". Craig is based in San Francisco, California.

Craig's Instagram
Craig's website
Craig at George Adams Gallery

Alien Vs. Predator
February 2021

Tate Kim is a mysto artist from San Diego, California, and our in-house graphic specialist. He’s one of the most authentic people ever, a curious and prolific drawing maker who’s extra talented on just about every level and makes it all look easy ~ surfing, skating, making movies, drawing, existing. He’s creative and humble and sweet. The world is a much better and stranger place with Tate in it.

Picnic & Bugs Tees and hoodies ~ October 2022
Mermaid Caps ~ May 2022
Swimmers Tee ~ February 2021


Sticky Everywhere

April 2022

Aaron Elvis Jupin is a painting and drawing maker based in Los Angeles, California. His work grapples with nostalgia, memory, and change; his subversion of symbols drawn from American suburbia and popular culture creates moments that are at once silly, uncanny, and sometimes too familiar. 

Aaron's Website 
Aaron's Instagram 
Layman's Terms, Tongue Tied
 at Moskowitz Bayse

Body Heat 
May 2022

Molly Bounds is a painter and printmaker currently living in Los Angeles. Born in Texas and raised in Colorado, she works to communicate the fault in the understanding of human agency. Torn between an aggravated still and a sequence of motion, subjects appear calm but unsettling, caught between frames as their states of being are exaggerated through posture and profile. In less than uncanny portraits, she instead dwells on the likeness of indecision, wavering through urgency, doubt, and complete ambivalence. Forcing viewers into spectating roles, she poses woulda-shoulda-couldas in windows and doorways leading to a purgatory of her design, stuck in an elongated moment where someone needs to make a decision. 

Molly's Instagram 
Molly on PLATFORM
Molly in Juxtapoz

Frutti di Mare
July 2022

Lucy Stark is a painter and printmaker living in Oakland, CA. In her art practice, she documents food and dishes with personal significance as a way to capture and celebrate the euphoric yet fleeting moment right before a meal commences.

Lucy's Instagram 
Lucy's Website

Goat to the Stars 
September 2022

Natalie Bessell an artist from La Jolla, California who is currently based in a tiny Australian town called Saint Andrews Beach in the state of Victoria. In her work she uses paint, paper, wood and clay to illustrate our human relationship to the plant and animal kingdom.

Natalie's website 
Natalie's instagram

Supreme Sunbather 
October 2022

Sanaa Scherezade Khan grew up in the South Bay Area. Her favorite mediums are painting, drawing and printmaking. Sanaa helps run Max’s Garage Press, a community print shop in Berkeley that offers affordable access to a wide range of equipment for traditional fine art printmaking, risograph printing, and zine-making. She is also 1/3rd of Tiny Splendor, an independent press that collaborates with artists around the world (and us!) to share a love for putting ink on paper.

Sanaa is an incredibly talented artist whose fantastical, often humorous drawings of animals, humans, combinations of the two, and so much more come to life in expertly  rendered detail. 

Sanaa's instagram
Sanaa's website
Tiny Splendor press
Max's Garage Press

Flower Power | November 2022 

Artist Elana Cooper is primarily known for her striking, large-scale floral silhouettes, though animals are also a common subject of her work. Cooper paints in bold strokes, the background in one color and the subject in a contrasting color, giving her representational work an abstract quality. Drawing from a journal of flowers, Cooper has created her modern floral silhouettes with ink, watercolor, acrylic and even as 3-D wood cutout sculptures. We are thrilled to have turned four of her original Flower paintings into an exclusive, limited-edition artwork in terrycloth. 

Cooper began working in Creativity Explored's studio in 2013 and says, “I never made art before coming here. I didn't know I had the skills for it!” Cooper's popular floral silhouettes have been licensed by Open Editions and commissioned as large-scale public murals by State Bird Provisions. Her iconic flower designs were re-imagined in large-scale for Of Here From There | De Aquí Desde Allá, an interactive digital installation created in partnership with Ana Teresa Fernández in 2020.



Animations by Elana Cooper courtesy of Creativity Explored.

Creativity Explored is a studio-based collective in San Francisco that partners with developmentally disabled artists to celebrate and nurture the creative potential in all of us.

"Creativity Explored serves 130 artists and has facilitated the careers of hundreds of artists. Creativity Explored artists have seen their work exhibited in museums, galleries, and art fairs in over 14 countries and have earned over $2 million from their art.

Their life-changing programs continue to open doors of inclusion to center the personhood and creative vision of people with developmental disabilities. Most importantly, Creativity Explored is a source of community, empowerment and dignity." (Creativity Explored website)

Donate to Creativity Explored’s hybrid programming todayYour support directly impacts the well-being of C.E. artists and provides the resources they need to empower their artistic community.

Q&A with Elana Cooper ~ November 2022

What made you “take the plunge” into an art career/creative life?
I like flowers a lot.  I first drew animals and now focus on flowers. When I came to C.E. I began making artwork.

What do you love about Creativity Explored
It’s fun... I like doing flowers... I’m getting my butt up... Flowers, it’s my favorite thing to do... Painting and drawing animals, first.

You're known for your famous black ink flowers and designs. What is the inspiration for your flower paintings and drawings?
It's fast to do... I look at them on my phone, the flowers. I have a flower A-Z list – Flowers from A-Z website... It’s fun. I look at drawings of flowers in my book or on my phone. The shape attracts me.

Do you like to garden or are there any gardens you like to visit in San Francisco?
No garden at home. I like the smell of flowers.

What are your favorite flowers?
All of them.

Favorite color?
Purple

Do you have a favorite musician or album?
I like disco, Dirty Dancing soundtrack, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande 
Click here to find a compilation of Elana's favorites on our Spotify :)

What are you working on now and what’s next?
More flowers.  Working on another flower drawing.  

Anything else you'd like to share?
I draw large flowers for a change of pace… I call some of the larger pieces “Crying Flower” because it has drips going down.

"Since starting at Creativity Explored in 2013, making art has been a way for me to translate and process the way I see the world. When I first started working at the studio, most artists came in 5 days a week. There was so much lively energy in this space, I loved having that community as a regular part of my days. I grew so much as an artist from having the opportunity to get instruction and practice every day in the studio. 

When C.E. studios switched to virtual programming during the pandemic, it was a difficult transition for me to make. In a lot of ways, it felt like I was on a long-term vacation; it became harder for me to focus and find motivation, and I missed being a part of the C.E. community. However, after some time, I began to embrace the community-driven model of our virtual classes with C.E. Teaching Artists. Now, in my own artistic exploration, digital art has become one of my favorite mediums.

As many of you probably know, my signature art pieces are floral silhouettes, made from black ink and watercolor on painting paper. I love creating my silhouettes and have an entire reference document of flowers that I choose from each day. Oftentimes, I make flowers that express a lot of emotion, flowers that are ‘crying’, or flowers that are in love. It can be a way to represent myself and bring objects to life.

Digital art has expanded my ability to bring my craft to life. Through ProCreate and digital animation classes, I’m able to turn my drawings into moving pictures. My digital art process begins similarly to my physical process. I start with a base drawing of whatever I can imagine, then, with the help of Teaching Artists Lacey Johnson and Enrique Quintero, I’m able to turn my drawings into adaptable pieces of digital art and animation.

One of my more recent projects is a digital drawing of an ice cream shop, in honor of my dad. My dad loved ice cream, and since his passing, I have been finding ways to reconnect with his memory. When the piece is finished, I plan to draw my dad into the scene eating his favorite snack. 

During one-on-one mentorship sessions with Lacey, I’ve really been able to learn and grow as an artist. It's so rewarding to find a new way to express myself in the digital art world. With hybrid programming, I’m able to work on the same art projects at home or in the studio, which offers me more space for inspiration, instruction, and growth." (Elana Cooper and Creativity Explored)

Four flower paintings by Elana Cooper courtesy of Creativity Explored

Find more about Elana: 

Elana Cooper's profile on Creativity Explored 
Shop Elana's available artwork 
Elana on Artsy 

Nude Beach
July 2020

Jessica Thornton Murphy is based in San Francisco, California. She started Plunge in May 2020 as a way to celebrate the work of the many talented rising artists in her community and beyond. 

Jess's Website
Jess's Instagram
Hand Towel ~ September 2021
Butt Stuff ~ January 2022