Monthly Archives: May 2011

Ring Pop Art by Julia Chiang

Ring pop art by Julia Chiang courtesy Design Boom








If your food is fluorescent, let’s be honest, you’re probably not eating from the recommended five food groups.

Artist Julia Chiang honors our childhood addition to neon food – namely, candy  – in her Ring Pop series.

The installation is composed of hundreds of Ring Pops, arranged in shapes, and let to melt under the lights of the gallery.

It’s a delicious and bright melding of taste and color.

Don’t forget to check out Artlarking’s Neon/Nature event, Saturday June 4!

Ring pop art by Julia Chiang, courtesy Design Boom

Ring pop art by Julia Chiang, courtesy Design Boom

Featured Artist: Kristen “Bug Lady” Rieke

Kristen Rieke

Kristen Rieke is undoubtedly an artist to watch. Her series on the role of the bumble bee in our environment has earned her the affectionate nickname, “The Bug Lady.” Her work is technically masterful and beautiful, we can’t wait to share it with you at the upcoming “Neon Nature and New Currency” show on June 4th at the Box Factory. Until then, w invite you to get getter acquainted with Kristen. If you’re an artist who would like to collaborate with her in the future, look her up at

When did you realize your artistic talent? What that the same time you realized you wanted to be an artist?

I am pretty certain I tapped into my artistic talent at the age of 6. My sister, my best friend, and I would spend hours in my forest-clearing-like backyard constructing intricate and functional houses for fairies. We would turn flowers, sticks, leaves, and grasses into tiny furniture, lamps, and structures. It was awesome. We never took any pictures of them, though–what a mistake! However, we did document them and the fairies that would inhabit them using drawings in consecrated composition notebooks. I didn’t decide to be an artist at the time (I decided to become one during my sophomore year of college), but come on, my parents probably saw that coming every since the miniature-house-building obsession. (of note: my best friend who was involved, Cassidy, has also become an artist, and my sister has become a woodworker. Coincidence?)

"Honeybee, Preserved." Oil on panel with cast resin, 19"x19," 2011.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Well, the fairy houses are a great source of inspiration. I still carry out similar activities each time I go hiking or exploring. I also find inspiration in old National Geographic magazines, the woods of the Northwest and Northern California, and at the Farmer’s Market.

Are there any artists in particular who have inspired you?

Yes. My fellow Santa Clara University Art Majors are one hundred percent inspiring. So is my friend and mentor, Aleksandra Zee; she creates amazing mixed media installations, and continually inspires and pushes me to become a better and more adventurous artist!

What do you want people to take away from seeing your work at the Box Factory?
I would like to prompt people to walk outside with no purpose other than to explore, look down and around, and experience the rewarding task of loving the intricate creations made by our friends, the insects! I also would like to inspire them to find some beekeepers to hang out with.

What is your preferred medium: paining, mix media or installation?

I love painting on wood panel. It is so great how the raw wood sucks in the oil, and then you can sand things away  that you messed up on, and later act like it was on purpose.

Untitled collaborative piece using Katie's photograph, rice paper/wire honeycombs, and actual wasp's nest, beeswax, and a found shadowbox (thanks to Renee Billingslea!)

Has collaboration ever played a role in your work?
Yes. Most of the mixed media pieces I have created have involved collaboration with other artists and friends, especially those who just enjoy making things. My boyfriend, Christian, deserves one hundred pats on the head for being willing to help me do things like cast giant pieces of resin and dragging huge branches into small indoor spaces.

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I would like to somehow collaborate with Jo Whaley; she embodies a lost art with her Cabinets of Curiosity, and makes these into beautiful dioramas and photographs. I also know that she, too, is a finder and collector, which would be a fun activity to do together.

Do you have any works in progress you’re excited about?
I am in the middle of creating some great vandyke prints on used coffee filters. I really love the way they look; I have been either sewing them together or putting them inside 3-dimensional wooden frames shaped like honeycombs that I build.

Thanks, Kristen!

Featured Artist: Cole Willsea, Connoisseur of Collage

Cole Willsea

Cole Willsea is a visual artist featured in Artlarking’s upcoming show “Neon Nature and New Currency.” Here’s a sneak peak of his work and what he’s all about.

When did you realize your artistic talent? What that the same time you realized you wanted to be an artist?

When I was a kid and we had to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up I always picked graphic designer even though I didn’t really know what that meant and it ended up sticking with me in some form.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Inspiration comes and goes, I tend to work in quick bursts of activity amid long periods of idleness. Art blogs and Flickr are both good places to discover new techniques and styles, but the direct inspiration for any work usually comes from the images being manipulated.

Are there any artists in particular who have inspired you?

Marcel Duchamp and Kanye West.

What do you want people to take away from seeing your work at the Box Factory?

The distinction between nature and culture is cultural, not natural, and is thus subject to change.

Would you say you’re more of a visual artist or a musician these days?

I’m definitely more of a visual artist at the moment. About a year ago I felt like I hit a wall with music where all I could do was repeat myself, and around the same time the music scene in Santa Cruz was falling apart due to everyone moving to Oakland. It’s nice to be able to switch between creative pursuits, and what I learn from one often teaches me something about the other.

Has collaboration ever played a role in your work?

Only in the sense that I’m basically collaborating with the people who created the books and magazines I’m using, though I’d like to work more directly with photographers.

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

I would have Werner Herzog narrate a series of collages with an absurd amount of the Ken Burns effect applied.

Dodge, collage 2011

Do you have any works in progress you’re excited about?

I’m working on collages of beer cans and whiskey bottles for an eventual party-themed art show.

Why collage? How did you get in to that and where do you find your best materials?

To be perfectly honest, I’m terrible at drawing and painting.  I’ve been making collages for as long as I can remember, but it probably started in grade school art classes. Santa Cruz has a large “free-pile” culture going on and I’ve been lucky enough to find multiple collections of magazines on the street. My most recent works come from a box of National Geographic magazines that were inexplicably found in my recycling bin.

Intrigued by Cole’s work? Come see it in person and have a chat with him yourself at Artlarking’s “Neon Nature and New Currency” show Saturday, June 4 at the Box Factory.

Project Neon!’s Quest for the Best Neon Signs

When you’re driving at night on a long trip, there’s nothing more comforting than a neon sign illuminating the landscape. Nowadays you can travel hundreds of miles and see the same corporate institutions represented over and over, but there are still pockets of fabulous luminous signage.

Project Neon! is a new blog that profiles neon signs all over New York City. There are great pictures and stories about the signs that evoke another era of Americana.

Nathan’s Famous (courtesy Project Neon)

From the site’s about page:

Follow a girl as she follows the glow in search of New York’s best neon signs. Every week I’ll visit another of New York City’s neon-clad establishments and post a photo & story, and tell you more about why I’m traipsing around this metropolis in the cold & dark to visit pharmacies, shoe repair stores, and bars with good neon signs to buy cough syrup, get my shoes repaired or just have a drink.

Sunny's Bar, courtesy Project Neon

Definitely worth a browse for history and visual art buffs alike.


Browse more over at Project Neon! They are also on Kickstarter (with video!) here.

Don’t forget to check out Artlarking’s Neon/Nature event, Saturday June 4!

artMRKT: Connecting with Expansive Art Communities

artMRKT, San Francisco Concourse Center. May 21, 2011.

I spent part of my weekend representing ZER01 at artMRKT, a large scale fine air fair at the Concourse Center in San Francisco. I only attended one of the three days, but would have needed the entire weekend to see everything artMRKT had to offer.

There were many recognizable Bay Area fine art galleries representing equally notable artists. In addition, there were a handful of galleries from New York, Miami, and even one from London exhibiting their world class artists.

However, what struck me about artMRKT just as much as the notable artworks were the people!

The people in attendance were not just collectors, curators and gallerists. On the contrary, I observed people of all ages, backgrounds and interests flooding in to the Concourse Center.

The common denominator was that most people came to spend a day being surrounded by artworks they wouldn’t normally have access to while spending time with friends and fellow art lovers. A few people I chatted with at the ZER01 table expressed a desire to be more connected in the San Francisco art scene. I spoke with a number of people who had come up from Los Angeles for the weekend, and even a few who were transplants from LA trying in search of SF’s artistic communities.

We’ve all felt the same way at some point in time. We know San Francisco has a lot of offer, but where are the answers? Artlarking is getting at the heart of that matter, and hopes to connect more and more people who have a shared love of the arts and collaboration.

The cure for feeling disconnected from your SF art scene? I was happy to give out the prescription this weekend: Get connected with Artlarking and make it to artMRKT next year. There are plenty of people there just like you.

The Art of Food Photography

Do you take pictures of your food in restaurants? Or maybe when you’ve made something especially delicious at home, to be able to look back fondly at that one time you cooked?

Edward W. Quigley, "Peas in a Pod" (1935) courtesy

Photography, so instantaneously gratifying, is perhaps best suited to capture the brief moments of an edible dish, from pan to plate. But so often we see it in the context of selling something (ads) or telling us how to do something (recipes) that it’s easy to forget food as a subject allows photographers to challenge their viewers by rendering a familiar object exotic.

Edward W. Quigley was one such artist, working both as a commercial and independent artist in the United States in the 1930s. His 1935 vision of peas is practically abstract, playing with sense of proportion and size.

William Eggleston, "Dinner" courtesy London Food Film Fiesta

William Eggleston is best known as one of the great innovators in color photography. His picture “Dinner” captures a weeknight meal, the pinks and dull greens staring down the viewer. This food is not meant to be appetizing.

Want more? 

If you’re into food on film, check out the Getty Museum’s 2010 show In Focus: Tasteful Pictures, and a write-up of a panel discussing the show. London Food Film Fiesta also has additional artists to check out.