Oakland Art Murmur’s Collaborative Highlights

Oakland Art Murmur, the East Bay’s first and finest first-Friday art-crawl, happens each month between 22nd and 26th Streets off Telegraph Ave.  It’s only a couple blocks away from the 19th St. BART Station, so for a SF resident it’s easy to cross the great bay divide and check out the studios and the scene.  I try to go as often as possible, especially during these balmy (windy) summer months (the crowds on closed-off 23rd Street provide for enough body heat).

Since we are focusing on collaborative artists here at Artlarking, I thought I’d give a couple of collaborative highlights of the May 6 Murmur:

  • The monster/robot sculptures of Joshua Margolis, ceramic artist at FM Gallery/Studios on 25th Street.  Margolis had some sketchbooks, pens and pencils out on a table surrounding his work, encouraging people to draw a monster or robot and have the opportunity to see it made into a sculpture:

Murmur attendee drawing a monster, with hopes it makes the cut to becoming a ceramic sculpture.

I chatted with Margolis a bit about his process, and he said he’d been making ceramics from other people’s sketches for a couple years, starting with drawings done by the kids he teaches at JCCSF. He chooses from dozens of sketches done on the spot at past Murmurs; Friday night he was waiting on the arrival of a couple of the sketch artists who would be seeing their imaginary creatures embodied in clay for the first time.   It’s cool to take their pictures with the drawings and sculpture, he said.

Some of the lucky sketches to be transformed into 3-d.

3 birds from 1 sketch

I love this idea of exquisite-corpse-esque collaborative work, where one artist expounds upon another’s work (especially across different media).

  • Another artist that touches on this same idea is Paul Nosa, Tucson artist who travels to the West Coast every summer with his solar-paneled and bike-powered sewing machine.  I met him at Dolores Park two years ago, watching his half-gloved hands weave textured embroideries with his free-foot sewing machine.  His pitch is that he’ll “sew your imagination” – 5 words of what’s on your mind turned into a patch:

Paul Nosa sews imaginations on 23rd Street.

  • A final collaborative piece with an interesting process was the photo-collages of the Counterpoint Series.  For these, Lisa Levine and Peter Tonningsenalternate and exchange the same roll of  film to take photos of the same subjects, which are then layered into colorful abstractions.

    Counterpoint series

    Photo Courtesy of Gene Anderson, ouroakland.blogspot.com

So much more to write about , including non-collaborative favorites of mine (Jeremiah Jenkins’ fantastic solo show at Hatch Gallery and Casey Cripe’s layered biological paintings at Warehouse 415), but I’ll stop here and let you get your fill in person next time.  Lucky for you, you don’t have to wait all the way until June 3- –  Art Murmur galleries are having open studios on May 21st for Murmurama, a welcome neighbor event to San Francisco’s Fine Art’s Fair at Fort Mason on that same day.  See you there!  

xo Alison

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