Tag Archives: oakland artists

Venue Spotlight: The Compound Gallery & Studios, Oakland

The Compound Gallery

The Compound Gallery. Photo courtesy of Lena and Matt Reynoso.

I moved to Oakland about a month ago, and I’ve been doing my due diligence to find what the art scene in the East Bay has to offer. One particular trend I’ve observed is the flourishing presence of collaborative artist studio spaces. The Compound Gallery & Studios takes that a step further by creating a hybrid artist studio and exhibition space, and you would be remiss to pass up a visit. It’s  a welcoming space that is home to some of the most robust programing I’ve seen in the Bay Area.

Lena and Matt Reynoso founded The Compound Gallery in 2008, and the space is comfortably nestled in North Oakland near the intersection of 65th and San Pablo. The Compound Gallery nearly bursts at the seams with everything it has to offer. Here are some of highlights:

In their efforts to provide high quality exhibitions, Matt and Lena review submissions, visit studios, and actively seek out emerging artists with strong points-of-view to feature at the gallery. The latest show, He-Charmers: Katherine Sherwood, opened October 15th and runs through December 4th. He-Charmers is a continuation of Sherwood’s mixed media Healers from the Yelling Clinic series in which she uses images of neural-anatomy from the 16th century to the present.
Additionally, The Compound Gallery reserves a portion of the space to feature works by artists working on-site. Alison O.K. Frost curated the current show in the Artists Gallery, Ex-Corpse, which features work by 18 Compound Gallery artists.
Artists Studios
Matt and Lana have always been interested in creating an interdisciplinary workspace. They strongly believe “that having high caliber artists working at The Compound helps enliven the space and keeps the energy alive.” During exhibition openings, the artists’ studios are open to guests, and you can see a variety of intricate works in-progress.
Art in a Box subscriber package

Art in a Box subscriber package

Art in a Box
Art in a Box was born about three years ago from the seedling of an idea inspired by Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.  You can purchase a CSA membership in exchange for (often times weekly) deliveries of local organic food. Art-on-a-Box reworked this framework and applied it to art. Art-in-a-Box subscribers pay a monthly fee in exchange for  the delivery of an art work crafted by a local artist.
In essence, Art in a Box gives individuals the opportunity to own original artworks in an accessible way that not only speaks to your tastes, but supports local artists and this local business. Additionally, it’s another outlet for new or seasoned collections to introduce new artists to their collections.
Art in a Box continues to evolve and expand with the introduction of a new campaign called “The Art in a Box Great Trans-American Art Campaign,” which will focus on obtaining a subscriber in each of the 50 states. Posters, stickers, promotional cards, pins, and shirts currently being disseminated to art centers all over the nation.
Special Collections and Print Lounge
The newest addition to the Compound is a Special Collection & Print Lounge. The special collection lounge is dedicated to works by resident Compound artists and frequent contributors, and the collection is open to the public to browse during gallery hours. Matt and Lena agree that it’s enjoyable to have a more casual space at The Compound to showcase work outside of formal exhibitions.

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Interview with Featured Artist: Fonda Yoshimoto

Fonda Yoshimoto is an artist based in Oakland, Ca.

“The quality that we call beauty….must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows, ultimately to guide shadows towards beauty’s ends.“- Jun’ichiro Tanizaki (1977)

Title of your warehouse show: 10th Street Open Studios

Rae: Can you recall a memory of when you first started making art? How did you start being serious about it?

Fonda: The first memory I have of making is when I was around 4 years old. I made a small house-like structure. I remember carefully collecting spare wood from around the shack my family and I lived in. I knew what I wanted to make and struggled so much with fitting all of the disparate pieces together. I was fascinated by the whole process: the idea, the struggle, and the outcome. I started off like many children do with painting and drawing. My mother always encouraged me to create, although we did not have much money we were always able to find materials to make things with. I started really understanding how serious art is to me in college when I was around 20 years old. I took Art Studio and Art History courses in college and started to realize how powerful art can be, what an incredible form of communication it is. I was able to express my ideas and emotions through art in ways that I could not through words.

Rae: Which cities have you lived in?

Fonda: I have lived in over 30 houses in many different cities. Honolulu, HI; Laguna Beach, Santa Rosa, and Davis, CA; Providence, RI to name a few.

Rae: What do you love most about being an artist in Oakland?

Fonda: I love the range of different venues from professional galleries to coffee shops to improvised spaces. I love how accessible art is, especially with the Oakland Museum, First Fridays, and all of the murals and public art.

Rae: What inspires you to continue making art?

Fonda: Making is a way of thinking. I connect with materials and develop ideas through making. It is also something I share with my ancestors, who were all makers in their own way. They worked hard to support themselves and their families and engaged in art when they could, because the need to create is so strong. My mom once wrote to me, “I am excited for your ability to create and do what you love.” Her words inspire me to continue making art.

Rae: Any influential artist that you love and admire?

Fonda: Linda Sormin, Shannon Goff, Ambromovitch, and Eva Hesse.

Rae: When you were studying at UC Davis who was an influential teacher of yours? What did he/she teach you most about?

Fonda: Annabeth Rosen, Professor at UC Davis, was an incredible influence on me and my work. She really did teach me what hard work looks like. She is so dedicated to her work and to her students. She encourages her students to gain inspiration from their own lives, the environment around them, and to work beyond their comfort zone.

Rae: What impressed you most about the art department in UC Davis?

Fonda: The Art Department at UC Davis has incredible faculty who create a supportive yet rigorous environment. In terms of Ceramics, UC Davis is steeped in history. TB9, the ceramics building, has great facilities. We were encouraged to take advantage of the space, and size of the kilns, to make work ranging from small to large.

Rae: You also studied at RISD. How did studying there influence your art making now?

Fonda: At RISD one of the first questions I was asked is ,”why clay?” I started grad school with an interest in working with different materials, but while I was there I was able to learn how to work with wood, metal, textiles, as well as video, and drawing. When I felt like I needed to learn about a new medium or technique I was able to because I had access to classes, facilities, faculty, and other students. I keep that belief that you can learn just about anything with me, I am curious and want to continue learning forever. At RISD I was able to break my own boundaries of what I considered art, as well as what I considered I was capable of. My work expanded into the room or the environment it was in, I began making work that the viewer could see, walk around, and walk through. I am excited about making work that people can connect with visually and physically.

Rae: What is your most favorite medium to work with? Why?

Fonda: My favorite medium to work with is Ceramics, it has such a tactility and versatility. I love working with different types of clay, all having different qualities and personalities. Working with clay is mental, physical, emotional. I just feel really alive when I work with clay, the way the material responds to you, and demands time and attention.

Rae: Is there any artist you want to collaborate with in the future?

Fonda: My studio-mate from grad school, Sarah Gross, and I collaborated on curating a show at RISD. We are currently in discussion about collaborating again.

Rae: Any new upcoming projects you are working on?

Fonda: One of my pieces in the 10th Street Studios show is a knitted piece. I am really excited about the potential of drawing through knitting and am continuing to explore that. My goal is to use the knitted pieces to create a space that people could stand in, and walk through.

Rae: Please tell me about what your artwork, what does it represent for you personally?

Vein is a drawing on translucent rice paper. There are three layers so you can see into the drawing. I am interested in drawing in ways that are physically three-dimensional. The ink lines wind around the page, connecting and clustering in areas.

My work is intuitive and imaginative but is inspired by architecture, objects, and function. I have been exploring mark making and patterning through my work. Drawing with ink on paper and also three-dimensionally with ceramics and textiles. Ornamentation in my work is voracious, constricting and expanding, winding through space and on every surface. Ornamentation can express identity, can mark belonging to a time, space, era, tribe, region or home. The patterning takes over, I make marks out of need, a kind of anxious comfort. The space defines me, caught between creating pattern and scratching, wiping, willing it away. The mark making becomes a palimpsest, layers and layers of history, of motion, are visible. There is a psychological tension in this process, it also becomes a ritual. I see my work as somewhere between a dream and a nightmare, inside and outside, here and there, healthy and unhealthy,
engineered and makeshift, safe and dangerous, sheltering and eerie.

Rae: Describe your process for creating a new piece and what sorts of materials you prefer to use?

Fonda: I always start a new piece with a loose sketch or drawing based on an idea, feeling, pattern, or movement. I often start working directly with clay after that, I do not use many tools. When I am working larger I will sketch diagrams, make maquettes, or models. I will work back and forth from the individual components and the plan of how it will all come together. My favorite materials are paper, ink, clay, fabric, cotton cord, old scrap wood, copper wire, and, bricks.

Rae: Any amazing gallery that you love here in the bay area?

Fonda: I am still exploring the area and have a lot to see. I really do love going to the student galleries, especially at CCA. The shows rotate every week, there is an incredible amount of energy and ideas cycling around constantly.

Rae: When are you most creative……time of day?

Fonda: I am most creative in the evening and at night. I tend to do a lot of thinking and sketching during the day but most of the production happens at night.

Rae: Lastly, what type of music or bands are you listening to right now while making your pieces?

Fonda: I have been listening to a lot of Cibo Matto, Boards of Canada, and Major Laser.

Rae: Thank you for the interview Fonda!

Check out Fonda website at  http://fondayoshimoto.blogspot.com

Lei is made out of porcelain blossoms, strung with copper wire. The strands hang from the wall, casting shadows, making high pitched sounds as they are pushed together by the breeze.

The Interview: Textile Artist Kristin Jeanette Petiford

Kristin Petiford is an emerging textile feminist artist based in Oakland, California. She recently had received her BFA in Textile at CCA Oakland. She does needlework, weaving, sculpture, drawing, painting, and screen printing.

Rae: Any cool nicknames you’ve been given?

Kristin: My school friends call me Kiki! My sister calls me Poopy, but that’s not very cool.

Rae: Which cities have you lived in?

Kristin: I grew up in L.A. and Orange Country, then moved to Berkeley and eventually settled in Oakland. So far, I love Oakland the most!

Rae: What influenced you to work with textiles? What do you love about it?

Kristin: I had always been into sewing, but I fell in love with Textiles as a whole during an Intro to Textiles course I took at CCA. I loved the tediousness of it and the manipulation of the fibers: the repetition and the tactility. And the history! When you pick up a needle, you are tapping into this huge expanse of history in women’s work and feminist art and that’s just so exciting! Rozsika Parker’s The Subversive Stitch is a great book on that subject.

Rae: I’m going to have to check that book out myself! Did you have role models that you were aspiring to emulate? If so, who? And Why?

Kristin: I’ve had the opportunity to study under some amazing people at CCA, so I think I aspire to be a mish-mash of them, my mom (she’s the nicest person alive), Louise Bourgeois (I am just obsessed with her pink marble sculptures and their bodily forms), Ghada Amer (I love her use of text and the way she describes embroidery as a feminine language), Alison Smith (for her collections), Kathleen Hanna (who wouldn’t want to be like her!) and Lena Corwin (for living the dream of making cute things, having a great blog and doing it with substance)

Rae: Why did you pick CCA Oakland to get your BFA in Textiles? What is it about their program that enticed you to go there?

Kristin: I actually went to CCA for Illustration, but took Intro to Textiles as an elective my first semester there. After falling head over heels for Textiles, I switched majors! I like the freedom of the Textiles program at CCA….you can really tailor it to fit your interests. There is a lot of versatility in being able to use different processes (weaving, embroidery, lace making, screen printing, fiber sculpture) to express what it is you want to express. I feel like I was able to get a very well rounded education. The faculty is really great too. And CCA is basically the hub of Craft theory right now!

”]Rae: Any new upcoming projects you are working on?

Kristin: I have decided to spend the summer reading all the books I have accumulated on my “to-read” list: Carol Gilligan’s The Birth of Pleasure is the first! I am doing the Renegade Craft Fair for the first time in July…I’m making some very ladylike prints and accoutrements to sell. I’m currently collaborating on a zine called Girly Magazine that’s about femininity and feminism. We’re making an online version and we’ll be distributing it locally soon! As far as art-making goes I’m working on some material studies in wood and silk..I was able to create some fleshy forms through wood-turning for my show and I am itching to do more with that through carving. Lace and silk are two of my favorite things so I am interested in snagging and tearing the threads of silk fabric, inspired by Reticella, to create lace-like structures. Ok, I have a lot of upcoming projects.

Rae: How have your expectations changed over the years?

Kristin: I think I was a little bit afraid of the art world for a long time. I loved to paint and draw for myself, but I always figured I’d go into design or illustration. After doing some of that, I realized that I am so much happier making art…at least for now. So, my expectations for myself have changed quite a bit and will continue to change, I’m sure.

Rae: I really like the statement you made about your BFA thesis exhibition.  Why did you pick this topic, and what influenced you in commenting about ladies and their roles in society?

"Clean & Dainty" installation view

Kristin: Thanks! Oh, I could talk about this for hours….but I’ll give you the abridged version. I had been doing work that was about heirlooms and ideas of femininity passed from woman to woman…feminine lineage. I sent letters to the women in my life asking them about their views of femininity and my Granny sent me this long story about how when she went to college, they had social advisors who made sure the girls were turning out to be “proper and educated southern belles.” So I became really interested in etiquette and how women and girls are constantly being told what to do, how to look, and how to be. The name for my show, Clean & Dainty, came from Joan Brumberg’s The Body Project, in her chapter about the way American girls have learned to menstruate (sorry to the boys reading this right now!) She talks about how girls are not taught about the sexual and emotional changes in becoming a woman, but are instead taught to be clean and dainty. She also describes how girls’ bodies have become public….how magazines and advertisements have weaseled their way into being the authority on girls’ looks and demeanors: teaching girls to sit pretty and be decorative objects, basically. So the exhibition was a critique on that, but it was also an homage to the feminine, and a celebration of being able to subscribe to these “rules,” but doing so in a way that is personal and empowering. As I wrote in the statement, the show became “a space of conflicting morals: where modestly hosed legs sit beneath raised hemlines and perfectly polished nails grasp glasses of whiskey.”

Rae: Wow, that sounds intense, heavy, and interesting. I’m going to have to check out that book as well! Did your family encourage your creativity?

Kristin: Yes! My mom majored in Art at Cal State Long Beach, so she always encouraged me to paint and draw and sew. My sisters have always been very supportive as well…my older sister still has a pen & ink drawing displayed in her house that I did 10 years ago! My aunt does some amazing watercolors and just gifted me her old Glimakra table loom, yay!

Rae: What will you be doing now, having graduated from CCA?

Kristin: I want to be involved in some group shows! I’m also really looking forward to taking classes at community college…like Anthropology or French. I’m looking forward to playing my ukulele more. Grad school is on my mind, too…..

Rae: What do you consider to be the key factors to be an emerging artist in today’s world?

Kristin: The one thing that I am always trying to keep in mind is to have confidence in what you are doing. If you are doing it, you are doing it for a reason! And to know at least some of the history of what you’re doing. I am also learning that it is very important (and kind of fun!) to have a web presence…I just got the internet in my apartment, so I’m snazzing up my website and my blog a bit!

Rae: And lastly, music is a huge help with my art-making. What type of music or bands do you listen to while making art?

Kristin: I really like listening to Motown when I work!

Rae: Thanks for the interview Kristin. Check out her website at