Have you ever studied a piece of art and pondered “how” or “why”? Here’s an opportunity to learn straight from the horse’s — ahem, artist’s — mouth, about their inspiration, unique technique and creative background.
On a recent trip to San Francisco, I was impressed by the multitude of picturesque streets and diversity in architecture. So, I went on a mission to find Etsy artists who shared this appreciation and paid homage to the City by the Bay through their work. Follow their creative stories that are as varied as the city itself.
I’m a lifelong artist and writer, but my work as a lawyer still pays the bills. Although quitting my day job for good is not in the foreseeable future, I’ve recently taken a short break from my legal career in order to focus on my artistic endeavors. During that time, I also relocated from Los Angeles to the Bay Area after falling in love with the place on my many trips here.
On one of those trips, I snapped a photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge while on a harbor cruise. It was a great photograph, but it looked like any of the millions of pictures we’ve all seen of the bridge before. I decided to attempt a different take on the structure by turning the photograph into a simple screen print. When I pulled the first print I got the result I wanted: the color and frame make it recognizable, but the lack of other details, including any background, leave it a little abstract. Most of my printmaking work has a similar “simplified realism” style, which is a product of the process I use (always beginning with a photograph) and my personal taste.
I grew up in Oregon but have now lived in Southern California for the second half of my life. I am attracted to cityscapes — the structures inspire me with stories of the past and I see my paintings and drawings as backdrops for this ongoing drama of daily life. The city of San Francisco is so rich with that, I can’t help feeling mesmerized by all that lovely architecture and imagining the lives lived in those neighborhoods over the years. I feel myself especially drawn to Chinatown and North Beach, for the endless sensory stimulation and also for the focus on food culture, which is always a wonderfully descriptive element in the story of a place and its people.
I graduated from Laguna College of Art and Design feeling oversaturated with instruction and media techniques, and so began a return to simple yet detailed, direct, almost intuitive drawing — using mainly black ink on white paper. Each drawing becomes a session in concentration and control, as I lay it down with no prior sketching and no erasing. I was using scrap blocks of wood salvaged from a woodshop trash bin to mount prints on, and kept getting these beautiful pieces that I simply couldn’t cover up. So I started painting on them, using the wood grain as underpainting. I love how people respond to this method and view the wood texture as integral to the painting.
Blue Cole Press is a small letterpress company in San Francisco, born out of my love for paper and letterpress. I’ve been printing for two years and I love how it allows me to express myself creatively, both working with clients on items like wedding invitations, as well as doing my own designs for my Etsy shop.
I started doing letterpress prints from photographs a year or so ago and really liked the effect — and that it allows me to blend my love of photography with letterpress. Living in San Francisco, there is a neverending supply of great places to photograph! This design was originally used in my 2010 calendar, which featured architecture in SF. This was my favorite, so I decided to use it again in these cards.