GRITS: Jamie Treacy

I often tell my friends that raising a child is like watching the story of self-discovery unfold. For the last 8 years, I had the indescribable pleasure of witnessing the first of many things with my children, their first words, smile, friendships and so much more.  But what's even more amazing is that each of these milestones were shaped by not only what they saw and heard but also what they felt. I believe that that they will continue to recount those experiential observations, to identify and make sense of both the world around and the world beyond.

Today's featured artist, Jamie Treacy, masterfully interprets his world beyond through his work as a multi-media artist and educator.  I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with Jamie through our common interest in all things art and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) education.  Anyone who has ever met Jamie, knows that his generous spirit and unyielding enthusiasm for arts education is apparent in his work.  Jamie is an Oakland resident and community steward.  His practice is largely interdisciplinary and diverse, much like his surrounding community.

At first glance, one may interpret Treacy's work as an ode to the world of sci-fi and the post apocalypse awakening. And while there may be visual prompts that would suggest such an interpretation, a closer look reveals that Treacy's work is often more influenced by his own perception and exploration of sensory experiences and the uknown.  Treacy thoughtfully illustrates these experiences in his work through his use of abstract forms, texture and vibrant color.  

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Jamie's home studio where he is preparing for his upcoming exhibit, "The Unprepared Eye", opening August 17, 2017.  I sat and we had a chat.  This is what Jamie had to say.  Enjoy!

Source: Art Is Luv and Jamie Treacy

On discovering my inner artist
My dad built an art table for me when I was around four years old.  It became my childhood studio.  It was at this table that I discovered my inner artist. I remember visiting my cousins one summer, and asking where their art table was. I thought it was so odd that they didn’t have a dedicated place for messy exploration.  

As a young adult, my inner artist was the set of tools I relied upon to sort through my identity. It gave be license to determine how I wanted to be seen in the world without worrying what people thought of me too much.  From there forward, I totally owned the idea of leading with my creativity.

Never thought I’d take a chance
I never thought I would take the chance and return to competitive swimming.  I left the sport when I was 18, with a very “all or nothing” attitude.  I trained hard for ten years with dreams of competing in the Olympics.  At 18, it felt like I had reached my physical peak. Competing in the pool felt impossible alongside the late nights in the studio and punishing deadlines in art school. At 29, I took the chance to join an adult swim team.  Now, seven years later, it’s a huge part of my identity!

On what inspired my new series of works
I recently discovered the work of early twentieth century Swedish abstract art pioneer Hilma af Klint through the exhibition, "Painting the Unseen". I resonated with her work on several levels. First, she creates fascinating connections to science and spirituality, but perhaps most importantly, she presents abstraction as a strategy for representing the unseen world.  The idea of an unseen, or even unknowable internal world fascinates me.  It could refer to microscopic organisms, or undiscovered life-forms about which one can only postulate, or just internal emotional sensation. In my work I explore the relationship between the experimenter and the subject. When I reflect on this interplay, I’m reminded by how much we destroy in order to understand how something works.   Even though I’m working in the visual language of abstract painting, I relish the thought that I’m portraying forms that are unfamiliar and unnamed yet containing a form of intelligence for which we are unprepared to process.  

Much of my artwork in this current series are abstractions of aquatic environments. My subject matter is directly connected to the sense memory of swimming in the Bay. Battling through tangles of kelp, being jolted out of my skin by a seal popping up to greet me and fearing what lies in the murk below me. 

On "living art"
Living art means that anything is fair game for new material in my work.  I’ve always drawn heavily from the subject matter and colors around me.  I may be in a staff meeting at school and sketch a fire alarm, and then later morph it into a subterranean exploration device.  Living art also refers to my art materials.  My cut paper works are made with discarded scraps in my classroom and remnants from home improvement projects.  The wood in my frames is reclaimed from dozens of shelving panels that were thrown out at my school. Living art means that I must figure out how to make the creation of art objects sustainable at any cost.  

On being a new homeowner
I’ve always felt like surviving as an artist feels like a battle.  I’ve been displaced so many times, and I’ve had to abandon artwork more than I’d like to remember.  For years I’ve improvised art studio space in driveways, stairwell landings and kitchen tables.  Being a homeowner has given me the stability I desperately needed to grow as an artist.  I feel a great sense of satisfaction but also responsibility when in my studio.  I know I need to show up for myself and create work that deserves to take up space in the world.

On staying the course
When I was ten years old, I decided I wanted to live to be [at least] 110 and now I realize how much that vision drives much of what I do.  My great-grandfather lived a long and vigorous life, and he was the only person I knew his age who loved his work too much to retire.  In my early years as an artist, I immersed myself in learning about the lives of “marathon artists” rather than those that burned bright in youth and died young.  Artists like, Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson, Elizabeth Catlett, David Hockney my aunt and artist mentor Joan Tanner were artists that stayed the course with their creative vision through decades, and demonstrated sustained growth and a hunger to drive their work forward. 

Staying the course means sustaining my artistic growth; and creating my best artwork at the end of my life! 

On human kindness
As I grow as an educator, I’m reminded that I’m most effective when I build strong relationships with my students.  That means learning about their lives, being in awe at what they’ve overcome and being intrigued by the unique ways they respond to my art assignments. When I think about the educators that made the biggest impact on me, their compassion was the key ingredient in that impact. Even if my students never take another art class, I hope they remember me as someone who cared and who shared with them the joys of being creative. Kindness means offering someone choices rather than ultimatums,  encouraging others to define greatness for themselves, and providing a safe space for exploration and risk-taking.

On "What's next?"
I just completed a major overhaul of my website,, which includes the last several year’s worth of work and and a brand new online store for my small works and prints. 

In August, my exhibition The Unprepared Eye will open at EBMUD.  The exhibition will include work from the past two years! 

Lastly, I’m on a mission to find a long-term gallery home that is excited to represent me and help me grown in my career.  



With the summer upon us, what better way to celebrate warm weather and sunny days then on the beach, only steps aways from your very own bonafide, blue, beach house.  Enjoy!

Source: 1, 2 (unknown), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

The Crush - Paris, France: Chapter 2

Last June, I shared my chance-encounter with Parisian abstract painter extraordinaire, Monseuir Jamin.  Although Jamin's work was my first introduction to Paris' eclectic art scene, it was certainly not my last.   Meet Thea Muck, owner and curator of Thea’s Art Gallery, an “en plein air” gallery located in Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.  Walking into Thea's gallery was like walking into an art collector's living room.  My first inclination was to pull up a chair, contemplate and enjoy the quiet dynamic of people and art in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Paris' largest outdoor flea market.  My conversation with Thea started and ended with a common thread, our love for art and admiration for the artists who spark dialogue and bridge traditional and modern ideas through their works.  Thea's artsenal of global talents includes Syrian artist,  Kazem, who creates beautiful drawings from coffee and homemade paper. Kazem’s work has an ageless appeal and effortlessly quiets any restless spirit through the use of his muted tones and organic forms.

Thea's well-curated collection of art speaks to her desire to engage with fellow art-lovers.    Her vision for creating a space that allows her to share her passion for art, while providing exposure for emerging artists is an example of how art professionals tear down institutional barriers every day.   I recently had the pleasure of learning more about Thea's vision and how her mobile gallery transports art to the people and people to the art.  Noted below are a few highlights from our inspiring journey.  Enjoy!

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4


Art Is Luv: Where do you call home?
Thea: Born in Belgium, living in France...I’m what we call an “International Mix”.  My home is everywhere.
Art is Luv:  Are you an artist?  If so, which medium do you primarily use?
Thea: I’m not what we call an “artist”, but I learned the different techniques, such as oil, gouache, and watercolor on different mediums like canvas, paper, plastics and a lot of other during 15 years at art schools.  This experience allows me to understand exactly how my artists work and support them in describing their process. 

Art is Luv: What draws you to art?
Thea: I grew up surrounded by paintings, sculptures, drawings and other collections but it really started when I was 7 years old at my first art drawing school. I already knew that art would be an important part of my life. Even with classical education including international trade and laws I finished my studies with a Master in History of Art at la “Sorbonne” in Paris. All these experiences gave me the solid foundation needed take on “Thea’s Art Gallery”.

Art is Luv: Do you work with international artists?  From which regions primarily?
Thea: I am truly international: I work with artists from Syria, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and of course France.  I showcase the work of a different artist every month in my showroom.  

Art is Luv: Where do you see yourself in the next five years as an art professional?
Thea: I will surely still have my gallery and do everything possible to develop Art and Artists.
I will also continue organizing large-scale art events on a national and international level. 

Art is Luv: How do you make the experience for gallery visitors and new collectors less intimidating?
Thea: First of all, I think interacting with a visitor in the gallery is very enriching. I like it!  I take the time to share information about art and the artists.   Secondly, the open space format gives the feeling of a welcoming gallery space. 

Art is Luv: How has the demographic of your artists and collectors changed in the last five years (e.g. age range and/or nationality of buyers, contemporary vs. classic artists, etc.)?
Thea: Let’s be clear, the economic crises in Europe has impacted the art market. Art is still not the priority for average investors.  Young art collectors,  are very modern in their choices, while the art collectors around 60 years-old are more classical.  Unfortunately, there is not a lot of space for emerging modern artists in France.  

Art is Luv: Where are some of your favorite places to buy art (e.g. flea markets, galleries, art festivals, etc.)?
Thea: There are three different places I like to visit to find art: 
First, in the art galleries. In Paris we have,  “le Marais” or “Saint-Germain des Près”, where many galleries are concentrated. 
Second, the internet.  Some of my favorites can be found on my website ( have also my own gallery website. 
And last but not least, my favorite art market event takes place twice a year, in June and November, on “la Place de la Bastille” and is called GMAC (Grand Marché d’Art Contemporain). 

Art is Luv: What are some of your favorite places to eat and shop in Paris?  Do you find that most Parisian merchants instinctively etch artistic sensibility into the aesthetic of their shops?
Thea: I like the popular places like, “les Batignolles” where you can find the real Parisian spirit in old bistros and little conventional shops with cheese, wine, food for daily life. I also enjoy the department stores with little places to eat on every level. Each floor has his own style, like in Printemps where on the first floor you can find La Durée with pastries and on the seventh floor where you can find good quality dishes for lunch under a beautiful colored dome. 

Art is Luv: If you could choose one unexpected place to hang art in Paris, where would it be?
Thea: I would like also to see art in the Catacombs of Paris. I think it could be surprising to have modern art there. 

Connect For...Antonio Ramos

Today I shared a bittersweet moment with countless others in a North Oakland community recently struck by the tragic death of muralist, Antonio Ramos.  My 6-year old twins and I only came to know Antonio less than four days before he was fatally shot in front of the third installment of the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project, which depicts young children, with my son and daughter's likeness, as community stewards and symbols of hope.  In those short moments that our paths crossed, I learned that Antonio was a talented young man with promise, an endearing smile, and a playful and gentle spirit.  Although I feel saddened and angered by this senseless act of violence, I am able to find solace knowing that I am a part of a community that recognizes that art is indeed love.  It is living and breathing within and all around us.  It enables us to create and build the world as it should be...whole, equitable, and full of compassion.  Thank you Antonio for sharing your love with Oakland and the entire world.  So glad you left your mark!

Special thanks to Attitudinal Healing Connection, our very own Lindsey Millikan, Javier Rocabado, and all of the other artists that made this mural possible.

Source: All photos taken by Art is Luv

Through the Looking Glass: Athen B. Gallery

Oakland is an exceptional city because it is still as culturally relevant today as it was during the 60's, 70's and 80's.  The city's cultural richness is undeniably the greatest draw for visitors and current residents.  Last year, Oakland was named the Most Diverse City in America by Priceonomics, according to East Bay Express (December, 2014).  However, unlike other diverse cities, often segregated by ethnicity, Oakland neighborhoods are largely defined by what's important to the people who live in them.  Whether your interest lies in art, architectural preservation, community advocacy, or environmental stewardship, Oakland is a city where anyone who appreciates a sense of belonging can set roots.  It's a city where small businesses, farmer's markets, hiking trails, and even "knock-off" emporiums are woven together to create the colorful roadmap of Oakland's hoods.

Today's featured gallery, Athen B. Gallery, definitely has the makings of Oakland's next beacon.  Located in the heart of Downtown Oakland's thriving art scene, Athen B. is the brainchild of former LeQuiVive Gallery owner Sorell (Athen) Raino-Tsui and former White Walls Gallery curator Brock (B) Brake.  I sat down with Brock and Sorrell only days before their grand opening and caught a glimpse of how these two artists evolved into art professionals and how they've created an inspiring and welcoming space for the community and emerging and established artists alike.  Get ready to take notes!

Born in Canada, Bred in the Bay

Sorrell Raino-Tsui was born in Canada but he is truly a local.  A Berkeley High graduate and Oakland resident, Sorrell embraces communal creativity and is no stranger to the art-adorned streets of the Bay Area.  Although a fairly young gallerist, Sorrell is anything but a novice when it comes to putting art in motion.  As an entrepreneur, art enthusiast and curator he not only welcomes but makes possible the notion of "Art Everywhere".  Working with the likes of Xio Ziegler, Lauren Napoliatano, and Cannon Dill, Sorrell uses his gallery space and long-standing relationships with local building owners and grant makers to help showcase the works of some of the brightest street-art stars the world has to offer.     

A "B Boy" by Way of Chicago

With a name like Brock Brake, you can make a lasting impression by simply handing out a business card.  But Brock of Athen B. Gallery has set his sights much higher and is already making an impression as a curator and all around public relations guru.  His personable demeanor and  background as a photo journalist help guide his footsteps into a place where art and media intersect.  In his 1.5 years stint with White Walls Gallery, Brock built a network of artist contacts including Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, Katherine Rutter, and Ian Johnson, all of which are included in Athen B. Gallery's House Warming Exhibition.  

A Beacon in the Making

So the "million dollar question" is, "What do you get when you pair a seasoned art professional/community steward with an up and coming mover and a shaker?".  The answer get a gallery named Athen B. that as Sorrell puts it "Is more about promoting art that sparks dialogue and less about showcasing art that generates commissions."  You get a space where Oakland high school students are given internship opportunities, local coffee roasters pour coffee, and resident artists participate in proposal and resume writing workshops.  You get a space where all are welcomed and you walk out feeling cooler and hipper than you did when you walked in.  See for yourself.  

Source: 1, 3, 5 (Owner, Sorrell Raino-Tsui with wife, Kriselle Caparas and dog, Georgia, and Co-owner, Brock Brake), 7, 9 (Art Is Luv), 2, 4, 6, 8 (Athen. B. Gallery)

The Crush - Paris, France: Chapter 1

One bright early morning in April, I embarked on my very first trip to Paris, France with a childhood friend.  Paris is one of those cities that is clearly worth the airtime, even if it means flying an extra three hours out of the way through Istanbul to find a less expensive ticket!  If you have never visited Paris, be sure to go while the exchange rate continues to be favorable.  If you have visited Paris, I hope that your visit was as enchanting as you hoped.  I, for one, instantly fell pretty hard for la ville de’amour.  And today, I am thrilled to share with you how this love affair began.  But like any good love story, the best is yet to come.  We’ll take it slow, post by post until we bid farewell.  But fret not, this love story is one of many and kicks off Art Is Luv’s brand new travel series called The Crush.  Join me!  It's certain to be Luv-ly.

Chapter 1 – Butterflies

There are many landmarks that come to mind at the mention of Paris…the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Seine River, and of course the shopper's dream, the unforgettable Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.  Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the largest antique flea market in Paris, perhaps even the world.  Chalked full of vintage and global finds, Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is a collector's paradise.  I, like many others, visited the market in hopes of finding an incredibly soft, worn tea towel or a pair of vintage earrings that would say, "You too can own a piece of the understated Parisian flair."  Well to my surprise, my utopian stroll through the Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouento was less about the hunt for things and more about the interesting merchants and makers I met along the way.  It all started with one talented and eccentric artist named Monsieur Jamin.

Source: Monsieur Jamin and Art Majeur

Monsieur Jamin and I met at the Galerie Claire Didon-Prince located in Marche Vernaison.  The scene at Galerie Claire was a colorful one, full of beautiful art and lively people sharing bisous on the cheeks and champagne toasts.  When I entered the space, I felt as if I had walked into a New Year’s Eve party with peopled dressed in stylish Parisian denim overalls instead of formal evening attire.  Without hesitation, I was warmly greeted by Monsieur Jamin (what a name!) with a hug.  I blushed.  If I had to imagine the quintessential cool and artsy Parisian gentleman, a portrait of Jamin would come to mind. Despite his knack for being a spirited host, Jamin’s talent as artist extends well beyond charm.  I was immediately drawn into Jamin’s collection of abstract paintings because like the artist, each piece evokes an extraordinary feeling at first glance, one that I think each person experiences all of their own.  Jamin’s work is saturated in color, rhythm, nature and self-awareness and speaks to all who create, wonder, and love.  See for yourself.  

Monsieur Jamin, it was a pleasure.

Local Art Events

Oh, how I LOVE art!  It seems only right to share some of this goodness.  Be sure to check out these local art events.

Portraits and Other Likeness from SFMOMA

Museum Of African Diaspora

May 8, 2015  through October 11, 2015

Grand Opening and Artist Reception at Athen B. Gallery in Oakland

GRITS: TeMika Grooms

Artists are often incredibly modest individuals, who quietly retreat into their own spaces to create amazing works that speak volumes and inspire us to share our own stories.  Today's featured artist is TeMika Grooms and she is no exception to this objet d'art.  TeMika and I met in school at Georgia Tech, where we both studied Civil Engineering.  I transferred to Georgia Tech from Clark Atlanta University and TeMika was the lighthouse that guided newbies, like myself,  back to shore when we felt lost at sea.  She always had a very reassuring temperament.  After spending only a short time getting to know her, I realized that TeMika was special because she embraced the importance of work-life balance, even when surrounded by a stressful academic environment.  Over a period of two years, our friendship was less about studying for finals and more about a mutual love for the environment, family, and mind-body awareness.  However, it would be at least a year post graduation, before I realized TeMika's exceptional talent as an artist.  I experienced this  "ah-ha" moment the day I received a skillfully hand-drawn portrait of her oldest daughter, on the cover of a Christmas card, drawn by TeMika.  I thought to myself, "Wow, who knew?"      

Well, here we are, many years later and I am honored to share my friend, TeMika Grooms', beautiful work and story with all of you.  She is an artist, mother, mentor, and innovator who is well on her way to becoming an even greater creative force and art entrepreneur.  Enjoy!

Source: TeMika Grooms

Art Is Luv:  Where were you born?

Grooms:  I was born in the Midwest to an army family who moved around a bit.  I am the youngest of three children. My brothers were fortunate to spend nine years in Germany.  I only spent three, but that experience exposed me to different cultures, people, food and places.  I love opportunities to travel and meet people.  I may be a Georgia Peach, but my heart belongs to the world.

Art Is Luv:  Where do you currently reside?

Grooms:  I currently live on the outskirts of Atlanta at the edge of the woods with a pack of wild things! I call my daughters Thing 1 and Thing 2 sometimes (in honor of Dr. Suess).  They provide so much life and energy in my home and I think it is reflected in my art work. 

Art Is Luv:  Do you  believe your southern roots influence your art?  If so, in what ways are you inspired most?

Grooms:  In recent years I’ve done some research on my family tree.  What I’ve found is that I come from people who have traditionally worked with their hands, built businesses, educated themselves, protected our country and created art in its many forms.  It shows up in who I am and what my art becomes.   I am a self-taught artist who wants to educate, inspire and influence communities through what I create. 

My imagery doesn't directly relate to what you see in the south or my southern roots.  However, experiences growing up in the south have inspired me to create strong images of women and children, who are often of color.  
Art Is Luv:  What drives you to create art and how do you feel you have the most impact as an artist?

Grooms:  I am driven particularly by the needs of children and women.  I want my work to inspire them to be powerful.  Imagery and gender roles can challenge women daily.  But people should have the freedom to simply be, uniquely and unabashed, who they are.  I use free movement and     expressive colors to convey that in my art and illustrations.

Last year I pinned a book titled ARTISTA: Becoming Mother, Artist and Lover By Any Means Necessary. I wrote it because I was challenged to find work life balance.  As an adult I realized I had lost myself to my responsibilities.  My creativity had waned.  As I spoke to and researched women artists, I found that I was not alone.  So I decided to tell my story.  It was a cathartic experience for me.  I have been told that reading it has helped other women who struggle to be artists amongst all their other obligations.  Receiving those comments encourages me to continue to do my work.

Art Is Luv:  What art forms do you create  and what is your preferred media?

Grooms:  I am a visual artist who is best at using traditional media.  I love to draw!  I think it is so basic and still not easy to do, but it allows me to bring life into my work.  I also paint with watercolor, gouache and acrylics.  All of these bring me joy because they are loose and I can use them to create a feeling of movement.

Art Is Luv:  How would you describe the Atlanta art scene? Is it a welcoming place for emerging artists?

Grooms:  I believe it is a wonderful time to be an artist in Atlanta.  Artists of many genres can take advantage of the variety of large technology companies, startups and entertainment industry companies that are moving to and/or growing in the metropolitan area.  These companies need animators, graphic designers, set designers and many other forms of creative visual artists.  Politicians and business owners realize the economic benefits of supporting cultural events as an attractive draw for the visitors and residents.  

Art Is Luv:  Have you ever shown your work at a gallery? What sort of challenges do you face, if any, when submitting proposals to galleries?

Grooms:  I have participated in group exhibits in local galleries and have my first solo show coming up in July 2015 at FUSE Art Gallery in Atlanta.  I think the biggest challenge in submitting proposals really comes down to whether you can deliver a product that the gallery can market or sale.  

Art Is Luv:  As a parent, do you believe that art enables you to communicate differently or more effectively with your children?

Grooms:  Absolutely!  Communicating through the arts, of any genre, allows the artist to convey a message and evoke emotion through the energy they use to create.  The imagery I create for my children's books are often based on experiences I have shared with my own children.  Although, I hope they will not tire of being the muses for my art.  

Art Is Luv:  In addition to being an artist, you are also a civil engineer.  Do you feel that both your artistic and technical sensibilities complement each other and is there any advice you could pass on to a teacher or parent with regards to drawing relationships between art and science?

Grooms:  Parents should always guide their children towards their strengths.  Personally, I always tested as being equally balanced between the right and left brains on career assessment tests.  I'm creative and logical. Engineering was a good match at the time to develop both areas in my learning.  My engineering background taught me things I now apply in my art business.  It acclimated me to computers, design and digital illustration. It helped me to imagine, plan, execute and deliver a design.   All of this applies to being a successful art entrepreneur.

Art is Luv:  What's next and where can we see more of your work? 

Grooms:  I am currently working on a book entitled "They Call me Esperanza: A Reflection on The Immigration Dreamers".  This book uses sequential art to tell the story of a Honduran girl migrating to Atlanta, Georgia, that longs to create a life, that so far, she is only imagined.   For many refugee children, the journey to a new place can be a very lonely and dangerous one.  As human beings, we are all charged with the safe keeping of children, near and far.  My hope is that this book will shed light on the very truth that no one should have to journey alone.  The art work featured in this book will be on  display at the C4 Atlanta/Fuse Art Gallery for one night only on July 2, 2105 in a solo exhibit entitled THE NEVERENDING STORY: A Reflection on the Dreamers in Immigration.

Art is Luv:  Finally, what's for breakfast?

Grooms:  This spring I decided to fast to make room for a more creative process, so I juice every morning.  This morning I had a green smoothie with lots of veggies and a handful of almonds on my way to work.  Yum!



Merci Paris!


Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (unknown), 8, 9

Connect For...

Unlike the eastern region of the United States, spring has sprung in California.  Although odd and a bit worrisome to see during this time of year, the sight of fresh blooms are a welcoming reprieve from the dark winter days (Btw, don't forget to change your clocks on Sunday!).  Hopefully these images will bring warmer moments to my east coast folks.   But let's be honest, we desperately miss the rain in the west.  I hope it will come again soon.  However, in the meantime, let's take this opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our neighborhoods.  Yes, it's time to come out of hiding.  Block parties, yard sales, play dates or whatever you it!  Until next time...


Source: 1 (unknown), 2, 3 (unknown), 4 (unknown)


Hi All!

Happy President's Day!  Oh, how I love a day off!  I suppose most people do.  As I grow older, I have also come to know one of life's other truths...with age, comes sophistication and an appreciation for simplicity.  Today's Art-chitecture is an ode to the simplicity of modern design...understated, clean and timeless.  Never thought I'd love it so.  Do you?  

Source: 1, 2 (unknown), 3, 4, 5 (unknown), 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Grits: Foad Satterfield

It is often true what people say when they use the expression, "It's all in the name".  With a name like Foad Satterfield, impact is second nature.  Today's featured artist and curator, Foad Satterfield is without a doubt a talent with presence.  I met Mr. Satterfield several months ago at an engagement party.  He is one of those people that walks in a room with an air of astuteness and confidence, and yet, somehow maintains a sense of benevolence.  As a professor of Fine Arts at Dominican University, father, and husband, he has spent a lifetime developing and sharpening these qualities.

I recently visited Mr. Satterfield at his "Heart of the Matter" exhibition at the Domincan University Alemany Library Gallery.  Satterfield was the lead curator at the gallery for over 30 years.  The exhibition showcased an ongoing body of work spanning  a period of three years.  It's focus...nature.  My first impression of Mr. Satterfield's work was that it echoed the landscape surrounding the university campus.  It was as if I stepped into the gallery space and immediately stepped out into the open air.  I could instantly feel nature's pulse in his paintings.  In discussing his work, Satterfield noted that his use of white space and layering allows viewers to experience the process of his work.  In addition to layering, Satterfield also uses found objects such as paint stirring sticks to build dimension and texture and draw awareness to the importance of reuse and recycling.  

Probably what I enjoy most about Mr. Satterfield is that he is able to interpret nature as a collective and yet somehow capture its distinct moments.  Whether depicted as scattered leaves or a trickling stream, Satterfield's work is a reminder that we are an amalgamation of the environment in which we live.  When I asked Mr. Satterfield what he hopes to inspire in people who see his work, his response was that he aims to create art that moves people to be reflective.   And with that, I give you  Mr. Foad Satterfield.    Breathe in and enjoy!  

Source: Art is Luv and Foad Satterfield

Art Is Luv:  Where did you spend your childhood and in what ways has it influenced your work as an artist and curator?

Satterfield: I grew up in Orange, Texas and Lake Charles, LA; both locales were situated on and near large bodies of water. The Sabine River, Lake Charles, the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico were for me constant reminders  that water sustains and is indeed the origin of life. 

As a kid and young person, my imagination and observations were always informed and influenced by this environment.   However, at these times in my life I had no idea what an artist or a curator was.  All I knew way deep inside, was that there was some powerful influences all around me!

Art Is Luv: When did you move to the Bay Area?

Satterfield: I came to the Bay Area in 1971 after I completed graduate school.  In 1973 I begin working part time at the Berkeley Art Center. I was there for 7 years until Proposition 13 came along and realigned politics in the state of CA to this very day.   It was there that I got to see, work with, and learn how to design and install fine art exhibitions. At that time there was a strong influence from artists at UC Berkeley. 

As a young, developing painter I got to see what I liked and what makes work strong as opposed to what makes work clever and safely within the trend. The Bay Area has always been a place for experimentation with a particular edge about it.

Art Is Luv: In what ways, since your move to California, has the Bay Area art scene experienced the greatest shifts, good and not so good?

Satterfield: In terms of stylistic shifts, this has always occurred and will continue as makers and artists look for novel ways to recombine cultural, artistic and material elements in ways that stimulate and create continuing conversations for future creations. 

In my opinion, I find that the intervention of technical elements along with popular culture and post modern sensibilities have combined for a chaotic blending forming a visual language that I find rather thin and banal. Say that, I also have seen great examples of young makers who have strong fundamental skills who have created powerful narratives for this time and I believe will continue into the next period of our cultural evolution.

Art Is Luv:  As a curator and artist, you possess both the artistic flare and keen sensibility for art arrangement and overall project management.  What exchange of perspective and talent is important between artists and curators to ensure mutual appreciation and well executed shows?

Satterfield: My becoming a curator was a long process even though I had the title of curator when I first took over the San Marco Gallery at then Dominican College I was only someone hanging artists' work. 

At the Berkeley Art Center, Director, Carl Worth and Curator, Richard Sargent gave me plenty of latitude to develop my skills as a gallery prepartor.  I realized early that I was especially drawn to detail and finishing aspects of exhibit design within the installation process. Later, I began to take on lighting as a major interest as I continued to develop my skills and understand the hanging and conceptualizing an exhibition. The work, the space the tempo the ambience has to all come together so the expression can be free and unencumbered by the installation. 

After I learned this I became a curator.

Art Is Luv: What themes inspire you when creating your own pieces?  Who are some of your favorite visual and performing artists, past and present?

Satterfield: I especially like soft and hard forms in combination. When I look and at some of my African pieces in my collection I am awestruck at the manner in which curves and angles find relationships and affinities that go beyond the expected, producing forms that are powerful and sensitive. 

In my work I look for similar metaphors when I am studying and working from and in nature. I context this by creating a personal narrative of forms and elements in my compositions that have meaning for me.

There are so many great artists and makers who have influenced me.  Charles Mingus, Mozart, Joan Mitchell, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, Leontine Price, Oliver Jackson, Charlie Parker, T. Monk, Judith Jamison and I am afraid that it goes on and on….

Art is Luv: Your work has been admired and collected by a broad spectrum of individuals with varying tastes.  Why do you think people with vastly different backgrounds relate so well to your work?

Satterfield:  I think my work resonates with people of different perspectives and backgrounds because there is something about our relationship with “nature” that is meaningful, visceral and deep within us.

Art is Luv: Mr. Satterfield, you have had an amazing career as an artist and educator and shown your work around the country and internationally.  If I found your buried time capsule, where would it be located and what would I find?

Satterfield: This is the best of all the questions and this is the one I thought about while in Cozumel in the water with the fish. 

If there were a capsule buried with a chronology of who was Foad and what he aspired to do while here on earth; I would like for it to be found anywhere along the equator possibly in the Levant or possibly in what is now Southeast Asia and there within this capsule would be found a simple marking on a stone that would indicate that Foad worked within Life in order to know Life and in doing so made many mistakes towards his slow, progressive and inevitable spiritual evolution. 

Art Is Luv: What's next and where can we see more of your work?

Satterfield: Will have to tell you after my next meditation!

Art is Luv: Finally, what's for breakfast?

Satterfield: Grapefruit, apple, nuts, banana, and nutritional yeast blended in as a smoothie!


Connect For...

Earlier this month my littles came home rattling off (of course in one long run on sentence) what they learned about the holiday traditions celebrated by other cultures.  Our brood celebrates Christmas and boy were the kids especially eager this year for that "magical" day to arrive.  However, their excitement for Christmas preparations paled in comparison to the enthusiasm and interest they showed regarding other celebrations.  So today, I want to take a moment to thank my children and all the children around the world for continuing to bring us together not only during the holidays but in those moments of both utter turmoil and bliss.  Peace and many blessings to all of you.

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4

Through the Looking Glass

Me again...

This past October, I promised to launch a series of interviews called "Through the Looking Glass" and the time has now come.  This series is a collection of conversations with local gallery owners and curators.  My hope in presenting this series is to highlight individuals that promote innovative exhibition and art accessibility.  My hope is also that this series will allow artists, curators, and collectors to begin practicing a more synergetic approach to sharing what is truly meant to bring everyone together.  Please join me on this journey.  

Source: 1,2, 4 (Art is Luv), and 3 (Cotton and Flax)

Today we will kick things off with The Collector Art Shop located on College Avenue in Berkeley and in the San Francisco International Airport.  I had the pleasure of visiting the Berkeley location one gray afternoon and what a burst of light I felt when I entered the space.  Shop owners, Christina Begley and Skye Sullivan, have seamlessly created a classic gallery space with a quaint neighborhood shop appeal.  With crisp white walls, industrial polished floors, and rustic tabletop displays, The Collector Shop is a well-curated space with art finds that suit a wide variety of tastes.  Christina, a former "peace keeper" (A.K.A social worker) and journalist, and Skye, jewelry designer and animal lover, have a knack for connecting art enthusiasts and the frequent passerby with local artists and their personal stories.  

Shop visitors can choose from original art work and limited edition prints or fancy themselves with a one of a kind piece of jewelry, pottery, an artful pocket knife or even a yoyo.  When asked how the shop is able to maintain such a diverse group of fun finds, Christina shared that she and Skye look to their buyers to curate inventory.  Christina also noted that the shop offers a lay-a-way plan which allows higher end pieces to be more affordable for any potential buyer.  Not to mention, imagine all of these finds in an uncluttered space well managed by always helpful and knowledgable staff.   The shop hosts artist receptions on the second Friday of every month and the exhibits include six to eight different artists every month.  Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Okay, so that's my bit.  Here's what shop owner, Skye, had to say.  

Art is Luv: Where is home and what makes home feel like home?

Skye: Home is in Albany.  Family is what makes home feel like home for me.  Oh, and beautiful things, of course.  

Art Is Luv: Are you an art collector and if so, what type of art do you like to collect?   

Skye: I’ve always been an art collector.  I’ve gone from putting up my own drawings on my walls as a young child, to hanging posters and calendar pages as a teenager, to now collecting mostly small original works by local artists.  I like to collect all types of art, anything from one of a kind mugs to intricate etchings.  I’m continually impressed by the incredible talent by the artists in our area.  

 Art Is Luv:  Part of your company's vision is to provide affordable original art to a wider market with varying taste.  What advice can you give to an artist on establishing a price point that will broaden their buyer pool without sacrificing the value of their work?

Skye:  Pricing is one of the hardest things to do for an artist.  Our feeling is that the artist must be happy with their selling price.   

Art Is Luv: In January 2014, you opened up a second location in the San Francisco International Airport, which was a huge feat.  Maintaining one space is often difficult for gallery owners.  What advice would you give to gallerist on maintaining stability and embracing the idea of growth in what is often a very unstable market.

Skye:  My best advice to other gallery owners is to stay organized and be flexible.  We’ve found that being accommodating and good problem solvers have been some of our best assets.  

Art Is LuvHow do you balance work/life as a small business owner?

Skye:  It’s a tough balancing act.  There’s not much down time for a small business owner so you need to learn to be in the moment and appreciate the time you have.  

Art Is Luv:  Since opening your gallery, do you feel like you have been able to capture a more economically and culturally diverse pool of collectors and art enthusiasts? 

Skye:  Definitely!  It’s my favorite thing to watch young collectors come in and buy small prints and cards to tape to their walls to excitedly making their first purchase of an original piece.  I feel so proud in those moments.  It also makes us so happy when we hear people walk into our shop and say something like “I’m usually intimidated by art galleries, but I feel comfortable here”.  We want anyone and everyone to feel that way about looking at art and buying it.  It shouldn’t matter how much money you have, it’s about enjoying the art.

Art Is Luv:  Why is living with art important to you?  

Living with art is important to me because it brings me joy.   Not only do I love living with things that are pleasing to the eye, I love that each piece has a story.  A story that I can create and re-create.  



Hi there,

Anyone who knows me well, can easily discern that I LOOOOVE architecture and interior design.  One of the reasons why I pine so desperately for these two art forms is that I find them to be two of the most livable forms of art.  

Today I am beginning a series entitled "Art-chitecture" which will showcase various styles of architecture and highlight the masterful artistry that makes them uniquely their own.   Our first master piece of this series is the Spanish Colonial Revival.  With timeless details that beckon the cultural influences of Spanish, North African, Italian and Mexican culture, Spanish Colonial architecture is an amalgamation of grandeur and utilitarianism at its finest.  Here's a peek.  Isn't it just lovely!

Source: All images via