Why do you paint and draw? What is your interest in art?
I make art cause it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. I’m interested in the self preservation aspect to it. We make things to define our existence or just to make things. In the end it becomes a sort of time capsule that shows what I’ve been doing while I was alive. Also, it’s fun. If I didn't have to worry about bills, fueling the economy, living the standard lifestyle…if being homeless wasn’t socially unacceptable, I’d paint all day without a care in the world. But paints cost money, I like taking long hot showers, and the internet.
When did you first get started and how has your art evolved since then?
I started taking art more seriously in my early twenties. I was attending community college and taking art classes there because that was the only thing I was most interested in and excelled at. I didn't get a chance to take a painting class, but I really got into figure drawing and printmaking. I would go down and visit the watercolor class during my breaks in between classes. If I’m lucky I would get to see the teacher Charlie Chavez take his class out and paint plein air. That’s when I really wanted to learn watercolor and paint outdoors.
I transferred to CSU East Bay and received a BFA in Traditional Art. While getting my undergrad I was more exposed to other artists (both peers and professional) that helped me discover more about myself and art making. In the beginning I was still in training mode and getting my feet wet. Now I’m trying to perfect the variations of the breaststroke.
How does your background/history impact the themes you paint on?
It impacts it greatly especially in my current series on Acculturation. That series is based on human behavior, identity, and culture. I grew up knowing little of mine and feeling sort of out of place. When I started this series I noticed that I learned more about myself and others than ever before.
Why do you enjoy plein aire? What's the difference vs. painting from photos or an iPad?
Painting plein air is a very interesting experience. You have to go in knowing that you’re not going to make the best painting. Instead, it’s going to be the best sketch you’ll ever do. I like the freshness, spontaneity, it’s ephemeral, and the care free attitude that comes with it. Just go outside paint what you see, hope for the best, expect the worst, and bring home something that proves you were there at that date and time.
Okay, every artist knows that there’s a big difference between painting from life and working from photos. Colors and temperatures are different. The way you see something also isn't the same. I don’t mind working from photos. It depends on the process and the approach that determines the results. However, working from life will definitely help you execute how you work from photos. You’ll trust your gut and eye more. Be a little loose when you need to be and working from photos will help you be a little more tight and allows more freedom. There are benefits to both.
Who has been your biggest influences in art style?
I never really liked the word “style” when it comes to art.Feels…too trendy. I don’t feel like I have one. It’s just a bunch of everyone I like molded in together. There’s a whole lot of artists that I’m inspired by. I like the works of George Post, Joseph Zbukvic, Miguel Linares Rios, Sargent, Zorn, Andrew Hem, James Jean, Bill Watterson, Sean Cheetham, too many. Right now, I’m still in the technical and foundation aspect, so I’m attracted by artists with exceptional drawing skills.
George Post, Guyanans Harbor
Miguel Linares Rios
What is your favorite painting you painted and why?
Don’t have one. I don’t think i’ll ever have a favorite of my artworks. However I feel most connected to my little series of mix media drawings, Tahimik. They’re also a part of the Acculturation series. It’s the most personal and therapeutic works I’ve made so far.
Sunrise and Sunset: Two very different interpretations of landscape
Erin McGarry and Hallie Strock, artists at 4th Street Fine Art in Berkeley, present an exhibition of their landscape paintings from July 7th through August 17th. There will be a reception for the artists on Saturday July 11 from 5 pm to 7pm.
Erin, growing up on the outskirts of San Antonio, learned to love nature through playing outdoors and camping, as well as traveling. In her oil paintings, she captures the ephemeral qualities of light and time, and how they affect a viewer’s experience.
Hallie creates her landscapes with a combination of printmaking techniques, acrylic and watercolor. She works from her own photographs, and is particularly fascinated with trees, using strong color and composition.
Hallie says,”It is always amazing and intriguing to me how two different artists can interpret the same thing in such different ways. My view of what China Camp, or Angel Island, or many other familiar places is not like Erin’s at all.”
4th Street Fine Art is a collaboration of 16 local artists, located in Berkeley at 2000 4th Street, corner of 4th and University. The gallery is open from Friday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm, and by appointment.
Exhibition: July 7th - Aug 17th
Reception: July 11th, 5 - 7pm
Address: 2000 4th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
Sobel, Badhia and Sacramento in “Trio”
Berkeley, CA – 4th Street Fine Art is pleased to present “Trio”, an
exhibition featuring the works of three of its artists: Prabin Badhia,
Michael Sacramento, and Valerie Sobel. The show will run from May
19, 2015 to July 6, 2015. Its opening reception will take place on
Saturday, June 6th from 6 PM to 8 PM.
“Trio” represents the eclectic character of 4th Street Fine Art and its
artists, with works ranging from traditional figurative to pop inspired,
to organic textile art.
Badhia is involved in creating art that has subjects which are
entangled with his current thoughts, energy, and time. He approaches
his piece with no regard for any pre-condition. Sometimes, he has a lot
to tell in a limited time. At other times, he has little to say, with plenty
of time. He enjoys the structure, the muscles, and movement,
bending, twisting, and turning of the body forms. His subject has
always been primarily the human form. His figures are not historically
based nor do they have a social context. They are purely form; they
are without telling of where they are from and why there are there,
and when they are. The ideology behind this is neither constructive nor
The themes of Sacramento's work are based on the idea of memory
and emotional connections. Each subject is tied to a particular
experience - whether real or imagined. Michael's aesthetic style is
influenced by traditional, pop, illustration and contemporary design.
The resulting body of work forms the unique representation of his
Sobel’s work germinates from her observation of nature and from the
belief that all things are interconnected. She aims to foster the
awareness that people are rooted in their natural environment, of how
deep and essential their mutual dependence is. In that context, the
process of felting itself, used by the artist in her mixed media pieces,
becomes a physical metaphor of that universal entanglement.
This particular body of works explores the enthralling world of pods
and seeds, inviting the viewer to travel into a fictional realm, and
maybe, reassess what we think makes us specifically human.
Contact: Michael Sacramento
Address: 2000 4th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
Opening: June 6 6-8pm
Exhibition Date: May 19 - July 6
"RED the show" will donate part of the sales to the organization "RED" founded to help people with Aids by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006 www.red.org/about
March 6, 2015 from 5-8pm the artists of 4th Street Fine Art will be on hand to share their latest group undertaking. The show is simply called "Red". Each of the participating artists have interpreted that title in their own way. This has created a diverse and charming show. Please come by 2000 4th St @ University, Berkeley 94710 to visit with the artists and enjoy some conversation and camaraderie. For more information visit www.4thstreetfineart.com.
"Condimentos" by Cindy Podren recalls a cafe table setting in San Miguel D'Allende, Mexcio. A bowl of chili powder and a Coca Cola reference in the background stimulate the appetite. Debbie Claussen creates one of her iconic San Francisco Trolleys with a limited palette of red, paynes grey and green. It's a wonderful combination used with virtuosity. Sherrod Blankner, known for her urban buildings offers "Red Façade". All the participating artists have produced their thoughtful and vibrant paintings in the 16"x16" format.
The artists featured in the show are Hallie Strock, Michael Sacramento, Valerie Sobel, Maggie Hurley, Gera Hasse, Prabin Badhia, ShawNshawN, Korianna Kisielprice, Debbie Claussen, Sherrod Blankner and Cindy Podren. Suzane Beaubrun and Ann Marie Hodrick are two of the jewelers participating in the show. They have been very inventive in their offerings. Ann Marie of Hearts Desire Jewelry has created two necklaces one titled "Love" and the other titled "Rage". Stop in to see if you can tell which is which.
4th Street Fine Art is open Friday thru Sunday 11am to 6pm or by appointment (510) 647 8136. We'd love to see you March 6th to get your party on with New Jazz Review see their website at newjazzreview.com!
On Jan24-25 we will be having a pre-Valentine's sale on jewelry by 3 jewelers: Nuu, Ann Marie Hodrick and Valerie Sobel.
Find out more here: Jewelry Sale
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
First Solo Show for artist ShawNshawN – Still Smoking
Opening: January 24th 6-9pm
Exhibition: Jan. 13th – Feb 23rd
ShawNshawN debuting his first solo show at 4th Street Fine Art in Berkeley. His show is focused on a new style he developed called Political Pop. This style reinterprets popular cultural icons into the underlying reality beneath the surface usually focused on a moment when change occured.
One of the subjects is the infamous Malboro man captured in his painting “Killer Cowboy Cloud”. The 4th cowboy advertising for Marlboro died in 2012 (story from LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-marlboro-men-20140127-story.html) "He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him," his wife, Susan Lawson, told the Associated Press. "He knew, yet he still couldn't stop." The artist himself smoked the brand over 15 years and his own father was nearly taken twice by throat cancer from smoking 15 years. In the own artist words, “I smoked 10 years before quiting and the damn things will likely take my brother before his time, so I feel I owe the company payback.” This works explores who exactly was behind the campaign and its popularity. Was it Hollywood, US Presidents or Leo Burnett ad agency? In addition to the painting, the artist is selling Morbido cigarette packs signed by famous smokers from JFK to Andy Warhol. A detailed artist interview follows here: http://shawnshawnartist.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/interview-on-killer-cowboy-clouds/
Other themes that are captured are the theme of the Hunger Games just after the release of the 3rd of four films based off the 3rd book in the series “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins. ShawNshawN lived in Poland in the last year of Communism in 1989 and actively witnessed the fall of totalitarianism by the people, so this book rang true to his vision and serves as a device to expose pitfalls of dictatorships like China, North Korea and Cuba. This painting points to the reality of Hunger Games in the US empire we find ourselves in: global corporations dominating the planet, dictators like Kim Jong Un in North Korea and the hypocrisy of leftists coddling dictatorships like Cuba. The painting captures the moment that Katniss defies expectations and sacrifices herself to save her sister with “May the Odds be Ever in your Favor”. A detailed artist interview is here: http://shawnshawnartist.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/interview-on-may-the-odds-be-ever-in-your-favor-painting/
Another topic explored is cyber warfare and 1984-type secret government spying of citizens exposed recently by Edward Snowden. As quoted by Snowden, “I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” The artist explores the duality of US-China relations in his work titled “Ride the Dragon on the Plains of Slaves”. Here the infamous Matrix movie is shown with Morpheus asking Neo to choose the red or blue pill, reality or continued fantasy. In this work, the artist exposes the underlying secret cyber war of China and US. In public, both powers claim to be the world’s biggest trading partners. In reality, China has a secret military division 61398 actively hacking Western patents while being the global trade “partner” of the West. A detailed interview follows here: http://shawnshawnartist.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/interview-of-riding-the-dragon-to-the-plains-of-slaves-painting/
The artist will be on site to discuss your questions on the duality of life in his paintings. The show will be Jan 24th from 6-9pm. There will be food, drink and music to enjoy as you bear witness to Political Pop style.
About 4th Street Fine Art
The gallery was launched in September 2012 with 15 artists. Now the gallery has 14 painters and 3 jewelers. The original idea for the gallery was the Art Gym started back in 2002 before changing the name to 4th Street Studio in its second year. One of the founders, Gera Hasse, helped found the new gallery location in 2012.
4th Street Fine Art
2000 4th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
Hours: Fri-Sun 11am-6pm
Show info: http://www.4thstreetfineart.com/still-smoking.html
Exhibition: Jan 24th – Feb 23rd
Opening: Jan 24th 6 – 9pm
Streeters share studio news