arthead sf

arthead sf blog was created to bring readers the meaning behind the art. These are not critiques or interviews with artists. Each feature is written entirely by the artist, revealing only what they feel and want readers to know about the featured piece. If you see a piece of art you'd like to know the meaning me. And subscribe to my blog below to get updates when new features are posted!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Shawn Marie Hardy

Shadow Box
Mixed Media on Glass with glow-in-the-dark-paint
14 x 18"

"When I was a child I made an insect cemetery. Over time it grew and it also became the final resting place for the occasional frog or bird. Sometime during those years I sent away for a pair of x-ray glasses after seeing an ad in a comic book. I couldn't wait to see through walls and into places the eyes can't penetrate, and of course I knew I would also be able to see through people's clothes. Much to my dismay, the glasses didn't work, but perhaps this is what I would have seen had they been real.

This mixed-media piece was done using a frame that I turned into a light box. I simply turned it upside down and placed the glass at the back instead of the front. I put fairy lights behind it for the glowing affect. Tissue paper is attached to the front and wrapped around the sides of the glass using Golden Soft Gel Medium. Circles were cut out of the paper so the bugs could be seen through the glass. The bugs are photo images that are glued down to tissue paper, then attached to the back of the glass - they are underneath the earth and are viewed through the glass. I used a highly textured pumice medium to give the paint a more earthy look and spread it around the "burrows" so they would resemble nests. I used Golden acrylics and photo images of coneflowers, as well as silk leaves along the borders. The glass in this piece represents a window where one can peek into places unknown.

The most fun part of all is the glow-in-the-dark paint that I spread on the underside of each burrow. In darkness they glow a lovely phosphorescent green!

By Shawn Marie Hardy

A little about Shawn:
age: 45
Something people don't know about me: I struggle with agoraphobia and OCD
I am a mixed-media artist, currently living in Lansing, Michigan.
I create images that are emotive and tantalizing - impressions representing the core of my imagination, from transient thoughts and deep-rooted memories to endured tribulations. I am fascinated by dreams and the haunting images the mind conjures up while we're asleep. Most of my work is as spontaneous as these unconsious images and I tend to work directly on the canvas, rather than drawing a preliminary study or mixing paints separately on a palette.

I am also interested in spiritualism - not necessarily in the sense that the living communicate with the dead, but more in the sense that I question where our energy goes after we die. In the wonderment of these questions I create dreamy landscapes that represent the state of passing from present life into the next state of being. They are both light and dark, depicting both joy and melancholy, often with the focal point being a window of light or an ethereal, winged being on a path into the unknown. I sometimes incorporate copies of vintage photos into these landscapes - visages of unknown people who have passed on, in order to give them a purpose and to honor those lives that are long forgotten.

Besides my online gallery, I am not currently exhibiting. Most of my time lately is spent working on a project that will benefit missing and exploited children (see the honorwithart site). I'm gathering art from artists all over the world and using that work to create an "altered book." Once finished, the piece will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to charities that advocate for the cause.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Paul Chatem

"Sink or Swim"
Acrylic on Wood Panel

"Sink or Swim" is the first painting I did for a new series I’m working on for a show at The Shooting Gallery, called "33 Knots" which opens Feb. 10, 2007.

This is the fourth series of paintings I have produced and it developed much like the others. I start with a single image or idea. When that is finished I ask myself, "What came before this and what should come next?" Then I paint those paintings, ask myself the same question; ideas build on themselves and grow and develop into a narrative.

Storytellers have always had a huge influence on me, way more than any individual artist. A good story, one that expresses a person’s views and experiences, sparks my imagination and drives my creativity. I get inspiration from all types of storytelling: children’s books, television, movies, comic books, novels, music, they all give me different ideas and they feed off each other and inspire me in different ways.

The most recurring theme in all my paintings is "Man vs. Nature", more specifically, man’s abuse of nature and nature’s ways of fighting back. In my first series, "It Tastes like Whiskey", I used a tornado as a character in my paintings that takes its revenge on man for his wrong doings. In "The Collector’s Conscience" I used germs for the same reason. In "Fire Season" I used fire, and in this new series, water.

I use a lot of symbolism in my paintings that tie together the individual pieces within the series. In "Sink or Swim", the sailboat is a way of harnessing the power of nature without harming it. The pirates and the bottles represent debauchery and abuse of nature. The kid in the water represents innocence or the loss thereof. The banjo represents a simpler time that has come and gone.

My hope is when people view my work, they will be able to enjoy the individual pieces as well as get a greater understanding of what I’m trying to say with the entire series.

By Paul Chatem

See "Sink or Swim" and more at:
"33 Knots" New paintings by Paul Chatem and Mike Maxwell
Opening reception: Feb. 10, 2007
@ The Shooting Gallery
839 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Brett Superstar

25" x 28"
Acrylic on Wood

"This is a painting about Divorce. My wife and I just split up and it was pretty frigg'n sad. I did a drawing for this painting about 4 days after we had decided to break up. Almost everything in the painting stands for something.

Hands over ears= denial.
Worms in back talking to person= past and present/reflecting on life
Book of life in pocket= what will be the next chapter, read on.
Red= blood. good and bad.
Ring coming off of the finger= being single
Waves in the back ground= The sea of life and how we might not beprepared for what it turns into.

By Brett Superstar

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jessica Serran

Project Truth Collection and Reflection
Swarm Gallery: Project Space
560 Second Street, Oakland CA 94607

January 6 - February 11, 2007
RECEPTION: Friday, January 12, 2007, 6-9pm

Project Truth Collection and Reflection is a community-based, interactive project, exploring Oakland as a Place. I set up a 'truth table' in downtown Oakland and let people know I was doing a project about Oakland and was interested in knowing 'what was true for them.' Once the truths were gathered, I reflected and responded to them in the second phase of this project: an installation comprised of a room-sized painting and a file folder containing the collected truths.

This project was designed to examine the internal and the personal as a means of gaining insight into the collective energy of Oakland. It explores the question: how do the people of a city contribute to and interpret the multiple aspects of the city? The completed painting functions as a map of internal terrain, mapping both the subjective truths of others and the subjective interpretations of one artist.

By Jessica Serran

Friday, January 12, 2007

Santos Shelton

"Open Communication"
11 inches by 21 inches
Mixed media acrylic/spray paint

I just finished this painting recently. This painting was inspired by my own social obliviousness and insecurities. Lately I have just been avoiding a lot of contact with the outside world. Diving deeper and deeper into myself, I finally realized I do need others around me. The community of friends, family, and occasional strangers and acquaintances, is necessary in order for me to be able to create and grow as a person. How funny how the more we advance as humans, the more we seem to alienate ourselves.

The letters at the bottom spell out oppression of self and open eyes. For some reason I couldn't see what I was doing to myself. The pink clouds represent hope for the future. The fish symbolizes growth and movement. You can also see a sun by the fish's head, which is just another sign of hope. Inside you can see a small robot that represents myself caught inside away from the outside world. On top of the telephone pole, which stands for communication, sits an owl that stands for wisdom and change. Stripes are coming out of his head to show that he is thinking and watching the world. The fish is headed towards the owl, symbolizing my change from that frame of mind. The small symbol on the top right is an African symbol called Bese Saka that means abundance, togetherness and unity. The number three is for the three stages of life: birth, life, and death.

My art used to have the same kind of earthy colors like green and brown. Lately I have started to like pinks and bright colors. They bring a lot more of what I'm feeling into the work. I love using Aztec and African symbols from my heritage to not only convey a Message but to also embrace my history.

By Santos Shelton

A little about Santos:
He's 26 yrs old. Lives in San Jose and likes to dance late at night in front of the mirror.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pedro Matos


50 X 75 cm

mixed media on 2 framed canvas

"I was inspired to make this painting, right after watching "The Inconnvenient Truth", which made me become even more aware of our planet's situation. The global warming, and all the environmental disaters, are destroying a lot of cities and killing a lot of people, and all of this is Man's fault. That's what I represented, a crying african child, which tend to be the most harmed on most of the planet's problems inluding envorinemtal ones, since they are more vunerable, surrounded with some nature elements and textures [made on the canvas], using the right colours to represent this situation.

It's acrylic, ecoline, spray, pen, and sand paint.

By Pedro Ventura Matos. aka Drone

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to say hello and happy new year! And thanks to everyone who has supported me on this project. I love what I'm doing and I hope you do as well. Cheers!

Rene Fressola

48" x 48"
Oil acrylic enamel on board

"Generally i work spontanious, i just start with a mark & continue to build on it, sort of like when a dancer makes up new moves, i dance with the canvas an just let it lead me! if it weren't for painting i'd hate to think where i would be,............ pieces can take any where from 3 hours to 3weeks,......colors sort of set the mood for the viewers,..........some serene,some dark & chaotic,....i am fully influenced by the abstract painters of the 40's-50's from new york & california,.... my mood the music i listen too sets the tone for my sessions in the studio."

By Rene Fressola

Rene currently has work on view at CALIFORNIA MODERN GALLERY 1035 MARKET ST bet6/7th streets SAN FRAN till February 3rd.

A little about Rene
"I'm 40 years old from new york, thing people don't know about me would be that i've been painting abstract paintings for almost 20 years. most of my paintings contain, oil,acrylic ,enamel marker, pencil, oil stix, pastels,...........i basically mix it all in an then seal it with a clear satin coat of paint. i will be moving home to new york in april 07 an i might just open my own gallery,.........."