LOCALITY Show in San Francisco April 2-16

My short video 25th & Mission will be in a group show called Locality at the Mission Arts Center, 2183 Mission Street (between 17th & 18th), San Francisco. The opening party is April 2, 8-11pm, and the closing party is April 16, 8-11pm. Unfortunately I won't be there personally.

I made the seven-minute video, which will play in a loop on a monitor, during my first summer of three living in the Bay Area. The piece was inspired by my family's three-week stay at a friend's studio apartment (international tango artist Hung-yut Chen).

What begins as abstract fields of color gradually emerges to be a portrait of four tiny shops in a block of San Francisco’s Mission district. They are as diverse as the community around them: a Chinese-run laundry, a Salvadoran hair salon, a hipster tattoo parlor, an art gallery. As the camera hovers inches from its subjects, we realize that the seemingly disparate shops are linked not only by their location but also by their inhabitants’ loving attention to the beautification of the varied surfaces they work with.

Bevels and Videos

I just got back from winter review at my MFA program at San Francisco Art Institute.  Aside from marvelling at the improbable weather there, I find it enlightening to show my work to artist colleagues who paint, sculpt, and perform their work.  In one review, we spent a good deal of time talking about the meaning of two paintings' bevelled edges.

The Muistardeaux Collective - which consists of Eric Gibbons, Tom Borden, and Khyssup Muistardeaux (their non-existent collaborator from French Guiana) - launched an ambitious and hilarious performance for their review.  See video below.

A Student Again

My family and I spent the summer in the San Francisco Bay Area as I began a low-residency MFA program at the San Francisco Art Institute. What fun to be a student again! After twelve years of teaching – pouring energy into bringing out my students’ vision as filmmakers – I now have advisors and teachers who help me develop as an artist.

Art school feels a lot different from my usual environment at a liberal arts college and among the documentary filmmaker/ public television crowd. As I sit among my classmates – painters, sculptors, photographers, and printmakers – I can’t help but look at video in a new way. I’m seeing the colors applied on the frame the way paint adheres to its surface. It’s freeing to try out new shooting and editing styles without worrying about narrative, context, exposition – or fundraising, rights clearances, and distribution.

My first project was a study of four tiny shops in a block of San Francisco’s multicultural Mission District. It started out as a little exercise and I got gradually drawn into the way surfaces are cleaned, colored, and transformed in these four locales. I think I will continue to explore some of these shooting and editing techniques in upcoming projects. I hope to find a way to bring a more formally interesting approach to work that has social content I care about.

Take a look at the video (7 minutes, MPEG) if you're interested: