Monday Funday: Signs by Chris Ballas

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Sign maker Chris Ballas‘ art show during First Friday Santa Cruz earlier this month reminded me of two things – all the signage I saw cruising around town on my bike as a kid and a list of my adult vices including beer and tattoos. Adorning the walls of Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub & Restaurant were hand painted signs from the young artist who values traditional hand lettering technique and exudes old school style.

Merging art and function, Ballas’ work is clean, simple, and approachable. His art showcases an attention to detail and honors classic craftsmanship. Not overworked nor complicated, his pieces are much more literal and still playful. With such a clear and creative point of view, Ballas is definitely an artist to keep an eye on!

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Thursday Three: Mainly MidMod

 

I’m thrilled for another Thursday Three with friends from Mainly MidMod Furniture & More. Good friends, Becca and Karim, are a couple living in Santa Cruz and started collecting furniture for themselves. They quickly discovered their passion, impeccable taste, and talent for salvaging, restoring, and reselling midcentury modern furniture. Check out three things that are inspiring them these days!

Thanks to Mainly MidMod for stopping by .stART here. today! You’re THE BEST! ;P xoxo

Santa Cruz Photographer Meg Venter
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Photo Credit Meg Venter/Artisans Gallery

If there’s a way to bottle up the colorful rides and salty air of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, it’s found in local photographer Meg Venter‘s “Summer of ’67.” We love the tones, composition, and vintage vibe of this piece and the rest of her boardwalk-themed collection. We’re leaving Santa Cruz for the Pacific Northwest this month, and Venter’s prints will be coming along to brighten up those rainy days.

Food Blogger Molly Yeh  (and her upcoming cookbook!)

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Photo Credit Meg Venter/Artisans Gallery
North Dakota-based food blogger and photographer Molly Yeh transports us back to the time we spent living in fun and funky Fargo. Yeh grabs your attention with gorgeous, moody photos and keeps you hooked with colorful anecdotes and mouthwatering recipes. (And her cakes couldn’t be any damn cuter.) Plus, her first cookbook, Molly on the Range, comes out this October. We’re preparing for major Midwest nostalgia.
Bend Goods 
Bend Goods
Everything we love about midcentury modern design comes to life in Bend Goods’ colorful, sculptural wire furniture. We’re particularly obsessed with the Los Angeles company’s bomb drum table (orange is where it’s at) and glorious chairs. Picture yourself lounging on these bad boys in some tropical courtyard  — it’s what dreams are made of.

Fresh Friday Finds: Caia Koopman

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“Grease Monkey” Painting © Caia Koopman

I first discovered Santa Cruz artist Caia Koopman a few weeks after moving here in fall 2013. She was showing and selling some pieces at Rachael & Steve Caballero’s old Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery in Campbell. I even featured that “Gear Up” show in an old blog post on .stART here. Little did I know I’d become such a huge fan after seeing Koopman’s surrealistic masterpieces in person that night.

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“Dream Escape” Painting © Caia Koopman

What I find so rad about Koopman’s work are the rich dreamscapes and activist themes. She even refers to herself as being an “artivist” on her Instagram (super clever!). The majority of her art features women exuding femininity juxtaposed with being badass, ready to kick ass and take names. Gorgeously woven into the portraits are animals, like hummingbirds, owls, dragons, and unicorns. I love the ethereal approach she takes on realistic issues, and I basically want to be or be friends with every woman she paints! All inspired by her enthusiasm for skate culture, punk rock roots, and love of animals – I feel like we’re kindred spirits.

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“Let Me Out” Painting © Caia Koopman
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“Moonrise Owl” Painting © Caia Koopman

I often see Koopman’s work displayed at restaurants and galleries all over town. I’d be stoked every time I could spot her art, recognizing the symbolic look and feel. The same unreal style seen in collections of Caia Koopman products, like shirts, leggings, jewelry, and more.

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❤ my new watch!

I always regretted not buying a print that night in Campbell. I must have gone back and forth, in and out of the shop, trying to decide which print and what size about five times. In the end, I walked away with nil. It’s now three years since I first saw those original Koopman’s, and I finally own one as of earlier this week. It’s not a painting but rather a more functional, wearable piece of Koopman art – a Bubo the Wise Owl Sport from Modify Watches. It’s so sick, and I’ve already gotten tons of compliments the few times I’ve rocked it. Can’t wait to add to my collection with a painting one of these days!

Caia Koopman has work featured in some upcoming group shows here in California. First, at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles opening on August 27 for their 10th Anniversary Exhibition and Femme to Femme Fatale: The Feminine in Contemporary Art show at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco opening September 17. Do yourself a favor, and visit caiakoopman.com to check out this Fresh Friday Finds!

Monday Funday: stART something new

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Santa Cruz MAH, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Let’s stART this week off enjoying another installment of Monday Funday.

DUDE! I’m so stoked to start volunteering at Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH). I attended a volunteer orientation on Saturday and learned that their mission totally aligns with my personal goals right now. “To ignite shared experiences and unexpected connection.” Right on!

In my current state of funemployment, I’ve been really opening up to endless possibilities. I am feeling rejuvenated and even more determined to make the most of this crazy journey we call life. It’s been awhile since I felt this inspired. Luckily, I’ve had such awesome continued support coming from a variety of sources. From my ever-loving family, unwavering friends, to new bonds and connections made locally, I am extremely thankful! I am super grateful for a couple of recent experiences that are motivating me into a powerful trajectory.

I started working temporarily for a chiropractic wellness office in June a handful of hours a week. I totally enjoyed getting treatment there so when an opportunity to help out came along, I had to say YES! It’s such a wonderful place of healing and feels really great to be part of it.

I am also helping out a friend get certified to be a law of attraction coach. She’s helping me focus on what I want and how to get it while she hones in on her practice and coaching skills. It’s been a totally gratifying experience and is reminding me to live the life I love through the power of positive thinking.

All this to say that I’m so stoked for all that is now and up next. Some of it will be brand new and some of it may still be far off in the distance, but it feels awesome, and I’m totally happy. Go out and get yours!

“There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.” – Diana Vreeland

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Santa Cruz MAH, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Refreshed and Renewed

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I’m baaaack! You know you missed me.

After more than a two year hiatus, it’s time to share more up and coming art, culture, and design I think is rad. I love writing about the arts, supporting artists and creatives whose passion for their crafts are undeniable, and inspiring people to be more creative. What prompted this resurrection you may ask? Well, I felt inspired!

I’ve been on The Master Cleanse for the past two weeks. (Today’s my last day! YAY!) It’s a super intense yet rewarding detox. A way to refresh and renew – body, mind, and soul. This year’s cleanse, my third year in a row, was even more necessary since I left my job in April and needed to clear my head from all that was. Out with the old, in with the new if you will. Not only was this experience an awesome boost for me physically, but the cleanse really helped me focus and totally envision where I see myself in the foreseeable future. So I thought, what better place than to .stART here.

I’m so stoked to cultivate more art, culture, and design through my lens with you. With an improved look, I’ll be bringing back all of your favorite features starting tomorrow with a brand spanking new Monday Funday, then more later in the week with some Hump Day Hot Seat, Thursday Three, and Fresh Friday Finds. Big kudos to all my awesome guests who have participated in the past and those still to come! Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

Monday Funday: San Francisco & Santa Cruz

Today’s mellow Monday Funday is actually all about my Sunday Funday yesterday. My friend, Heather, was in town from the east coast so I met up with her in San Francisco. We spent the afternoon people watching at Dolores Park in the Mission, and here’s what I saw.

 IMG_6982 Heather with a turtle on a leash. The owner brought TWO turtles to the park!

IMG_6991boys & bikes

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Then, I came back to Santa Cruz for an evening walk up West Cliff Dr. only to stumble upon a silent disco party at Lighthouse Point Park called Silent Santa Cruz, where guests listen and dance to music through headphones. Here’s what I saw.

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“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran

 

 

Monday Funday: Art Openings

I’M BAAACKKK! I’ve been on hiatus since my west coast move in September but am back at this blogging thing with my first official Cali-based post, a Monday Funday feature. These are friendly Monday reminders to always live in the moment, get out and have fun!

Today, I’ve got my hand picked calendar of this week’s events across the country.

NEW YORK CITY 

March 6th – 9th: The Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94 from 12p – 7p

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The Armory Show is one that I’ve always wanted to check out but constantly said, “next time.” This annual contemporary and modern art fair is the largest in New York City, showcasing over 2,000 artists from hundreds of galleries around the globe. So if you’re in the area and can treat yourself to sensory overload at its best, go for it! Tickets start at $40 day passes to $75 run of show passes. For more information, visit www.thearmoryshow.com.

JERSEY CITY, NJ

March 7th (JC Fridays): E. Tittlemouse & Co. presents “Women Power JC” at 246 Bay St. from 6p – 8p

Women Power JC

Who run the world?! Girls. This event presented by E. Tittlemouse & Co. features the diversity of Jersey City female artists and their talents. My friend, Rika Gunawan, will be there with her unique collection of handmade, limited edition hair accessories for women and children of all ages, Republic of Pigtails. Stop by and say hi!

This is just one of many events during this month’s “JC Fridays” presented by Art House Productions.  For a full calendar of events, visit www.jcfridays.com.

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BOONTON, NJ

March 7th: Anthony “Weird Eye” One’s “Something Wild” at Speakeasy Art Gallery 816 Main Street from 6p – 9p

AnthonyWeirdEyeOneI first met Anthony “Weird Eye” One back in March 2012 at his “Colorful Eye Candy” solo show and quickly became a fan of his work. Two years later, this painter, muralist and street artist takes his intricately patterned style of “movement and motion” and evolves into “Something Wild.” Watch “Weird Eye” One discuss the upcoming show presented by Speakeasy Art Gallery and check out a sneak peek here. For more event information, visit www.weirdeyedesigns.com.

SAN JOSE, CA                                                                                                    

March 7th: “Tangible: a handprinted exhibition” at Seeing Things Gallery 30 N. Third Street from 7p – 10p

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I finally got to check out Seeing Things Gallery, owned and operated by photographer Jai Tanju last month. I caught the current “Let’s Meet in the Middle” show featuring individual and collaborative mixed media artwork from husband and wife, David Imlay & Ana Carolina Pesce Imlay. This Friday, a new show, “Tangible” opens where the artists “have created photographs in the traditional sense, using their hands to make a physical object.” For more information, visit www.seeingthingsgallery.com.

FIRST FRIDAY SANTA CRUZ, CA

March 7th

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I couldn’t be more thrilled that Santa Cruz has tons of talented local artists and an abundance of inspiration to offer! I’m stoked to see as much as I can this Friday but really interested in trying to check out the following:

For a complete event listing, visit www.firstfridaysantacruz.com.

Art Opening: Caia Koopman’s “Gear up” at Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery

The “Gear up” show featuring paintings by pop surrealist Caia Koopman at Rachael and Steve Caballero‘s Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery is this Saturday, October 19 from 7-10pm at 311 E. Campbell Ave. in Campbell, CA. Come support local shops & artists if you are around!

Caia Koopman Gear Up Art Show Bela La Vie Boutique

From CaiaKoopman.com:

From the land of surf and sea, Caia Koopman has emerged as one of lowbrow’s preeminent female artists.

With a well-rounded background from her years spent obtaining her BA in Fine arts from UC Santa Cruz, to her time spent in the skateboarding and snowboarding scenes, Caia’s environment has both molded and provided an eclectic background that makes her paintings come to life. With her fine detail for beauty, inclinations toward nature, and collectiveness of the female spirit, Caia has quickly become one of the quintessential artists fully encompassing the elegance, strengths, and vulnerabilities of femininity.

Her work is alluring and has a hint of whimsy. It delves into the fascination of women, in both our conscious and subconscious ideals of the feminine role in society. Caia consistently submerses herself in subject that matter that is ingrained and full of cultural connotations.

Caia’s work is infused with a variety of cultural, political, environmental, sociological, and dreamscape references. Her influences serve as an amalgamation bringing her world to life through deliberate references and reverent imagery, with the finished work deriving strength and beauty from the artist herself. Her playfulness in her brush strokes is a constant struggle with the reality and solidity of the paint itself which comes across in her work as complimentary forces bringing together a gorgeous and powerful masterpiece.