Friday, February 1, 2019

Sonoma State University Shares 'Art from the Heart'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2019 at 1:18 PM

Having just marked four decades of engaging the community with exhibits and educational opportunities, Sonoma State University’s University Art Gallery continues to act as a vital resource and cultural center in the North Bay.

This weekend, the gallery hosts another exciting evening of art, food, wine and music at it's 35th annual Art from the Heart benefit auction. 

One of the oldest continually-held fundraising events in the area and an essential evening for novice and seasoned art collectors alike, Art from the Heart is highlighted by a silent auction featuring modestly-priced original works by more than 160 artists, as well as a performance by Dave Getz and delectable bites and beverages on hand.

Fall in love at Art from the Heart 2019 on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the University Art Gallery, Sonoma State, 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 6pm to 9pm. $25 suggested donation. 707.664.2295.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Museum Space Getting a Makeover

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Julia Davis work in progress on the Sonoma County Museum extension
  • Julia Davis' work in progress on the Sonoma County Museum extension

The Sonoma County Museum is putting its new building to good use. The former Conklin Brothers floor coverings store on the corner of Seventh and B streets in Santa Rosa is getting a makeover by three artists before it’s renovated into an art museum. Julia Davis, Carlos de Villasante and Judy Kennedy are painting the three sides of the building in graffiti style and should be finished by the end of this month, says Sonoma County Museum Executive Director Diane Evans. The paintings will remain in place through this year before they're replaced with another vision in similar style by different artists early next year.

The museum will eventually host exhibitions of international caliber in addition to selections from the museum’s existing collection, which includes an extensive group of work by Christo and Jeanne Claude. But while we wait, the museum has decided to show off the talent of local artists in a very public place.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 4:49 PM


"You know what? Screw it. I'm tired of painting at the beach. I'm tired of painting beautiful coastal sunsets. I'm tired of painting rolling golden hills, and lush green vineyards, and mountainside streams. I'm a Sonoma County painter, dammit, and I'm gonna paint a bunch of people waiting in line to drink beer."

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Death, Sex and Art in Sonoma

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM


Is the new Lawrence Ferlinghetti show at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art his last? Maybe so! At 93, the poet, publisher, bookstore owner (of City Lights), and painter clearly has death and dying on his mind. Or so his dazzling art, up now at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, suggests.

One of the most dramatic works on display, “The Golden Bird of Memory Attends Proust on his Deathbed,” depicts the last living moments of the famed French writer, Marcel Proust. Not just artists, but cities are also dying in Ferlinghetti’s phantasmagoric world. “Cross-Pollination” is the name of the show and it highlights the impact of poetry on art and art on poetry. It also shows the power of sex to influence both poetry and art. At 93, Ferlinghetti still has sex on the mind, and if viewers want to psychoanalyze him and his work, he doesn’t mind.

“Freud” depicts two naked figures: a black man with a white penis and a longhaired white woman, who look as though they’ve just had sex. But neither the museum’s executive director, Kate Eilertsen, nor the guest curator, Diane Roby, are playing up the sex and the death, but rather Ferlinghetti’s dedication to his medium, whether oils, acrylics, or pen and ink sketches from his notebooks. “In Ferlinghetti’s art words give rise to image-making, and word and image meld in paint,” Roby says.

“Cross-Pollination” offers a breathtaking introduction to Ferlinghetti’s life and work as a poet and as a painter that began in Paris in the 1940s. A recording of Ferlinghetti performing his poetry brings his voice to life. On display are his books, including The Coney Island of The Mind, which has sold more than one million copies since it was first published in 1955. English majors will get the literary references to James Joyce and T.S. Eliot’s anti-hero, J. Alfred Prufrock. Art majors will recognize Pablo Picasso. But you don’t have to know Eliot’s poetry or Picasso’s art to appreciate the work of the last of the original Bay Area bohemians. “Cross-Pollination” pays homage to an artist who won’t give up and who hasn’t called it quits. Locals have taken to staking out the museum, hoping for a glimpse of a genius just reaching his prime at 93.

Cross-Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 551 Broadway, Sonoma, through September 23, 2012. Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $5; free for students grades K-12 and for all visitors, Wednesdays. and (707) 939-7862.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

A Re'collection' of Napa's History

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 1:55 PM


Ensuring that we are not going to forget it, the Memory Bank returns again with a subsequent project, Memory Bank II, which will also run as an exhibition that will be displayed from Saturday, August 11 through Sunday, September 23 at the Napa Valley Museum. This community preservation project is an annual intensive endeavor by Preservation Napa Valley, a grass roots non-profit organization that seeks to proudly celebrate and raise awareness for the cultural heritage of Napa County.

Six professional photographers, including Jess Knubis and Suzanne Becker Bronk, and one filmmaker collaborated to capture the people and places of Napa. The photographs are reminiscent of Dorthea Lange’s work (“Migrant Mother,” shot during the Great Depression, is the photograph that we know best from her), just as beautiful, powerful, and captivating. The four short documentaries transport its audience to incredible locations during interviews of those that lived and worked in a Napa very different from today’s, offering viewers an inside scoop of Napa’s rich history.

Additionally during the time of exhibition, behind the scene talks, gathering, and events compliment Memory Bank II, including panels of those that worked on the project, the Memory Bank “Old Timers” that had been interviewed, and of the photographers that contributed.

The board members of Preservation Napa Valley are currently raising money to fund turning Memory Book II as a book and DVD, which will be available for a limited time. “Memory Bank is not pursuing nostalgia but asking us to see, feel and understand how this Valley came to be, to the place it is get beneath the golden shimmer into a long and fascinating heritage,” states Wendy Ward, director of the organization in their funding campaign site. “If we understand the past, we are richer for it and may perhaps see today and the future clearer.”

Memory Book II aims to capture the “true Napa, one reflective of all peoples” and this year, is focusing on the diverse cultures (among them, Chinese Japanese, Mexican, and European) that have come to Napa and shaped its evolution across generations. And while the photographs are in black and white, the images they hold will not be fading for long.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Mom's First Tattoo

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Wes is concentrating on my moms tattoo.

She’s had the idea for a while now, but for whatever reason, didn’t want to really go through with it. This weekend my mom finally took the plunge and got her first tattoo.

When she saw my first tattoo, she shook her head either in disgust or disbelief. My second one, she feigned indifference. But the next time, something changed. I heard she told my sister, regarding tattoos and the stereotype she had associated them with, that I was “above the influence.” Mind you, this was when the commercials featuring the same tagline were running on television, but those were about staying away from drugs, not tattoos.

The final product, minutes after completion.

She’s had this drawing in her head of a tattoo for some years now, and for her birthday this weekend decided to get it inked. “Gentlehands” Wes at Monkey Wrench in Santa Rosa was her artist, and he did a good job with the art and working with her. He made helpful suggestions and explained why some of her ideas wouldn’t quite work out (in a very patient tone).

Overall, I think it looks good. It’s her children’s initials in their favorite colors surrounded by Mardi Gras beads. It might need a touch up, but that’s to be expected with color.

By piercing the flesh and leaving ink under the skin she has completed the generational link between her father and her son, both of whom have tattoos and only one of whom regretted it 40 years later. Happy birthday, Mom. Here’s hoping you will regret your tattoo at least 40 years from now, too.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Here's Tom Waits Talking for Six Awesome Minutes About John Baldessari

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 10:56 PM

If you don't know anything about the great conceptual artist John Baldessari, there may be no better short introduction than the six-minute video below, which is expertly edited and narrated by Tom Waits. But even if you're the world's biggest expert on Baldessari, you'll love this wild ride through Baldessari's life, interspersed with banal objects from his workspace—his pushpins, his desk, his dog, his wi-fi password. And you really can't beat the way Waits pronounces "Biennale."

Watch below:

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Handcar Regatta to Return as Kinetic Frenetic Opera

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM

The Hennepin Crawler, in 2008.
  • The Hennepin Crawler, in 2008.

Ty Jones walks around Railroad Square, relieved and excited.

Relieved because just last week, he and Handcar Regatta co-founder Spring Maxfield—with lawyers, both—officially dissolved the Handcar Regatta name. "It was like a divorce," Jones explains. "We had different ideas about the way things should work, and they way companies should work. I've got nothing bad to say about her."

Excited because this morning, he's announced Dr. Erasmus P. Kitty’s Kinetic Frenetic Opera of Mechanical Mayhem, a Regatta-esque festival planned for Summer 2012 "featuring music, film, performance, and kinetic railcar mayhem."

No exact location is set for the event, but that doesn't get in the way of Jones' many ideas for the new event, which he plans as a multi-day arts festival that perhaps "won't look like the Regatta."

"It'll still be a rail race," he says, adding that he's been talking to some of the old Regatta crew, gearing up for another run. "But one of the ideas with the Regatta is that it would expand to incorporate these ancillary events"—he mentions the Wiskeydrunk Cycles gang, the Feed Barn in Rincon Valley. "So how can it spin off into the community, and foster the arts?"

Jones cites the Sonoma Arts Council's recent move to Rohnert Park as a symbol of the splintered nature of the arts community in Santa Rosa, and recognizes that the Regatta represented a coming together of disparate organizations.

Just this week, Jones has been in talks with Chops Teen Center and the Sixth Street Playhouse, but he's not counting on being able to return to the Santa Rosa railroad tracks, where SMART has development planned. Last September, SMART informed Jones and Maxfield that the site wouldn't be available in 2012 due to construction for the long-awaited SMART train.

The Frenetic Kinetic Opera could be held along the tracks in Windsor or Healdsburg—anywhere north of Coddingtown, really—but if construction hasn't yet begun in Santa Rosa by summertime, Jones is hoping that SMART will see the value of hosting the festival again in Depot Park.

I can think of 15,000 others who've attended and loved the Handcar Regatta in Santa Rosa, and who'll be hoping the same thing.

Wherever it's held, Jones says, "it's just too much fun to let it go."

For more, cue up the Frenetic Kinetic Opera whirly-gig virtual bulletin of web-site bill-posting.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Remembering Rene

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 4:00 AM


By Cheryl Laube
What a tremendous loss of our dearly beloved Rene di Rosa recently, what a vanguard he was. I knew him for 30 years, and he will be sorely missed, and if you ever met him or knew him and his amazing ways, you already know that.

This photograph of Rene  was taken by local fine art photographer, Bruce Temuchin Brown. Rene loved Bruce's photographic work on copper and was the first to buy from him in early 2006 after I introduced the two at a gallery where Bruce's work was showing.

Enamored with Bruce's style and process, I asked Rene if he would pose for Bruce, to which he said "yes," as long as he didn't have to "completely disrobe." Bruce's work is figurative and has to do with the human condition in all of its glorious forms, thus Rene's query about being full-on nude when posing.  I was present the day the photos were taken at the Preserve, and Rene was a dream to work with, seemingly titillated to be a part of something he admired.  When he saw the finished traditional photographic treatment of his image on copper, he fell in love with it and wanted to buy it for his home at the Meadows, where it is still hanging there, no doubt.

I share this  because not only is it a stellar capture of one amazing art-loving human being, but also due to the sheer beauty in how Rene is depicted in art, as he was art, which is riddled with irony.  This same image, though a bit different in treatment on the copper, was also collected by the Crocker Art Museum for its permanent collection.  The Crocker Museum also loves the painterly quality that the piece have, and they, too, collected another of Bruce's images, which ironically is the same one that Rene purchased as a first sale for Bruce.  Great minds?

Rene supported a lot of Bay Area artists and contributed to their success due to his visions and forward thinking.  I loved going along with Rene when he went "shopping" or looking for art because of his keen eye and sense of folly, as he somehow knew to trust that there was a brilliance he was sure no one else might see. He did pride himself on being a first buyer of an emerging artist and for paying small amounts that would later pay off in what has proven to be bucket loads of success for many artists.

Knowing Rene as well as I did and for so long, and in the spirit of wishing to promote a local extremely talented emerging artist that Rene admired, it feels prudent to pass this along to share what I see as brilliance times two.California art collector Rene di Rosa died on Sunday, Oct. 3, at age 91. To learn more about his art of collecting, go to

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Ricky Watts' 'Growth Hormone Disaster'

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Local street artist Ricky Watts has entered this amazing drawing in Paul Frank's "Art Attack" contest—one of those online voting things where Paul Frank gets a zillion hits from Facebook posts and the winner gets cash for art supplies and exposure in magazines. Watts has consistently been one of our favorite local artists, and he could use both—won't you cruise on over and click on some monkey heads to help him out? (You don't have to register or give your email, it's one-stop.)

Or, just look at the thing! It's a giant crazy-looking rooster in front of McNears! Awesome!"This drawing was inspired by musician Arann Harris of The Green String Farm Band," writes Ricky. "He came up with the concept and I brought the idea to life. It is a futuristic interpretation of a growth hormone experiment gone bad on the downtown streets (of my hometown) of Petaluma, California, once known as the 'Chicken Capital of the World.'"

(While they last, 11x14 prints can be ordered here.)

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