This past weekend the Phoenix Hotel San Francisco hosted their annual ArtPadSF event , bringing a full weekend of art and entertainment. ArtPadSF is a boutique fair that features up and coming, contemporary artists in the Bay Area and elsewhere. Throughout the four-day event there were live performances, video screenings, panel discussions, and much more. The Phoenix cleared out their hotel rooms, giving each gallery their own space to create an atmosphere that is unique to their own taste.
Thursday, the first day of the event, began with an opening night, VIP pre-party giving gallery owners and artists a chance to walk around admire other works along with those that were invited to the event. This was followed by a video preview of Open-Air Video, curated by Wholphin, which was projected onto the tall, white-walled building next door.
The next morning, the day kicked off with two panel discussions, which were led by industry professional Meg Shiffler, director of the San Francisco arts commission galleries followed up by a discussion presented by Artillery Magazine. At these panels people discussed the challenges and benefits of being an up and coming artist in the city, as well as how they specifically work with art in the community. As the sun began to set, a new crowd arrived to begin the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) benefit party. BRAF is an organization that promotes artists to work outside of galleries and incorporating their artistic passions into the community. Focusing on individual creativity and presentation as well as group projects, BRAF has been successful in inspiring artists in the city to create something beautiful that can be admired by those all over the city. Because art is to be enjoyed by all, not just to be purchased from a gallery or sit on the wall of a museum.
Saturday turned out to be the longest, art-filled day of the weekend. Beginning with panel discussions and quickly leading into a choreographed, synchronized swim routine in the pool that was located in the middle of the event. The Junior Olympic team, Tsunami Synchro, coached by Suzanne Baker performed an artistic compilation of swimming, diving, dancing and spinning to their own soundtrack. Later that night artist Aoi Yamaguchi and composer Sebastian Plano presented their contemporary video composition “Unbirth”, featuring Aoi’s Japanese calligraphy, the music of Sebastian, with some interpretive dance. This collaboration was flawless as the calligraphy and contemporary dance came together with images and music in the most poetic manner.
On Sunday the event seemed to be a bit more laid back as the sun came out and a younger crowd flocked to the pool for mimosas and swimming with a side of music. The pool party which was located in the middle of all of the hotel room galleries, presented the band Future Twin, followed by the ExRays. As the weekend came to an end and the artists began to pack up their galleries the public was able to get one last look at the artwork, as well as the bathrooms that were designed to accompany each room. Because each showing was held in a different hotel room, galleries were left with empty bathrooms. Some of the artists decided to go a bit overboard in the decorating process; one of which was designed to look like a crime scene filled with blood, spray paint, and a mock chalk outline.
Over the weekend there were so many amazing galleries and eclectic versions of contemporary art, but there were still a few that specifically stood out. The Lyon Wier Gallery, being the first gallery I walked into stood out with a very eccentric style. This New York based gallery promoting artist David Lyle, who does black and white work in acrylic, combining crude or unacceptable images next to sweet childhood memories. The Lyon Wier Gallery was also showing Stephanie Hirsch work which is done solely in rhinestones and embroidery on canvas and Fahamu Pecou who uses acrylic and oil stick on canvas. Each gallery usually provided a wide range of artists styles and mediums.
While walking around I was able to speak with gallery owners and see the work of Nick Flatt in the Project One Gallery. His larger than life paintings are extremely realistic, so much that one would assume it was a photograph. Nick chooses to paint vulgar and aggressive images of beautiful, young women making sexual innuendoes or ones that are challenging desire. In the Johansson Projects Gallery, Anna Fidler’s work immediately grabbed my attention. Her precision and detail in mixed mediums using pastels, colored pencil, and acrylic, Anna illustrates images usually of abstract and geometric basketball scenes or portraits. Scott Scheidly also had a very interesting take on contemporary art with a twist by painting portraits of Kim Jong il, Stalin, Hitler and the Pope and framing them in custom Barbie-Pink frames, labeled the Pink Collection.
Other galleries to look out for that caught my eye included; The Popular Workshop, Modernbook Gallery, and the Luggage Store Gallery which had a pair of jeans by Holy Stitch that included illustrations on the inside, as well as creative designs on the outside. Overall the event was a complete success, and I believe I can speak for everyone when I say I cannot wait for next year.
About Chloe Norred
Fashion journalist and blogger, Chloe Norred, is a Southern California native who is now living in San Francisco to explore the creativity of the cities art and fashion. Currently attending the Academy of Art University, Chloe is pursuing a degree in fashion and journalism, where she is able to mix her fascination for art and design with her love for writing. Chloe also has a personal blog on the side, Neurotic Delirium, where she is able to share her inspirations and write about all that is going on in the fashion world.