Wrecked Crashes The Stories x The Step Showcase
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 2 Comments
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Stories x The Step showcase presented by &Them in the incredible Hotel Des Arts in the Montgomery area of San Francisco. The Hotel Des Arts isn’t a hotel that tries to show off how many different species of rare fish they can fit into a diamond plated tank in the front lobby, but instead prides itself with the paintings, photos, and artistic displays that fill nearly every inch of its walls; even the hotel rooms are covered in murals.
The event was put together by a newly formed art curating group who dub themselves The &Them Collective, composed of Bay Area natives Neal Hilo, Kevin Correa, Chevonne Rampas, and Francis Ramos. &Them takes groups of local artists and finds new and unique ways to promote their work, such as hosting events like this one, which featured artists Turtle Wayne, Stitchmind, Gun-Woo Pak, JToddO, After the Clock, and many more. Some artists even signed up to do live sketches over the course of the night.
Now, I’m a lot of things, but I’ve never considered myself an artsy guy. I’m a musician and a writer, but the idea of going to an art showcase had always intimidated me, and I never thought I’d truly enjoy it by any means. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The artists featured here were bold, contemporary, and down to earth. I didn’t see a single pretentious metal sculpture or “abstract” paint splatter on an otherwise empty canvas. My 2-year-old nephew can throw paint onto a canvas but that doesn’t mean he can charge a few hundred bucks for his “work”. THAT kind of art can eat my shorts.
&Them did a great job of selecting the artists to participate in this event; the art spoke to the Average-Joe kind of guy, with approachable concepts pulled off with extraordinary technique. Artists like Stitchmind from San Francisco had constructed surreal images behind panes of glass like the one below, featuring tiny little creatures highlighted by LED lights that really came together as my favorite collection of the show.
Other artists like Gun-Woo Pak and the fan-favorite Turtle Wayne took a simpler approach: to take a square-foot of canvas and fill up every inch with art. Legend has it every Turtle Wayne piece starts out as a simple drawing of his signature turtle, and all the surrounding images evolve naturally and evenly to create a visually mesmerizing collage by the time it’s done. Gun-Woo, on the other hand, uses a little more negative space in his work, highlighting the little details that make for charming and relatable imagery, like the sea creatures in the videos below.
Stories x The Step turned out to be an incredible night, and I’m really looking forward to &Them’s next event beginning May 19th at the same location. If you live in the Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to check this show out. It won’t cost you anything to see, but it just might pay you back tenfold in inspiration. Support local art and stay tuned to &Them’s official blog for more details (you can also follow them on Twitter). Check out our exclusive interviews with a couple of the artists featured at the showcase below.
Check out the full gallery of images from the Stories x The Step showcase here. Photos taken by Lauren Zapanta.