Living (in) Color: LOCZIdesign Interviews 6 Artist for SF Design Week Showcase

Meet six award-winning creatives designing art that lives, breathes, and moves as colorfully as we do. Their upcoming show Living (in) Color: Within Boundaries of Space takes place at LOCZIdesign studios on June 3rd in conjunction with San Francisco Design Week. In anticipation for the show, we took a moment to converse with the artists and thinkers holistically using technology to create, participate and spearhead today's Bay Area art scene. 


                                                                                       'Jeddah Stadium Design Concept', Charles Aweida

Describing his work as "An architectural remix of the natural world driven by algorithms and machines," Charles Aweida is a New Media Artist, Roboticist and Product Designer. He is most interested in the intersection of science and art, manipulating the physical through digital and creating technology for people. 

Q. What does your studio look like — smell like, etc? 

My studio looks like a place where humans and robots can share a space and be happy. 

Q. What was the first thing you listened to this morning?

My friend Anthony's Spotify playlist titled "dinner", you should check it out it's great.

Q. Do your artistic visions come in the morning, at night, or at random moments when you're too busy to attend to their creation?

All of the above - each scenario lends itself to a different state of mind that contributes to the work in different ways. I find myself most effective tackling engineering/coding problems early with a fresh mind, whereas the creative energy sort-of always comes and goes and is reactive to experiences and environments of various times. The important thing is to find a way to capture the visions when they surface.

Q. Tell me about your process. 

I feed off energy and vibes. For me that most often stems from a mix of space, people, natural light, music and of course robots.

Q. If not art, what else would you love to do?

Fashion. I have thought many times about mounting a sewing machine to my robot — it's in the cards.

Q There's so much talk about gentrification — tell us some positive news about the Bay Area.

Simply put — the minds that reside here. The artist, maker, hacker culture paralleled with an open-mindedness second to none provides endless stimulation and opportunity to learn.

PHILIP REYNERI

                                            'CNC Milled Relief', Philip Reyneri  + 'Box' Projection-Mapping Installation Video

 

"Previously, I’ve built projection mapping systems for big budget, high production shows." Phil Reyneri's "Current work is focused on distilling some of this down into a more accessible form factor. My goal is to create tools for other artists to explore the medium — which is still relatively new to the fine art world and give collectors a more turnkey method for displaying these types of works." 

Q. What was the first thing you listened to this morning?

My fiancee's phone alarm. 
 
Q. Do your artistic visions come in the morning, at night, or at random moments when you're too busy to attend to their creation?

I often have ideas just as I'm about to fall asleep... Perfect for forgetting them.  
 
Q. Tell me about your process. What elements do you need to begin? 

Coffee!
 
Q. If not art, what else would you love to do?

Industrial design or architecture.

Q. Tell us some positive news — something you still love about the Bay Area.

The art scene is growing! It seems like a particularly renewed interest in digital, new media, and light art.

GABRIEL DUNNE

                                                                                                                       'Hyper Terra', Gabriel Dunne 

Gabriel Dunne uses his "Work to showcase and explain radical, strange, and unique ways where technology and art is used holistically. I don't see them as two separate things. My favorite is when the computer glitches and is pushed in ways and places not commonly used. It illustrates that technology is made by humans and is not perfect. We always have control over technology; how we use it and whether we want to us it. I'm inspired by natural systems, sensory patterns, structures and rhythms of the perceivable and imperceivable universe. Lately I've been exploring the balance between digital and analog fabrication processes, resulting in objects and installations that can appear to exist in both a virtual and physical space."

Q. What was the first thing you listened to this morning? 

I wake up to train sounds. I live on the same block as a train station. I hear whistles, bells, and rolling metal wheels along the tracks. I love the sounds! They are so musical.

Q. Do your artistic visions come in the morning, at night, or at random moments when you're too busy to attend to their creation? 

I go deep into researching topics or threads of an idea, or making connections between ideas while reading, or going on endless wikipedia wormholes. I also get inspired by moments when out in the world and in nature, especially during transitional states as I'm traveling between two places. I catalogue ideas and concepts in my sketchbook. I notice motion, form, images, sounds, and reactions. When I'm out, I don't like to wear headphones or be isolated in my own head. I really appreciate being aware of my surroundings and what's happening around me.

Q. Tell me about your process. 

Full, uninterrupted days of studio time are like gold. If the day is scattered with meetings or appointments, it's hard to drop into the zone. Some handmade ink pieces I'm working on for this show require long uninterrupted periods, or else I can notice the change in the marks I'm making where I picked up and left off. 

Q. If not art, what else would you love to do? 

Making music!

Q. We hear so much negativity about how San Francisco is changing — enlighten me with something positive about the Bay Area. 

I miss the Bay Area, too, and I'm from here! The culture has been shifting very quickly into something new. The ability for such a fast shift is also what contributes to it being such a unique place. It's frustrating to hear how the local community is affected by the rapid change and high rent and culture shift that comes with it. But, on some level to know that a place can transform so fast gives me some confidence we'll see a balance at some point. It feels like a "gold rush" that this area is historically known for, for better or for worse. But some great things that will never change: The amazing people, great food, the Pacific, the fog, and that deep, embedded heat-beat of a counter culture that embraces creativity and flux.

DANIEL + DAVID FRANK

                                          'Sky being', David Frank

                                   'Thunder seed', Daniel Frank

The Franks Brothers have been "doing creative things together all of our lives. It has been a pretty organic experience..." Daniel: "What David said, it was a pretty natural progression. We have been the Frank brothers in most contexts forever. As we have grown apart geographically (David presently lives in New York City and I live in Golden, Colorado), we started to recognize the value of working together and putting everything under one banner. I think the rise of social media and generally the concept of having an online presence also had some influence on our choice to “brand” ourselves as the Frank Brothers artistically. Honestly, there isn’t much of a line between who we are artistically and who we are in other contexts. Being the Frank brothers seems a convenient default and it creates more opportunity for us to play together creatively."

Q. What was the weirdest/ most enjoyable piece you've worked on and why?

David: The most enjoyable was Sala Diaz in San Antonio Texas, it is an art house/exposition space... 

Daniel: Totally! 

David: We've had a couple residencies there and it was the first place where we got to do large scale work together. I think it was the beginning of a new way of working for us. When we work on large pieces for lengths of time we become nocturnal, painting through the night, sleeping into the day, jumping off the wheel of time…

Daniel: We took a lot of our cues from the birds and the sunrise during those installations. Being fully immersed in creative work for days on end with minimal sleep, (we worked for 10 days straight on our last Sala Diaz show) reality starts to feel more akin to dreaming. This kind of mind state works well with our general aesthetic. The laws of time become different and the creative flow opens up in new ways. The line between creator and what is being created gets blurry, the process becomes more like a dance in wide open flow space and the work feels naturally more heart centered and magical. The Sala Diaz residencies were great fun and I think we both learned a lot in the process about how we like to work together. 

Q. How would you best describe your work to someone you don't know?

Daniel: Visual Medicine.

David: We work with the Idea that color and vibration can be healing things or activate chemicals in your brain that lift your spirits. So the work is alive with color and geometry, bordering on Psychedelic — like galactic folk art. 

Q. Do your artistic visions come in the morning, at night, or at random moments when you're too busy to attend to their creation?

Daniel: For me, there is little method to the madness and no shortage of jumping off points for making new work.  

David: Visions come in many ways, sometimes through the use of substances, sometimes in dreams or waking visions. The vision is the seed but once the paint starts moving the painting becomes the guide and the work grows from there as a kind of conversation with the painting itself... a painting will often tell you what it wants to be if you're open to the conversation.

Daniel: I think the idea of the painting as guide is a powerful one for me as well. Many of my paintings are explorations that begin with inquiry into mystery. As I work the painting will reveal itself and the subject matter will solidify, sometimes in literal form and other times through symbolic resonance. 

Q.Tell me about your process.

David: Starting is the easiest part, a brush, a color and a space to paint is enough to get the party started.

Daniel: I like to set a clear intention when I start a new piece. I find it helpful to clear the energetic space with sage or sweet grass. Tea and music are also close allies for me sometimes I work with plant medicines as well. 

Q. If not art, what else would you love to do?

David: Have a dog sanctuary — something that involves being around animals and giving them love.

Daniel: I would spend time learning about plants and their medicinal properties. I would find a way to work with children, inspiring creative play and exploration/expression. I would practice playing the banjo more and I would volunteer at David’s dog sanctuary. 

Q. Tell me some something you still love about the Bay Area that will make me jealous.

David: I flew in from Manhattan and only had 3 days there (for the LOCZIdesign group installation) so didn't get to see much. I lived in SF from 1997-2001 and although it seems a lot has changed there is still an aliveness to the air. People still look you in the eyes and smile which is not always the case in NYC. San Francisco still has it's special magic and amazing burritos. 

Daniel: Oh man, The ocean air, the big sky, lush plants and flowers, the wild style undercurrent. I miss it.

LESLIE BENSON

                                                                                                                         'Empty Nest', Leslie Benson

Leslie Benson's work is, "An anamorphic and dynamic paper sculpture. I utilize the structural elements of a sheet of paper to create three-dimensional objects that have an organic and life-like quality to them. The presence of archetypal visual elements like weaving, spirals and sacred geometry create a familiarity in experiencing them, yet the innovative use of material invokes a sense of curiosity and intrigue. The conceptual exploration of the work is around spiritual awakening, exploring the relationship between the material and unseen realms. I also like for people to know that the most fundamental underpinning in creating the work is my own belief and experience of Unity Consciousness, Synchronicity and the Interconnectedness of all things."

Q. What was the first thing you listened to this morning? 

I suppose it was the sound of the chickadees and a dove outside my window. My boyfriend is a leader in the nature connection movement where they teach a phenomenon known as Bird Language. The basic premise is that you can begin to understand what’s happening in any given landscape by listening to bird calls. It’s a beautiful practice, and brings richness to my experience of natural environments — the birds are everywhere — even in the densest of urban sprawl. They’re always communicating with each other.

Q. Do your artistic visions come in the morning, at night, or at random moments when you're too busy to attend to their creation? 

I am definitely a creature of the night. 10pm to 5am are my golden hours! When I first began this body of work, I was crazy prolific, spending countless hours slicing and weaving paper. During this time I became almost completely nocturnal. I saw a lot of sunrises that year! I find such peace and spaciousness in the wee hours; though to maintain my sanity I now try to keep to a 3am curfew. 

Q. Tell me about your process. 

I think the most foundational aspects that prime my process are solitude, spaciousness and a familiarity of space (I’m not so good at working in a place that my flow is not already established in!)  I used to rely heavily on substances to get me in the flow. But my party-girl days are mostly behind me. Now I’m refining the energetic component of my work to be a clean and clear transmission of the sacred creative forces that wish to emerge and take form. Instead of altering my state with substances to get tapped in, I am applying specific energetic practices and tools the help me get centered, resourced and aligned. 

Q. If not art, what else would you love to do? 

My other love affairs are with Syntara System energy healing, astrology, and performance (specifically film acting and clowning)  A hybrid of all is coming soon, though it has yet to fully reveal itself.

Q. We hear so much negativity about how San Francisco is changing — enlighten me with something positive about the Bay Area. 

The thing I love most about this area is the number of amazing souls who are deeply devoted and engaged in their healing paths, spiritual development, and life’s purpose. I am in awe of how many people I meet who are just such amazing open-hearted beings, and so dedicated to fostering more love and goodness in the world. 

DUSER

                                     'We Come In Peace', Duser

                                   'Inner Galactic Blues', Duser

Duser's work is "Heavily influenced by street art, graffiti, illustration and graphic design. Typically conceptual and figurative, often focusing on social or political topics." Visual Art has been a long standing passion for Duser. While active in the graffiti world he attended Whittier College on an art scholarship, followed by a MA program at NYU and a Post Baccalaureate program at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Q. What was the first thing you listened to this morning?

My alarm going off.

Q. Do your artistic visions come in the morning, at night, or at random moments when you're too busy to attend to their creation?

Could happen at any time really. I've learned that it's best to write them down or record a voice memo. Otherwise, the possibility of the idea vanishing into the ether is real.

Q. Tell me about your process. What elements do you need? 

Generally I just need an idea and the materials necessary. There are certainly times when it's difficult to get motivated. In situations like that, a deadline is super helpful. 

Q. If not art, what else would you love to do?

I'm super happy doing anything creative. I wouldn't enjoy life without those things.

Q. Tell us some positive news about the Bay

After living in the same flat for 20 years, the building was sold and the new owners let all 3 units stay without hassle. Though evictions run rampant, there still are some good folks here!


Living (in) Color is an event is about dreamers, Magic Makers, Risk-Takers, purveyors of beauty — come one come all to the Spectacle of LIFE. Join us for an unforgettable evening of art, music, entertainment and YOU. Part of the proceeds of your $15 donation will go to, Project Color Corp. To learn more about designedCOLLECTIVE and its events, click here.