Artist Highlight: Eric Stevens

Eric, grew up in Alabama, lived in Chicago a bit, and found his way out to the Bay Area in 2004, through, “a series of experiments for the most part.” He attended Auburn College and studied industrial design which would later inspire him to pursue furniture work. Eventually, Eric worked for a furniture design firm but “got a little bit burned out.” He left the firm and decided to open his own shop so he could better understand what it meant to design things for other people. Eric found his design style through what was lacking when he looked at carpentry and wood working magazines. He felt inspired after reading about an artist who used mechanisms to carve wood. Although he didn’t implement the techniques immediately, it laid the foundation for experimentation with his creative medium 5 years later. He credits creative experimentation as the catalyst for making a return to furniture and create a cohesive body of work again. Eric reflected on making 100 pieces in 100 days, “So each piece was made in basically a day sometimes it would lapse over to finishing but my goal was to photograph each piece and publish it.” He commented that the biggest hurdle in accomplishing his goal was persistence and it took constantly “showing up,” for his art amidst all the things happening in life to pull him away from his art. He found immense focus through the experimental 100 pieces and worked with intention to, “try to do a better job each time.” He trashed approximately 40 of the pieces. He said there are times when he wants to trash everything he makes and commented that his work is subjective in the eyes of other people. He accepts that people either like or dislike his work while acknowledging that he has not pushed himself to sell his pieces. Since he has not moved many pieces, Eric is often surrounded by his art, which he compares to, “staring at yourself in the mirror.” Each piece Eric makes takes time. The cost of metal plates and studio space and the lumber all adds up and is factored into how he feels about his work. Eric’s shift from Oakland to the Eden area has been gradual; he has been in the area for a year and a half and is slowly meeting new people. The Oakland area is full or artists flowing from San Francisco, he commented on the way artists and creativity in Oakland feeds off of one another. Eric is slowly immersing himself in the community and making connections, most recently at the Castro Valley lumber yard, “this gem in the middle of nowhere, kind of hidden and that was fantastic, they have wood that’s been drying in the air for about 40 years and just giant pieces of redwood.” Eric identified that space is a commodity in the area and is much needed in order to get artists creating and gathering in a community setting. 

Eric's Website

Artist Highlight: Talin Wadsworth

Talin has been a print artist for 15 years now; he discovered his art while he was studying to be an architect. During a design class, he was tasked with making a CD cover, “and from then on all I wanted to do was make rock and roll posters . . . I just wanted to make cool stuff for bands in the community.” Afterwards, Talin became immersed in printing, silk screening, letterpress, “and I just got really into the craft and process of printing.” A few years ago, Talin found his new mode of printing when a friend turned him on to the risograph, “it’s this really kind of old school like printer that prints one color at a time . . .I just knew it was a thing that I had to have.” Talin found the technology to be so revolutionary to his design process that he convinced his boss to purchase a risograph. 

Talin enjoys the process of his work, “I just like following the process all the way through and having my hands on every part of that process.” Talin reflected on his varied past of dabbling in one form of printing or another, “and just like making a lot of zines on photocopies in the middle of the night and the risograph just seemed like the culmination of all these kinds of loves.” While much of Talin’s work has been for himself, one of his goals in bringing the risograph into his design studio “is to get other people involved.” He discussed the effect this form of printing has had on a younger generation of designers, “a lot of them had never seen their piece go from a sketch into a full design on the computer or even by hand and then seeing it printed and seeing it handed out  and seeing it up and around. We’re just so used to seeing our work on screens.” The addition of this tangible form of printing has helped build community among designers in Talin’s office, they spend time creating together in ways they hadn’t previously, “it has opened up a new way of thinking and working for them.” Talin commented on how digital technology has allowed for more exposure for designers and created more opportunities, “people still love books, people still love putting their hands on a print and love hanging it on their wall or having it on their desk and I think what we’re realizing is that’s never going to go away.” Talin moved to the Eden area in search of a home and a community. Talin hopes that there will be more street level engagement with art in the community within the Eden area. He commented on the dwindling store front spaces that can help people, “just kind of swerve into this new world and . . . jolt them from their day to day and just kind of happen on new experiences.” 

https://www.behance.net/talinwadsworth

On Sound Healing

On Sound Healing

"I had pulled myself up from the floor with tears streaming down my face and I knew I needed more. I had been given a lesson on the value of release. I don’t always grant myself the permission to let go. From the floor of a studio space in Oakland, I learned how to accept my memories, accept myself, let myself be loved and held from exactly where I was at."

Volare

Volare

"Truly, my friends, the experience of hearing music itself touches almost every synapse we have as human people. Diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer's affect certain parts of the brain, however because music is utilizing so many other areas in the brain, the mind has a stronger reaction, even if the memory center is being compromised. The mind is simply, incredible. Each lobe and nerve-synapse are collaborating on their tasks and building a symphony of memory, rhythm, pitch, and the like."

Highway 4

Highway 4

"Driving down a secluded road off Highway 4
Listening to Kerouac preach across airwaves that were birthed
Before I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye
Not Woody Guthrie, not Woody Allen
Steven Allen playing late-night, last-call, dim-lit piano
…in the foreground…"

The Water's Edge

The Water's Edge

The land behind is desolate. I have lived there many years, grabbing at objects of dust, collecting incessantly in my obsession. I have no nourishment. Though I fill my stomach with the rotten fruit of the barren land, I am empty....

The Flags on My Freezer Door

The Flags on My Freezer Door

"I was led to believe though I may have to accept those who are different than me, as an American, I need not deny my superior knowledge and worldview no matter where I fell on the political and philosophical spectrum. My social training was based on this formula: Money plus power equals success divided only by compassion and multiplied by self-interest {Money + Power = Success ÷ Compassion × Self-interest}. The pinnacle of life: own a home that houses two cars, a boat, 2.5 kids, a materially satisfied wife, cable TV, and a nice IRA. Conform, conform, confirmed."