Art Town: Family

There is a very good chance you’ll recognize today’s Art Town sculpture. Even if you don’t bank with Chase (or Washington Mutual, as it used to be known), you’ll surely have wandered past “Family” on the corner of Newell and S. Main before.

family_32115204190_o

This is a bronze sculpture (it has changed colors over the years because of basic exposure to the elements) created by Richard Ellis and placed on that corner in 1982. It was one of the first public pieces of art in Walnut Creek!

Ellis made the 9-foot tall sculpture to represent a timeless scene of “a fleeting moment in time.” Very cool! Fun fact about Ellis, who studied Sculpture in Los Angeles: he crafted the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award that was presented to Oprah Winfrey in 2002.

Cut Up/Cut Out at Bedford Gallery is can’t-miss art

The Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center usually hosts some awesome exhibits. I’ve been to quite a few over the years, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something as mesmerizing as Cut Up/Cut Out, which is on display now through March 5.

IMG_9710

The exhibit features 56 contemporary artists from around the world whose artwork is made from cutting and piercing paper and other materials. The detail in some of the pieces is truly astonishing, as is the creativity in cutting and pasting certain parts of texts together to make something entirely different.

You can see a slideshow of some photos below, but it really won’t do the artwork justice. It’s one of those displays that must be seen to be believed. I’d highly recommend going to check it out when you have an hour free in the next month or so! Pro tip: If you go on the first Tuesday of February or March, you can get in free (but donations are always encouraged).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Art Town: City Hall

I saw this untitled sculpture from 1962 in Walnut Creek City Hall recently and thought it was beautiful! Check it out:

IMG_9742

IMG_9743

It was created by Stephen De Staebler, a nationally recognized sculptor from the Bay Area, whose work is based on the expressive potential of the human figure. Clearly, that theme is present in this piece. De Staebler learned to exploit the inherent tendencies of clay as a student under Peter Voulkos in the early 60’s.

IMG_9745

De Staebler worked in clay, but also is well-known for his work with bronze. His quote on the public art plaque is very interesting: “We are all wounded survivors, alive, but devastated selves, fragmented, isolated – the condition of modern man. Art tries to restructure reality so that we can live with the suffering.”

IMG_9744

Even though this structure is indoors and not likely to be seen by as many people in Walnut Creek, try to remember to stop and check it out next time you’re near City Hall!

Art Town: The Reader

I love this utility box art on Locust St. and Cypress St. by Ruth Kolman Brophy. She is an Austrian artist living in the Bay Area. As you can clearly see by this beautiful mural, she is very influenced by working with bold colors. What a great piece!

the-reader-utility-box

 

Art Town: Laws of Nature

One of my favorite utility box art projects is on the corner of Cypress and N. Main St. in downtown Walnut Creek near Bonanza; it’s called “Laws of Nature,” and was done by Netsanet Tesfay.

img_4794

Information on the artist and the piece are scarce, but I love the childish, cartoonish lion overlapping with a passage from C.S. Lewis’ collection of signature spiritual classics.

img_4795

Art Town: Tree Art!

You may not always notice some of the public art in Walnut Creek, especially when it blends in with your surroundings, or is tucked away on a less heavily-walked part of downtown. The latter was true for me, until I stumbled upon a really cool tree across from the creek next to Maria Maria.

Check out the creativity that went into creating this little scene, and allowing a nice place to sit down. I couldn’t find any title or artist information, but this piece is awesome! I especially love the quotes on the bench!

img_9577 img_9576 img_9575 img_9574 img_9573

Art Town: I’m Your Puppet

Walnut Creek has been doing a really cool utility box painting project for a few years, and they’ve recently changed some of their art for 2017. You can see more information on the program and recent additions here, but we’ll be including some in Art Town moving forward.

This one is called “I’m Your Puppet” by Jennifer Bain and covers the utility box on the corner of Newell and Main. Check it out!
img_4766

img_4764

Art Town: Wings

fullsizerender-6The other day, I was grabbing lunch at Vitality Bowl in downtown Walnut Creek when I thought I need to look for another piece of art for my blog.  I looked up and noticed – for the first time ever – a cool sculpture across the street by the Lesher Center.

It’s funny how that happens! I’ve lived here for years, and probably walked that sidewalk a hundred times, and only now noticed it!  Art is all over Walnut Creek, you just have to look and notice.

The sculpture is called “Wings” and was built in 1986 by Walnut Creek resident Dan Dykes. He grew up on a small Oregon farm on the outskirts of the Siletz Indian Reservation, where his early exposure to natural forms in that rugged environment continues to influence his abstract work.
fullsizerender-5

 

To me, the sculpture looks like an angel from certain angles, with its wings spread out behind it. Dykes intended for there to be hints of simple birds, plants and trees in the sculpture, and for the durable bronze material to change with weather over the years, as well as with light patterns to reveal tiny, purposeful markings.

 

 


fullsizerender-7

Art Town: Geologica

If you’re strolling down North Main in Walnut Creek, you might wander right past a really cool piece of art. Surely, you recognize Geologica, the glittering half-rock fountain piece in front of Wells Fargo. But have you taken the time to actually look at it?

img_9053

The piece, created by husband and wife artist team Wowhaus, was created in 2012 using ceramic and glass tiles. They designed it to change with the light, weather and seasons so that every time you walk by it, the look is slightly altered. You’re never supposed to see the same thing twice!

The mosaic patterns flicker and change in the water. Wowhaus likes to play with narrative to help understand the communities we live in, and puts that into their work as well. Other pieces they’ve done reside in places like Emeryville, Oakland and San Francisco. They have another piece coming to Walnut Creek soon!

Give it an extra look next time you’re downtown and maybe you’ll notice that it’s different from every angle.

 

Art Town: Lost in the Mail

img_9051A fixture of the downtown Walnut Creek art scene since 1985, Jacques Overhoff’s “Lost in the Mail” sits on the corner of Civic and Main, across the way from the police station.

If you’ve ever grabbed a coffee at La Scala or strolled from Stadium Pub to Dan’s on a weekend night, you’ve passed this ceramic sculpture.

Overhoff, a Dutch artist, named this piece after the plans to assemble it literally got lost in the mail.

The design is supposed to be texture-focused and allow for softening and hardening of the features depending on the angle of the sun.

According to the Walnut Creek Arts Commissioner, some people believe the sculpture looks like a pizza with two slices taken out of it. I personally see some sort of decaying sun dial, but to each his or her own!