Monthly Archives: April 2012

Five Questions: Carol Levin

SFMOMA Volunteer Carol Levin

If you could use any special or rare material in your work, what would it be?

I would like to have the opportunity to directly print art work on found materials like old refrigerator doors, dead trees, or discarded auto parts- anything that would end up in a landfill or be burned at the side of the road. Unfortunately I do not own a digital printer or a press that can handle those sorts of items.

Do you ask anyone to give you feedback on a work in progress? If so, why did you chose that person/people?

I always ask people to respond to my work as I get so involved in the process of creating work that I no longer see it with a fresh eye. I usually text camera phone images to my kids and mother (she just got an iphone at age 75) for feedback. Also, my husband who sees the actual work often gives the best critique as he can be ruthlessly honest. Unfortunately he is a bit color blind but he does have a great eye for perspective.

What is the longest amount of time you have ever spent creating one work? What is the least?

I have created a few watercolor/gouache/pastel/ink drawings in less than an hour and have been extremely happy with the results. As far as my longest work, I have been working for the past two years on collecting source material along with taking courses (and self-education) to improve my own technical skills so I can hopefully create a powerful piece tying in the natural beauty of the bay area with the impact of industrialization. I have completed several small works in this area, but I think that there is more to come…

Do you have a funny or unusual technique?

I am a hands-on learner; I am very motivated by process. I come up with new techniques, try them out and make all the mistakes that you can imagine, and then realize that there was a YouTube video I could have watched on the topic.

What do you do to get over blocks to creativity?

I don’t have blocks to creativity. I just lack the time to do everything that I think of. I have several projects going on at once. I keep a list of new ideas on the note pad of my phone.


Five Quesitons: Deante Young

Deante Young
Novartis Employee, SFMOMA Volunteer
Place of Residence:

What’s your favorite tool? Why?
My favorite tool is the actual canvas. It’s where I begin to imagine. I see the blank space, and I map where I want to begin, and I envision the colors and shapes, and my thoughts begin to pour out through my hands. By the end of the project, I look at the canvas as if its holding my picture, almost as if I can pour it off sometimes. The Canvas holds it all together.

How many breaks do you take when you’re working on a piece? What do you do on your breaks?
I take small breaks just to drink water or something. I really like to speed through my work, I don’t like to wait, and come back to it. I am always excited to see the finished project.

Have you ever accidentally ruined one of your works by dropping/spilling/ripping it?
I have not yet ruined a project, and if it feels like it is coming to that I just work with it. My work is mostly abstract, so I just work around the mistakes; it’s like a challenge within a challenge.

What is the most surprising or unusual aspect of your process?
Hope my mom doesn’t read this…but it’s a very sexual feeling when I work. When I am working on curves, and points, I am imagining a female’s body. Mostly with paintings, because of the free feeling of the brush strokes and the pressure applied to each stroke. Studying briefly at the Academy of Arts College, I was introduced to human life models, and instead of being immature about it, I embraced the art, and gained a new appreciation for the female anatomy.

Has working at SFMOMA influenced your work in any way?
Being a volunteer here for a few months now, and viewing the art work, has definitely opened my scope of ideas up. Now I am thinking of bigger projects, and series of pieces, rather than just one or two. I am currently working on a series where I will be drawing portraits of my favorite musicians, just to challenge myself.

Five Questions: Krys Simon

Educator at University of San Francisco, Cal State East Bay, John F. Kennedy University
Volunteer at SFMOMA

Place of residence:

If you could use any special or rare material in your work, what would it be? 
After seeing Marilyn Minter’s work in New York, I’ve had a huge interest in enamel on metal. The challenge of creating grisliness out of polished surfaces is extremely fascinating!

Do you ask anyone to give you feedback on a work in progress?  If so, why did you choose that person/people?
I always appreciate the eyes of other artists and their feedback on my work. I particularly will ask my good friend Mark, because of his extensive background in art history. Also, my sister Kim, who has witnessed the progression of my craft and who understands my artist’s spirit.

Krys Simon, Birthday Blow

What is the longest amount of time you have ever spent creating one work? What is the least?
As an educator, my art sessions have been spaced out these days. The last piece I worked on for my collective group took me about 6 months to finish. The shortest amount of time was a flip book I did, which took about 5 minutes. Flip books need to make a comeback.

Do you have a funny or unusual technique?
I like to listen to music with my headphones on while I’m working. I have a tendency to sing out loud between breaks without realizing it. People around find it really annoying or extremely hilarious.

What do you do to get over blocks to creativity?
I like to engage in some serious business — take a trip, fly a kite, go to shows, make noise, race down the street, or blow bubbles. Light-heartedness reminds me that there is more to life than the problems at hand.

Five Questions: Kim Turner

Name: Kim Turner

SFMOMA volunteer

Place of Residence:
San Francisco

If you could use any special or rare material in your work, what would it be?
I’d love to get my hands on an early edition of an illustrated Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It seems sacrilegious to cut up an ancient book like that, but those images would be just too gorgeous to resist.

Do you ask anyone to give you feedback on a work in progress? If so, why did you chose that person/people?
My fiancé is great for feedback. He has a great eye and can really pinpoint what is needed to get an idea across. I swear he can look at any piece of art in a museum and tell a whole story of what it’s about and be right…he’s a double major creative writing & anthropology.

What is the longest amount of time you have ever spent creating one work?
The longest time I’ve spent on one work is ten-years. It’s an oil painting 6’x6′ and it’s still not done! The shortest has to be five minutes, a really small simple collage that came together with just a few cutouts and brush strokes. Less is more was definitely the case for that one.

Do you have a funny or unusual technique?
The fine art world would scoff, but I use everything I can get my hands as my medium…craft paint, expensive acrylics, Modge Podge, pre-made and handmade canvas, scrap wood, house paint, varnish, everything. If it does the job, I’ll use it!

What do you do to get over blocks to creativity?
Thumbing through my collection of vintage women’s magazines from the 60’s and 70’s always helps me get over any creative blocks. The ads are hilarious, mostly centered on support hose, girdles, and whether “to spank or not to spank.” It’s great inspiration.

Studio Visit: Chris Oropeza

Photo: Ken Taylor

Information Desk Assistant
Co-director and co-founder of Incline Gallery

Place of Residence:
Noe Valley

Photo: Ken Taylor

How has working at SFMOMA influenced you?
With the gallery, I’ve been able to collaborate with SFMOMA people who work as artists as much as they work at SFMOMA if not more. I’ve never had this connection with coworkers before. It’s like, “you’re probably doing something on the side and you’re probably good at it because you can hustle.” The art world is a hustle- shined up as it is. You can’t sell something unless you know somebody.

Have you ever accidentally ruined a work?
I had a cat named Littles. It was around when I first was going from working with small watercolor to bigger poster-sized works. I wasn’t happy with the composition of the works and I was bringing people in to look at them. So, then my brother called me. And he said, “I’ve got some bad news.” The cat jumped up on the table and he took a crap on your painting. Littles is my most honest critic.

Also, I was at a dinner last night and I was talking to an artist who will be showing at Incline named David Linger. He teaches at Cal. One of his requirements for his students is to take a major work from the semester and throw it off the roof. I thought that was liberating.

Photo: Ken Taylor

What is the longest amount of time you have ever spent creating one work?
The Mission Pie mural took me two and a half months. Mid-June to August. I did it with Max Allbee and Brian Cohen- an Incline Co-Owner. We had to sit here and hash out ideas. From there we created these images. This was collaboration. One person did the pie of land, one person did the hands. Then we had to edit and review.

What took the least time?
I love doing quick sketches of people in the atrium [of the museum]. There’s always fifteen seconds when people are waiting for someone who is in the bathroom or looking at someone, or leaning with their hand on their hip.

Photo: Ken Taylor

Do you have a favorite tool?
My left eye. I can’t see detail because I have astigmatism. I look at the shape and the composition of the work and the light. I look at the intensity and the hue.

What do you listen to when you’re working and no one else is around?
I listen to the SF Symphony on Pandora. Barn Owl. I listen to a lot of ranchera music.

Photo: Ken taylor

Interview: Leyna Lightman
Photography: Ken Taylor