Artscene: Muralists enliven walls of new Menlo Park gallery

Oakland artist Bud Snow works on her installation "Many Places" at Art Ventures gallery on Jan. 11, 2017. She says her work has been influenced by skateboard graphics and zines (small-circulation, self-published magazines or online publications). (Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.)

Brightly colored paintings spilled off of large canvases and onto the walls of a soon-to-open Art Ventures Gallery in downtown Menlo Park that was transformed into a painting studio for three days last week.

Gordon Studer, the gallery's artist liaison, said he and gallery owner Katharina Powers decided to invite 10 Bay Area street artists to the future gallery at 888 Santa Cruz Ave. and "let them go crazy."

The canvases the artists painted will be used in a future exhibition, but the walls will be painted over soon to prepare for the gallery's official opening on Feb. 1, which will show the paintings of Paton Miller. The artists were asked to develop a work that was related to the theme "provoke," and each responded in a different way.

Street artist Chor Boogie, who now lives in San Rafael, says the importance of his work lies in the eye of the beholder. He relies on color in particular to spark the emotions and imaginations of the viewers of his works. Different colors, he says, have different "healing attributes." He likes bright colors because they are an exciting contrast to the bland ones on some buildings, hospitals and jails, which he says keep people calm, docile and bland.

Bud Snow, who is originally from Vancouver but now lives in Oakland, took a personal approach, aiming to capture what felt important to her in the moment, whether political or familial or supernatural, she says. One image she uses she calls "idiot boy," which is a figure walking forward but looking back – a commentary on the cultural obsession with nostalgia, she says.

Nina Wright, who also goes by Girl Mobb, has worked on murals and exhibitions with Bud Snow. Her work showed a figure evocative of Botticelli's Venus, sitting atop an overturned police car on fire. She says that while she chose to repeat the motif because it had proven provocative elsewhere, it's not intended to be anti-police but is more a symbol of power, she says.

Lynnea Holland-Weiss, also an Oakland artist, painted a scene of several people postured as if they were looking down at their phones, but without the phones. What was left was the hunched, bizarre body language of people looking down with their hands clustered near their faces.

Oakland artist Lynnea Holland-Weiss, right, works on her installation along with fellow artists at Art Ventures gallery on Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Michelle Le

A closeup of Oakland artist Lynnea Holland-Weiss' installation at Art Ventures gallery on Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Michelle Le

Oakland artist Nina Wright a.k.a. Girl Mobb works on her piece "Love is the Law with Venus" at Art Ventures gallery on Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Michelle Le

San Rafael artist Chor Boogie works on his piece at Art Ventures gallery on Jan. 11, 2017. Photo by Michelle Le

Artists painted canvases and walls Jan. 11 at the new Art Ventures Gallery in Menlo Park, which is due to open Feb. 1.  Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.)

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