West Coast Craft Fair Artist Commissions Project

by Admin on 12/02/2014

Makers, artists, artisans, and buyers are eagerly awaiting West Coast Craft (WCC), San Francisco’s unique contemporary fine arts and crafts fair at Herbst Pavilion December 6 and 7. Co-founders Nick Sarno, Sergio Traverso, and Paulina Nassar, who also run Press: Works on Paper in San Francisco, have mixed things up a bit this year: in addition to the over 150 vendors invited to exhibit and sell this weekend, and a new WCC Scholarship program, Sarno, Traverso, and Nassar have commissioned five West Coast artists to create a unique installation or artwork to be on exhibit for the run of the fair. “One of the reasons why we began WCC was to give a certain kind of maker a place to exhibit their works, those makers that have both a fine art practice as well as a craft practice, or those that blur the two together.” Says Sarno. “While we did have installations from artists last year, we are able to shine a bigger spotlight on them this time around.”

With this special component added to WCC, Sarno and Nassar are further expounding upon the founding ethos of the festival itself. “We’re building on that idea that we began in our first show: that art and craft are not mutually opposed, and we think that is best exemplified in these larger-scale installations,” says Sarno. “The way the art will play with the space, the works of the vendors and all of the attendees, will create a singular, wonderful experience.” For a fair that is still in its nascence (this is its second year), projects like these that are continually added and expanded upon will lay a solid foundation upon which to build further success. The artists chosen for the debut of the project come from all along the coast, and whose artistic practice encourage meaningful engagement with the community in a pleasurable way. Says Sarno: “We wanted artists who could create something big and bright and fun, which is exactly the same thing we try to do when planning West Coast Craft.” Sarno would like that the artworks, like the fair, to focus on contemporary interests and issues: “Most importantly, they are artists who we see exemplifying what’s happening in the West Coast right now, in art, but also in lifestyle.”

A Los Angeles-based artist and musician originally from Springfield, Oregon, Luckey Remington’s installation at West Coast Craft entitled, Ladders focuses upon fundamental elements of clarity and order through his minimalist artwork’s multiple properties including color, form, and structure. “I am heavily drawn to the allure of color and the diverse chromatic harmonies that are created when assembling these compositions,” Remington says. “These pieces allow me to assess the work from a life-sized vantage point, thus creating a physical experience in the process.” Indeed, sized to a comparable human scale, including occupying similar square footage, will invite an individual experience with the work, and encourage visitors to consider with what Remington calls, “the spatial perimeters of a visual system.”

luckey_remington_6-14_174 copy Artist Luckey Remington in Studio. Image courtesy of the artist

Aaron Rodriguez, 2014. Image courtesy the artist

“In a town that is losing its appreciation for art quicker than the Google buses can pick up their soulless riders, it was a pleasure to be asked to get involved with West Coast Craft fair,” says local artist, Aaron Rodriguez. Aware of the “kitschy” connotations at times made to arts & craft fairs, Rodriguez aims to make a stark contrast with his commissioned installation, Legz. “I wanted to make something quite large considering how huge Herbst Pavilion is and something that would catch the eye, hence the bright primary colors,” he says. “I have been fantasizing about this piece for a while waiting for the right moment to create it.” The work in progress is comprised of a red, yellow, and blue-colored tableau, colors incidentally associated with afore mentioned company, with 9 compartments. Each compartment, according to sketches, will house representations of legs, clothed in same colors.  By installing this atypical artwork, Rodriguez initiates a greater dialogue about the status quo of art fairs, both WCC and its contemporaries, and of greater San Francisco culture.
Little Paper Planes invited San Francisco artist Sarah Hotchkiss to create an art installation at West Coast Craft. Same But Different will hang from the rafters of the Herbst Pavilion.  “[The five double-sided signs’] graphic images are optical illusions that contain two equal or identical things that appear different,” explains Hotchkiss. “The signs are imaginary markers, similar to the giant illustrative spectacles one might see outside an optometrist’s shop.” On the ground, visitors can further interact with the installation with a small Risograph-printed publication of even more illusions, offering different viewing options that Hotchkiss aims to make these elementary optical tricks even more beguiling. In this way, Same But Different will ask visitors to look simply, but think deeply. As a co-founder of Stairwell’s curatorial project, Hotchkiss is conversant in the placement of artwork and audience engagement in atypical exhibition spaces.

WCCMockUpASarah Hotchkiss, Same but Different, 2014; Digital mock-up of West Coast Craft installation. Image courtesy of the artist.

endograft_smithallen_2014-3Smith|Allen, Endograft 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

With a deceivingly simple architectural divide, sculpture and installation artist Stephanie Smith and architectural designer Bryan Allen of Oakland-based Smith|Allen Studio aim to encourage visitors of the fair to reconsider their customary experience and understandings of space and architecture. Although a high attendance will be expected of the fair, Endograft will engage with audiences on an intimate level. Comprised of 222 unique 3D printed components, its dynamic surface texture encourages perambulation. Smith explains that this texture from some angles will appear massive and solid, while from other views it will seem light, and fragile. “Influenced by environmental conditions, the installation subtly changes throughout the day,” says Smith. “Its translucent white material transmits and embodies different lighting conditions.” Smith also says the installation will also include acoustic properties, which will add an additional interactive layer that will engage with its surroundings, and WCC’s visitors.
 Bay Area artist Lisa Rybovich Crallé’s contribution to the fair will be presented under Oakland’s ØGAARD Off-Site projects led by director, Tessa Watson. Shoe Lace (Garden Variety), her 200-foot long soft sculpture installed in the rafters of the pavilion, is a giant shoe lace painted with a colorful abstract pattern and tied in a knot. “It is a painterly scribble; a Helen Frankenthaler painting on a shoe lace,” says Crallé. It seems as if the slight alteration of the object, its loose knotting, will delicately evoke the hand of the artist. “The color palette references garden and landscape, and the shoe lace could camouflage into a colorful outdoor landscape, but instead it is oversized and out of place, employing the logic of collage.” cralle1

Lisa Rybovich Crallé, Shoe Lace (Garden Variety) (detail) 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.