Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sandra Yagi Open Studios Preview

Art Studio (old CalTrans building)

I recently made a studio visit to Sandra Yagi, in her South Beach studio. Sounds almost tropical, doesn't it? It's an old CalTrans building nestled up against the Bay Bridge on-ramp. The last time I visited this building it was to see Tina Vietmeier.

Sandy just moved to this studio from her old place on Belcher Street. (I interviewed her there five years ago.) The same rolling cart and easels were here in "South Beach" (Rincon Hill), but this studio seemed a lot brighter, with huge windows along one wall. Sandy said it could get a little too bright, and she just got some curtains to cut down the mid-morning glare.

If you're not familiar with her work, Sandra paints with classic old-world methods, using familiar symbols and iconography to convey timeless and contemporary concerns. Lots of skeletons, animals, imagined landscapes, and darkly funny situations.

clay chimps (cheap models)

Sandra works out her ideas in sketchbooks before going to paint. She often uses 3D models to work out position, viewpoint, and lighting. Besides the occasional live model, Sandy has several skeletons (human and other) and she makes clay models when necessary. She showed us a box full of clay chimps that she was using to choreograph a fight scene.

These classic methods seem commonplace and hardly worth mentioning to most painters, but I think many art visitors/ viewers are completely unaware of the long road to the canvas. Another good reason to visit Open Studios (and ask questions) this month.

Sandra Yagi's building is holding an Open Studio event this weekend, starting Friday evening, October 23, 6-9 pm.
Saturday and Sunday, October 24-25, 11 a.m. to 6 pm. 
South Beach Artists Studios at 340 Bryant Street, near 2nd Street
Sandra Yagi is on the 3rd floor, suite 320, Studio 10.

Another interview with Sandra Yagi:
Her blog: Beyond the Comfort Zone

Click on any image for more (and larger) photos of Sandra Yagi in her studio!

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