Archive for the ‘DRAWING WEDNESDAYS’ Category




003From left, artists – Patricia Gillespie, Mario Navasero, John Casey and Scott Greenwalt


artist, Nathaniel Parsons


artist, Alison Tharp


artist, Lexa Walsh


artist, Scott Greenwalt


artist, Ryan McJunkin


artist, Matt Decker


artist, Michael McConnell


artist, Marcos Lafarga


artist, Hunter Mack


artist, Wythe Bowart


artist, Brett Baumgart & Tyler


artist, Martin Webb


artist, Daniel Healey


artists, Emily Coker and David Polka


artist, Brük Dunbar


artist, Joseph Kowalczyk


artist, Alison OK Frost and Mary Mortimer


artist, Lauren Napolitano


Artist, Matt Decker, Hilary Decker and artist, Danielle Silva


from left, Oona, artist, Lucien Shapiro, Lauren Napolitano, Dave Higgins and Patricia Gillespie

Some artists I did not get good (or at least adequate) pictures of last night, but who were in attendance: Heidi Cregge, David Seiler, Kelly Monson,  Jon Carling, Dan Nelson, Thomas Christopher Haag, Jack Eastgate and Aaron Petersen

Note from Obi

It feels like a family: the assembly,  this crew, this quilt of brilliant local art. We been doing this for years – different venues, different faces, sure, but  many of these artists I’ve been representing for years, and know better than I know certain legs of my own family. The result? a warm vibe, an accepting space, an invented family, a buzz that belies the alcohol stupor we all stumble around in looking for our pens and paper. We used to do it every week. Perhaps you remember – now, we will do it once a season. The above represents some snapshots I took with last night, at our Springtime event. Special thanks to Mua for housing this event. If you are an artist, living and working in Oakland and want to be part of this, all you need to do is be in my face and (of course) be serious about your art. email me at,

follow my other adventures at & my own art at

instagram @coyotethunder


The torch that is Live Art in Oakland has been picked up by Alison Tharp and Sal Bednarz of Actual Cafe in North Oakland. The first event was held on December 1, 2011. Sal says “Our first Live Drawing night was a blast! We loved it, and the artists did as well, so we’re turning it into a regular monthly event here…starting in January, we’ll be hosting Live Drawing on Third Fridays from 7:00-10:00. We’ll extend our Decompression Sessions (DJs and happy hour prices) through the entire event. We’re excited to have this event here – it’s been something we’ve been trying to pull together for a long time. “

It has been two months already since Live Art Wednesday went on Hiatus. LAW was always a really good time. September 2010 through June 2011. I always took a bunch of pictures of the work made and of the artists making the work. It always felt like friends gathering to make work together. Levende, the venue where it was held in Old Oakland is gone and now Live Art Wednesdays is too. If you want to see the archive of pictures you are going to need to become my friend on facebook, Obi Kaufmann. Here are some pictures that I just found in my phone of one random LAW in mid-April. Nice portraits of some of my favorite local talent. I have included links to their websites too and mentioned a little bit of what they are up to.

Alison O.K. Frost Alison’s drawing is featured in this month’s ART IN A BOX, subscription service through the Compound Gallery.

Michael McConnell Michael just had a well received show at Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco.

Brian Caraway just had a great show at We Gallery in Oakland

Aaron Petersen just had an awesome show at Braunstein/Quay as well.

Maya Kabat is about to have a show of drawings at Victorian Rat Gallery in Oakland.

Steven Barich was recently interviewed here at Swee(t)Art in conjunction with his show at Branch Gallery.

Nathaniel Parsons had a great show at Levende itself a few months back. He also recently performed at SOEX in the city.

Live Art Wednesdays.

Heidi Cregge debuts her new work at Levende, Friday, May 6th, 2011. If you have not been to an opening yet at Levende, you have to check it out. It is a new type of Art opening experience really. They don’t start until 9pm, for one. The bar makes it a great place to end your First Friday Art Murmur walk with a tasty beverage. The huge walls in the place make large format work possible and this month, we are all so proud to host the work of “Live Art Wednesday” Veteran Heidi Cregge. Heidi’s beautifully painted organic forms are graphically arresting and are all certainly compelling. I asked her a few questions about where her inspiration comes from.

Obi: What is your relationship to the Ocean? I know it comes from a personal history which includes Hawaii, right?

Heidi: I am an island child. My mother is a surfer and my father is a sailor. Growing up in Hawaii and surrounded by water, the Ocean is life. A lot of the time it kept my father away from home, though, and from all the times of asking the waves for his return, I grew a relationship with the Ocean that was a little fear and a lot of respect.

Obi: What other incarnations has your art had in the past? Can you walk me through a little chronology of your art career? Have you always been attracted to these organic forms?

Heidi: My first artistic pursuits were in photography and filmmaking, which led to my work with video compositing, special effects, and programming. In grad school I used ocean plants and organic shapes to challenge my programming and 3D modeling skills, and it became clear that I was creating artworks about my home. To take a break from coding, I would also create a great deal of organic forms in felted wool, crafting them as exultant offerings with inner and sometimes interactive glow.

I’ve shown a lot of installation and sculptural work in the past few years, and consider myself a visual artist with a lot of computer art skills. Lately, I have returned to the idea that making art for the Ocean is a sign of respect. In Hawaiian culture, it is a belief that all things are spiritual and filled with life. Lifting up a marine life form as a totem, filling it with light, and giving it life, honors the Ocean. Do I do this because the Ocean is all that exists between here (California) and home? Maybe.

Obi: Talk to the formality of the work? There is an almost scientific quality about it, wouldn’t you say? As if these forms exist outside of an ecosystem…

Heidi: There’s a lot of science in ocean life, especially when you want to recreate organic forms in the computer. The natural order of coral growth patterns are amazing – fractals that grow and branch while waves and water temperatures create subtle variation. The pure-space of a computer is probably the opposite of a real-space ecosystem, though, and that influence shows in my work. I’m inspired by the algorithms of natural forms, oceanographic illustration, and navigation: charting, stars and sextants, satellites. Because of my family’s sea-faring ways, my work also explores travel, separation, and reunion. It’s what I know.

We are so very proud to host the large paintings of Nathaniel Parsons at Levende, opening April 1, 2011. The reception will begin at 9pm after Oakland’s First Friday. The show is called TRAVELAGE and will run for one month. I snapped the pictures below during a studio visit with him at his spacious workspace down at the Hive in Oakland.

Obi: This is the third studio visit and interview I’ve had with you Nat in the past four years that we have been friends. I am a huge fan, collector and even curator of your work, so I want to ask you some advanced questions about your work. In prepping for TRAVELAGE, as you are making some of the largest pieces in your recent catalog, how have you taken on the challenge? Has working large-scale changed your process, or does it just take longer?

Nathaniel: I haven’t always worked small. I was gifted these surfaces by studio mate Dave Higgins, I am indebted to the freedom it encouraged. It gave me more room not to fill up. I think I was able to pull out the bigger brushes and depict bigger gestures. The smaller work tends to derive structures found in systems like maps, shared space, use of legend or key, associative elements in layered compositions. The bigger ones somehow didn’t need that, for me. I was happy to keep the work more sparse.

Obi: You have been back in the Bay Area for about five years. How does San Francisco compare to the your homeland? What is your homeland and what tradition does SanFrancisco represent in your own narrative, given your regular references to Americana history and the like?

Nathaniel: I became a conscious maker in Oakland, 1990, the painting, was of my girlfriend, I loved her so much, the image mostly yellow, always had her in it, but it also found it’s identity as a stage, an interior with ghosts all around, there is a man, and a section of the painting that I painted from still life. A thrift store mug full of tulips sitting on a table. It was a fusing of the real and the imagined and desired. Yuri and Josh own it. I am always happy to have made it. That painting was unlike my teacher’s work, it is fairly formal, but what made it relate to the times, to this place has fueled me ever since. I am the son of artists, this town is the sibling to the nation, even the natives seem to know that were on the edge, a little out of view, a little too real. I respect and wish to honor the importance of the work that has been made in California, SF Figuration, Bay Area Realism, California Conceptualism, Beat Era Funk Art, I water the graves of those that I can only know through what they made. I choose to live here because I can feel right most of the time in being reverent of such production while cobbling together my work. I Miss My River.

Obi: I know there are stories attached with each of your pieces. Your art, as you say, is born out of conversation. You have one piece in the show with names swirling out of a campfire. Can you tell me that story? And then the bucket with the mirror? The Hanky Pool? Tell me that story too.

Nathaniel: First Audience 2011 oil on canvas depicts a campfire in a forest. The trees or people behind the trees shout out the names of friends, this painting is a tribute to my parents friends, not all are included, some have passed, my parents have moved. They were always so generous to an inquisitive child. It illustrates an idea I had of building a fire pit in the woods for my parents to have a “last” party.
Hanky Pool 2011 oil on canvas with painted wood, and objects. Is a depiction of a former feature at Yellowstone National Park. The Hanky Pool was stationed on tours by a ranger that would dirty a hanky and throw it in to the pool, it would get sucked down and disappear for two minutes, only to resurface cleaned by the heated water. He would fish it out with a metal basket. The pool became clogged by visitors throwing in their own objects. I contemplate this with slogans, What Goes In Dirty Comes Out Clean or What Goes In Broken Comes Out Whole. Of course this cant always be true.

Left, “The Angel of Sorrow and the Angel of Victory.” (detail) 80″x40″. Middle, “The Faces of the Protectors of the Soul of the Hand of the Earth.” (detail) 40″x 90″. Right, “The Child made of Stone.” (detail) 80″ x 40″

“I never had religion. On one level I equate religion with science fiction, then again I see the deep-psychological forces at work that drive us to describe a narrative to connect meaning to a void that stands as a miraculous contrast to all of existence. The character of an angel or a demon are the same to me; equally capable of violence, jealousy and working tirelessly for their own existential agendas. Is this a Buddhist idea? maybe. I love the terrible Dhakini’s depicted in so many Tibetan Tankhas, who defend Buddha’s truth with big swords and vicious relentlessness. All of this is a mirror of my heart and ultimately, only metaphorically connotative of a larger truth, not the truth itself. I believe this is the core dysfunction of fundamentalism. I am an artist because it is fearless in the face of God and makes worthy the efforts of angels and demons both. At Levende, I will be exhibiting the largest works I have yet to display in a gallery and the late night, First Friday Oakland setting will be just the crazy context for these works that have meant so much for me to create, and then of course, set free on my home town.” -Obi Kaufmann


827 Washington Street

Oakland, CA 94607


Show: “ANGELDRIVER” by Obi Kaufmann

Reception date: March 4th, 2011, 9pm to midnight

Show dates: Mar 4th to April 1st, 2011

Gallery/Restaurant hours: 3pm to midnight, 7 days

Levende is pleased to announce that it will now be hosting First Friday art receptions to begin at nine o’clock. Levende, already the host of the successful Live Art Wednesdays, is opening up its walls to the large scale art works of a roster of national artists. Positioning itself as the place to go at the end of your First Friday Tour of Oakland Art Murmur by offering a full bar and Happy Hour prices after nine o’clock, Levende will be rotating art works every four weeks throughout 2011.

The first artist in the line-up is also the co-coordinator of arts events at Levende, Obi Kaufmann. Along with August Varlack of Bay Area August Promotions and Dirk Kahl, the owner of Levende, Kaufmann has been running Live Art Wednesdays from 5 to 8pm at Levende for nearly six months. Before that, Kaufmann was the curator of the Swee(t)Art Drawing Gallery and the Visual Arts Editor of the Berkeley Times.

Obi Kaufmann now brings his large scale paintings to Levende in a show called “ANGELDRIVER”. Obi’s provocative figurative paintings are a stylized hybrid of cave painting and street painting, where mythological forces wrestle with issues such as sex, violence, beauty and power. From the Berkeley Times, in reference to his recent successful show at Five Points Art House in San Francisco, “If anything, his paintings were primal and pure…so raw and so pure, begging the question, Does it get any more real?”

Here are a few select favorites from this week’s Drawing Wednesday at Levende.

Drawing Wednesday happens every week at Levende in Old Oakland. 4pm to 7pm. Drink Specials and amazing art. roll over images below to view the artists who made last week’s works.

There is no guarantees in life. True. But I gotta say but! It is damn near close to a guarantee that good times are now being had on a regular and consistant basis at Levende every Wednesday from 4 to 7pm. It is happy hour and the artists come out as if they are lost and ferral children emerging from dark caves and discovering beer and society for the first time. Come by tomorrow. We got a whole line-up of new workers to do their monkey dance for you. Cheers!

Paruse the drawings below and hover over the image to find out its maker and how to contact them.

Another great week of Drawing. Drawing Wednesdays at Levende, Week Four, came and left with some great community, art and drinks. Maria Morell was singing for us at six o’clock and the place filled up…every week, a few more people. It is so great to be part of something that just seems to grow and grow. The artists show up and work diligently for many hours, adding to the creative energy that positively crackles around the space. My group photos were no strong so I decided not to include them. This was group number four, next week the cycle begins again with group number one.

hover over the images below to see titles and artist contact info and come on by next Wednesday. 4 to 7. 827 Washington. Oakland.

Here is the line-up for tomorrow. I hope to see you all there tomorrow. We have some other stuff going on too…From August’s facebook event: Live Sketch Art by 10 of our local artist from 4-7 pm & Live Acoustic Rhythms by Maria Morrell 6-8 pm. We are creating an after work hump day event for all of our community to enjoy. $1 Oyster Shooters, $3 Draft, & $5 well & a HH food menu for the hunger. Might I say, the specialty drinks are delightful, even when mixed into virgin status, i.e… Strawberry-La Fresca.

September 29th, 2010. Drawing Wednesdays at Levende. Below, from left to right, Scott Greenwalt, Alison Tharp, Freya Prowe, Steelee Faltis, Alissa Goss, Michael Mellon, Dan Nelson, Sarah Filley, Alex Rosmarin. There is Brian Caraway blinking in the background too. The whole event continues to be a terrific success. Every week more people show up demanding their beer and oh so yummy food to see the art get made live. The community that is emerging from the experiment grows stronger every week as well. I couldn’t be prouder of the trajectory. If you have any questions about the art or interest in a purchase, feel free to contact the artists directly. I have included their email in the title of each piece below, just hover over the picture, click to enlarge. If you want to talk about anything else, feel free to call me. Obi 925-951-7501


Last night at Drawing Wednesday at Levende we had a special treat: ex-oakland, now-portland based artist Dan Nelson was a guest artist, not part of the normal and yet still emerging roster of the regular ten. I have always loved Dan’s art, so injected with acidic wit and merciless humor. He brings a kind of philosophical relief to an art world that so often takes itself way to seriously. 

Dan’s website is and his work is currently up at Swee(t)Art Drawing Gallery through the month of Oakland.


  • Moises Aragon