Calvin Fong would call me up when the Mayor was having an event and ask me to take the official photographs. I was 13 when the Mayor appointed me to the Youth Commission. And after that appointment Calvin would call me and I photographed the Mayor with the President of Ireland, at events honoring teachers, and ribbon cuttings.
Calvin was a Berkeley native. He was the chief of staff for Mayor Bates for 14 years. He knew everyone and everything about Berkeley. He was kind and encouraging. He got me connected as a young photographer and I will be forever grateful.
Generally artists establish themselves with a style or a theme to their work, but Richard Becker sculpture focuses oncommissions and are anything but similar in style or theme. Becker just completed a bronze sculpture of the television character Homer Simpson, which is now permanently installed in the 20th Century Fox Studios lot in Los Angeles, and “Liberation”, a 15 ft. tall POW Veterans Monument for Miramar US National Cemetery in San Diego, CA. One has to ask oneself how the same artist can producesuch diametrically opposed themes and style.
Richard sums it up by saying, “I enjoy creating all kinds of art – serious, strange, fun. And for the POW Monument, I did feel a very deep sense of obligation to help these veterans convey their story and their service and to honor them. The Simpsons' Homer, while it was goofy, crazy fun and Hollywood, and all that, I too, really felt an obligation to make this tribute special for the creators, crew and fans that have made such an amazing family and impact on culture. “
Los Angeles native Richard Becker found his love of sculpture while living in Spain. He has studied at the Escola d’Art Barcelona, the Los Angeles Art Academy, Vaugel Studios and the Scottsdale Artists’ School. He is an elected member of the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild, has received the Edward Fenno-Hoffman Prize for uplifting works, and in 2010 was elected into the National Sculpture Society.
Asked how he came about creating the sculpture for Homer, he said, “Hmm… the Homer thing came from doing the portrait bronze of James L Brooks for the Emmys Hall of Fame.
Jim is an incredibly accomplished writer and director with multiple Oscars, more Emmys than anyone, and he started the Simpsons by hiring Matt Groening. When we were discussing his portrait, I asked about including a little Homer on the high-relief plaque. He liked the idea so I started sculpting a little Homer for the background. Long story short, I decided to do a full size head study of Homer to understand how he translates from flat to 3-dimensional. After the Emmy plaque was complete, I asked if anyone wanted a cast of the Homer head. This led to using it for the Simpsons 500th episode celebration.“
Asked about the POW monument; “Well, one of my artistic goals was to create a work that draws people in to better understand their story, the price paid and the debt owed to these veterans who served doubly — as both soldiers and as POWs. The vets provided me with their stories, photos, books and even movies like “The Great Escape.” Once we settled on the overall concept – depicting the liberation moment — I asked them to write what it felt like to go through that experience.
Was there a particularly difficult part in creating this piece? “I suppose the most difficult thing was emotionally, it was rough as I immersed myself in the research; the stories, the photos, trying to imagine what it would be like to be in that position, it was dark.”
Richard Becker’s work might range from cartoon to monumental, but one must admit he is an incredibly talented and diverse artist. He is primarily focused on commissioned work these days. He does create some smaller works in the studio, and says that someday he will cast a few of these, but right now he is keeping quite booked.
From the earliest age, Julianne Ricksecker was interested in portraying the world visually. Writing assignments in grammar school were always elaborately illustrated. As a young college student, she applied for a semester abroad program in France so that she could visit the Louvre. She remembers the exhilaration of experiencing so many paintings in the original that she had only seen as book or poster reproductions until then.
Although her early inspiration to be an artist was mostly from oil paintings, she has never enjoyed painting in oil! At least not oil on canvas!
Her favorite subject matter is realistic landscape in a variety of media. Some pieces are worked in direct methods, such as watercolor or pastel, but her original prints are indirect, created first on plates, which are then inked and transferred to paper on an etching press. Her creative process involves experiencing a place, hiking and taking photographs and making sketches. Then she returns to the studio to create the work.
When etching plates are inked and wiped, it is a messy business! The tacky oil-based ink ends up all over the back of the plate from handling it with gloved hands and oily rags. After the etching is printed and the plate removed from the press bed, sometimes there is ink left on the surface of the bed. This accidental transfer of ink sometimes suggests an image, and it can be manipulated with rags and brushes, even additions of more ink, and then printed onto paper, creating a one-of-a-kind print known as a monotype.
After playing with this accidental residue of ink to create spontaneous monotypes a few times, Julianne began to explore the possibilities of monotype for it’s own sake, using a blank plexiglass plate and a planned approach. Initially she used oil paint to create these images, but found the transparent colors she desired required too much oil and thinner to be viable for printing on paper. About this time, oil paint appeared in art stores in a water-soluble form. The paper is normally damp when passing through etching press, so the new oils seemed like a perfect solution for monotype.
With a little experimentation, Julianne found this new paint to be a very satisfying and versatile medium for her landscape work. Because the ink is water soluble, it can be thinned with water for very transparent washes. This seemed ideally matched to her fascination with imagery of water and waterfalls.
There are many ways that artists approach monotype printmaking, sometimes called “painterly printmakng”. Think about Degas’ ballerinas (monotype, sometimes with the addition of pastel) or Henri Matisse’s white lines on a rich black field, or Georges Rouault’s loose, fluid brushwork as in “Clown with Monkey”. Julianne’s approach is to use a full palette to develop a realistic landscape. Through the use of additive mediums, she can emphasize the brush stoke or minimize it to create soft passages of color. She may use rollers to apply a solid field of color, or rubber tipped sticks or very fine brushes to remove color. She may also press paper towels or bits of lace into the paint to remove color in a textured pattern.
The resulting images truly live up to the name “painterly print”.
Julianne’s original prints and paintings have been exhibited in Regional, National and International competitions. She was awarded 2nd Place for her miniature prints in the 8th Biennial International Miniature Print Competition at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Connecticut in 2011. Her work is regularly on exhibit in the greater San Diego area. She has been invited to present her work in solo exhibition in Phoenix, Arizona from September 7 to November 12, 2012 at the University Club of Phoenix.
Many artists dream of becoming known in the art world through selling their artwork…as I say many artists dream. But for artist Maidy Morhous, with a little perseverance her dream came true.
Born in New York and raised in Southern California. Maidy studied under the tutelage of cognoscenti’ Richard Swift / Stanley Hayter, founder of Atelier 17 Paris, France. During summer months between classes she traveled to Paris, Italy, and Spain to learn firsthand from contemporary artists and about the Masters she was studying. She received her Master of Fine Art Degree and set out to become a professor at a local college. Only problem was that most colleges were not hiring. Needing an income, she packed her portfolio and started literally hitting the pavement. She combed the streets of Los Angeles calling on designers and art galleries. She finally stumbled upon an international art gallery in Beverly Hills, California that proceeded to buy every edition she produced for the next ten years, before she made the decision to move to San Diego. Over the years she has worked in various mediums; printmaking, ceramics, stained glass, photography, and sculpture. Her artwork is in private and public collections both nationally and internationally. In San Diego her sculptures can be seen at Rady Children’s Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Foundation, and Scripps Clinic - Carmel Valley. Internationally she is working on placement of a series of bronzes she created for the people of Sendai, Japan after the Tsunami hit the small city. In fact, Maidy was in Japan during the earthquake and subsequent Tsunami that hit March 11, 2011.
“I arrived in Tokyo Japan on March 7, 2011 to visit a society infused by elements of nature, honor, grace and ritual. As an artist, I came away with an admiration and great respect for the people; their sense of order, beauty, and love of nature. Little did I know that I would be part of one of the most devastating natural disasters in Japan’s history.
Having experienced the Tohoku Earthquake; watching the subsequent tsunami in Sendai and the Fukishima power plant scenario unfold, I felt true helplessness. I came away from the experience totally distraught feeling that I needed to do more than just donate monetarily. "
As a sculptor, she created a series of bronze sculptures that will be housed in the City of Sendai, and dedicated to the people of Sendai so future generations and visitors alike will not forget the devastation this community endured.
Maidy is working alongside the chairperson from the sister city of Japan (Riverside,CA) to establish placement of the series for dedication on March 11, 2013.
She currently serves on the Board of The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild as marketing/PR chair, and continues to travel extensively photographing to supply her with inspiration and subject matter.
" The act of creating is an emotional release; it centers one, giving an inner peace which allows us to reflect not only on who we are but how we think and feel. I realize now, that the pride of being an artist comes not from what one sells, but the inner peace one derives from the act of creating."
"La Soldadera" is a wooden scupture 32 " in height and 10" in width.
“This Woman Soldier represents an ‘Adelita’ the valiant volunteer fighters that accompanied the men fighting in the Mexican Revolution (circa 1910-1920). This particular female soldier, with her tall cone sombrero, gun belts, represents those who accompanied the Zapatista Armies of southern Mexico. These heroic women represent the struggle for their land, families and political freedom, a process started by the Mexican Revolution, which continues to the present.
‘LA SOLDADERA’, the standing sentinel, was hand carved in a single piece of ash wood on a base decorated with carvings representing the ancient carvings of that region of Mexico.”
"I approach a dimensional piece as an effort to take the material to it's highest and best expression… A commitment to employ the fullest craft, detail and display of the inherent beauty of my medium." - Lorenzo Foncerrada
A long-time Californian, Lorenzo Foncerrada, at age 6, moved with his family to San Diego from Guadalajara, Mexico. As a young man, Lorenzo was influenced by his father Miguel Foncerrada, who studied in Mexico with an elite group of internationally famous Artist Friends from the Mexican artistic revolution period of the1920s: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Jean Charlot, Donal Hord. This legacy in art led to Lorenzo’s interest in pursuing and participating in creative work.
Known as "Fonce" to his friends, he attended local schools and graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in mathematics and a minor in art, excelling in pottery, furniture design and sculpture.
Although employed after college as a mathematician in the Space Program, his interest in design, art, sculpture and woodworking remained keen. So it was natural, when he completed his overseas tour as an Air Force Captain, for him to pursue a livelihood in the field of design. He established a furniture design business where he designed and made custom decorative and commercial projects, and opened an Imports shop in Old Town State Park, selling crafts and an art gallery where he and other Artisans produced and sold original work.
In the 1970's Fonce worked at Foodmaker Inc. (Jack-in-the Box restaurants), heading the Design & Graphics department, working on artwork, logos, and restaurant Interiors.
From 1979 to the 1990s, he was design principal of Foncerrada Design Associates, involved in a myriad of corporate image and interior design projects. Fonce’s design and art have been featured in the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine, American Home Magazine, California Redwood Magazine, San Diego Home and Garden Magazine, and Fine Woodworking Magazine, among others.
He is a past member of the Sign Advisory Committee for the San Diego Community Colleges, and past president or the San Diego Communicating Arts Group. In 1988, as member in the San Diego Chapter of the International Society of Interior Designers, he received the chapter's Distinguished Member Award.
A Member of SDMAAG, San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association, and San Diego Sculptors Guild, he has participated in, and won awards in the prestigious Design-In-Wood and the FineArt Shows at the Annual Del Mar Fair.
Recent Commissions include Hindu Dancers, Eight gilded ‘Monkey Kings', Large Doors, Navy Aircraft-Carriers, Baroque Panels, Gothic Dragons and Decorative Bronzes.
In recent years he concentrated on traveling, buying woodcarvings for his Enchanted Woods of Old Town. He sold the store a couple of years ago, to concentrate full time on his sculpture.
He now works at his 100-year-old home/studio, that he and his artist-wife, Nancie, are continuously renovating.
Born in Italy, Renata Spiazzi had a passion for the arts at a very early age, but when WWII came she had to learn shorthand and typing in a hurry. “My father was a seaman and his ship was under the British, while my mother, my sister and I were under the Germans. I had to find a job to be able to support them,” she recalls. After the war, Renata got married and moved to California, and soon was back into perfecting her craft. She finished her education in Arts & Crafts, and worked in an artist’s studio.
In 1939, Belle Baranceanu painted a mural called “The Seven Arts” on the Auditorium wall at La Jolla High School. She also did a wall at the La Jolla Post Office. They were all part of the WPA project. The Auditorium was demolished in 1976 because it was declared unsafe. Belle died in 1988 and was extremely saddened by the demolition of the school mural, which she considered her best work.
In 2000, La Jolla High School’s graduating class of 1960 was considering a gift to the school. Sandy Brabon and Ida Jessop, both graduates of the 1960 class, were asked to do a mural as a gift to the school. They were painters of murals found mostly in restaurants here in San Diego and south of the border.
The graduating class asked the two ladies to reproduce the mural on the wall of the new Parker auditorium, but there was a problem with the placement of the figures. The mural done by Belle was around the face of the stage, while in the new auditorium, the proposed wall was a long horizontal strip of 90’ in length and 9’ in height.
They had never been faced with anything this huge, and came to Renata Spiazzi asking if she knew what could be done. Belle had placed “The Seven Arts” around the face of the stage. As soon as Renata saw the image she knew the solution. “I made a scale model of the new wall, and placed “The Seven Arts” on it." The grid for the design was done 1” = 1’. Brabon and Jessop enlarged the design accordingly.
It turned out to be a handsome project. “We are all very proud to have preserved Belle’s Masterpiece. Although Belle was not there for the dedication, she definitely has a smile on her face now.”
Renata's own work has recently received an honor when she was named by MOCA, the Museum of Computer Art, as one of only 17 "Grandmasters of Digital Art". According to the museum, this selection was carefully made after study of the thousands of artists who have exhibited on their site in the 19 years since its founding. View at: http://moca.virtual.museum/grandmasters.htm.
Here is "Bridge", a digital painting by Renata Spiazzi.
Address:Mailing Address:P.O. Box 122107San Diego, CA 92112-2107