Here’s a list of local (Bay Area) artists I’ve discovered – and liked – for one reason or another. I’ll keep adding more:

Ajuan Mance – Oakland. (website) This Mills College Professor just recently completed her series of 1001 drawings of black men, and they’re really great. Watch her describing the project here.


David Fullarton – San Francisco. (website) First saw his stuff at the Compound Gallery in Emeryville; he’s sort of a very fun blend of Roz Chast, Robert Rauschenberg, and Mad Magazine. Great with words too; a master of the non sequitur.


Oree Originol – Oakland. (website) Discovered him through the utility box he painted on Sacramento Street.  He does colorful abstract mosaic-type paintings and murals, and also protest posters, like the ‘Justice for Our Lives’ series below.

oree justice.jpg

Michael Murphy – San Francisco. (website) A little commercial, but his ‘forgotten modernism’ architecture posters are great.  He also paints.
Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 8.32.42 PM.png

Rich Black – Oakland. (website) I discovered him through his excellent Ashby Stage murals, but he’s also an interesting poster artist (protest, theater, opera, live music, etc).

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 8.58.52 PM.png

Rex Ray – San Francisco. (website) Discovered him in 2015 from a book of his work at Adobe Book, only to learn he’d passed away that very week. His paper collages are my favorites, but he also did paintings, posters and book covers.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 6.38.00 AM.png

David Lance Goines – Berkeley. (website) A Bay Area creative icon, known for his posters but equally interesting for his participation in (and writing about) the Free Speech Movement, and his longtime devotion to calligraphy and letterpress.

Photo: Melati Citrawireja

Michael Schwab – San Anselmo. (website) Another long-established artist, known for his posters with simple bold colors and type. He’s also done work for The National Parks, SF Opera, Fillmore Jazz Fest, Bay Club, and Amtrak. His book, though hard to find, is great.

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 9.40.03 PM.png

Garry Knox Bennett – Oakland. (website) Artist turned furniture designer who made a lot of groundbreaking studio furniture, especially in the 1980s. Learned about him recently via this awesome book of his work. He used color, non wood materials and contrarian designs to (successfully) challenge the studio furniture establishment.

knox table.jpg

Bruce Conner – San Francisco. Just saw the SFMOMA’s retrospective on him, and especially loved his videos, like the awesome ‘Three Screen Ray’ (not available online… c’mon, rights holders!) Read the NYT review. Conner anticipated MTV with his juxtaposition of random pop culture images over an R&B soundtrack. He was political, and used every type of media including collages, photography, painting and sculpture to make a statement. Fun and wacky.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *