Here’s a list of local (Bay Area) artists I’ve discovered – and liked – for one reason or another. I’ll keep adding more:
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.
Michael Murphy – San Francisco. (website) A little commercial, but his ‘forgotten modernism’ architecture posters are great. He also paints.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, right 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.