Art Adventure in Oakland

 Floral mural by  Jet Martinez  in downtown Oakland, California

Floral mural by Jet Martinez in downtown Oakland, California

I traveled to downtown Oakland this Saturday, and what started off as a pre-planned visit to an art gallery turned into a spontaneous art adventure!

I started the day at Omi Gallery for a walking tour of the artwork of Pablo Soto. Pablo talked about his art and his Cuban roots, as he walked us around his paintings. Speaking about his immigration to the United States, Pablo said something that caught my spirit: our bodies move quickly, but our souls travel slowly. He feels that while his body is in Oakland, his soul is still slowly making its way from Cuba. I related his feeling to my immigration from Russia, as well as my move to the West Coast from the Midwest. It's so easy to forget how our hearts plant roots where we linger. Moving is hard on the spirit!

I proceeded to wander down Telegraph Avenue, dipping into interesting spaces like the art deco interior of Flora Restaraunt & Bar, gazing up in awe at Jet Martinez's mural, and checking out a group of art galleries near Slate Contemporary. Using google maps as my guide, I saw there was a warehouse art space nearby, and discovered that East Bay Open Studios were in full swing, as well as Good Omen, a hip outdoor art market. I spent the next three hours talking to artists, connecting with them, and reconnecting with people that I already knew. I felt so content and happy after these encounters, feeling closer to people that did what I also loved and understood my language.

The diversity of art I saw reminded me that artists create for different reasons. For Pablo it was about building community and nurturing his Cuban heritage. This has got me thinking, what drives me to make my art? I will explore this in another post soon.

How about you — what drives you to make art?
 

 Paper Collage by Katie McCann shown during East Bay Open Studios.

Paper Collage by Katie McCann shown during East Bay Open Studios.

 Floral Mural inside of Flora Restaurant, Oakland CA

Floral Mural inside of Flora Restaurant, Oakland CA

Anastasia Tumanova