1000 Howard St. San Francisco, CA 94103 | Wednesday - Saturday 12 to 6pm 415.861.5089 | info@firstamendmentgallery.com


Press Release | Onset A Group Exhibition


Join us Thursday, July 20th at 7pm for the opening reception of Onset, a group exhibition featuring the works of Adele Renault - Bagger 43 - Basik - Caratoes - David Ryan - Jade Rivera - Jaime Molina - Joseph Martinez - Josh Grotto - Lena Gustafson - Li-Hill - Lie - Miss Van - Roan Victor.  We're located on the corner of 6th st and Howard, 1000 Howard St. in Downtown San Francisco.  We have new murals by Lena Gustafson and Roan Victor on our gallery as apart of the exhibition.  To receive a preview of the exhibition contact info@firstamendmentgallery.com. Be sure to learn more about the artists in the exhibition below.  

Adele Renault
Artist Statement - After painting pigeon portraits for almost a decade, I started zooming in on the feathers.  I was painting a lot of feathers on walls and canvas, almost like a wallpaper, and recently felt the need to zoom back a bit, to capture a bit of that silly expression pigeon can have and the sparkle in their eyes.  So this is the first of a let's say "zoomed out close up". It's a pigeon from the Dam Square in Amsterdam, which is the main hang out if you're an Amsterdam pigeon. 

Bio - Adele Renault (1988) paints realistic portraits of pigeons and people. Her subject matter may live in the gutter or in an ivory tower and the size of her work ranges from small canvas to giant mural. Born in Belgium, she is now based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Together with her husband Niels Shoe Meulman they travel the world creating murals and exhibitions. The duo also runs Unruly Gallery.

Renault observes closely those and that not considered worthy of a second look. She paints portraits of faces, the elderly, the homeless and pigeons in a detailed and realistic style. Her subjects are pictured as photographed, yet are then isolated from their context, enlarged and flooded in sunlight. She captures moments and expressions full of stories and meaning. Suddenly a scruffy pigeon and a woman in the last days of her life emanate a quiet grace and irresistible force of life.

Bagger 43
Bio -
Dennis (Bagger43) Brown, was born in Philippines in '83, raised in different parts of Asia (Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii, & Philippines), studied Illustration at Ringling College of Art & Design 2001-2005. Currently Dennis resides in San Francisco, desiging full-time alongside putting his energy toward developing works for gallery shows and other self generated art projects.

Artist Statement -
The works are part of my late Saints series, a contemporary reinterpretation of a classic art theme: tales about saints of Christianity, a distinctive trait of popular culture since many centuries.

Saints’ figures and their depiction could be in fact considered as pop icons nonetheless, traditional subjects, yet capable of being absolutely modern due to the long lasting appeal in mass culture, often transcending their mere religious value and purpose.

The whole series carries more in depth personal reflections and thoughts about the process of making art, the bond between artist and his art production and the relationship between art (and/or the artist) and the viewer.

Bio - Lucio “Basik” Bolognesi lives and works in Rimini, Italy.
He has been active since the beginning of the Nineties as a graffiti writer and has developed his personal style switching from spray paint to a broader range of media over the years, mixing the
eye and approach of a Graffiti writers with inspirations from Italian medieval and renaissance masters onward, as well as influences from modern and contemporary art. 

The essential and well de ned features of his works thinly remind of his graphic designer background, whilst the material approach of his latest production enlightens the need of a more intense connection between the artist, the subject depicted and the support. His figureative works lately focus especially on hands’ gestures and take inspiration from distinctive traits in popular culture, religious imagery and symbolism. 

At the end of the Nineties he is awarded by the specialized magazine Aelle as one of the three most influential grafiiti writers of his country. In 2007 his paintings are featured in the huge collective show Street Art Sweet Art at PAC (Contemporary Art Pavilion) in Milan, that definitely of classified the street art movement in Italy. Basik has exhibited his work in San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Milan, among other cities. 

Artist Statement - We all exists of layers of experiences in life.
Everything is a balance between black and white, chaos and order.
But from our flaws we can grow more beautiful and stronger to become us.
I used the ballpoints to carve in the paper, so it creates texture and depths. 
Every line represents an experience in life, layering up.

David Ryan
Artist Statement -
The drawings, paintings, and sculptures I make tell a little bit about a lot of stories, loosely attached and often referencing themselves. They consist mostly of personal recent past and some future predictions, which may be actual experiences or the distractions of a rich fantasy life.

It seems as though no matter how much time I put into this task of pinning down what it is I am making, I am only able to generalize or chip away at the edge. I believe that's OK, even a good thing, and probably has something to do with what has attracted and sustained so much attention from me. I believe that any attempt at creating art is a rare opportunity, an opportunity that is usually riddled with frustration and sometimes even soul crushing self-doubt. Still, if I am lucky enough to continue at this task, I would be hard-pressed to think of a better way to spend countless hours.

Bio - David Ryan is an artist living and working in the San Antonio district of Oakland, California.

Jade Rivera
Artist Statement -
Muralist and Peruvian painter born in Junin, his work focuses on representing situations of everyday life through an imaginary embracing emotions and spiritual human being, he understands that the street is a communication tool and murals they are codes reflection between the passer and the wall, tending main purpose to raise questions in the viewer but not giving answers. Motivated by the language of the mural supports and strengthens its graphic with a strong admiration for the animal and visual poetry

Bio - Jade Rivera, aka Jonatan Rivera, is a 32-year-old artist and graphic designer from Peru, who has been present on the street art scene since 1997. He uses his art as a reflection of everyday life and he connects it to his Andean roots in order to further develop his artistic style.

Jaime Molina
Artist Statement -
I've been working on this series of head sculptures for a while and it is still very inspiring to me. I am interested in telling brief stories about each character I make. Are they asleep? Are they sad? Are they dreaming? These questions posed by the viewer create a unique narrative depending on the person looking at the work. These complexities and tinystorytelling universes interest me immensely.

Bio - Jaime Molina is an artist based in Denver, Colorado. His work often displays a folk art influence. This artist is a multi-talented professional whose aesthetic is well-defined and evokes a ruminative yet dynamic atmosphere. Jaime received a BFA with an emphasis in printmaking from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2003. He has since moved into other mediums including large scale murals and works in three dimensions. He has held art residencies at the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus and most recently in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has had installations at the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and an upcoming Installation with the Denver Art Museum. 

Joseph Martinez
Artist Statement - The intention behind this piece is to comment on how we as individuals can become our own biggest obstacle and corner ourselves into a position in which over time we can become used to the environment we have created . I have experienced this personally and felt that in order to break that pose I need to confront it, this is me doing just that. 

Bio -  Joseph Martinez. 1983. Earth, Milky Way Galaxy. Currently exploring all mediums and emotions with a primary focus in oil/figurative painting. 

Josh Grotto
Artist Statement - Josh's work is made from hundreds of preexisting figures that are sourced from advertisements, books, and magazines. Josh works intuitively, splicing these images and working with paint until a new character appears who is in some way familiar. These characters are Chicago archetypes—that stunning dame in the store window, the politician, the drunk. While he oftentimes creates seemingly tragic figures, these images are a celebration of Josh’s complicated city, his personal narrative, and the history of picture making.

Bio - Josh Grotto is an artist, designer, and illustrator who draws inspiration from popular urban culture, abstract expressionism, traditional portraiture, and collage. His interest in art started in the late eighties as a young Chicago kid writing graffiti, and he eventually went on to study painting and graphic design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, from where he holds a degree. He keeps an active studio practice and has shown his work in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Lena Gustafson
Artist Statement / Bio - Lena's vrecent work uses bright colors and large female figures at the center of each image. She uses repeated visual symbolism such as flags, water, plant life, color, and repeated gestures to communicate different stories within the body. Often times the line that separates the figure from her environment are blurred. 

Traditionally the female form has been used as a symbol to indulge others' fantasies, dreams, and fascinations.  Lena is interested not in what can be projected onto it, but instead what lies to be awoken within the body itself. She is interested in the idea of body memory and aims to visualize what this would look like if we could see it. Rather than the figure itself it is the stored information within the figure as well as its surroundings that interests Lena. By engaging with the history of representation of the female form, Lena contemplates new narratives for which the female body can understand itself.

Artist Statement | His paintings reflect the story of Good vs. Evil and the good nature of one’s soul fighting inside all of us. Subjects of the paintings abstractly reflect beautiful, sad, happy, triumphant, etc. moments in everyday life. Most of his work includes spray paint, acrylic, pencil, and some non-traditional techniques/mediums.

Bio | Lie (Jay Turner | b. 1982 | USA) is a Chicago Suburb born and based painter. After graduating from The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg, he was a package designer/illustrator for 4 years until he opened Paper Crown Gallery (an urban/street art inspired gallery) in Arlington Heights, IL (2011). Submersing himself in the Chicago Street Art Scene, he became a student of urban art. 

Statement About The Piece -  In my most recent work I have been creating compositions based on a split or divide. Splicing the picture plane into a dark background and a light background to marry two thematic and stylistic approaches I have been exploring in my work into a single idea. This is the first time utilizing this approach off of a wall. 

A lot of my work is about the effects our current global dynamic of information saturation, technological advancements and economic structures have on the outside and inner worlds. Many of my figures are about the psychological impact while the animals I paint allude to the ecological effects. Here they are both represented and reacting to the circumstances of their world. There is also a reoccurring theme of man versus nature in my work and at it’s most basic level that is what this design depicts but the fact the two main subjects (the figure and the bear) face away from each other creates a more ambiguous reading, they could be attacking each other or both reacting to their own hostile individual situations.

Artist Statement - Li-Hill's work attempts to decipher the complexities of the rapid development in our modern age. Through the western gaze Li-Hill points to the devastating effects of capitalist culture on the individual psyche, his work serves as a template for the ramifications felt on a global scale. The work mirrors the perception of the westerner attempting to comprehend, disentangle and redress. Born out of suppression, it becomes a manifestation portraying the skewed image of the imprint our culture has globally. To create these complex images Li-Hill blurs the lines between the imposed disciplines of the art world such as graffiti, graphic design, painting and drawing to disrupt the concepts of what is considered high and low-brow art. Through the storm of imagery and density there is also a beauty that surfaces from this fragile balance. Inspired by the precariousness of the work on the street, ephemerality is injected into the core of the work, furthering its unsettling nature.  

Bio - Aaron Li-Hill is a Canadian visual artist currently based in Brooklyn, who employs painting, illustration, stenciling, and sculptural elements within his works.  With a background in graffiti and mural painting and a degree in Fine Arts, his works range from smaller multiples to enormous murals that explore industrialization, scientific breakthrough, man versus nature and information saturation.  He incorporates found objects and unconventional materials to structure complex multi-layered pieces that are as aesthetic as they are thought provoking. Li-Hill possesses a BFA from OCADU and has travelled and shown in countries such as Australia, USA, Germany, Iceland and China.  He has had works shown in such national institutions as the National Gallery of Victoria, The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire and the Honolulu Museum of Art.  

Miss Van
Artist Statement - Miss Van’s recent artistic pursuits include her first Museum solo exhibition at CAC Malaga in Spain last year. Followed by a solo show coming this year after living in Barcelona for 12 years.  Miss Van’s work can be found in Los Angeles, Miami, Spain and Brazil. Her new works with increased depth, emotion and an elevated romantic darkness and delicacy. Her iconic sultry female characters reappear in sensual yet dark animal masks and evolving environments. In a gauzy romantic compositions, they carry a surreal quality of burlesque, resonating with a beautiful synergy of rawness, softness and emotion.

Bio - Miss Van started wall-painting at the age of 20, in 1993, initiating the feminine movement in Street Art. Originating from Toulouse, France and having spent most of her artistic life in Barcelona, Spain. Miss Van has travelled the world painting her instantly recognizable women on the streets, as well as on canvas. She has exhibited extensively for decades worldwide in Europe, USA and Asia.

Roan Victor
Artist Statement
- This painting is about straddling dual worlds. The public and the private, the seen and the hidden. The feeling that as much as I want to face the coming day, I just as easily could stay here awhile, in the comfort and safety of my internal self.

Bio - Roan Victor was born in the Philippines and emigrated to the US with her family as a child. She studied painting at San Jose State University. Her work has been featured in both group and solo exhibitions across the Bay Area. Along with her husband and artist Sean Boyles, she owns and operates The Arsenal in San Jose, an art gallery, art supply store and workshop. Recently, she painted a mural at Hart's Dog Park in Downtown San Jose. A lot of her art is about secrets. "It acts as a filter between the dueling parts of myself; the gate between sitting back and observing the world as it unfurls, and the need to inject myself out there. Ultimately it's about balance."