ArtPadSF, now in its third year, pulled in about 9,000 attendees who all seemed to realize the same thing: it’s a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. Unlike the giant fairs where you’re locked inside a huge, windowless Thunderdome of art, ArtPadSF allows you as many mini-sanity breaks as you need while you wander between the sun-splashed rooms of The Phoenix Hotel, an old 60s motor lodge ringed around a sparkling blue pool. Grab some grilled shrimp on a stick, rest your barking dogs in a lounge chair, watch some synchronized swimming… then hop back up and take in more art, much of it from San Francisco galleries.
ArtPad does a good job of offering “something for everyone” — this year in addition to each hotel room being inhabited by a gallery for the weekend, the fair hosted a Tumblr Arts Summit chat, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts brought a hot pink advice booth, and LittleCollector hoped to inspire the next generation of art lovers with limited edition prints aimed directly at kids (and their parents).
Margaret Tedesco has been running 2nd Floor Projects, an artist-run alternative exhibition and publishing space in the Mission, since 2007 but this was her first year at the fair. She was showing ink marker and Zip-A-Tone pieces by Mike Kuchar (yes, the underground filmmaker who brought us Sins of the Fleshapoids! ).
Also new to the fair this year was soon-to-be-open Bash Contemporary, showing Ian Huebert‘s ink and watercolors, as well as some intricate filigree 3D printed skulls and hearts by Joshua Harker. (If you made it over to the Maker Faire the same weekend, you probably saw a ton of 3D printing machines magically spinning out everything from cute little robots to custom iPhone cases, but Harker’s work is beautifully unique and impressive.)
Sunlight was pouring into Ken Harmon‘s space for Spoke Art, where busts of The Notorious BIG and 2Pac basked in the rays, along with silkscreen prints on found books by Daniel Speight, and a limited edition print of Scott Scheidly‘s popular “Bobby Fett.”
Sandra Chevrier‘s mixed media collages of muted women muzzled with comics, Christine Wu‘s oil on wood panels, and Bartek Elsner‘s cardboard sculptures were all at Mirus Gallery who, like Spoke Art, had booths at both ArtPadSF and artMRKT this year.
There was more cardboard over at McLoughlin Gallery, where Cristóbal Valecillos created a beautiful cardboard entryway. Inside were his large scale photographs of family dioramas, where characters wrapped in cardboard clothes inhabited a cardboard world.
At Electric Works, Dave Eggers (author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and owner of Valencia Street’s much loved pirate supply shop) used a China Marker in a series of drawings that chronicled the inner thoughts of a series of oddball animals. (Proceeds of Eggers’ drawings all go to ScholarMatch.)
Zio Ziegler‘s colorful jungles of patterns, colors, and women seemed to spill right over the wall-sized canvases onto the walls themselves at WallSpaceSF.
Marx & Zavettero gallery had intricate acrylic and collage pieces by Andrew Schoultz and a “ritual mask” by David Hevel that really had it all — human hair, huge chompers, pink squiggly tentacles, glass eyes and funky lady monkeys.
Speaking of having it all, it’s hard not to enjoy the afternoon when they’re handing out free Chica Sour cocktails. With mustaches on them. The only thing missing was some googly eyes, but maybe your drink shouldn’t be looking back at you. (Though after a few of those you’d swear it was.)