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Susan O’Malley (American 1976-2015)

Susan O’Malley’s work is a celebration of life and a cheerful affirmation that we are on the right path.  Having passed away suddenly, this Bay Area Artist and Curator will be remembered as a voice of wisdom and ernest encouragement. She received her MFA from California College of Arts in San Francisco in Art and Social Practice and through whimsical performances, conversations, and text with bright gradients of color she conveyed a message of hope and trust in ones self.

Click on the circle to see full images.

O’Malley created an art project called Pep Talks, where she counseled others on how to keep a positive attitude and not give up. Her work is a reminder that things will get better and that there is beauty and meaning in the world.


Below is O’Malley’s work: “An Unsolicited Open Letter to the Young-ish Artist (this means all of us, right?).” May 29, 2013.

Dear Young-ish artist, I noticed that you needed to be reminded of a few things – many of which I’m sure you already know. But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. So here it goes.

Taking the path of an artist is a radical one. There is no steady paycheck, 401K or linear trajectory. You do it because it’s either art or insanity; or because you have a gift that needs to be shared with the world; or because you want to be famous. But here’s the deal: it takes time to cultivate it. Very few of us can jump out of undergrad and earn a living as a novelist. Sometimes you have to take a job writing copy at an internet company to prove that you can take care of yourself; or you have to take several jobs so you can buy the materials for your giant octopus sculpture; or you have to experience the darkest grief of your life in order to find your voice. And there will be lots of bad poems and terrible paintings and bad decisions before anything comes of it. It takes time and it takes space and sometimes it takes doing very little alone or in the company of other like-minded people for these things to happen. Everything is part of it. So be patient, pay attention, and be kind to yourself.

Maybe it will take 15 years, so in the year 2028, when you quit your day job writing ad copy for Hologram Space to begin. Maybe then you’ll decide to finish the novel you’ve been plugging away at in your free evenings. You decide to do it because it’s been nagging at you for years, sometimes making you feel so empty inside that you don’t recognize yourself, your spouse, or your children. And as you finally jump into this adventure it dawns on you: it’s always been here. You’ve always had everything you needed to do it. It just took you this long to accept this and the uncertainty of the process. And, now finally, you’ve said yes and things are happening. Don’t scold yourself for taking so long, just appreciate that you’ve finally made it here.

Sincerely, Your friend Susan O’Malley,



Since her tragic passing this year her work has taken on extra meaning.  The messages seem to come from a place beyond time, yet fully human and brimming with love and understanding. Susan O’Malley’s work will be remembered as courageous, joyful and inspiring.


Her book entitled “Advice From My 80 Year Old Self,” is being published and is due to release this year. The book serves to point out how perspective in life can be a gift in helping us get through the hard times.


During her life Susan O’Malley participated in an artist residency at Montalvo Arts Center, a retreat in the mountains of the peninsula. Here she created a healing walk for the benefit of all and to complete this walk seems like a great way to pay tribute to her contribution and experience her message to the world.


Gustav Klimt (Austrian 1862- 1918)

Gustave Klimt was an Austrian artist of the Art Nouveau movement. He was part of an artistic style called Jugendstil,  named after a magazine “Youth,” which featured Art Nouveau designs.


The Jugendstil is known for floral designs and natural elements and its later Japanese influence, and abstract styles and is a development of the English Art Nouveau Style. Considered modern,  Art Nouveau was a deliberate attempt to create a new style and breaking away from tradition and using impressive line work. The patterning is what stands out in Klimt emotionally expressive paintings.

Detail of Klimt's Sunflowers
Detail of Klimt’s Sunflowers

Gustav Klimt could clearly paint oils in the traditional style, but instead he used materials such as gilding in a unique way and created patterns and richness that has an etherial quality. He used media such as casein paint, gold paint, black and color chalk, graphite, applied plaster, mirror, mother-of-pearl, curtain rings and more.

Water snakes (Friends)
Water snakes (Friends)
Detail of Beethoven Frieze
Detail of Beethoven Frieze

His experience in mosaics informed his work and he was also commissioned by the to build a large scale mural frieze installation as part of a sculpture exhibition in the Secession Building in Vienna in 1902.

Installation Team for Beethoven Freize
Installation Team for Beethoven Freize
Beethovenfries 1902
Beethovenfries 1902
Beethoven Frieze close up thanks to Austrian Artist Gerwald Rockenschab
Beethoven Frieze via Austrian Artist Gerwald Rockenschab

Originally build of light materials the wall was intended to be ephemeral, so it is amazing that it still exists today. The Frieze can be viewed and recently a close up is possible thanks to an installation by Rockenschab.

Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt


“Art is a line around your thoughts.” – Gustav Klimt

“I can paint and draw. I believe this myself and a few other people say that they believe this too. But I’m not certain of whether it’s true.” – Gustav Klimt

“All art is erotic.” – Gustav Klimt

“Today I want to start working again in earnest – I’m looking forward to it because doing nothing does become rather boring after a while.” – Gustav Klimt

“Even when I am being idle, I have plenty of food for thought, both early and late – thoughts both about and not about art.”– Gustav Klimt

If the weather is good I go into the nearby wood – there I am painting a small beech forest (in the sun) with a few conifers mixed in. This takes until 8 ‘o clock.” – Gustav Klimt

“Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.” – Gustav Klimt 

“On my first days here I did not start work immediately but, as planned, I took it easy for a few days – flicked through books, studied Japanese art a little.” – Gustav Klimt




Ihti Anderson (Ukraine)

So far the information I have found about Ihti Anderson has been only on his website and esoteric print magazines about visionary art and music festivals. He started as an artist creating backgrounds for psychedelic music parties and has continued to create images and make immersive decorations for such events.

Ihti Anderson’s work is etherial, and light filled consisting in energy patters and light trails that geometrically emanate from and around his subjects. The images look digitally created but actually they are hand painted with brush and airbrush using UV reactive paint.

Infinity Dragon
Infinity Dragon - Detail
Infinity Dragon – Detail

His work is also found on custom wearable art, motorcycles and cars,  and both indoor and outdoor installations of decor. The decorations often consist of stretched fabrics which are airbrushed and illuminated in 3-D overlapping shapes that create a colorful relaxing atmosphere for contemplation.

Decoration Installation
Decoration Installation
Decoration Installation
Decoration Installation

Ihti did not study art but rather practiced it from a young age.  He draws upon sacred geometry and the symbols found in cultures all over the world in addition to his imagination which he believes has now boundaries.

“The development of our own imagination, gives us wings, and they help to fly through the worlds of our subconscious, from my own experience I can say, that these worlds much more broader and multidimensional than the world we see with our eyes.” – Ihti Anderson

Infinitely Glorious Elephant
Infinitely Glorious Elephant
The Cosmic Structure
The Cosmic Structure

“This art opens doors to other dimensions, into the worlds of the subconscious, expressing what is hidden from ordinary human eye, presenting  other creatures and objects that can not be touched or explain.” – Ihti Anderson


His work can be purchased on the web site  Art Collider and on his own website:

Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, 1929)

Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama has been interested in the Pop Art movement since the 1960’s, having moved to the United States in 1958 from Japan. Although she was sometimes violently discouraged from pursuing art by her abusive mother, she ended up seeking out the arts as a method to cope with her insecurities and developing obsessive compulsive disease.  By embracing the bright colors and psychedelic forms of Pop Art, Kusama channelled the phantasmagorical hallucinations she had beginning in childhood into something therapeutic, not only for herself but for her audiences too.

kyayoi-kusama-beloved-media-029 In her early career she painted, sculpted and worked on performance art such as “Happenings.”  As a feminist, she has brought political aspects to her work, and a type of playful edgy sensuality.

Performance Art

She is particularly known for her polka-dot artworks, performances and installations. Environments that she sometimes places herself in the middle of, like a camouflaged entity in her natural environment. By finding ways to blend in with her created world, she sought self obliteration as a way to unite with the infinite universe.


When I arrived in New York, action painting was the rage, de Kooning, Pollock and others. I wanted to be completely detached from that and start a new art movement. I painted obsessional, monochromatic paintings from morning till night. They were huge paintings that had no composition like a 33-foot white infinity net painting. -Kusama

Kusama – Studio 1958
Infinity Mirror Room - 1965
Infinity Mirror Room – 1965

…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity. -Yayoi Kusama

More recently, she has made use of LED technology to build immersive art, where guests can enter and experience something like an infinite reflection of stars in space as seen in her work entitled, “Mirrored Room.” She attempts to give her viewers a glimpse of eternity and actually become it through immersion.

kusama5 kyayoi_kusama-22 kusama6

In 1977, Kusama checked herself into a psychiatric institute in Japan where she continues to live, working in a studio across the street. Despite being diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Kusama as remained a prolific artist who continues to create awe inspiring work and push the boundaries of what art is and what it does.

Major retrospectives on her work have be held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Tate Modern and in 2008 and she sold a work for $5.1 million, a record for a living female artist at the time. Also she has written several books and been a long time avant-garde influence in the fashion world. She says she will paint until she dies, always pushing to create more art for the healing of mankind.


Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment. -Yayoi Kusama

Promotion by Louis Vouitton



Hilaire Hiler (American, 1898-1966)

Hilaire Hiler is a charismatic artist and color theoretician with psychoanalytical training born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He  sailed to France in 1919, studied at the University of Paris and ran a jazz club, where he painted interior and exterior murals. “The Jockey Club” was a hangout for artists and literary figures, including Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway and Anais Nin.

American Indian figure painted outside the Jockey Club in Paris
American Indian figure painted outside the Jockey Club in Paris

He moved to San Francisco in the 1930s, and executed murals for the WPA at the location which is now the San Francisco Maritime Museum. Originally designed to be a public beach bathing house, due to a dispute about a casino that would take over the building, Hilaire organized a walk out before the project was completed, however it was nearly finished.

WPA murals, SF Maritime Museum Exhibit, photo by M. Jones
Another view, SF Maritime Museum, Photo by M. Jones

He became interested in “structuralism” in art, and a balance of form and color in the latter part of his career. He created a room at the SF Maritime Museum building called the “prismatarium,” which was recently restored by conservators to its original glory as a full spectrum rainbow color wheel covering the ceiling with grayscale gradients covering the walls.

Prismatarium, photo by M. Jones
Prismatarium, photo by M. Jones
Waterfront 1939
Waterfront 1939
Orange, Blue, Green Split Complement, 1944
Orange, Blue, Green
Split Complement, 1944

He wrote several books on color, painting techniques and paint recipes including:

From Nudity to Raiment: An Introduction to the Study of Costume, 1929

Notes on the technique of painting, 1934

The Painter’s Pocket-book of Methods and Materials, 1937

Why Expressionism? 1946

Hiler Hilaire
Hiler Hilaire


“A painting must satisfy man’s geometrical instinct. ”

-Hilaire Hiler



Mario Martinez (American 1977)

Mars-1 at Work
Mars-1 at work on Afterthought

Artist Mario Martinez, who also goes by Mars-1,  was born in Boulder, Colorado and grew up in Fresno, California where he was inspired by graffiti art, comics, and science fiction. Through his visual art, murals and sculptures he creates worlds of material and etheric atmosphere in complex acrylic paintings swirling with colorful geometric forms and strangely familiar organic shapes. His paintings depict visions of transcendent and universal subjects like worm holes, nuclear physics and celestial phantoms. Martinez often collaborates with other artists such as Alex Grey, Brendan Monroe and Doze.  Guests of the Symbiosis Gathering at Pyramid Lake were able to watch a collaboration take place between Mario Martinez, David Choong Lee, Damon Soule, and Oliver Vernon.

Check out Mars-1’s website to see more of his work:

Acrylic on linen
84 x 108 inches
Strange Cargo, 2008




Mario Martinez (Mars-1) x Brendan Monroe Acrylic on paper, 2012.
Mario Martinez (Mars-1) x Brendan Monroe
Acrylic on paper, 2012.
Bicycle Day  Collaboration with Alex Grey San Francisco April 20, 2012
Bicycle Day
Collaboration with Alex Grey
San Francisco
April 20, 2012


Mario Martinez Photo by Mairead O'Connor
Mario Martinez
Photo by
Mairead O’Connor



Judy Baca – Muralist (American 1946)

Muralist Judy Baca is a Chicana artist working in the mural style of many artists from Mexico before her. She is also a political activist who started the community arts organization Social Public Art Resource Center in Los Angeles.

She is most well know for “The Great Wall of Los Angeles,” the largest mural of its time in Los Angeles started in 1974. Taking over 4 years to complete, this mural is half a mile in length and receives regular restoration treatments.



Judy Baca’s mural work was recently the subject of political debate in the city of Los Angeles where the fine line between art and other stuff (advertising, signage, graffiti) was challenged.

Baca’s work continues to push the boundaries to help continue to evolve the definition of art to include all useful methods, rather than the narrow definition allowed by city governments. In the past, only murals created in fresco were allowed to fit the definition of a public art mural because other types of applications are seen as ephemeral.  Several cases have been to court over this issue and the unfortunate removal of murals in California. Previously murals painted in acrylic or aerosol were in danger of being removed based on definitions that did not recognize advancements in technology and conservation methods, sometimes murals would be removed if they had not been painted with a brush!


Baca and her group SPARC have defended art in many mediums with many styles of application. The debate has now moved to the technological arena, some debate whether the use of digital projection, printing and painting on panels can be considered art. The question comes down to what is intended to be permanent and what classifies a work of art as being valuable to a community historically.



Under the Visual Artist Rights Act (VARA) and California Art Preservation Act (CAPA) there are many rights that Artist’s have but are typically not aware of. Judy Baca and SPARC have defended artists in these rights and art has been able to proliferate in ways that might have been smashed down without the guidance and support that Baca has provided and fought as an artist herself.




Amanda Sage (American 1978)


Amanda Sage is an American Artist living in Los Angeles and Vienna Austria.  Sage grew up in Boulder Colorado and attended an arts school where she met teacher and artist Hiraku Hirata. She studied in Vienna and became a student artist Ernst Fuchs becoming his assistant and mentee for over 10 years. She studied the Mische-Technique, using oils, acrylic and casein in a wet medium and now teaches courses in visionary art and painting techniques that appear to glow with light on the canvas.



“She who works with her hands is a laborer… She who works with her hands and her head is a craftswoman…
She who works with her hands and her head and her heart is an artist”

 – St Francis of Assisi (masculine and feminine reversed from original version by Amanda Sage)


Banksy – (British – Contemporary)


This’ll look nice when it’s framed.

Banksy is a British Street Artist, whose work in known all over the world. His highly skilled stencils convey a political point of view. Anyone can see a Banksy because he paints outdoors in the urban environment and only recently has entered the world of museums and galleries. Much of his work is ironic like the pieces seen below.

Powerwashing the Cave Painting
Painting on the Israeli Wall

This painting on the Israeli Palestine border is one of his political commentaries on what is happening in the world right now.  It draws upon traditional Trompe L’Oeil styles of mural painting to show what the reality is. Also the context is very important, the child walking past may get a glimpse at a better possible life and may be inspired in the face of this insane 30 foot tall barrier.

Stop and Search

This work, Stop and Search, was actually cut out of the cement wall in Bethlehem to be displayed in a gallery in England. It is unclear whether he approved the removal of his work from the public, though he has gone on record discouraging this type of behavior. Surely, after the removal of the art the wall was patched up to maintain the purpose of isolating communities from their resources.

Quote by Banksy 

“When you go to an art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires.” – Banksy

“If graffiti changed anything it would be illegal” -Banksy





Daniel Burnham (American 1846-1912)


Daniel Burnham had a plan, and being part of the City Beautiful movement, he felt that beauty could increase quality of life. He imagined that San Francisco could be redesigned to compete with Paris and other major cities.

His vision was an overall plan that would create a unity in design for the entire city, based on classical architecture. From the region of the Civic Center, he envisioned a wide artery that lead from Market Street to the top of Twin Peaks. A grand staircase would be accessible to all, culminating in a beautifully protected natural amphitheater at the top on the eastern side.

Burnham’s Plan for San Francisco

On the eastern side of the highest peaks of San Francisco he observed a stunning valley with water ways running to the Pacific Ocean, by way of Lake Merced. Today the Muni Train “M”  cuts through these peaks and travels through this valley as it exits the West Portal Tunnel and continues to San Francisco State located near the lake. He dreamed of preserving the vale with its sparkling streams and uninterrupted views.

The view that inspired Burnham to save this area of SF

He had proved his talent in design as the Director of Works for the World’s Fair in Chicago, known as the World’s Colombian Exposition, or “White City.” He also designed the Grand Central Station in NYC, the Rookery Building in Chicago and other large-scale innovative projects around the world.

The Rookery Chicago, where he held his office with partner Root.

Burnham was an advisor for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, where he got to revisit his ideas for SF after most of his them were scrapped after the earthquake of 1906. Unfortunately, this natural disaster shook up the city and stalled his grand plans. This could have been an opportunity to invest full force into the plan but the scale of the destruction was too large. Burnham was only able to influence the design of City Hall and surrounding areas.


To hear a great account of his style and determination, check out the historical novel “The Devil in the White City.” The book gives a great sense of what life was like at the time of his life during the turn of the century, following Burnham and America’s first serial killer during the  Worlds Fair in 1893. Many people today look back to that time and wish to return to that era of innovation. The wonder and accomplishment of that  has left a lasting impression.

Union Station, New York

Burnham envisioned Chicago to be the “Paris on the Prairie,” and was able to use some of his plans for the exposition to make that happen. Still in Chicago, not all of his ideas were realized, however, it is fun to imagine where you would be walking if his plans had been completed. The elegant classical forms would have been inspiring and one might get the feeling of being inside Maxfield Parrish painting with its greek columns and unified design.


“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood. ”

“Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die. ”

Daniel Burnham 1846-1912

Daniel Burnham