Please join me for the 2019 Spring Open Studios at Hunters Point Shipyard Artists in San Francisco, Saturday May 4th and Sunday May 5th, from 11am–6pm each day. I’ll be opening my studio along with over 120 other artists throughout the shipyard that weekend. This is only the second time I’ve opened my studio since moving into the shipyard exactly one year ago. I’m excited to be a part of this tradition, now in its 30th year, and will have new work available and numerous works in progress to share. The shipyard is located at 451 Galvez Ave., San Francisco, CA 94124 and my studio is in Building 125. Hope to see you there!
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On Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 I’ll be giving an artist talk at The Oxbow School, in Napa, California. It’s free and open to the public, and I’d love it if you could join! I’m honored to be included in The Oxbow School’s roster of visiting artists this spring, which has a longstanding legacy of hosting artists such as Wayne Thiebaud, Deborah Butterfield, Ann Hamilton, among others. The lecture will take place at 7:00pm at the Culinary Institute of America Theater, which is just down the street from the school. More information on the talk and directions can be found on The Oxbow School’s website. Hope you can join us!
Earlier this year, I moved my studio from East Oakland to Hunters Point Shipyard Artist Studios in San Francisco, and opened my studio for the first time in October. San Francisco Open Studios is the largest city-wide open studio event of the year, drawing hundreds of people out every weekend. Hunters Point is one of the largest artist colonies in the country, with over 200 artists working throughout the converted shipyard. I was thrilled to finally participate, and to share my studio, new work, and works in progress with so many new friends and art lovers. Stay tuned for news about the next open studio event in late spring. Here are a few images from Fall Open Studios.
In September, I created an installation for Rhythmix Cultural Works’ Love Our Island Art Walk in downtown Alameda, CA, as part of their “Radical Beauty” series. Love Our Island Art Walk is an art-centric creative placemaking project that utilizes public art, storefront art installations, and music performances to activate Alameda’s historic downtown districts.
I was given a 40 foot long stretch of windows to work with over the course of two weeks, and created a translucent painting that spanned the length of the vacant storefront. This project gave me an opportunity to combine my painted works with my “stained glass” window installations using colored vinyl and dura-lar. Introducing light was a completely new challenge, and I’m grateful to Rhythmix Cultural Works for providing the opportunity for such a big experiment.
Afterglow, Dura-Lar, acrylic, spray paint, colored window film, 6' x 40' (dimensions variable), 2018
Nicole Mueller activates the corner storefront with a wraparound installation for this pop-up exhibition within a vacant building in downtown Alameda. Best viewed at night, when the interior transforms the piece by creating a lightbox effect, the piece layers clear and colored films to create a translucent, light-filled painting.
Merging traditions of stained glass with contemporary abstract painting into a site-specific collage, the piece is made of clear sheets of dura-lar, painted with acrylic and spray paint, layered over transparent colored vinyls that mimic stained glass, cut into bold, graphic shapes. Together the films act as a filter, slightly opaque in some areas while letting more light through in others.
Mueller’s paintings, which are typically dense and layered, become airy and nearly transparent here when activated with light. Her process-based works are painted, cut, collaged, arranged and rearranged through an additive process of layering, with the resulting works existing in a perpetual state of flux. While her paintings revolve around an interplay between color and light, this piece “Afterglow” represents a new move that brings together the simple, colored shapes found in her window installations with her process-based paintings, introducing light as a new ingredient into her collaged compositions.
In connection with this series on “Radical Beauty,” Mueller aims to beautify an otherwise unimagined storefront, capturing the attention of passerby by presenting an unexpected experience in a public setting, and with her piece “Afterglow” to offer an expression of optimism filled with both color and light.
Last summer, not long after I had moved to San Francisco, I took on my biggest project to date—a 2100 sq. ft. outdoor mural in the industrial neighborhood of Dogpatch. A mix of commercial warehouses and waterfront shipyards, Dogpatch is in the midst of a rapid redevelopment. The mural marked my first time bringing my studio outdoors, and working on a piece of this scale. Bringing in bold blues and yellows to reflect the palette of the neighborhood, the mural existed to bring beauty and color to an area in transition, but the project was short-lived. The building has since been demolished, but today the mural lives on through this incredible video shot by two talented friends and videographers, Mike Gaynor and Justin Carlson.
They did an amazing job capturing the mural's process and the essence of Dogpatch. I'm so excited to share it with you here!
The mural, titled "Overlook in Blue," was entirely self-initiated and self-funded, and made possible with the support of my neighbors within the transient community of Buspatch, local businesses Center Hardware, San Francisco PaintSource, and Cresco Equipment Rental.
More photos of the mural can be seen here in an earlier blog post.
Another thank you to Mike Gaynor and Justin Carlson for their film and video work, and to David Colson for the title sequence and photography.
Recently, I was invited to paint a mural at the new Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, as part of the ArtSpan Transit Center Mural Project. The Transit Center is a new hub for transportation, retail, and green space in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Myself, along with 37 other ArtSpan artists, were selected to transform the empty storefront windows throughout the ground floor retail spaces by painting semi-permanent murals. The Transit Center itself includes permanent public art displays by Jenny Holzer and Julie Chang.
I completed this mural project in only two days, and finished the mural live during the Grand Opening Block Party on Saturday, August 11th, 2018.
I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity, and to ArtSpan for facilitating the project. The paints and materials for this project were generously donated by Art Savoir-Faire using paints from Sennelier's abstract series.
If in San Francisco, you can visit the mural in person, located off Minna Street, in between First and Second Streets.
If interested in a possible mural commission, please email email@example.com.
A few weeks ago, I wrapped up my biggest project to date—a 2100 sq. ft. 70 x 30 ft. mural in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco.
My goal was to bring color and attention to an area in transition, as the mural stands poignantly as the last line of defense against the encroaching construction that starts at the waterfront, and continues to work its way back, absorbing the former industrial features that defined it.
It's also a celebration of this particular moment in time, a privately commissioned piece for the tenants of Buspatch, and easy to pass over, even from the sidewalk or street right beside it.
More about how the mural came together shared here in an earlier blog post. I hope this will be the first of many large public artworks I'll get to work on here in the Bay Area and beyond.
Since the nature of this mural is temporary, we made sure to thoroughly document it with photo and video. Below is the story of the mural, in photos. I look forward to sharing final images of the mural completed, some aerial documentation, and a short video soon.
I would also like to extend my thanks to San Francisco PaintSource, Cresco Equipment Rental, and Center Hardware for their sponsorship and support.
I've begun my first outdoor mural in San Francisco! And I'm thrilled to be working out of my own neighborhood in the Dogpatch (at the intersection of 19th St. and Illinois St.).
While I’ve painted many murals in the past with my former Baltimore-based business Blue Lined Designs, this is the first mural that aligns with my studio work. I hope it will be the first of many!
I haven’t been in San Francisco very long, but I’ve got a lot of love for Dogpatch. It reminds me of Baltimore, with its big industrial buildings and local pride. Many are getting torn down or renovated in neighborhood redevelopment, including the building where the mural will be.
The story of how this project came about is pretty serendipitous. A neighbor posted on NextDoor about a “short-lived mural opportunity.” On our block was a vacant building that would soon be torn down for a mixed residential building to go up in its place. They obtained permission to temporarily turn it into a vibrant and colorful focal point on the block, and I jumped on the opportunity.
Besides being a personal experiment for me (I’ve never done a painting of this scale!), another aim of the project was to celebrate and memorialize these spaces and defining symbols of Dogpatch, as they stand today. Across the street from the mural wall, facing the Bay, construction is already well underway on a public waterfront park, and a complete redevelopment of Pier 70, an old shipyard and industrial center.
What I also didn’t realize at the time is that the parking lot buffering the wall and fenced off from the street (dubbed Buspatch) was home to a group of folks who have been living “off the grid” in the middle of downtown San Francisco—in a self-sufficient system of buses—just one of many empty lots and buildings they’ve reclaimed and transformed over the years and around the U.S.
A transient mural, in the middle of a transient community, and neighborhood.
Though the mural is public by nature, by painting it I was essentially being invited into their home. Any sense of discomfort I had over invading their space or privacy was only met with generosity—from helping to troubleshoot the scissor lift, use their solar power to charge the spray gun, offering food and lunches, and giving me water from their tanks to paint and clean with. Though the nature of all this is fleeting, I can't thank them enough.
This project also became an opportunity to connect with the local businesses that make Dogpatch what it is. With 2100 sq. ft. of wall, and no budget to back the project, I was going to need some help.
I’m proud to say that all of the equipment, paint, and supplies for the mural are being generously loaned or donated by local businesses—which says so much about the character of the community. A heartfelt thank you to Center Hardware, San Francisco PaintSource, and Cresco Equipment Rental for making this at all possible.
We’re taking lots of photo and video documentation, with help from a few friends, which we’ll share in a photo documentary and short video once the mural's complete. We'll also be documenting the building's demolition, whenever that day comes.
Follow along on Instagram for more progress and behind the scenes.
Now that I've had a few months to settle into the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, and set up working in my East Oakland studio, I wanted to share a few announcements from California!
Our transition to the West Coast has been full of ups & downs that come along with uprooting a life and moving cross-country, and the continual challenges of navigating a career as an artist (more on that to come), but I am grateful for the connections and opportunities I've already experienced here in California.
I am humbled to be the recipient of the Mark M. Glickman and Lanette M. McClure Artist Award, newly established to "support the creation of innovative artwork by emerging artists in California."
I'll be presenting a solo show of new work at the Pence Gallery (no affiliation to our VP, thankfully!) in Davis, CA in early 2018. I'll be sure to share details closer to the dates, along with other shows between now and then.
I am also offering a sale on the three new paintings shown below, as a thank you for following and supporting my work!
They'll be 50% off until May 1st, 2017, and available here exclusively in the SALE tab above.
To be the first to hear about future updates, sign up here for my mailing list.
I'd like to announce that I have officially moved from Baltimore, MD to San Francisco, California! I am excited to expand my painting practice here and am fortunate to have already found a studio, within a community of artists, to work out of in Oakland.
I value the connections I've made over the years in Baltimore, and look forward to building on them from California, while continuing to grow forward here. I'm in the process of settling in to the city and studio, gearing up for next year, and looking forward to future collaborations in 2017!