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!
nicole mueller artist
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
My recent exhibit Light Matter came down earlier this spring from Davis, California. If you missed seeing the show in person, here is a gallery walkthrough in photos. Light Matter explored ways color and light can be used to create portals and pathways, how painting can help us navigate states of flux, and how galleries can become like sanctuaries.
This show involved my most ambitious installation to date, and it was such a privilege to take over the Pence Gallery's main gallery space in order to realize it.
Read more on the show below.
Here are some details of my piece Forming Light, a sculptural installation of blue and yellow acrylic pieces, laser cut and hung from the ceiling.
For her exhibit Light Matter, Mueller envisions the gallery as a sanctuary with colorful “stained glass” works, including an immersive window installation, collages, and vertical, window-like paintings.
Mueller activates the glass tower, a prominent architectural feature of the Pence Gallery, with a site-specific installation. She reinterprets the medium of stained glass with materials such as cut dura-lar and acrylic in suspended, organic shapes that reference natural phenomena like storms and hurricanes, or the more benign dappled light that filters through the trees into the gallery on a daily basis. She brings the longstanding tradition of stained glass with its connotations of spiritual or sacred spaces, into the gallery with impermanent materials, re-envisioning the gallery as a sort of chapel. In so doing, the artist compares the role and relationship of galleries to sanctuaries, particularly how a sanctuary can offer a space for reflection and possibility.
As colored light filters through to cast abstract shapes on the floor and walls, Mueller aims to give physical form to the abstract sensation of light, merge the tangible and intangible, and provide pathways for moving through liminal states that remain in constant flux.
Mueller’s works are both exuberant and complex, with shifting figure-ground relationships, vibrant color, and pockets of deep space creating pathways that weave in and out of compositions both dense and open-ended. 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 motion in between chaos and cohesion.
In this way, she makes manifest our inner desire for work that offers us space for reflection, reminding us of our own presence—and to be present—in the midst of shifting environments, and with a perspective that ultimately, expresses hope.
Light Matter was supported by the Mark M. Glickman and Lanette M. McClure Artist Award, given to emerging artists producing innovative work within California.
For inquiries on available works from the show, please email email@example.com
I am very excited to share news of my solo exhibit Light Matter, opening next Friday at the Pence Gallery in Davis, California. If you are local to the Bay Area, I invite you to attend! Here are the details:
The opening reception will take place on Friday, March 9th from 6:00–9:00pm. The show will be on view through April 13th, and I'll be giving an artist talk on Saturday, March 24th from 1:00–3:00pm. All of these events are free and open to the public.
The Pence Gallery is located at 212 D Street, Davis, CA 95616 and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 11:30am–5:00pm.
I'll be presenting an entirely new body of work, including large-scale paintings, collages, and a site-specific installation.
This show is supported by the Mark M. Glickman and Lanette M. McClure Artist Award, given to emerging artists producing innovative work within California. I am thankful to them for helping make this exhibit possible!
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.