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Local Social

On my trip down to LA I passed by a beautiful wall piece on Abbot Kinney. This wasn’t your average wall graffiti. The design looked like someone had plastered the wall and carved out a sketch back to the brick that lay beneath. I quickly ran home to figure out who was behind this. The person was Portuguese street artist VHILS (Alexandre Farto). Using construction tools, VHILS exposes and confronts architectural surfaces. He etches with acid and bleach to de-construct the walls and finishes with the use of hammers, chisels and drills sculpting the stenciled pieces to create texture, dimension and layers. This type of subtractive work is only a piece of the talented pool of techniques he uses to create breathtaking visuals. He’s one artist to keep watching. Watch the video on the making of this work via Arrested Motion filmmaker, Carlos Gonzalez!

VHILS "Abbot Kinney" Venice wall art

VHILS "Abbot Kinney" venice art wall

LS artist VHILS Portugal "Abbot Kinney" Venice

Photos and Video // Carlos Gonzalez with Arrested Motion

Posted by on June 29th, 2012 at 4:22 PM | Comments (0)

I just had a fantastic weekend with my lady-lings (shout out to the lovely Timanda from 100LayerCake crowd) down in LA and came upon an interesting piece of art in the Mondrian. It reminded me of the work by James Turrell. Turns out, it is the same artist! Imagine that. At first glance, you may notice the square on the wall as a TV screen, light comes in and out of a range of fluorescent colors. But on closer inspection you realize that it’s actually a deep hole where the abstraction of depth challenges your idea of reality.

This is a view of the stairs leading up into the Turrell’s Ganzfeld piece (similar to the Mondrian but on a much larger scale sans stairs). Watch the video to see the full effect below if you wish.

"James Turrell" light installation art color

James Turrell is a master in his field. He is a master of light. He explores the diverse manifestations of this immaterial medium while working towards a new, space-defining form of light art. Light is used in his pieces as a way to change our perception of how surface, color and space interact. The result is the creation of a mysterious, painterly world that viewers are not only inspired to participate in, but sometimes walk right into.

"James Turrell" light installation art color
Bridget’s Bardo
photo // Florian Holzherr, 2009

"James Turrell" light installation art color
Bridget’s Bardo
photo // Florian Holzherr, 2009

James Turrell – The Wolfsburg Project – English subtitles from Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg on Vimeo.


Posted by on June 25th, 2012 at 9:41 PM | Comments (0)

I made it out of the house this weekend just in time to catch a few of the open art studios around my neighborhood that were a part of East Bay Open Studios. Every year, Pro Arts, a Bay Area advocate for contemporary arts in Oakland, produces the largest art event in the East Bay, showcasing over 400 artist studios. We, as a part of the 50,000 visitors from all over the Bay Area, have a chance to glimpse behind the doors of the creative artists that contribute to making our city more engaging and interesting. Below is just a handful of what I saw. You can see more this coming weekend as East Bay Open Studios continues on June 9th and 10th: 11-6pm. Go to Pro Arts to read more and download a map for the participating artists’ studios. You probably don’t even realize that you can walk out of your door and find an artist studio just around the corner! Go to the event and tell us what some of your favorite studios have been this year. We’d love to get your feedback.

KJ Appleton
"KJ Appleton" "Pro Arts" perspective color art Oakland

"KJ Appleton" "Pro Arts" color art painting Oakland

Benny Alba
This was cool. Benny had made this huge mural. Once you bought one of the many 11×17 paintings (on the bottom row), you could cut a rectangle out of the mural (wherever you wanted) and take home another piece. Great idea.
"Benny Alba" "Pro Arts" color art Oakland

Howie Katz

"Howie Katz" "Pro Arts" sculpture art Oakland

"Howie Katz" "Pro Arts" sculpture heads art Oakland

Posted by on June 4th, 2012 at 6:13 PM | Comments (0)

It’s finally here! Oakland’s Grit and Glamour iPhone app, composed by none other than moi, has arrived! LS was asked by Know What to contribute to a new iPhone app that gathers some of our country’s smartest, most creative people and websites together to share their favorite things and places. What makes this different that Yelp you ask? The app is a new type of hyper-curated city guide helping people like you and me get the most out of everyday life without all of the extraneous comments and poor matches. If you like a local blog, you might like their app! Know What is available today in the iPhone app store. Read more below.

"Know What" "iPhone application" "Escape Apps"
Blog and Application Graphic Design // by Marty Kenney

The coverage Currently the app covers the greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas (the LS guide is the only one on Oakland, by the way), but will soon cover Seattle, Portland, New York City and Chicago as well.

The result? An app with well over 1,000 amazing places in these two cities alone – all from people audiences trust. Each places comes with a detailed review / insider tips, beautiful photos, addresses, phone numbers and turn-by-turn directions. See the complete list of contributors below.


• Buy the app for $2.99 – less than your morning coffee —and get 400 built-in recommendations: The Know What Essentials. 200 in LA and 200 in SF.

• 1,000s more places can be added to the map through in-app purchases of our contributors’ collections. Purchases range from $.99 to $3.99 depending on the size and subject.


Los Angeles:
• Aileen Holmes, local artist: OC: Sooo Not the Land of Bland
• Caroline on Crack, Drink Here: LA’s Best Craft Beer and Cocktail Bars
• Eddie Lin, Deep End Dining
• Esotouric, tour company: Charles Bukowski’s LA and On the Trail of the Black Dahlia
• Francesca Lia Block, author: LA’s Dangerous Angels
• Gustavo Arellano, columnist, editor, OC Weekly: The Best OC Restaurants!
• Jessica Ritz, Discerning Dining for Accompanied Adults
• Joshua Lurie, Global Eats: Southern California; Prized Pig, LA’s Best Pork Dishes
• LA Bizarro, bestselling guidebook: 50 Ways to Lose Your Mind
• LA Freewalls, street art collective: The Biggest Street Art Gallery in the World
• Los Angeles Conservancy: Top 50 of 60s Architecture
• Mark Frauenfelder, co-founder Unicorns, Carnivorous Plants and Other Angelenos I’ve Known and Loved
• Modern Hiker, LA’s Best Hikes
• Raina Lee, author: Karaoke Domination
• Rebecca Woolf, Fashion & Fun (for You & Your Fam)

San Francisco:
• Burrito Eater, San Francisco’s Top 30 Taquerias
• Camper English, The City’s Best Cocktail Spots
• Carolyn Jung, Ultimate Guide to Bay Area Dining
• Catherine Weis, Local Social: Oakland’s Creative Renaissance
• Gary Singh, San Jose Metro columnist: Things in San Jose that Don’t Suck
• Joshua Lurie, Global Eats: The Bay Area
• San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association: SF’s Secret Parks and Hidden Oases
• SF Hertiage: Essential SF: The City’s Architectural Icons; The Building Blocks of Auto Row and Pacific Heights: The Epicenter of Old San Francisco
• Thinkwalks, Everything Explained and Local Nerd!
• The Best Food in the Bay Area as Picked by Genius Experts
• Victoria Smith, Sfgirlbybay’s Bohemian Modern San Francisco
• White Walls: San Francisco Street Art

Posted by on February 9th, 2012 at 3:55 AM | Comments (1)

This past week, we did a City Guide post for Design Sponge Online on Oakland! In case you didn’t catch it, here it is or just read on below. It was so fun to create and even better to share with you, our readers. Please do add on (send us an email) if you have a place that just can’t be missed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t include everything, there is just too much to do!

"Michael Wertz" Oaklandish "Lake Merritt"

Illustration // Michael Wertz

Bio: Catherine Weis, along with Gretchen Krebs, is the co-founder of Local Social: An art and event styling company in Oakland, California. They formed the group as a platform to explore a shared love and talent for throwing parties and bringing people together. Between Catherine’s strong individual background in graphic design and Gretchen’s experience in interior design they can collectively curate every element of the events that they host and design to provide a unique experience for their guests. So far they’ve hosted gatherings focused around everything from felt-making to mixology, to urban gardens and pickling, to orchestrating a full-scale pop-up dinner and art event.

I moved to Oakland in 2000 and always thought I would move to San Francisco because I heard so many amazing things about the culture there. But after living in Oakland for a little over 10 years now, I can’t seem to pull myself away! The diversity and history of Oakland, not to mention the cheaper living and constant growth, has kept me glued. Sure it’s a gritty place; but a place, nonetheless, with a great mix of historic art deco architecture and an emerging contemporary eclectic style. Oakland is also rich with culture: over 100 dialects and languages are spoken in the city and it’s the birthplace of the Black Panther movement as well as home to the Hell’s Angels and now many ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

Oakland is experiencing a revival similar to Brooklyn, the alternative sister city to New York. It offers a younger, hipper, underground scene, and fresh, new exciting things to see and do! In my eyes the two most impressive revolutions taking place are the underground art world and the culinary scene (not to mention the wine and mixology scene), both now in full swing and impressively rivaling that of our neighbors across the Bay in San Francisco. But families and children are not to worry: there is plenty of entertainment for all ages to enjoy. Take a look below for a list of some the best Oakland has to offer. It’s a roster as rich and diverse as the city itself.

I’ve been praising Oakland for it’s culture, it would be wrong of me not to mention the variety of activities that abound in Oakland, from family oriented wholesomeness to nightlife excitement. Where to begin: Fairyland, summer movie nights in the Temescal neighborhood, farmer’s markets, Art Murmur, Gondola rides on our beloved Lake Merritt, swimming at the Lake Temescal, and shopping in the Rockridge district, to name a few. Because of Oakland’s size, it’s almost impossible to hit every area, so I’ve picked out a few for your viewing pleasure.
(check out our full design guide after the break)

Posted by on July 29th, 2011 at 3:58 AM | Comments (14)