Collaborators and Designers
Russell Baldon (www.russellbaldon.posterous.com) is a sculptor and furniture maker who was born and raised in California. He was a partner in his family’s wooden toy business before moving to San Francisco in 1984. After receiving his BFA in Wood/Furniture from the California College of Arts and Crafts and his MFA in Wood/Furniture from San Diego State University in 1998, he studied and worked with some of the country’s leading studio furniture makers. In 1999, he helped to form a cooperative studio in Alameda, CA, where members pursue many commissioned and speculative furniture and sculptural works. Since 2002, Russell has taught in the Furniture Program at CCA, and he has served as chair of the program since 2009.
Kevin Blanquies is an inventor, musician, guitar builder, and tinkerer. He received his BS in Materials Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and has since been making his living as a luthier. The majority of his waking hours are spent hunched over a schematic and a soldering iron in his home studio in Oakland, California. He teaches workshops on video augmentation, has been featured at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and is part of an ongoing collaboration with ‘The Something’.
Slimm Buick (SlimmBuick.com) lives in Oakland, CA with his wife Justine and their two little dogs, Hobo and Scrappy, the basket hounds. A San Francisco native, he has been creating art in one form or another since childhood. Best known for his Art Bikes, or Freak Bikes, he rides them as his primary mode of transportation; he has never possessed a driver’s license. Buick’s works have been seen in film, TV, and in books as well as appearing at SF MOMA, Gene Autry Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for Arts. Recently, Slimm and Justine began hosting monthly discussions on art, music and film at their Bicycle Art Salon.
Jaz Davis is a multi-talented airbrush artist born in Mangum, Oklahoma who earned is professional wings in places like NYC, Honolulu, and the Bay Area. Although Davis practices other artistic disciplines, his main focus is painting. He spent the last 11 years perfecting his craft, as an airbrush artist working in body shops and creating art on the street. He uses his art as a vehicle to connect with people and his community. www.artlyfe.me
From the time she could walk, Annabel Blue Dudash has been interested in taking things apart and trying to put them back together again. When she turned nine she wanted to make favors for her birthday party guests and mutant-making was born. She’s eleven now and with her best friend Elsa they continue to assemble their own unique mutant toys. When not in the mutant laboratory, she excels in math and takes robot-building classes. She wants to be an engineer when she grows up - as for what kind of engineer she hasn’t got that far yet.
Miriam Dym is an artist and business person who seeks to save the world by saving all her trash. She recognizes that her methodology might be flawed and is quietly pursuing alternative means of salvation. While trying to avoid these things in her home, Miriam adores accumulations, heaps and piles, particularly of gravel, boulders, tree branches, 12″ and greater diameter pipes as well as containers, like the kind you see piled up on container ships. (Related to her love of patterns and repetition, come to think of it, Miriam may use a repeat pattern of containers for wall-paper or dress-fabric next season. Has it already been done?)
Dym has an abiding interest in garbage, waste, trash, discards, all of which are really about consumption and excess. If you’d like to see some ways she approaches garbage, waste, trash, discards, please visit DYMproducts.com
B.Spoke Tailor is all about using art and fashion to attract and celebrate bicyclists. Founder Nan Eastep has 20 years of experience as a business owner, designer, pattern maker and sample maker. Her work is inspired by wool, modern sportswear, equestrian clothing and fashion straight from golden era of cycling. bspoketailor.com
ENGAGE at California College of the Arts (CCA) coordinated by the Center for Art and Public Life, places students at the center of project-based learning with a focus on community engagement. The Customization class, as a part of the ENGAGE program, gathered students from the Furniture and Interaction Design programs at CCA. The students explored and gained a new understanding of the theme of customization by researching and visiting local artists and makers in the Bay Area, then worked with the curatorial team of the we/customize exhibition at OMCA towards the design/build of the interactive areas of the gallery and Oakland Rover activities.
Instructor: Barbara Holmes; Students: Bogart Bockman, Kelly Fadem, Najet Ghanai, Marlena Gonzales, Mateo Hao, Asa Hillis, Noah Hillis, Katy Law, Guy Noren, Steve Sanchez, Vivek Shah, Tatsiana Siadneva, Sarah Ward
Justin Limoges makes drawings and objects. His work focuses on the interrelationships between concision and complexity. He is interested in how meaning is created, and how it can be distilled in such a way that allows for both legibility and ambiguity. Justin works as both documentarian and artist on the we/customize project, visually representing the project’s conceptualization and development, while also bringing his sensibility as an artist to bear on the material. He lives in Oakland and is represented by Unspeakable Projects in San Francisco.
Alex Handy is an internationally published technology journalist covering videogames, software development, and Bay Area culture. His work has appeared in Wired, the East Bay Express, Business Week, and the Software Development Times. He has won numerous awards for journalism, and his writings have been used in curriculum at Harvard. Alex is the founder and director of The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, Oakland’s Video Game Museum. Known simply as “The MADE,” they host free programming classes for kids, playable exhibitions of historically significant works, lectures, tournaments, game development parties and community events. The MADE is a non-profit, 501c3, dedicated to the preservation of videogame history, and to educating the public as to how videogames are created. http://www.themade.org/
Obtainium Works is the home base of the Hibernian Academy of UnNatural Sciences, based in Vallejo, California. Recently relocated from The Shipyard in Berkeley, it is an on-going Do It Yourself (DIY) group of tinkerers, gear heads, and steam bohemians who fabricate steam-powered art out of repurposed industrial detritus. They are loosely based on the works of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and other Victorian-era writers who created an imaginary world where steam technology was considered cutting edge and brave explorers could be propelled by gunpowder to the moon! http://www.obtainiumworks.net/
Tim Phillips is an English sound artist, musician and inventor based in Oakland, CA. His work looks at making people curious about sounds and rhythms, while using participation and collaboration to encourage interdisciplinary and unexpected outcomes. Tim received a BA and MA in architecture from Sheffield University, England and has worked on public architecture and installations throughout Great Britain and France. He is currently working for a design studio, Gyroscope, Inc., designing interactive exhibits for museums across the US. Tim’s latest personal project ‘CMT creates: music’ explores combining collaborative art with raising awareness for a disease, Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT). He has recently performed at events including Oakland Nights! Live, CCRMA, and the Thingamajigs and Sub Zero Festivals. timjohnphillips.com
Dan Rosenfeld is an artist and technologist based in San Francisco. His work focuses on the psychological and social aspects of design in order to create new, meaningful experiences. As a technologist, he invented several notable technologies in the area of human-computer interaction, including the first multi-touch mouse, videoconferencing systems which enable proper eye contact among participants, and one of the first systems which allowed users to interact with information through tangible objects. He led the design effort at Microsoft for the product which resulted from the work on multi-touch. His work in the arts includes collaborations with artists like Marie Sester, and independent works like the Big Head Project.
Daniela K. Rosner is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS) at Stanford University where she examines the role repair practices play in generating changes in design and engineering. In the fall of 2013, she will join the University of Washington’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering as an assistant professor. Her research combines design, computing and fieldwork to reveal the social conditions and cultural values that shape and are shaped by digital technology. She has taught interaction design at the California College of the Arts (CCA) and worked in design research at Microsoft Research, Adobe Systems, Nokia Research and as an exhibit designer at several museums, including the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. She holds a Ph.D from UC Berkeley’s School of Information, a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago, and a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in Graphic Design. Daniela is also a regular columnist for Interactions Magazine, a bimonthly publication of ACM SIGCHI. In 2010, she was named an Anita Borg Memorial Scholar.
Lisa Solomon is a mixed media artist who moonlights as a graphic designer and professor. She often questions and deconstructs the meaning of identity and personal histories through the exploration of mediums traditionally associated with domestic crafts. A “happa” [1/2 Japanese, ½ Caucasian] she feels as though hybridization is consistently at play in her work. Lisa shares a home with her husband, her young daughter, a pitbull, a deaf french bulldog, a stumpy tail and three-legged kitties, and many many spools of thread. She has a lovely garden and a kick-ass studio in her backyard that she marvels daily is hers. lisasolomon.com
Tyrone Stevenson Jr. is better known as Bay-be Champ or The Scraper Bike King. Of his own invention, Scraper Bikes are a unique form of artistic expression that draws inspiration from the Scraper Car Culture in the Bay Area. In 2007, Champ and the rap group, The Trunk Boiz, recorded a You-Tube music video based around the concept that received over 3 million hits across the globe. The legacy of the Scraper Bike theme song catapulted Champ into stardom and his organization has been growing ever since. Most recently Tyrone completed the process making Scraper Bikes a 501(c)3 non-profit.
Martin Sprouse specializes in custom furniture and interior architecture for residential, commercial, and cultural environments. Based in Oakland, California, he works within a close circle of collaborative partners and skilled fabricators. Martin’s designs are dedicated to quality and functionality. His work is valued for its coherent concepts and simple innovations. Each piece is designed and built with a comprehensive approach to research and design development. This constantly evolving process is the foundation of Martin’s work and the source of its authenticity. Martin works both independently, releasing his own designs, and with clients on private and public commissions. His wide range of work varies from small, individual designs to complete furniture systems for corporate clients.
Elsa Rudolph Swanson is a San Francisco native who currently resides in Oakland,CA where she is enrolled in the 6th grade at Oakland School for the Arts. She has been making mutants with her best friend Annabel for over two years. Since June 2011, they have consistently shown their work at Oakland Art Murmur. When not in the studio making mutants with Annabel, Elsa enjoys making art in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and glass. Elsa can often be found drawing with her trusty pet gecko named “Coconut” on her shoulder.
Founded on the Mills College campus by Edward Schocker and Dylan Bolles in 1997, Thingamajigs is a genre-crossing arts organization that promotes, presents and performs music created with made and found materials or alternate tuning systems. Their mission is to develop and nurture the exploration of alternate materials and methods of creating sound, and promote collaborative efforts with other artistic disciplines not generally associated with festivals of music. thingamajigs.org
The character Mrs. Vera is the creation of Michael Johnstone and his partner David Faulk and named after the popular designer of scarves. She wears accessories created by Faulk from recycled objects and is also the keeper of wigs and artifacts from Johnstone’s lost culture. In public, Mrs. Vera (David Faulk) and Mister Tina (Michael Johnstone) act as ambassadors at events and festivals to remind people to value difference and celebrate the eccentric aspects of daily life. They often engage friends to participate in group performances under the name of Verasphere. In particular their annual march with the San Francisco LGBTQ Pride Parade.
Lexa Walsh is a socially engaged artist based in Oakland, CA. She works as a collaborator, experience maker, educator, facilitator and participant, engaging in hospitable democracy. The essence of her work is situated in performance and direct engagement, doing interactive public art projects, which bring together members of the public to share in conversation, play, cheer, song, dance and food. She co-founded and conceived of the all women, all toy instrument ensemble Toychestra and is a member of the Czech-American a cappella group Kačkala. As part of the we/customize project, Walsh is creating a remixing station combining sounds from toys and excerpts from the California Library of Natural Sounds.
Located in the heart of East Oakland, Youth Uprising (YU) is a neighborhood hub offering young people services and programs to increase the physical and mental well-being, community connection, educational attainment, and career achievement among youth members.
YU envisions a healthy and economically robust East Oakland powered by the leadership of youth and young adults as well as improvements in systems and environments that impact them. Their primary focus is building a systems change and community economic development platform that supports and strengthens personal transformation work.
Music Instructor Genesis Rubin represents YU in the we/customize project.
Carin Adams is the Associate Curator of Art and Material Culture at the Oakland Museum of California and a member of the we/customize curatorial team. She joined OMCA in 2006 as curator for the off-site exhibition program at Oakland International Airport. A resident of Oakland and the mother of two, Carin has an endless supply of toys to hack. She has BFA from California College of the Arts and a MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jorge M. Gonzalez is the Community and Experience Coordinator at the Oakland Museum of California, and is leading missions to take the Oakland Rover to the Bay Area community as part of the we/customize team. A transplant from the Los Angles area, Jorge has been living in the East Bay for the past 8 years. He has a doctorate in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley where he got his chops as a community advocate. Jorge’s professional and personal background inform his approach to community building.
Scott Moulton is the Senior Creative at the Oakland Museum of California and the exhibition designer for we/customize. While not the most comfortable in social situations, Scott is most inspired when designing for the social space of a museum. He thinks that design is at it’s best when it finds ways to celebrate people and what they do. Scott studied Architecture at UC Berkeley and started a design studio before working for a wide range of museums.
Sean Olson is the Research and Experience Coordinator at the Oakland Museum of California, and is a member of the we/customize curatorial team trio. An artist and an educator, he has an MFA from Mills College. He has taught at Diablo Valley College as well as Mills College. Sean lives and rides his bike in Oakland. Look for the guy with the custom dress shoes with SPD cleats.
Evelyn Orantes is the Senior Experience Developer at the Oakland Museum of California, and is a member of the we/customize curatorial team trio. With over a decade of museum work at OMCA under her sparkly belt, she delivers meaningful moments of honor, discovery, memory and inclusion for visitors, from the annual Días de los Muertos special exhibition to programs stimulating the minds of all ages. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she is the queen of California culture mash-ups, dishing the authentic complexities of California, one exhibition or program at a time.