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Home FEATURES Monica Canilao

Monica Canilao
Written by Jesse Pollock   
Wednesday, 11 October 2006 05:12
Interview with this great Oakland based artist who has a guinea pig named "The Karate Kid".

Jesse Pollock brings FF another great interview from this Oakland based artist. She's holding a benefit show @Space Gallery this Friday, Oct 13th to help pay for some medical bills that she needs to pay... Go to that show, buy some work, and then quickly make your way over to Fecal Face's Outer Mission Art Walk/ Drink Link that's going down the same night!

What do you do and where do you do it?

M: I make stuff. I do it in Oakland.

My experience from living in Oakland is that very few people I met were actually from the Bay Area. Are you from here?

M: Born, raised, and still rising. I was actually born in Redwood City though; a town half way between SF and San Jose. Only kids from around here have ever heard of it. Right now West Oakland is where I call home. Our house is on the very last street in Oakland before it hits the water. This part of Oakland is called the 'Lower Bottoms'.

What's your favorite restaurant in Oakland?

M: Golden Lotus (on Franlkin) is where I blow the money that I don't have when I can. I eat meat now but it's still the best, vegan or not. The coffee will kick your ass. The cheaper, healthier version would be Great Wall (on College), but because I don't live near it anymore I hardly ever go there.

You have been showing work for quite a while now so I'm sure you have seen Oakland grow with galleries, shows and the whole scene in general. How do you feel about art in Oakland right now or the Bay Area in general?

M: I think it's great and I think parts suck. I feel lucky to be part of the Bay Area art scene because people really try and support each other here. If you have a project you want to make, I've found that people will support you however they can… whether it's hooking you up with materials, helping lug all your crap somewhere so you can hang some ridiculously massive installation, or just drinking a beer with you. Within the last few years people have finally, collectively, been getting off their asses and making creative spaces out of what used to be just talk a few years ago. Good things are happening here. The growing gallery presence weighs differently in Oakland than it does in the City though. The gallery scene is still a developing force here that, for good or bad, is still finding its place. Artists move into poorer areas because they cannot afford to live (or open galleries) in other places, just like everyone else who make homes there. No one wants to disrupt the flow of a neighborhood or upset the folks who have been living there for forty years. With these spaces bringing in visitors en mass that wouldn't necessarily frequent these parts of Oakland, some people are bound to get pissed. Change and development are inevitable in Oakland, but they don't have to be a negative force. But every situation is different. Some ass bought up a bunch of the lots at the end of our street and has been bulldozing them to build these horrible condos.. that I think is what's at the opposite end of the spectrum. If anything is sucking right now it's that project… he's trying to make this whole neighborhood unaffordable for everyone. I moved to West Oakland to get away from everyone but then everyone, just in the last few months, started to move into this area. It's not a bad thing so long as people are respectful. It's nice to have friends closer but it's just all happening very fast. We are all kind of grouped into this one massive entity whether it be punks, hipsters, art kids, scenesters, hippies or whatever, people just need to remember that what effects us one, effects us all. I just want to support my friends, make some stuff, and have my little garden… oh, and a dozen or so animals.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

M: Tokyo. I really want to go back to Japan. People just aren't assholes like people in the US. They have better seafood, rice balls at the corner stores, care is put into the presentation of everything, and you can drink on the streets. Problem with Japan is that I could never afford to live there. Right now I wouldn't leave Oakland if it where ten feet under water.

How did you like CCAC? I get a lot of these art schools mixed up. Is that one of the good ones? Are you an art school proponent?

M: I liked CCAC... I'm also glad you called it 'CCAC' instead of 'CCA'. So you win. I probably wouldn't be able to be living off of just making art like I do if I hadn't gone to school for it, if only for the resources and contacts I made there. I am not a business minded person what so ever and still am not, but I took a lot out of being in that environment for four and a half years. Things that are helping me now. I do support the idea of kids going to school for art, but I also believe that half of them don't belong there. I'm not trying to be a jerk, I would just like to see more people do something with what they go to school for. I guess that applies to all things your going to invest that amount of time and money into though. I think art school can be a good thing if you take advantage of the resources around you and use the skills you pick up along the way to teach and help out others… apply it to your life. .. I can't say if CCAC is good or bad. All I can say is that I liked it when I was there and that it's changing. I majored in illustration and spent most of my time in the print department.

You seem to use a lot of different processes to make your art. Do you have a favorite or do you just use whatever you are feeling like at that moment?

M: I Usually just find something I have lying around that will work for what I want to make and start with that. I'm always picking up stuff, so there really are just piles of semi-organized crap I have amassed. While I was in school I'd always get yelled at for not wanting to draw out rough drafts. After a while I just started drawing the roughs after I did the finished piece.

You also seem to do a lot of pieces that are pretty sprawling. Do you like working big or small?

M: I like to make big things, but because I don't have a car sometimes it's hard. It doesn't stop me though. The things I make just happen as I go. I guess I like to switch it up. I feel like if I had the space to make larger things I would. With installations I'll just bring what I can carry or fit in the car I'm borrowing for the moment, hang things until I run out of room or supplies, and hope I don't have to carry anything home. It's gotten to the point where if I am going to install an installation the people will just tell me to pick a space and go for it. If I had a truck things would probably transpire much quicker… but that would be too easy.

Where do you pull the inspiration for your pieces from? What inspires you?

M: I've always been really interested in peoples relationships to things (possessions) and each other; where they live, what they surround themselves with, and how what they do in life effects those around them. I am also inspired by the limitless creativity of my friends. Homes and buildings contain all of these things, so I am automatically interested in the history and individuality of them. It's hard to live in Oakland and not get inspired. So corny..

What kind of music do you listen to while you're working?

M: Old rock bands, friends playing music, metal ballads, pretty stuff, blues, stuff that don't suck. Do you think music plays an important part in the creation of art? Do you play any music yourself? M: Of course it does. Bands are always practicing in my living room and the only thing I can do is go hide in my room and work on stuff. I don't know how to play anything. I have a horrible memory and have no capacity for learning things like instruments or languages.. I'm not that lucky. I sung in a band once. We played some shows and it was good times. You know, wizard stuff.

I have also been talking to a lot lately about working during the day versus working at night. Are you one of those artists that can only work after dark and keeps night hours?

M: I used to be more of an all night person before I started sharing a room. Once I had someone to sleep next to, all of a sudden there was a reason to go to bed. I'm kind of working all of the time though. Usually I'll just want to work on whatever work I'm not supposed to be doing. It's been kind of hard to leave my house because I keep myself loaded with projects with too-soon deadlines. I usually leave important things for the very last minute and some how pull it all together. That part usually happens at night or right before I have to go install something.

That new sign for Needles and Pens is pretty rad. How did you get mixed up with Needles and Pens?

M: I cut that sign out of a piece I tore off of the abandoned house next door. It's historical so I guess that means the sign is too. Ha ha- no? No. My friend Julia told me about Needles and Pens and that I had to go there. I got to know Breezy and Andrew through a combination of slinking around there, knowing the same people and selling patches. They are good folks and I don't think people appreciate enough all the stuff they do.

Can you tell me about the benefit show you have coming up?

M: Last March I got very, very ill and ended up in the hospital three times, the last stay lasting half a month. Because I don't have insurance I ended up with $53,000 in medical bills and no way to pay for them. Luckily, I am a stubborn cheap skate and would rather harass bill people than pay up. After months of phone calls and letters requesting hardship assistance I got the amount owed down to just under $3,000! After the bills stared rolling in a friend of mine suggested I have some kind of art benefit to help pay for them. A show was set up and "POOF!", next month (actually, this Friday. 10/13/06. details). I thought a solo show was a boring idea and it would have been too hard to fill that amount of space, so I decided to make it an group (silent) art auction instead. More people's work, more interesting. Booze, food, music, fun. About forty five friends are donating work for the show, I'll have work to sell, and all proceeds will go to paying off these wretched bills that have been haunting me. The show will be up for a week and the auction will last until the end of the night. There will be surprise band(s), drink specials, food, installations, good kids and possible nudity. The reception is October, Friday the 13th at Space Gallery in San Francisco.

Anyone or anything you are really excited about right now?

M: I just got a chicken and a rooster a few weeks ago. They are beautiful. I have farm animals now. I also have two rabbits, a guinea pig named 'The Karate Kid' (all adopted off of Craigslist), a large white injured dove, a pigeon missing half a wing named 'Finger', and my other bird 'Mama.' The little black stray cat we started feeding is pretty much ours too. His name is 'Lemons'. We built the coop and hutch out of things I found in the streets around my house, and picked up an aviary and other cages for free off of craigslist. I also have a horribly impressive garden where pretty much all of our produce comes from. We keep all of our animals and shoot arrows in there too. So I guess the answer is that I finally have a yard that's big enough for me to do shit like this. I also got really obsessed with going to the Laney flea market… until I ran out of money. For a while I was bringing home a different kind of vintage weapon every Sunday.

You can see more of Monica's work at her website: www.monicacanilao.com

Also check out Monica's upcoming benefit show at Space Gallery on October 13th and her solo show at Needles and Pens on December 2nd {moscomment}

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In a filmmaker's thinking, we wish more videos were done in this style. Too much editing and music with a lacking in actual content. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.


AJ Fosik in Tokyo at The Hellion Gallery

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FRENCH in Melbourne

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Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

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Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


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Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

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Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

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The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

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contact FF

The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 10:34

When works of art become commodities and nothing else, when every endeavor becomes “creative” and everybody “a creative,” then art sinks back to craft and artists back to artisans—a word that, in its adjectival form, at least, is newly popular again. Artisanal pickles, artisanal poems: what’s the difference, after all? So “art” itself may disappear: art as Art, that old high thing. Which—unless, like me, you think we need a vessel for our inner life—is nothing much to mourn.

lead

Hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional—the image of the artist has changed radically over the centuries. What if the latest model to emerge means the end of art as we have known it? --continue reading

 

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Friday, 16 January 2015 09:30

"Six Degrees" opens tonight, Friday Jan 16th (7-10pm) at FFDG in San Francisco. ~Group show featuring: Brett Amory, John Felix Arnold III, Mario Ayala, Mariel Bayona, Ryan Beavers, Jud Bergeron, Chris Burch, Ryan De La Hoz, Martin Machado, Jess Mudgett, Meryl Pataky, Lucien Shapiro, Mike Shine, Minka Sicklinger, Nicomi Nix Turner, and Alex Ziv.

17_ms

Work by Meryl Pataky

 

In Wake of Attack, Comix Legend Says Satire Must Stay Offensive
Friday, 09 January 2015 09:59

Ron-Turner

Ron Turner of Last Gasp

"[Satire] is important because it brings out the flaws we all have and throws them up on the screen of another person," said Turner. “How they react sort of shows how important that really is.” Later, he added, "Charlie took a hit for everybody." -read on

 

Solidarity
Thursday, 08 January 2015 09:36

charlie

 

SF Bay Area: What Might Have Been
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 09:36

tiburonbridge

The San Francisco Bay Area is renowned for its tens of thousands of acres of beautiful parks and public open spaces.

What many people don't know is that these lands were almost lost to large-scale development. link

 

1/5/14 - Going Back
Monday, 05 January 2015 10:49

As we work on our changes, we're leaving Squarespace and coming back to the old server. Updates are en route.

The content that was on the site between May '14 and today is history... Whatever, wasn't interesting anyway. All the good stuff from the last 10 years is here anyway.

###########
 

Jacob Mcgraw-Mikelson & Rachell Sumpter @Park Life (5/23)
Friday, 23 May 2014 09:22

Opening tonight, Friday May 23rd (7-10pm) at Park Life in the Inner Richmond (220 Clement St) is Again Home Again featuring works from the duo Jacob Mcgraw-Mikelson & Rachell Sumpter who split time living in Sacramento and a tiny island at the top of Pudget Sound with their children.

Jacob Magraw will be showing embroidery pieces on cloth along with painted, gouache works on paper --- Rachell Sumpter paints scenes of colored splendor dropped into scenes of desolate wilderness. ~show details

park_life

 

NYPD told to carry spray paint to cover graffiti
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 10:37

nyc_graffitiNYC --- A new graffiti abatement program put forth by the police commissioner has beat cops carrying cans of spray paint to fill in and cover graffiti artists work in an effort to clean up the city --> Many cops are thinking it's a waste of resources, but we're waiting to see someone make a project of it. Maybe instructions for the cops on where to fill-in?

The NYPD is arming its cops with cans of spray paint and giving them art-class-style lessons to tackle the scourge of urban graffiti, The Post has learned.

Shootings are on the rise across the city, but the directive from Police Headquarters is to hunt down street art and cover it with black, red and white spray paint, sources said... READ ON

 

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010 17:39


Headlands Center Fundraiser -6/4/14
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 07:54

SAN FRANCISCO --- The Headlands Center for the Arts is preparing for their largest fundraiser of the year set to go down on June 4th at SOMArts here in the city. Art auction, food, drinks, live music, etc and all for helping to support a great institution up in the Marin Headlands. ~details

ABOUT HEADLANDS
Headlands Center for the Arts provides an unparalleled environment for the creative process and the development of new work and ideas. Through a range of programs for artists and the public, we offer opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and exchange that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society.

headlands

 

Congrats, Dudes(ette)
Monday, 19 May 2014 09:29

Just want to say congrats to Fecal Face's Rachel Ralph for graduating from SFAI with her masters in curatorial studies. Also want to congratulate Alex Ziv who also just got his MFA in painting. Also a high five to the talented Mario Ayala who also just graduated from SFAI as well! --- All super talented artists (thinkers), and we're excited to see what the future holds for them!

 

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010 12:50


 

 


 

 

 

Alison Blickle @NYC's Kravets Wehby Gallery

Los Angeles based Alison Blickle who showed here in San Francisco at Eleanor Harwood last year (PHOTOS) recently showed new paintings in New York at Kravets Wehby Gallery. Lovely works.


Interview w/ Kevin Earl Taylor

We haven't been featuring many interviews as of late. Let's change that up as we check in with a few local San Francisco artists like Kevin Earl Taylor here whom we studio visited back in 2009 (PHOTOS & VIDEO). It's been awhile, Kevin...


Peter Gronquist @The Shooting Gallery

If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.


Jay Bo at Hamburg's Circle Culture

Berlin based Jay Bo recently held a solo show at Hamburg's Circle Culture featuring some of his most recent paintings. We lvoe his work.


NYCHOS @Fifty24SF

Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.


Gator Skater +video

Nate Milton emailed over this great short Gator Skater which is a follow-up to his Dog Skateboard he emailed to us back in 2011... Any relation to this Gator Skater?


Ferris Plock Online Show Now Online as of April 25th

5 new wonderful large-scale paintings on wood panel are available. visit: www.ffdg.net


ClipODay II: Needles & Pens 11 Years!!

Congrats on our buddies at Needles and Pens on being open and rad for 11 years now. Mission Local did this little short video featuring Breezy giving a little heads up on what Needles and Pens is all about.


BANDES DE PUB / STRIP BOX

In a filmmaker's thinking, we wish more videos were done in this style. Too much editing and music with a lacking in actual content. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.


AJ Fosik in Tokyo at The Hellion Gallery

Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.


Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


GOLD BLOOD, MAGIC WEIRDOS

Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.


Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.


John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners


Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


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