In addition to the increasingly popular and highly recommended fun, monthly Oakland Art Walk (first Fridays at the numerous gallery spaces, including Rock Paper Scissors and Mama Buzz Cafe, within the happening few blocks of Telegraph and 23rd), this weekend's 4th Annual Temescal Street Fair, further down Telegraph Ave. towards Berkeley between 48th and 51st Streets, and featuring tons of talented up-and-coming local artists, is further proof of Oakland's exciting ongoing grassroots arts explosion. Sponsored by the Temescal Merchants Association and the Temescal Telegraph Community, the Temescal Street Fair, which will take place on Saturday, June 9th from noon until 6:00PM, will feature a lot of genuine local artists. Unlike many fairs, which feature out-of-town vendors peddling stuff purchased for resale, the Temescal organizers insist that all artists create all their own work and, equally important, they live in Oakland.
Mixed-media artist Sarah Chase is such a participant. And under the moniker Lucky Space Monkey (the name of her cute clothing line -- t-shirts, hoodies & handbags -- that features funny monkey imagery), she will be one of the artists displaying/selling her wearable art on Saturday -- specifically t-shirts that have screen printed images and embroidery. These images will include hot rod cars, flames, skulls, dragons, sharks and waves. Sewing since she was 8 years old, Sarah is also a painter, and the images on her clothing line are inspired by her paintings. The designs draw upon imagery of the circus, pirates and urban myths and the Loch Ness monster (including her pic above left titled "Lore of Levithan").
"I do both painting and sculpture, but right now my focus is on painting. I used to blow glass and sew plastic sculptures that inflated with 1960's hairdryers," said the artist, who was born and raised in New Jersey but moved out west several years ago. She first moved to Washington state and then to the Bay Area. Once in the Bay, she first lived in San Francisco and more recently moved to West Oakland, where she has a cavernous home/studio space in a building (a converted factory) occupied by numerous other artists and musicians. Both her paintings and clothing have recurring monkey themes. I asked the artist just how and when her fascination with lil monkeys started. "When I first moved to San Francisco I stumbled upon a book about the history of the circus," she said. "I fell in love with the monkeys and the elephants." And how do people react to her monkey images? "Mostly positive. There is some humor in them and some strangeness like something inside out."
Lucky Space Monkey will be just one of many Oakland artists out en force at the Temescal Street Fair that in addition to art will feature a fashion show, community booths, a kids' stage, food (including Lanesplitter Pub and Pizza) and live music on the main stage from acts including the Brazilian Grupo Dende and the Venezuelan Music Project. The main musical act scheduled will be Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca at 4:30PM. The fair is about eight blocks from the MacArthur BART and will offer valet bike parking by East Bay Bike Coalition. For further information on the Fair click here.