Enlightenment BarbieThe Harmonious Coexistence of Supposed Opposites"Several years ago, I had a sudden, ecstatic enlightenment 'ZAP' while sitting outside, hungover at brunch. The event caused an immediate shift - a radical realization that everything is divine - and has transformed me from the inside out. Fundamentally, I look at everything differently than I did before. My artwork is about that transformation, that moment, and the idea of perpetual divinity. It caused me to create these artworks, my own heavenly host of religious icons - each a unique shrine to the subtlety, grandiosity, and hilarity of the essence of reality.
These pieces are metaphors for the bizarre, discordant battles that wage in the subconscious - being so maniacally angry that you begin to laugh, or being so overwhelmed with the juiciness of life that you start to cry.
Within each piece is a narrative of life and death, beauty in suffering, and humor in darkness. Visually and symbolically, there is a push and pull between seemingly opposing forces. A guarded, wounded saint shimmers in gold blood on hot-pink rocks; a blissful guru sits smugly in the park, smirking as she releases an energetic spell; a crucified female christ lifts her head in transcendence, bleeding gold and rainbows onto the fertile ground, where flowering mushroom gardens grow below her. The sickly-sweet colors, cotton candy clouds and psychedelic rainbows bring an unusual balance to the underlying content of work - discomfort, frustration, and confusion exist -but, simultaneously, beauty, absurdity and silliness exist. This is the full spectrum of opulence surrounding us in our human experience. Seeing this first-hand has compelled me to share this fulfilling vision.
I begin my collages with my photographs of women, creating digital studies for each piece. I comb through vintage illustrations and my own photographs of landscapes and architecture to find the perfect visual material. Then, each Photoshop layer is printed out individually, hand cut, and layered onto panel together with complex layers of paper, gold foil, and rhinestones. A layer of UV resistant resin gives each original collage a luscious shine.
'Enlightenment Barbie' is a name I use for both myself and my artwork. It’s a cheeky joke about the coexistence of beauty and intelligence, as well as the description of the quintessential Goddess - powerful, all knowing, and strikingly beautiful in appearance and intelligence.
Since late 2014, I have been creating these artworks full-time (under the moniker 'Enlightenment Barbie') from my home and my studio in the Mission district. With this devotion to my work, I have seen numerous sales, as well as incredible exhibition opportunities and projects - from StARTup Art Fair Los Angeles to Conception Art Fair Miami during Art Basel - to creating album art for up-and-coming musicians - to shipping artwork to collectors across the U.S. - to seeing an overwhelmingly supportive base of fans develop worldwide." -GK
Gillian Keller grew up in Montana and Washington State before embarking on an unusual, circuitous collegiate journey that eventually led her to graduate from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, emphasizing in painting, mixed media drawing, and installation sculpture. The majority of staff there thought she was a bit odd. She moved to San Francisco the day after her college graduation in 2010.
Fun Fact about myself: As a kid, I wanted to become a cartoonist, and frequently went hiking in dresses. I've been lucid dreaming as long as I can remember, and have always had a mystical outlook on life. Nowadays, I enjoy involuntary astral travel, neo-psychedelic rock, wine, and meditating in heels.
Art Attack SF Blog
Wyrde originated as an Anglo-Saxon concept corresponding to fate or personal destiny; relating extraordinary character to supernatural causes. “Wyrde San Francisco” is an exploration of how “weird” is defined by place, and how place is defined by the characters drawn to keeping it wyrde.
Learn about the artists who are keeping San Francisco wyrde! "Wyrde San Fransisco" opens on July 8th and will be on view in the gallery and online until July 10th.
Justine Kessler is a San Francisco native who draws inspiration from local history, the occult, feminism, pop culture, and mythology. With a degree in art and psychology from the University of Vermont, Justine’s education and experience have lead her to exhibit her mixed-media taxidermy and illustration work around the Bay Area and throughout Vermont. She uses glitter to symbolize the fingerprints left by magic, and the energy that holds the universe together. Through taxidermy she gives critters once destined to be snake food new reality as creatures of fairy tales and myth. In her illustrations, Justine uses reoccurring imagery of cats, skulls, crystals, and mythological creatures to create an imaginative world of charismatic and potentially dangerous characters. She lives in San Francisco with her charming cat.
Justin Beale was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. He attended the Peck School of the Arts at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where he received his BFA in ceramics in 2012. After graduation he began working primarily in oils, flirting with glitter along the way. He draws influence from the Bay Area Funk Movement, Classical Renaissance, and the LGBTQ community. His work explores the space in between unknowns, the expressive and the sublime, reality and abstraction. He has exhibited at an international, national, and local level, and is currently residing and working in Alameda, California.
David Hunter is a native Californian, he graduated from San Francisco Art Institute in 1988 with a BFA in painting. He has been involved in the Mail Art Network since the early 80's. He resides and works in San Francisco.
Persia Phillips was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and currently reside in San Francisco, where she is completing her BFA in Painting and Drawing at the San Francisco Art Institute. The power of two is a significant element in her work. Where one is perpetually isolated through either the means of language, intimacy and social constructs, two figures interlace into one. Through found and given imagery she purposefully paints people she has no connection with, challenging herself to achieve continuity with the subject matter at hand and with the substance of paint itself. Heavy emphasis is placed on manipulating the texture of paint, acting as a catalyst between abstraction and figuration.
Kate Jestin Taylor is a New Jersey-born artist who relocated to San Francisco last year. Combining her interests of wildlife conservation, animal rights, and portraiture, Kate draws inspiration from the animals that inhabit the world with us and the relationship they have with humans. Kate graduated from Skidmore College in 2014 with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in studio art. She lives in the Western Addition with her dog, cat, and boyfriend.
Eddie Soto is a New York native who recently relocated to San Francisco. Eddie started drawing mushrooms because he felt that they were always hiding in the dark. He wanted to give them life by drawing them human characteristics. All of the mushrooms he draws are named Gus. His primary medium is soft pastels and charcoal. He loves the color blue.
Learn about the artists here:
Deanna is a Pixar Character Designer and trained 2D Animator. Her latest credits Include Inside Out and the Good Dinosaur. She has over 12 years design experience, contirbuting to various commercial, television, and feature film projects for Laika, Sony, Nickelodeon, Unviersal Pictures, ReelFX and Disney TV, while simultaously teaching classical animation courses at college level. Deanna is currently desiging away on upcoming Pixar feature film projects.
Want to know more about Dee and see more of her art? Check out her social media sites:
Eliza was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. She was classically trianed as a fine artist since the age of twelve. At seventeen, Eliza moved to Los Angeles to pursue an animation education at CalArts; she wanted to be involved in film as well as to continue drawing, which are her biggest artistic passions. Eliza was invited to do an internship at Pixar and has been an animator there since graduating in 2010. She has made award-winning short films and has a new on in development.
Want to know more about Eliza and see more of her art? Check out her social media sites:
Zaruhi Galstyan is a Character Designer at Pixar Animation Studios. Her family moved to California from Armenia when she was 6 years old. She graduated from the Character Animation program at CalArts in 2009 and started her career at Pixar Animation Studios as an Art Intern on Toy Story 3. She has been working at Pixar for the past five years, mainly on an upcoming feature. Her Armenian roots have been the subject for her latest personal artwork and something she hopes to continue to explore.
Want to know more about Zar and see more of her art? Check out her social media sites: