There's plenty to see and do on first Fridays in Oakland, but my top pick for what to check out tomorrow evening is "So Young," an art show at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records, featuring works by two talented Oakland artists: Jon Stich and Shannon Shaw.
If Jon's work looks familiar, it might be because you've seen his striking watercolors gracing stories on The Bold Italic. Aside from him work for us, I've become a huge fan of his, especially his drawings and paintings of celebrities like Chris Farley, Tupac, and Jacques Cousteau (What I'd pay to be in a room with all of these people together... or I guess, their ghosts).
If Shannon Shaw's name sounds familiar, it might be because you've heard her powerful pipes leading garage rock band, Shannon and the Clams, or performing at our formal dances at the Verdi Club with Dusty Stax.
Wanting to know a bit more about the show than the Facebook invite could tell me, I reached out to Jon to get it straight from the horse's mouth.
TBI: What's the theme of the show? Why is it called "So Young"?
Jon Stich: Shannon came up with the title, and we are kind of taking different approaches. The crux of the work is portraiture of iconic figures, some who have had their prospective 15 minutes of fame run up way too soon, some who have sadly died young, and some of whom just spark up nostalgia that our generation would have fond or disdainful memories. The work juggles humor, tragedy, and absurdity – mostly absurd in my case.
TBI: What types of pieces are in the show?
JS: The pieces are all on paper, some in color, others in pen and ink. Most of mine are dinosaur drawings with iconic human heads. The first one I did was called "Mr. T-Rex", and everyone since then has made less and less sense name-wise. At this point I'm not quite sure what to name them, I just have fun doing it.
TBI: How did you and Shannon get paired together to do this show?
JS: Shannon and I are both CCAC Illustration Alumni [now CCA], and though we weren't in the same class, we met through some mutual Oakland art friends.
TBI: How are your works similar to Shannon's? How are they different?
JS: Shannon and I both create works that are realistic in some ways, yet loose in others. I think the fact that we both went through the illustration department at CCAC around the same time shows. We have some Barron Storey and Dugald Stermer influence for sure.
TBI: What piece are you most excited about in this show?
JS: Neither Shannon nor I have seen each others' work before hanging the show, so I'm just excited to see what she came up with. I've been drawing '90s celebrities on dinosaur bodies nonstop now, so looking at anything other than that will be a breathe of fresh air. And her Steve Irwin piece is fantastic.
TBI: Anything else you wanna share with?
JS: Guest appearance by Jeff Goldblum!*
*In illustrated form.