Linden Street Warehouse – The House that Art Built
It’s a bit of an obscure location. Tucked away in an unassuming nook of Redwood City, the Linden Street Warehouse is not what one would assume to be even occupied, let alone a creative hub, busy with artists crafting their own wares. The prior owners of this space were cigar makers and architects, artisans in their own right, but this industrial looking fortress, with little natural light has ben revived by a group of artists. Large bright canvasses, collages, sculptures, etchings, monotypes, experimental art involving melted bubble wrap, jewelry, even textiles, they all live in this house that art built.
The Extremes of Art
Not only is there a variety of art being created by the artist inside, their work spaces are just as varied. Palettes of personal expressions that range from eclectic displays of utter disarray to open, sparse, sterile areas you could probably perform surgery on. I was rather fond of and indeed surprised by how open and peaceful the space was. Amazing how each area was different and in such close proximity, but didn’t feel crowded. Indeed this locale has been peacefully and harmoniously segmented in an almost feng shui tradition. Even the flourescent lighting went unnoticed until pointed out. Perhaps the warmth of the art is contagious, and its spectators overcome by the creativity that even covers the floors.
The Legacy of Art
Two very different instances of art as legacy stuck with me when talking with one of the artists, Kalani Engles. Kalani has a well-known series of large monotypes based on the Perfume River in Vietnam. They are bright, and soft, and beautiful and in her words almost a fairytale. A fairytale because on her first trip to the Perfume River, it neither looked nor smelled like perfume. When she asked a native why the name, he replied that in autumn the orchards along the bank would deposit all their blossoms into the river, giving it a wonderful scent. As pollution and dredging of the river for sand to make cement interferes with the future of the Perfume River, Kalani’s art is a nod to preserving the past and informing the present. A legacy for us and this river.
A box of monotypes sat expectantly by the press Kalani was showing me and as the box was moved she allowed as how the prints were from the 80’s and she was giving them away. The studio was nearly sucked of air from the shocked gasps. How can you do that? Why would you do that? As it turns out, after having the undesirable task of sorting through boxes and boxes of a former artists work after their death, Kalani made the decision that she didn’t want anyone, least of all her children, to ever have that unfortunate duty. Art is lasting, but it is intended to live, not die in a box. Why not select some that haven’t sold and release them out into the world. Float them down the river as it were, letting others enjoy. One of the perks of being a successful artist for 30 years is you can “afford” to distribute some of your art without too much attention to profit or covering costs. But, perhaps the better philosophy is what motivates a real artist to create in the first place and how can you afford NOT to share if you have the means?
Silicon Valley Open Studios
Many of the 11 artists sharing this space will be showing their art today (Saturday) and Sunday from 11am-5pm as part of the 25th Annual Silicon Valley Open Studios. Just one of over 160 spaces on the peninsula that will be open over the next 3 weekends. I can’t recommend a visit more. What an opportunity to walk the space, view the art, and talk with passionate people! You might even find something that strikes your fancy to take back home with you for your own art house.