At our Telegraph location we had an amazing mural by Lena Gustafson that we commissioned for an exterior wall. Our new location is sandwiched between Subrosa Coffee and Broken Guitars. Since we didn't have room for art on the outside, we brought the art inside. Local artist, Alex Steele, created a brightly hued abstract floral design that extends into one of our shop windows. The name of the mural is "In Full Bloom". We asked Alex about her process and inspiration for the mural.
How did you come up with the design of the mural?
I tend to primarily use organic shapes and vibrant colors in my work (I think growing up in Miami kind of did that to me). Pairing my artistic style with the name of the shop (Dandelion Post), I wanted to create a design that was an abstract floral composition that would also compliment some of the fun patterned brands of clothing you carry. I aimed for a loose interpretation of "floral", and created something I felt would be striking without being too literal (of flowers). I feel like BLOOM came out to be recognizable as my artistic style, yet also a new version of it and a direction I want to continue to explore.
You paint on different surfaces from paper, to clothing, and walls. Do you have a different process for each type of surface?
I feel like my creative process is similar no matter what the design ultimately ends up on, whether it's paper, clothing or walls. I am a very hands on artist, and I usually begin by sketching out ideas and cutting paper into a collage form. I often use a scanner to upload collage sketches to photoshop, and use a combination of painting and arranging layers within the program to continue the design.
(Check out Alex's clothing brand, photography, and other work at www.alexsteele.studio.)
I've notice you use a lot of bold colors or a black and white contrast. What makes you gravitate to these combinations?
Funny, I do either go for a bold color palette, or a polar opposite, super minimal black & white route. I'm not sure I could tell you why, it just feels natural and intuitive depending on the project or idea. Maybe it's subconsciously a form of doing a positive or negative, as in photography... Either way, I love utilizing the negative space in a composition as well as contrast.
As an Oakland resident, do you have any favorite spots in the city?
Do you want to highlight any other artists, designers, or makers you really like right now?