T W G : Design Journal


Robert Ogata painting hangs in an SF apartment designed by The Wiseman Group
Architectural Digest (April 2010)
Photo - Matthew Millman

Kevin Peters, CEO and CFO of The Wiseman Group, was recently in Fresno, California. Kevin's sister, Valerie Chase, was in town on business, and Kirsten Honeyman, TWG : Design Journal blog writer, was having a garden party. Two good reasons to venture into the Central Valley!

Kevin Peters, CEO and CFO of The Wiseman Group, and Valerie Chase listen to Robert Ogata discuss his art
Photos - Kirsten Honeyman

Kirsten arranged visits to two local artists' studios to help her out-of-town guests get a feel for the cultural landscape.  First stop was Robert Ogata's studio in downtown Fresno. Kevin already had some familiarity with Robert's work as there is a piece hanging in a San Francisco apartment designed by TWG. Robert's work has been available in the Bay Area at both Chandler Gallery and SFMOMA's Artists Gallery.

The group captivated by Robert sharing his ideas
The studio is housed in a vintage brick building previously used as a bus barn. The interior is quite spacious, and Robert has created a pristine, peaceful setting in which to do his art.

Fred Hunter of Dreamscape Santa Barbara and Kevin with Robert
Robert graciously explained his approach to his work, his creative process in doing his painting series, and his artistic methods. It was a delight to listen to his sophisticated discussion of the importance of following one's vision and staying true to oneself, especially in our present world of stimulus overload. He is a natural educator and an inspiration.

Robert in front of some of his newer pieces tagged to head up to SFMOMA's Artist's Gallery
Though he is 79 years of age, Robert is a prolific artist and still works five-and-a-half days a week. As a result his studio is a treasure trove of amazing works. Ready to buy a piece? Good luck narrowing it down to the one thing you want!

"Draw Partner" -- a work on paper in the dining area of Dal Henderson's home

After a nice mediterranean lunch at Meze House in the Tower District, the group headed to Dal Henderson's residence in Old Fig Garden. Dal and his wife Suzanne toured everyone around their studio/gallery/art camp home. Suzanne is a children's art teacher and runs summer art camps in their back yard. Dal is multi-talented, able to do both fine art and custom construction. As a result, they live in a jewel-box house of colorful artwork and creative design.

Praying mantis sketched in chalk on the door of the bathroom used by summer camp kids

"Specks", an acrylic piece reverse-painted on plexiglass, lighting up the master bedroom

Spencer Honeyman of ReVive Holistic Design Collective
under a large acrylic entitled "62"

Kevin in the guest room next to one of Dal's large acrylics, "Flap"

Dal talked at length about his approach to his art and his unwillingness to be constrained by conventional ideas about what art is. For example, he has a series of works on paper which are digital prints created with PhotoShop. He views the computer as a legitimate art tool and sees working with it as part of the historical progression from the use of pigment, to oil paint, to acrylic, to digital color.

Dal explaining his use of the computer to make colorful works on paper

Among Dal's paintings and three-dimentional pieces, many in the group were drawn to his renditions of a simple cardboard box. Dal chose to work with the box image as a familiar cross-cultural motif. The various representations play with the notion of convention and constraint on the one hand and "thinking outside the box" on the other. He has created paintings of boxes, has cast small cardboard boxes in bronze, and uses the box motif in several of his prints. Dal will be showing at the 1821 Gallery in Fresno for the months of October and November.

"Red Flap" --  work on paper
"New Box" -- cast bronze