Aug 18 2011

The Black Keys poster by Chuck Sperry wins Art of the Week

The Black Keys Outside Lands poster by Chuck Sperry

Chuck Sperry designed & printed a killer gig poster for The Black Keys per­for­mance at Out­side Lands in San Fran­cisco, CA on August 13, 2011. This 6 color silkscreen poster also won the Art of the Week award at More infor­ma­tion at



Aug 17 2011

Keeper of the Gate by Ron Donovan

Keeper of the Gate by Ron Donovan

Keeper of the Gate by Ron Donovan

Keeper of the Gate by Ron Dono­van, 2011
Mixed Media on panel
144 x 108 inches

Keeper of the Gate by Ron Dono­van, a site spe­cific instal­la­tion for the SFMOMA Artist’s Gallery, can now be seen day or night at the gallery’s pub­lic arts venue: the SFMOMA Garage Win­dows at 147 Minna Street and 150 Natoma Street.

Set against a reced­ing black back­ground, the mon­u­men­tal piece is con­structed with 8 lay­ers of hand-painted wood pan­el­ing, and prints on wood panel, and stands over 9 ft tall and 12 feet wide.  Like the other two artists, Chris Shaw and Chuck Sperry whose work can be found in the adja­cent win­dow spaces, Dono­van chose the female as his sub­ject mat­ter. She appears all encom­pass­ing: part super hero, part vixen, part rock star and part Hindu goddess.

For Ron­Don™, she rep­re­sents strength; and like every­thing (or at least most things he sees in life), the dichoto­mous struc­ture from which its mean­ing is cre­ated.  Strength reflects char­ac­ter­is­tics that may seem con­tra­dic­tory: strength requires vul­ner­a­bil­ity, reveal­ing one’s core truth, for exam­ple, not just courage of one’s con­vic­tions. You can­not have one with­out the other. In lay­ers of mean­ings depicted in sym­bolic adorn­ments, anti­quated and con­tem­po­rary, reli­gious and cul­tural, she is allur­ing yet fear­some. Her swords derive from Hindu iconog­ra­phy sym­bol­iz­ing enlight­en­ment, for use against the dark­ness of ignorance.

She is Keeper of the Gate and she is also strength: fierce and vul­ner­a­ble. She car­ries a Mayan head dress on her head, a chain of human skulls around her neck and sacred tools in her hands. Her form fit­ting fab­ric ref­er­ences Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing and Amer­i­can cur­rency. She is a cross pol­li­na­tion of cul­tures and reli­gions iden­ti­fi­able with soci­eties around the world.   Wear­ing wings she is also like Garuda, the male winged Hindu god, the enor­mous myth­i­cal bird-like crea­ture with keen intel­li­gence and highly devel­oped orga­ni­za­tional abil­i­ties, rep­re­sent­ing the com­bined char­ac­ter­is­tics of ani­mals and divine beings.  Be it man, woman, of any cul­ture, of any reli­gion, “every reli­gion tells the same story,” says Dono­van, and we are one in the same.

Ron Donovan (aka RonDon™)

Ron Dono­van (aka RonDon™)

Bay Area artist Ron Dono­van was raised in Hon­olulu, Hawaii. His father, a pio­neer­ing com­puter sys­tems sci­en­tist with a keen intel­lect, worked on spe­cial projects for the mil­i­tary and his mother, a home maker, wanted her son to pur­sue a pro­fes­sion, law or med­i­cine.  It was his father who encour­aged Donovan’s cre­ative nature and artis­tic abil­ity and sup­ported his desire to fol­low his pas­sion. Dono­van took his tal­ents to the main­land and stud­ied at Cal­i­for­nia Col­lege of Arts and Crafts in Oak­land, California.

It was the 80’s, Rea­gan was in office, yup­pies were the rage, invest­ment bank­ing a ris­ing pro­fes­sion, the mon­e­tary car­rot of cap­i­tal­is­tic dreams dan­gled in front of col­lege stu­dents of the era. Donovan’s inter­est in pol­i­tics and peo­ple found expres­sion through a dis­cov­ered pas­sion: silk screen­ing. His rebel­lious, humor­ous con­sti­tu­tion, immer­sion in the local art and music scene, per­son­able nature, and charis­matic per­son­al­ity uni­fied his peers.

Before long, he became well known for his rene­gade, abun­dant cre­ative energy and can­did expres­sion. Donovan’s Pacific Island back­ground and influ­ence invig­o­rated his focus on Amer­i­can polit­i­cal satire and rela­tions, and multi-cultural stud­ies. It was also in col­lege where he met Chris Shaw, fel­low col­lab­o­ra­tor in the exhi­bi­tion. Later, Dono­van met Sperry and set up a print­ing stu­dio, a Warho­lian fac­tory of sorts, at an old vacated San Fran­cisco fire­house on Polk Street. When they were asked to vacate in the 90’s, they crossed the bay and set up shop in West Oak­land, while retain­ing the orig­i­nal name, The Firehouse.

Today, with Shaw liv­ing nearby in his own live/work stu­dio, the group con­tin­ues to work, col­lab­o­rate, tour, debate and “hang-out.”  With a radi­ant work ethic, the three also con­tinue on, cre­at­ing their own indi­vid­ual art works as well as the rock posters for many famous bands that they them­selves have become known for.

via SFMOMA Artists Gallery: Ron Donovan’s “Keeper of the Gate”.