artist: Trent Nahas

On December 1, Sid and I have been creating and exhibiting art in this relatively unknown gem of a space on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, conveniently just a few blocks from our home and studio.  The entire building is encircled and tattooed with murals, graffiti, street art de rigueur that is curated monthly, and on the sidewalk in front, is an exemplary smattering of what lurks inside: eerily beautiful sculptures of metallic-clad female travelers burst from another dimension, partial busts hanging in air like alien stalactites; antique carnival and farm bits; mannequins; street art-festooned televisions, bicycles, mohawked buddhas,  sometimes the owner's pets—an ebulliently affectionate pit bull appropriately named Mara—and Pallet Space mascot, the proclaimed Bad Cat—all this and the occasional patrons smoking outside next to the oil lamps flickering in the unusually crisp winter air.

Inside is what the purveyor has created: a collective artspace, borne from his antique shop—which is more of a curiosity shop and wonder cabinet— and art gallery.  He has invited several artists to participate this winter in what could be described as a bazaar, featuring their art in his space, not only as gallery space but workspace as well.  Purdey Darrow, the establishment's steward and proprietor, is almost always there when the doors are open, greeting everyone who steps through the portal...  He doesn't exclude anyone, not even the half-crazies, muttering and sputtering, careening around vulnerable breakables, art pieces, etc.  Purdey will tell you that they tend to find some solace within the space, that for a tenuous moment, they calm down, or perhaps all the information being piped in from the collective unconscious finds its way through a filter of art, eclecticism, and compassion.  Purdey may be art's greatest cheerleader.  It is common to hear him give a rousing pep talk to young artists and/or anyone who may harbor artistic potential.  I have received a few myself, and seasoned as I am, his enthusiasm is infectious and greatly welcomed.

So tonight I am eschewing the clubs and bars and spending New Year's with the people I've been spending most of my time with and will be creating art, playing music, installing a couple pieces I've been working on site-specific.  There's no cover charge: there never is, even for the Second Saturday live art and music that happens here every month.

Sid and I have been devoting all of our time and resources to the development of what is an entirely new creature for us: a space where we interact with the public and our art and offer it up for sale.  It's the most challenging aspect of representing oneself, determining a monetary system to value one's creative expression and then communicate that, and the art, to another, whether enthusiastic or mildly curious, all tiers of our capitalist caste system.  Until the perfect angel of a salesperson/manager enters our realms, I'm hawking art on San Pablo...  

Black Elk belt
Black Elk belt [posterior]

Nidhana-Petaka: "Hidden Treasure"
artist: Chris Sia
Virago: artist Chris Sia

So you're invited....  to come see the plethora of work that's come out of us, solo and in our ever-evolving collaboration.  We're all in....  as they say in cards, or sex....  We both feel good at this time, pouring everything into it, even as we make sacrifices to pay the bills.  And we're continuing to expand, yep, Universe, we are anteing up...  I've been saying for years now, "I make art because I have to."  And now I've completely invested in it.  If you need to augment your New Year's attire, we will custom couture your ass so you will outshine Jean Paul Gaultier, the U.S. Ice Dancing Team, Ru Paul's Drag Race and the late Kim Jong Il.  Or just come by and say hello and have tea and we'll give you the tour.  Say goodbye to 2013 with us.  We're ready for a New Year.

an –[em]bracer, our signature accessory

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