The iris garden at the Three Creeks Trail in San Jose.

Bike by some irises

The water tower with the 3 indicates the entrance to the Three Creeks Trail in Willow Glen.

The Three Creeks Trail is a relatively new addition to the paved trail system in San Jose. It connects to the Los Gatos Creek Trail and the Guadalupe River Trail.

I love to find these small, hidden gardens. When we recently checked out the Three Creeks Trail in San Jose we came by the Iris Garden.

Snow Flurry, a white iris, in the iris garden on the Three Creeks Trail in Willow Glen.

This is a tribute to Ruth and Clara Rees who successfully crossed varieties of irises in the Willow Glen neighborhood. ‘Snow Flurry’ was created as a white iris with “broad, ruffled paddles, clear hafts, several buds in each spathe, good branching and excellent blue-green foliage.”

After some more research I found out that Clara really hit the jackpot and in 1939 grew “the most important iris ever created”.

Snow Flurry became the parentage of all modern TB irises. The iris garden used to be a much larger development in Willow Glen, and this little strip is all but an homage to them; honoring the botanist and flower lover Clara Rees.

Have you noticed the iris garden along the Three Creeks Trail? 

Resources:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/18/iris-gardens-return-to-the-reopened-three-creeks-trail http://www.historiciris.org/photos/snow-flurry-lm.html

https://www.historiciris.org/articles/notable-clara-rees.html

https://cbris.org/

https://theamericanirissociety.blogspot.com/2018/12/clara-b-rees-queen-mother-of-iris-world.html

https://theamericanirissociety.blogspot.com/2012/02/clara-and-ruth-rees-san-joses-iris.html

http://wiki.irises.org/Main/Bio/HybridizerReesClara

Clive McCarthy's painting at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

Get inspired by art

It’s always great to go see some art. If the admission is free and the art contemporary what holds you back?

Stephnie Syjocu, Total Transparency Filter at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ISA) is located in the hip SoFa district. They regularly participate in the South First Fridays Art Walk, a self-guided nighttime tour through downtown’s art institutions.

Currently there are four exhibits running till the middle of March. 

Sense of Self – Bay Area photographers explore the subject of self. Artists are Marcela Pardo Ariza, Tammy Rae Carland, Erica Deeman, Jamil Hellu, and Stephanie Syjuco.

Electronic Paintings – by Clive McCarthy.

Chimera – by Stas Orlovski

LGBTQ+ Youth Space – a continued discussion about self and identity by the LGBTQ+ Youth Space. 

Mark your calendar: March 6th, 2020, First Friday will be co-hosted by the LGBTQ Youth Space and will feature performances, activities, and workshops around topics of identity, representation, and empowerment.

Clive McCarthy's painting at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

Clive McCarthy’s electronic paintings were my favorites. Large computer generated images, newly invented with each brush stroke of the pixel palette, creates a movie like assemble of an image. To mix up his generative art – art created by a computer algorithm – he will change the image sets every two weeks. You can even review his code in a separate room across from the lobby.

ISA is open every day of the week except on Mondays. Admission is free.

Where do you go to be inspired by art?

Semaphore, Almaden Tower in San Jose.

Crack the code

Have you ever noticed the four round lights on top of the Adobe Almaden Tower in San José? They look like cat eyes turning to a rhythm.  Every 7.2 seconds they change their position. 

Adobe Almaden Tower's semaphore, San Jose.

This is a semaphore – in the early days a semaphore was the person holding two flags to send messages by changing the arm positions. In computer terms it is a variable used for multitasking operations. This semaphore has four wheels each of them can change into four different positions. Enabling it to have a 256 item vocabulary. It is transmitting a code that you can spend weeks to crack. 

Ben Rubin was chosen as the media artist to install this artwork in 2006. By 2007 Bob Mayo and Mark Snesrud cracked it. It took them 3 weeks to find out the semaphore was spelling out Thomas Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49.

Adobe Almaden Tower's semaphore, San Jose.

The code has been solved twice now. The most recent update was in October 2012. 

You can spend hours in front of the building or check out Adobe’s website to study the pattern. If you are successful in deciphering the code you can submit it to Adobe and they will award you bragging rights and a year’s subscription for the Adobe Creative Cloud. In 2017 the Tennessee math teacher, Jimmy Waters figured out that the code at that time was a sound file voicing Neil Amstrong’s famous sentence: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

A true Silicon Valley experience. 

Have you ever cracked a semaphore code?

Resources: 

https://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/philanthropy/sjsemaphore/
https://sf.curbed.com/2017/3/13/14913006/adobe-semaphore-code-cracked-tennessee


Front facade of the art and art history at San Jose State University.

Regard the future of art

Announcement for the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery.
Excerpt for (inter) Facing - Fall 2019 Digital Media Art Faculty Exhibition.

The current exhibit held by the faculty of the department of art and art history at San Jose State University is called: (Inter) Facing. This digital media art exhibit runs until September 20th, 2019 at The Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery. Virtual reality drawings and an opera with video game imaging are some of the highlights. With six annual exhibits the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery is worth visiting often.

Announcement board for the Student Art Galleries at San Jose State University.
Announcement and excerpt of the O Belcher Gallery.

Across this gallery is the O Belcher Gallery that also has a digital media installation with some techno music. 

Outline hanging on the wall for Not a Straight Line, SJSU.
Peak into the exhibit: How not to draw a Straight Line, SJSU.

While wandering the hallway I found two more galleries. I really liked that it wasn’t just art ‘presented’, but one could feel that a lot of thought went into how it got presented. Not a straight line, for example, had the outline of the exhibit on six papers on the wall.

Notepads to record your critiques, SJSU.

Every gallery had a notepad for you to write and critique the exhibit.

You could feel that art in its myriad forms was present throughout SJSU.

During the academic year the galleries are open Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm. Tuesday evenings 6 pm – 7:30 pm. Admission is free.

Where do you feel the future of art?


100 block mural project, San Jose

See 100 murals

The 100 Block Mural Project is going for a Guinness record. They created 100 murals, each their own 3×3 space, as a large continuously collaborative mural. You can admire the artwork at 300 First Street in San Jose, across the California Theatre.

Some of the 100 Block Murals
Some of the 100 block murals
Some of the 100 block murals
Some of the 100 block murals

The creators of this, Exhibition District, are not only on a mission to beautify the city; their plan was to discourage graffiti. And, what is really amazing, they paid the artists for their murals.

Two of the 100 block murals

And given that women are present but not well represented in the art community, they achieved a great set of statistics. Of the 100 artists, 90% of the artists are local, 50 males, 40 females and 10 non-binary.

Each of the art pieces has a different feel. But it is not overwhelming, rather fascinating. The official unveiling was done March 1st, 2019, so you’ll be able to still get a fresh look at them. While you are out check out other murals around. The SOFA districts booms with murals. But clearly the 100 block is something special in the world of murals. It brightened up a rainy day for me. More please!

Have you seen the 100 Block Mural Project?

Resources:

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Artists-Collaborate-for-Guinness-World-Record-Mural-in-Downtown-San-Jose-506468401.html



Ping pong table at Del Monte Park, San Jose

Serve up the ping pong

When my son was in third grade ping pong was the ‘in’ sport. Back in Germany, they do have concrete ping pong tables near schools and in parks everywhere. When we go back we usually play a match at least once. Now in my attempt to make this the most-interesting-summer-ever our first outing was to find a ping pong table.

We set off to Sunnyvale and checked out the PPC Swan Ping Pong Club. But it turns out they currently hosts summer camps and all tables are taken. I think with a little preparation we could reserve a table.

Ping Pong at Del Monte Park, San JoseAnyway, I knew of a park that does have one of those concrete ping pong tables. The Del Monte Park in San Jose, a tribute to the old cannery that stood nearby, is a brand new park with a playground and a dog park. Wedged in between the kids and the dogs is the ping pong table.

We played a while and had fun until we both stepped on the two balls we brought. That’s a quick way to halt the game. In a nearby store we not only found new ping pong balls but a huge green ball, we then invented our own game. Playing ping pong with a beach ball, Del Monte Park, San Jose

Playground at Del Monte Park, San JoseAs an extra bonus the playground still had some challenges for a teenager. This was a great start into the summer!

Do you know of any opportunities to play ping pong in the Bay Area?

 

Ride in the park

Ride in the park

World’s largest full pipe, Action Sports Park, San JoseThe recently opened Action Sports Park on Lake Cunningham in San Jose has a bike and a skate park. The skate park was built in 2011 and it’s California’s largest with 68,000 square feet. In fact there are two world’s largest pipes, namely: full pipe and cradle. The vert wall is the world’s tallest.

Watch Tony Hawk and other experts in this 3 minute video on their sneak-peek opening experience:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1EgSwmps6Q

Riding zone at the Action Sports Park, San JoseThe brand new bike park surrounds the skatepark with some impressive hills and ramps. They have a small fleet of bikes for rent. Also the very important helmets and pads can be rented. There are no age restrictions, if you are under 6 you need an adult with you. Allowed are all kinds of bikes, even unicycles!

Different skill levels guide you through the seven riding zones. Spectators can hang out and enjoy the free wifi.

 

For $7 per person, you can ride all day (annual membership available), but there is also a $6 parking fee (and an option to buy a annual parking pass). The Action Sports Park allows outside food, but they also have a concession stand and a BBQ area.

 

Have you been to the Actions Sport Park?

 

Silicon Valley open studios directory

Chat with an artist

3 weekends

360+ artists

28 cities

150+ locations

These are the impressive statistics for the Silicon Valley Open Studios in the first three weekends in May 2018.

Silicon Valley open studios directoryEach weekend is dedicated to an area in Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, some artist’s work can be seen in multiple locations. The best place to start this adventure is by downloading the directory or checking out their website and consulting the map. You might also find the directory at a newspaper vending machine in the area.

Once you are on the road look for sandwich boards with arrows and “open studio”. This makes for a fun treasure hunt before you get to the treasure!

Chatting with the artist is encouraged. After all, the motto for the Open Studios is Connecting artists to the arts enthusiast. So, please ask questions, be enthusiastic, and buy a piece of art.

 

2018 Open Studio Dates – 11am to 5pm

WEEKEND 1: Northern Area – May 5th – 6th

Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Stanford, South San Francisco, and Woodside

WEEKEND 2: Central Area – May 12th – 13th

East Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Stanford, Sunnyvale.

WEEKEND 3: Southern Area/Pacific Coast – May 19th – 20th

Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Saratoga, El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Miramar, Montara, Moss Beach, and Pacifica

 

Have you in previous years explored the Silicon Valley Open Studios?

 

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

A museum of quilts sounds, at first glance, not too exciting. In fact it sounded a bit dusty to me. But I was more than once surprised at the diversity of the items on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Vien Le Wood, printed hair samplesThe current exhibits can be viewed until April 15th, 2018. The first exhibit opens with a short video about hair. (See, unexpected.)

In the video we see women getting patterns screen printed with dye onto their hair. Examples of printed hair are also on display.

Chuck Stolarek takes us on a mind journey, seeing astonishing objects fabricated into a time consuming medium. I particularly liked the ‘shirtains’. Shirtains by Chuck Stolarek

Paul J. Smith, a Director Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Design in NY, is showcasing his collection for the first time. Here you see textiles from around the world. The arrangements are interesting, and you learn about cultural aspects of patterns and textiles.

Without a Net by Susan Else at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and TextilesMy favorite exhibit was Susan Else’s “Without A Net”. A colorful installation about the circus using textiles, sound and motion. The circus theme is used as a vehicle to twist your mind. An elephant on a unicycle on a rope starts off the show. A view behind the scene after dark has a tiger throwing darts at someone. The horses riding on the people in the merry-go-round are a perfect ending of the upside down.

The open studio for the two artists in residence, Michelle Wilson and Anne Beck, ‘The Rhinoceros project’ has ended March 24th and as an unfortunate coincidence, Sudan, one of the last three white rhinos has died on March 20th, 2018. I enjoyed helping stitch the art for the Rhinoceros Project and meeting Michelle.

If this all tickled your creative mind and you are up for an hands-on approach, you might find some inspiration in the gift shop.

The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday (W-F 11am – 4pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 3pm). General admission is $8, seniors and students $6.50 and children under 12 are free.

Have you been to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?

 

Related Article:

BBC: Northern White Rhino: Last male Sudan dies in Kenia

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43468066

Victory Salute by artist Rigo 23

Stand up with art

Before taking a knee for the national anthem, raising a fist was showing protest. At the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968, two black athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, protested by showing a black gloved fist on the podest while receiving their first and third place medals.

The feet of John Carlos with black socks The two U.S. athletes staged a protest not only by their black gloves, but were shoeless, wearing only black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith’s black scarf is a symbol of black pride and Carlos unzipping his jacket stands for the solidarity with black workers.

In 2005, the SJSU honored the former students Smith and Carlos, with a statue depicting their protest. Victory Salute by artist Rigo 23 leaves the second place empty because the Australian Peter Norman wanted people to be able to stand in his place. There is a plaque on the second place reading ‘Fellow athlete Australian Peter Norman stood here in solidarity. Take a Stand’.

Benny O'Hara designed this poster protesting TrumpTo continue the art of protest the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Library, not a five minute walk away, has an exhibit of the same name. Here you can look at protest posters from the 1970’s, opposition the Vietnam War, racism or pollution. The collection belongs to the San Jose Peace and Justice Center and is on display on the 4th floor of the library until March 30th, 2018.

There are example of different styles of poster art and the evolution it went through in this time period.

Are you a supporter of protest art?

 

Resources:

BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/17/newsid_3535000/3535348.stm)

Wikipedia

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Olympics_Black_Power_salute)