The Commons

So, here is a little fun fact you might not have know about me. I went to school for event planning and I love creating and planning events, parties, etc. I really enjoy every detail from the invitations, to the décor, food, dessert and everything in-between. I have also taken lots of classes on cake and dessert decorating and it’s another hidden hobby of mine that contributes to my event planning. So when I was asked to work with The Commons and contribute my esthetic to the look and feel of their next event I couldn’t resist.  The Commons is a music and performance showcase that aims to bridge the gap between the classical performing arts and contemporary culture. They put on annual outdoor events featuring music, dance, poetry and more. They pop up all over San Jose and have a wonderfully magical feel to them.

The theme of the upcoming event is harvest, and will be celebrating the autumn equinox. I really wanted to reflect traditions, abundance, nature, and colors of autumn in my contributions. Below is a sneak peek of some of the things I am working on, laser cut book page lanterns, book page apples, lots of reds, gold, oranges and browns.

I am really looking forward to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. I hope you can join us on Friday September 25th  - 6pm - 10pm in St. James Park, San Jose.

lights lanterns beads apples

The benifits of supporting local artists

On Friday I will be giving a talk to a group of interior designers and architects about the importance and benefits of sourcing and commissioning artwork from their local arts community. I will also be informing them about San Jose’s South First Fridays Art Walk and all of the participating venues.

First of all, a lot of people don't know that San Jose has a thriving art scene. It is evident by the 20+ venues that participate every month in the South First Fridays Art Walk along with lots of other events like the Midtown Beat Art Walk, Japantown Art Walk and the SubZERO Festival. It is quite extraordinary how many great venues that are out there supporting local art and putting on fantastic events. Recently San Jose has been featured in several publications including the Huffington Post article on 7 Off-The-Grid Travel Destinations Definitely Worth A Visit and the Forbes article Silicon Valley's Secret Subculture, Not So Secret Anymore

In preparing my talk for the designers I thought that these points really apply to everyone and that it would be a good reminder to share why it is important and beneficial to support and patronize your local artists and art venues.

Acquire Something Unique: When you purchase from a local artist or art venue, you are getting unique, one-of-a –kind items. Not something that is mass produces at Z Gallery, Ikea  or other big box store that thousands of other people have. You get to bring something special and exceptional into your life. 

Better Service and Product:You will often get better service and a higher quality product when purchasing from  local artists because they are passionate about what they create, have a better understanding of the products they are selling and will typically take more time to get to know their customers and ensure they are satisfied.
Meet the Artist: It’s rare that we ever get to meet the people who create the products we buy and use daily. When you buy from local artists, you can learn their backgrounds, follow their careers, and even arrange a studio visit to see where and how the magic happens. This builds relationships that can last a lifetime.
Keep Money in Your Community:  Studies have shown that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business (sometimes we forget that artists are small businesses), $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a non-locally owned big box business, where $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves.
Reduce Environmental Impact: Local artists and locally owned art businesses make more local purchases, requiring less transportation, and they generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution. Also, many local artists recycle, reuse and repurpose items to create their work.
Cost Effective: Often times you can get fantastic artwork at very reasonable prices from talented emerging artists. 
Support Future Growth:The unique character of our community is defined by our activities. Shopping locally is the best way to show pride in your city and help protect the businesses that make our city unique.

Open Studios

Silicon Valley Open Studios
Saturday May 12th & Sunday May 13th
11:00am – 5:00pm
Shannon's Art Studio
492 Arleta Ave
San Jose, CA 95128

This will be my 8th year participating in Open Studios. I will be featuring work from my new series "Selcouth" including never before seen pieces.

Alternative Process Photography, Mixed Media Book Art, Prints, Cards, and More.

Featuring ambient and down tempo music by Mark Camp

My New Project – San Jose Creatives

I am starting a new project that I am calling San Jose Creatives. It is a simple idea motivated by two things, the desire to showcase San Jose’s local creative community as well as the need to get it right when it comes to artist interviews.

The first reason is pretty self explanatory. Being a 4th generation San Jose native, this area and its creative community are important to me. We have so much talent here and I want to share that with everyone. I think the creative community needs to stick together and learn from each other. I want to feature a variety of creative talent, artists, designers, musicians, writers, makers, art supporters and anyone who lives a creative life.

The second reason is motivated by more selfish desires, but ones I know I share with other creative’s. This is the desire to be represented correctly in interviews or articles. Often we are misquoted, or our answers are taken out of context. The interviewer makes assumptions about our desires and creations and does not get a clear view of who we are. Other times they just ask bad or tasteless questions. Now, I am not saying all interviews are like this. I have had some really awesome interviews where I felt like the writer really got me and my work, did their homework and were genuinely interested. I do feel these good interviews are not necessarily the norm though.

So for these two reasons I am starting “San Jose Creatives” a blog and FB page that interviews the extremely talented creative community of San Jose. Everyone is asked the same 13 questions to gain insight into and find out what makes these individuals unique. The answers are not edited in any way. What is written by the individual is what I post. I will also include a picture of the person(s) and their work.

I have sent requests to about 20 people so far and already received a number of completed interviews back. What I have read so far has been great, so interesting and inspiring. It’s wonderful how you can always learn a little something about a person even if you thought you knew them already.

I am really excited about this project and have been getting really positive feedback. I plan to launch the first interview the beginning of October and the idea is to feature a new creative every two weeks. So if you are interested in being featured or know someone who might be just send me an email –


Recently I have been participating in a lot more outdoor, pop up and special art market/festival/fair type of events. I generally do not like to participate in the huge city art fairs. The booths are very expensive, the customer base isn’t always my demographic and a lot of times I don’t feel our creative and artistic philosophies line up. So I have been carefully choosing ones that I feel fit with my artwork, jewelry and creative philosophy. I especially like ones that are community based filled with real hard working artist who support each other.

They are still a lot of work, days and weeks of preparation go into a 4-6 hour event. It is a very different way of sharing my work with people. In a gallery or other exhibit setting people usually see my art and not me. It can be more difficult for them to connect with a piece without knowing its story or meeting the artist.

With an art event where I am manning my own booth I get to really talk to and interact with people. I can describe my art and inspirations. Give them more details and background on my process and specific pieces. I really get to connect with people. That is also a part of what makes it such hard work. Artists tend to be solitary creatures and I am definitely in that category. While I don’t have any issues with or phobias about socializing I tend to prefer being in my art studio.So being present, professional, and basically “on” for hours can be a bit draining. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at all. I love a challenge and enjoy talking to people about my artwork. This is one of the reasons that I really enjoy this format of showing and selling my work. I just need a nice cold cocktail or two afterwards ;)

Here is a list of these types of event I will be participating in:

South First Fridays Art Walk and Street Market
An Indie DIY Urban Street Fair

Friday August 5th
7:00pm - 11:00pm
SoFA District San Jose, CA
South 1st Street between San Carlos and Reed

I will have my own booth that will be in front of Anno Domini Gallery. I will have lots of new encaustic & book pieces, copper electorformed art and jewelry and my upcycled bullet casing necklaces.

South First Fridays Art Walk and Street Market
An Indie DIY Urban Street Fair

Friday September 2nd
7:00pm - 11:00pm
SoFA District San Jose, CA
South 1st Street between San Carlos and Reed

I will have my own booth on first St. I will have lots of new encaustic pieces, copper electorformed art and jewelry and my upcycled bullet casing necklaces.

Saturday & Sunday September 17th & 18th
San Pedro Square Market
87 N. San Pedro St, San Jose, Ca 95110

I will have a booth and mainly be selling my jewelry

4th Annual Luna Park Chalk Festival

Saturday September 24th
10:00am - 4:00pm
Backesto Park, San Jose, CA

I will have a booth and mainly be selling my jewelry

Come and enjoy some amazing chalk artists, Aztec dancers and lots of arts and crafts. Proceeds benefit arts education in local schools. I will have my own booth at the Art Street Market and will be selling my original jewelry and artwork.

I hope you can make it out to once or more of these events and stop by to say hi.

SJMADE Table 2011