Born in Massachusetts, Ako spent most of his life living on the east coast. In 1998, after graduating from Brown University with an engineering degree and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, he moved to San Francisco to complete a medical residency at UCSF Medical Center. Ako is a self taught abstract painter, and a physician. His work is inspired by his engineering background, as well as themes he encounters in his daily work as a physician, including fear and struggle, celebration, and acceptance and adjustment. Ako participates in exhibitions, donates his work for charitable events, and participates in spring and fall open studios. His studio is located at the Art Explosion, #312, 744 Alabama St, SF. His studio is open by appointment only.
Sculptural furniture design artist William Rhodes began his creative journey at the Baltimore School for the Arts.He then earned a BA in Furniture Building and Design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Mr. Rhodes’ creative works are in the collections of various galleries and museums and featured in several major publications. Mr. Rhodes is the owner of St. Paul Art and Design Studio. He currently has a studio in San Francisco, CA. Mr. Rhodes’ travels to Africa, Asia, and Central and South America have strongly influenced his work.The people, art, and cultures of these societies have inspired Mr. Rhodes to consider non-Western approaches to furniture and art,to create utilitarian objects that are works of art. Therefore, the conventional definition of “craft” does not apply to Rhodes’ work. Rhodes has taken a decidedly Eastern view in his choice of materials and method of building and design. More specifically, he believes the spirit and characteristics of a piece of drift wood lends itself to a particular piece of furniture. Materials such as paper, plaster, metal, clay and or wood filler may be used to preserve the form of the piece. Additionally, recycled materials are an important component of Rhodes’ work because re-using items in art gives that object a second life.
Born and raised in New Haven, CT., Nancy Cato spent most of her childhood doodling and tracing comic strips. Early inspirations were her Uncle Donny’s book of illustrations and the graffiti explosion of the 80’s. Her pen and ink illustrations are an attempt to pay homage to her fascination with line weight and space. The characters within her illustrations are drawn from friends, family and the childhood she often returns to in her dreams. Cato’s work seeks to engage everyday people and participate in serious social conversations with humor, wit and compassion.
MELONIE J. GREEN
Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Melonie J. Green moved to San Francisco in 2000 after earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech, Communication, and Theatre from Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN. She found her niche in film school at the now Academy of Art University. Upon receiving her second degree in Motion Pictures & Television, with a concentration in editing, Melonie found her true passion for producing and writing. She discovered the importance of networking at film festivals when volunteering for the Urbanworld Film Festival (New York, NY) in 1999 and 2001. She began volunteering for the San Francisco Black Film Festival in 2002 and became Co-Executive Producer with her twin sister, Melorra Green in 2005. The film festival experience paved the way for Melonie and Melorra’s new company, Infin8 Sync, LLC, a creative events and production company that uses “out of the box” techniques to promote student and independent artists, as well as create platforms for networking. Melonie is currently pursuing her Masters in Applied Sciences from the University of Denver in Environmental Policy and Management. Her goal is to join efforts with Melorra Green who is pursuing her Master’s in Education- Curriculum Development and create “Green Art Curriculum” on the University level, as well as facilitate campaigns and advocacy for more “green” art products that are affordable and encouraged by art universities and in turn in major markets.
RON MOULTRIE SAUNDERS
Ron Moultrie Saunders is a San Francisco-based photographic artist, landscape architect and teacher. Born in Jamaica, Queens, New York, he moved to San Francisco in 1982, after receiving his Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Between 1983 and 2001 he took photography workshops with Ruth Bernhard, Cole Weston, Mark Citret and Frank Espada. Ron M. Saunders’ pushes the boundaries of traditional photography by working without a camera to create cameraless images, photograms. This 19th century process has an immediacy, rawness and truth that is not found in images created with a camera. He places elements such as water, plants, ropes and the human figure on the surface of light sensitive photographic paper and, exposes it to light to create a shadowy silhouette image. His current photographic projects, “The Secret Life of Plants” and “Someday We’ll All Be Free” focus on the essence of life by exploring the hidden dimensions of the plants and man’s connection to the natural environment. Saunders work is in the San Francisco Arts Commission collection and he is currently working on a commission for the San Francisco Public Library, Bayview Branch. His work has been exhibited throughout the US including “The Secret Life of Plants” a solo show (CordenPotts Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2010), “Exposed: Today’s Photography/Yesterday’s Technology” (San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, 2010), “Measure of Time” (Oakland Museum of California at City Center, 2009), “SCAR TISSUE” (Common Wealth Gallery, Madison, WI, 2006), and “Self-Exposure: The Male Nude Self-Portrait” (Clamp Art, New York, NY, 2005).
SAMUEL FLEMING LEWIS
Samuel’s vehicle for self expression has always been through creating art and practicing interior design. Balancing two careers equally as a partner of INSTUDIO is due to his natural inclination towards art and design. His contemporary aesthetic in his work has been shaped by both his passion for art, architecture, craft and designs from many periods, styles and cultures. Original art is used in all of his interior design projects.
Rodney Ewing is an artist working out of San Francisco, California. His drawings, installations, and mixed media works focus on his need to intersect body and place, memory and fact, to re-examine human histories, cultural conditions, and events. With his work, he is pursuing a narrative that requires us to be both present and intimate. Rodney Ewing’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions including: “Surveillance” (Institute for Performing Arts, 2011)“Unwashed Saints”(Dog Patch Gallery 2011) “Tech Tools of the Trade: Contemporary Media Art” (de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, 2009) “Art Dubai” (Frey Norris Gallery) “Public Safety (Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2008) “Code Switching”(Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA and Red House Gallery, Santa Monica, CA 2007), “Who’s Afraid of San Francisco (Frey Norris Gallery 2006) Lisa Dent Gallery (San Francisco, CA 2005) and Cartography (Johnsonese Gallery, Chicago, IL 2005)
Sirron Norris, born in Cleveland, Ohio graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, he then settled down in San Francisco in 1997. Since his arrival he has been busy. In 2002 he was the recipient of the prestigious Wattis Artist in Residence from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. His most notable mural, “Victorion: El Defensor de la Mission” located in the historic “Balmy Alley” has been featured in several magazines, books and advertisements such as “Lonely Planet Travel Guide,” “ComputerArts Magazine” and “Latino Future Magazine.” Sirron was the lead artist in an animated pilot for the FOX network “Bob’s Burgers” ,worked with the Bay Area Video Coalition, featured on the PBS news Hour with Jim Lehrer, a recycling campaign for San Francisco Environment, and the front page of the Bay Guardian magazine.. In 2010 Norris’s next big project was the opening of his art studio & gallery located in the Mission district. Norris aims to offer art for the family and hopes to serve as an inspiration to up and coming artists. Children and adults can watch Norris paint live in his studio and right next door they may purchase reasonably priced finished items in his gallery at 1406B Valencia St.