The creative juices are flowing in Oakland. A new glass blowing studio recently opened in West Oakland that is focused on fabricating water pipes, glass pendants and other smaller custom hand crafted glass pieces in a very creative environment.
Earlier this year Richard, the owner and founder of Acala Studios acquired space in a corrugated metal slump block building with a drab grey cavernous interior. He wanted to transform it into a unique workspace with art that would play an integral part in setting the tone and atmosphere of the studio.
Having viewed other glass blowing studios with artwork painted on their walls, Richard concluded large-scale murals would create synergy within the building. To carry out his ideas he realized he needed someone to orchestrate the artwork production who had experience not only with matching the right artists for the job, but also in managing the project and giving it creative vision. He discovered the Fuming Guerilla Productions website and their Instagram photo sharing site where he learned of their mural projects around Oakland.
By the time Richard met up with Fuming Guerilla he had formulated some ideas about the layout of the studio and felt a good starting point might be with laying down art on two large opposing walls. If all went according to plan, the center structure that was being constructed would have three additional walls for additional art.
Based on discussions about the business and Richard’s vision, Fuming Guerilla lined up Urban Aztec and Irot. Their styles are very different but the juxtaposed positions would provide an exciting counter balance. They were given a free hand in their subject matter and composition. Irot proposed to paint a Cosmic Shaman and Urban Aztec pitched the Aztec God of Fire. Richard immediately loved them with no edits and no compromise. They were precisely the direction Fuming Guerilla hoped for. 8 days later those walls were transformed.
The center structure was definitely more of a challenge. Fuming Guerilla thought a pattern of some sort might be a good choice as the walls in the center were going to be workstations and should have a serene calming effect. Also the two giant characters on the building walls needed to be complemented yet not detracted from the workstation.
Fuming Guerilla showed Richard some examples of landscapes and Richard particularly liked one by Jet Martinez. Jet pitched the idea of concentric circles as the background (sort of a high end wallpaper effect) with cherry blossom trees on top that was one of Richard’s requirements. The circles were intriguing as a subtle dual geometric pattern. Jet provided some examples of his work with the concentric circles as a background with flora and fauna on top. The concept was colorful and serene so both Richard and Fuming Guerilla agreed to go for it! The variance in color from red to blue to green also made an interesting and functional pattern for the workstations.
This brought them around to the last final touch. Since Richard and the glass shop manager, Suuze, both were instrumental in getting the shop together, tt seemed fitting that they have a little extra touch of art where they would be working. A whimsical fantasy piece was just the ticket. Fuming Guerilla had wanted to work with an artist named Analy Nakat for the past year but the right situation had not presented itself till this project. Analy put her own special depiction of a tree morphing into a deer skeleton (very Tim Burton’ish) with some additional cherry blossoms accenting the wall.
There is a small utility meeting room inside the center structure that required a bright eye opening mural due to its confined closed in space. Nite Owl painted a mural with bright warm colors to ward off any claustrophobic feelings.
The project was completed. But there was one last little idea. Richard was a fan of the artist GATS and Fuming Guerilla thought it would be fun to include a piece by him. While the inside did not feel right for his work, there was one spot outside on the roof that was perfect for a GATS piece. Fuming Guerilla contacted GATS and showed him the spot on the outside wall facing the entrance to Acala Studios. In another wonderful twist, GATS asked the artist NOBONZO to collaborate on the piece… and it’s one spectacular looking work of art.
On a final note. There is currently a mixture of street art murals and graffiti in the building parking lot. Some like this bird by Ernest Doty was painted while the Acala Studios Project was taking place but none of the lot art was part of the project.