Jen Tough Gallery

Women in the Abstract Two

Jen Tough Gallery

Women in the Abstract 2

July 13 - August 15, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, July 13, 6:00-8:00

An invitational group exhibition featuring some of the best women artists working in abstraction.

Artists include:

Carol Dalton, Terri Froelich, Rebecca Katz, Lita Kenyon, Katy Kuhn, Jamie Madison, Sharon Paster, Sara Post, Maryann Steinert-Foley, Toby Tover, Louise Victor, Mira M White, Diane Williams, Sawyer Rose, Lisa Pressman and Diane Varney

Pulp Opening June 1

Jen Tough Gallery

Pulp: Works Involving Paper

June 01 - July 11 | Opening reception: Saturday, June 01, 7:00-9:00

Artists Include

Erin McCluskey Wheeler

Melissa Mohammadi

Darla McKenna

Jenny Phillips

Pavel Acevedo

Larry Mullins

Michael Cutlip

Juan Carlos Quintana

Malia Landis

Tamera Avery

Nyame Brown

Carol Dalton

Katie McGann

John Yoyogi Fortes

Lita Kenyon

Michael Shemchuk

Art Market San Francisco 2019

Jen Tough Gallery

Join us at at Art Market San Francisco! We’re in booth 630


Fort Mason Center - Festival Pavilion
2 Marina Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94123

Fair Hours

Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 6:00PM – 10:00PM

Public Hours:
Friday, April 26, 2019 | 11:00AM – 7:00PM
Saturday, April 27, 2019 | 11:00AM – 7:00PM
Sunday, April 28, 2019 | 12:00PM – 6:00PM

Tamera Avery: Hell's Valley

Jen Tough Gallery

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 23, 5:00-7:00

Exhibition runs March 23 - April 25, 2019

Jen Tough Gallery, a contemporary Bay Area gallery located in the historic Benicia Arsenal, is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of gallery artist Tamera Avery titled, Hell’s Valley. Avery,  who lives and works in San Francisco, recently was awarded first place in the prestigious Crocker-Kingsley competition. Her recent exhibitions include Split Screen, with Deborah Oropallo and Andy Rappaport at Gearbox Gallery in Oakland, The Summer Show and Art Santa Fe with Jen Tough Gallery, along with New Lands and Wild Things, both San Francisco popups.

In this series of brave and almost human-scale self portrait paintings, Avery places herself in the ponds of Hell’s Valley, an area of rugged cliffs and sulfurous hot springs in Japan, where Macaque Monkeys enjoy steamy baths. This series of revealing and highly personal works defy the cultural norm of invisibility for middle-aged women. Avery’s series challenges the viewer to gaze and explore her constructed narratives, evoking a level of discomfort while seemingly stating, “I am here”.

This will be the first solo exhibition for Avery at the gallery, and will run through April 25, 2019.

Sara Post: Other Places

Jen Tough Gallery

Sara Post: Other Places opened Friday, February 16 and runs through March 21, 2019.

Reception: Saturday, February 23, 6:00-8:00 with the artist speaking at 7:00

We will be live streaming the artist talk beginning at 7:00 on Instagram. Follow us @JenToughGallery

“Abstraction is, for me, a natural language. It’s concentrated and challenging, mysterious and opaque. I love its ambiguities, that it often creates more questions than answers.” —Sara Post 

Sara Post,
a California abstract artist, began her artistic career as a ceramicist and then moved to printmaking and painting. With the in-depth skill developed from being a lifelong artist, Post’s paintings depict plane and form in rich, abstracted compositions created with impeccable craft. Her confident palettes and broad plane-like compositions are reminiscent of the modernist masters, utilizing both refined line and bold shape to evoke both time and place. This solo exhibition is a culmination of her ongoing investigations of the abstracted landscape and natural surrounding environment.

Tamera Avery has won First Place in the Crocker-Kinglsey Competition

Jen Tough Gallery
Winter's End  , Oil on Canvas, 84" x 68"

Winter's End, Oil on Canvas, 84" x 68"

Gallery Artist Tamera Avery was awarded first place in the very prestigious Crocker-Kingsley competition, juried by David Pagel, art critic at the Los Angeles Times. So honored to work with her!

We will be exhibiting Tamera’s work in our next San Francisco popup WILD THINGS, Feb 8, 9 and 10 @ 1599 Tennessee St, reception Sat Feb 9, 5:00-7:00

“Every two years the Kingsley Art Club sponsors the Crocker-Kingsley Competition to choose the best of emerging and established California's artists. Partnering with the Kingsley Art Club in sponsoring this, the 79th biennial Crocker-Kingsley Competition, 2019, is Blue Line Arts of Roseville.

From the over 1900 entries, Pagel has selected 80 finalists whose works will be exhibited in the gallery of Blue Line Arts (until February 23) and from these, has selected the five winners of the Crocker-Kingsley Prizes.

From March 3 - May 5, 2019, five works selected from the finalists by the Crocker Curators will be on exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum.  

Famous winners of the Crocker-Kingsley Competition in the past include Robert Arneson, Kathryn Uhl Ball, Elmer Bischoff, Fred Dalkey, Robert Else, David Gilhooly, Ralph Goings, Gregory Kondos, Roland Petersen, Mel Ramos, Ruth Rippon, Jerald Silva, Fritz Scholder, and Wayne Thiebaud.”

John Yoyogi Fortes Awarded Joan Mitchell Foundation Residency

Jen Tough Gallery
The Wait of Fear, Acrylic, pencil, oilstick, glitter, enamel pen, acrylic spray paint and collage on canvas, 72” x 66”, 2018

The Wait of Fear, Acrylic, pencil, oilstick, glitter, enamel pen, acrylic spray paint and collage on canvas, 72” x 66”, 2018

Congratulations to gallery artist John Yoyogi Fortes for being awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation residency for 2019. John was amongst only 32 artists named for this prestigious residency in New Orleans.

“The Joan Mitchell Foundation is pleased to announce the 32 artists who have been awarded residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans for the coming year. All of the artists will be provided with private studio space at the Center, which sits on a two-acre campus in the historic Faubourg Treme neighborhood, along with a stipend, communal dinners, and opportunities to participate in programs that actively engage both the professional arts community and the public. Additionally, those artists traveling to the Center from outside New Orleans are provided with on-site lodging and financial support to transport necessary materials and works. The Artist-in-Residence program was developed as an extension of the Foundation’s support of the local arts community in New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and has become a vital realization of artist Joan Mitchell’s vision to provide artists with the necessities of time and space to create their work.” Joan Mitchell Foundation

Reception this weekend (LIVE DEMO): Michael Shemchuk + Learning Curve

Jen Tough Gallery

Join us this Saturday, January 12, 5:00-7:00 for two receptions: the solo exhibition of Michael Shemchuk’s “Surface Tension” in our original gallery space, and “Learning Curve” a group show curated by Michael Shemchuk in our project space.

Shemchuk’s reception will include a live demonstration of the artist’s unique work process, involving a 16 foot trough he constructed in the center of the gallery. Attendees will be able to purchase work created from this unique process involving water, layers of paper, pressure and gravity. For more info, please see the gallery website:

Last Week for Entries: Flora + Fauna

Jen Tough Gallery

Flora + Fauna: Call for Entries

Invited artists include: Sali Swalla, Sharon Paster, Andrew Faulkner, Skyler McGee, Suzanne Long, Nance Miller, Maryann Steinert-Foley, and Katy Kuhn

Show runs February 16 - March 21 / Reception Saturday, February 23

We’re rounding out our show of invited artists and looking for works with flora and/or fauna in theme, concept or subject for this group exhibition opening February 16. Artists are encouraged to submit unique, innovative and challenging works, as literal interpretations of theme are not necessary for inclusion. All media (except installation and performance art) considered, including three dimensional works and photography.


  1. Purchase your $25 entry fee HERE

2. Email us at: with 3 medium resolution images of your 3 entries, attached to your email (not imbedded in the body), and a link to your updated website

3. Provide proof of entry fee purchase: a PDF or JPG pic of your receipt, attached to your email along with your images

4. Make the subject line of your email: “FLORA + FAUNA”

5. Deadline: January 10

note: please send all of the above in one email to avoid any misplaced email information or attachments. Thank you!

Details: Submissions without proof of entry fee purchase or insufficient info will not be considered. Sorry, but there are no refunds on entry fees for any reason. Any work sold during exhibition timeframe will be subject to a standard 50/50 commission split with the gallery. Artists responsible for all shipping and delivery to and from gallery. Gallery insures all work while in gallery custody for artist’s share of commission. Open to local, domestic or international artists.

New Workshops: Sara Post + Louise Victor

Jen Tough Gallery

Landscape+Architecture: Abstract Experiments with Pigment Sticks, Oil Paint, Wax and Paper with Sara Post

A 3-day workshop with lunch included each day / $475.00

Landscape and our relationship to it is a powerful theme in contemporary abstraction. The Benicia Arsenal offers a unique combination of landscape—sky and water worlds, and architecture, massive buildings and boats.  Inspired by the land and our architectural interactions with it, workshop participants will use beautiful materials to focus on color and placement of abstract elements in order to express powerful thematic ideas. We’ll blend and combine soft pigment sticks with oil paint, wax and other mediums. Working on paper provides options not available on other surfaces while allowing flexibility and permission to break new ground. Economical and effective presentation ideas for finished work will be demonstrated. Open your imagination and come ready to explore and enhance your own artwork with “strategies to create miracles”.


A New Lens: Working with Abstraction with Louise Victor

Two full days of instruction with lunch included both days. / $330.00

We briefly trace the history of abstraction, beginning with Hilma von Klint, who was the first abstractionist, through Kandinsky, Mondrian, Gorky and the Abstract Expressionist to modern abstraction.

Through drawing experiments, we learn how to find forms and structure for our abstractions. There are several techniques for doing this, which I demonstrate. Participants will experiment and play with these methods over the two days, leading to a firm development of a personal formal vocabulary. 

We also discuss the ways in which we can describe space and movement within the abstraction. Using different techniques such as: overlap, negative space, texture and color, the two days culminate by painting vibrant, exciting abstractions with solid structure and intention.

We’ll start by an introduction and discussion/slides/photos, followed by demonstrating different ways of achieving abstraction: cut and paste, different perspectives and scale, following the line, drawing the negative and working within a structure.


Jen Tough Gallery is Now Representing Melissa Mohammadi

Jen Tough Gallery
Melissa Mohammadi_0002.jpg

Jen Tough Gallery is thrilled to announce our partnership and representation of San Francisco Artist Melissa Mohammadi. Known for her intricate mixed media botanical narratives, Mohammadi references motherhood, femininity and the natural forces inherent in all living systems. Often appearing to float weightless as collected specimens in a contained space, her work implores closer examination and quiet contemplation.

Mohammadi’s work is available in our limited edition line of print line, available on our website or in the gallery. Look for a solo exhibition in late 2019 or early 2020, along with inclusion in group shows, popups and art fairs.

Born in Danbury, CT, Melissa Desmond Mohammadi currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA.  She earned a BFA with a concentration in painting and printmaking from Rhode Island College (Providence, RI) and an MFA from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX). She has enjoyed the generous support of awards including Meadows Scholarship Award, the Cerrino Fellowship, and the Rigsby Grant. Her work has been exhibited nationally. She lives, works, and roams with her husband and three mostly auto-didactic children, who explore their education at home and all over the country.

“I create places to float with, to surrender to - healing reservoirs, deep sea gardens. Somewhere between seductive color washes and meticulous linework, and an impenetrable surface is an invitation to be suspended in a new space. 

The rigorously decorative world in my paintings is inspired by 15th and 16th century mille-fleur tapestries, Persian manuscripts, and Renaissance ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ or ‘Wonder Rooms’. I create subtle biological impossibilities - succulents growing alongside shade-loving ferns and corals in the deep sea - in the same way ‘Wonder Rooms’ acted as a microcosm or memory theater. Time spent with a manuscript painting is a rhythmic bob between crisp vellum, reflective gold, and precise ink. My work on paper is similarly an enticement between crisp thick papers and powdery pastels, hiccupped washes and fluid ink lines. 

Lush and inviting, these spaces reimagine the natural world, highlight and celebrate diversity - and create immersive and contemplative spaces of respite.

I am also inspired by visions of a personified, deified landscape I had while giving birth to my daughter. I labored in conversation with the Great Mother while she lifted up mountain ranges, thrust palm trees far from her surface, opened wide-mouthed volcanoes.

Now, I draw the progressive and tiny acts of labor in the structure of pine cones, mollusc shells, coral and ferns that remind me of the tiny, repeated pulse of mothering.”

Announcing Our First Workshop in MX, with Michael Shemchuk

Jen Tough Gallery
smamx layers.jpg

Registration now open! Join us in San Miguel de Allende June 23-29 for a once in a lifetime class with Micheal Shemchuk (“Shem”), where you’ll dive deep into mixed media, paper and paint while in one of the most inspirational and artistic cities in the world.

Shem, known for his multi-layered mixed media works on panel, is a Bay Area artist with decades of experimental art making. A career dating from the 1980’s includes photography, installation, painting, mixed media and a commitment to art mentoring and instruction.

One of the country’s most sought after instructors, Shem is full of enthusiasm, support and boundless creative energy. Shem is known for signature bold abstracted mixed media works with paint and paper on panels that involve a process of layering and revealing, creating both intricate and graphic compositions. He is fearless in his approach, and generous in sharing his skills and knowledge with student lucky enough to study with him.

Act fast because his workshops often sell out quickly!


Michael Shemchuk: Surface Tension

Jen Tough Gallery

Michael Shemchuk: Surface Tension



SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 5:00-7:00

Jen Tough Gallery is thrilled to announce the solo exhibition of gallery artist Michael Shemchuk, “Shem”. Shem as been in numerous shows at the gallery including Earthly Evidence with Mark Eanes and Carol Dalton and numerous art fairs. We recently launched a new line of prints of Shem’s work which we introduced at Art San Diego in October, and are available in editions under 25.

Michael Shemchuk’s (Shem’s) long awaited solo exhibition at the Jen Tough Gallery opens January 5th and runs through February 13th.

An artist reception and live performance will be held on

Saturday, January 12th, from 5:00 to 7:00.

Shemchuk, known for his multi-layered mixed media works on panel, is a Bay Area artist with decades of experimental art making experience. A career dating from the 1980’s includes photography, installation, painting, mixed media and a commitment to art mentoring and instruction. The installation will be an active real time process where simple materials (paper) are affected by the physical properties of saturation, pressure, time, evaporation and heat.

The artist will construct a 16’ shallow trough to enclose the materials and contain the saturation process. This activity renders gorgeous, intricate abstractions that are organic and unpredictable. This will be an engaging experience for attendees to witness this collage technique first hand. The artist will offer the opportunity to purchase a section of the active artwork upon completion.

“This will be an engaging experience for attendees to witness this collage technique first hand. The artist will offer the opportunity to purchase a section of the active artwork upon completion.

“I have been experimenting with this process since January 2018. This idea was encouraged via a conversation with Jen Tough when I revealed that I had done a similar project in 1983 at the Twin Palms Gallery in San Francisco, though I had not attempted anything like it since. Jen was greatly supportive and challenged me to revisit this process. Since our conversation I have been doing just that. It is truly inspiring, infectiously motivating, and deeply grounded in process.”

Michael Shemchuk

New! Limited Edition Prints from Gallery Artists

Jen Tough Gallery
Micheal Schenchuk_online.jpg

Museum Quality Prints in Limited Edition

Free shipping for a limited time to collectors within the continental US

Jen Tough Gallery is pleased to announce our new line of limited edition, museum quality prints by gallery artists. Each print edition is limited to a run of only 25, printed by a San Francisco fine art printer on heavy rag paper, hand numbered and signed by the artist.

Gina Tuzzi + Sugar High held over

Jen Tough Gallery

Held over! Gina Tuzzi’s “Pele and the Sensual world” in our gallery space, and “Sugar High” in our project space are both held over thru January 04!

NEW LANDS: A San Francisco Popup / Oct 26-28

popupJen Tough Gallery

Join us during San Francisco’s Open Studios Weekend for our first popup exhibition in the Dogpatch neighborhood, featuring some of the country’s best up and coming artists.


1599 Tennessee Street, San Francisco, CA 94107


Fri, Oct 26, 11:00-6:00 | Sat Oct 27, 11:00-8:00 | Sun Oct 28 11:00-6:00


Saturday, October 27, 6:00-8:00 (at closure of Open Studios)

San Francisco Popup: Wild Things

Jen Tough Gallery


Starting in 2019, Jen Tough Gallery will be producing popup shows around the Bay Area and beyond. Our first popup will be February 8-10 in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, and is called “Wild Things”.

Our popup model is a new exhibition concept in today’s evolving art market. It’s a twist on the “art fair for artists” model (such as Startup Fair) that rent space to artists. By pooling resources from invited artists, we rent gallery style popup space in major cities, and then manage, curate, advertise, install and professionally staff the exhibition. Artists don’t have to worry about handling sales or representing their work at the show, and they gain quality exhibition history.

Artists interested in being part of “Wild Things” are encouraged to apply soon for inclusion, as spaces fill extremely fast. This exhibition is juried and curated by Jen Tough, and artists must be invited to participate.

How to apply: Send an email to Info@JenTough.Gallery with a subject line of WILD THINGS. Include a link to your website and 3 images attached fitting the theme of “Wild Things”.

Artist fees for this popup are $1050 and include space rental, management, gallery staffing during show, curation, credit card processing for sales, installation, signage, permits, reception costs and insurance. Artists keep 100% of sales profits and their fee may be tax deductible.

Once you are accepted, we will email you a link for payment, along with contract and further information. Opus Collective artists need only send 3 images for curation and are already approved for inclusion.

More questions? Email us:

Announcing new workshops in our (gorgeous) new space!

Jen Tough Gallery

We’re thrilled to announce we have opened a second space right next to the gallery in the historic Benicia Arsenal at 940 Tyler St. This gorgeous space will be for workshops, classes and offer additional exhibition opportunities. It has the same 20 foot ceilings, white-washed brick walls and wonderful light as our gallery next door, but also has oversized barn doors leading directly out to a gorgeous leafy patio and fountain, perfect for lunch, relaxing, or enjoying the wonderful California climate. Come spend an afternoon or weekend with us.

For more info, check out our workshop page

Upcoming Workshops & Critique Groups

Interview with Jeff Snell by Jennifer Lynn Roberts

Jen Tough Gallery

I was greeted at the door by Jack and Red. Jack is artist Jeff Snell’s dog, an adorable small black lab/beagle mix, who, after sniffing me and getting a few pets in, was content to fall asleep on the couch. Red was the houseguest, a Queensland Heeler with a penchant for playing ball and being entertained.

Jeff and I stood and talked about his latest work, which is featured in the a solo exhibition show “Stacks of Facts” at Jen Tough Gallery through September 20th, while Red continually dropped a tennis ball at my feet. I’d kick it nonchalantly and he’d bring it back. We repeated this sly play until Jeff eventually put the ball away, explaining, “He’ll be doing this all night.” After that, Red settled down and Jeff and I continued discussing his evolution over the last couple years.

In 2016, Snell was working on collaging together small ¼” strips of information that he’d put together using color and tone as his guide and place them horizontally onto vibrantly painted canvases. “I was using stuff that you wouldn't see in fine art, color-wise.”

Snell said he started off using strips of text, but soon moved on to incorporating images and adding more contrast. Eventually the strips grew larger in size. From there, he began to think about adding 3D elements and remembered the sculptures he made in college that were installation pieces.

 I read somewhere that you had experimented in working with cardboard in college and then you decided to bring it back.
When I finished those paintings I was thinking I want to make these big things again, but started making little mock ups. That's where that all kind of started. In college, I had a sculpture teacher, and I spent a whole year making a riveted steel sculpture and after I was done he came up, looked at it and- he's a man of very few words- he came up to me and said, "why don't you try cardboard," and that's all he had to say and it just blew my mind. I can cut this up with a knife, I can hot glue it and that just made big things happen fast. I started making these little sculptures that grew bigger and turned into wall sculptures - small 3D sculptures that ended up being adhered to a sub-straight that you could hang on the wall. I call them sculptures, but they're painterly.

And that became the Changing Landscape series? 

Can you talk about the shift from Changing Landscapes to the work you’re doing now?
These paintings are sculptural rather than sculptures that are painterly. So that's kind of a shift. At the time, when I started using these materials, I came from this sort of whimsical space in my mind, and now those ideas have sort of flurried away; it's much more stripped down, more about the formal elements and the structure and the act of placing things rather than objects as narrative. So that's a change. I almost had to do that 3D stuff to get to what I'm doing now. Before the 3D stuff I was doing flat painted surfaces and they had textures and they had different things going on but it was still paint on canvas. Now it's a combination of paint on canvas plus the sculptural elements. 

Why “Stacks of Facts?” 
Well, that's the name I call the show because I see a lot of these things that are stacks of horizontals. I would start with a painterly wash of stuff in the background and then start sculpturally piecing things together ... keeping it...leaving it a little rough, and it's cardboard and you see that, and I'm not trying to fool anybody and not hiding the fact that this is stuff that I either find or, like anything with the printing on the carton is obviously found cardboard, but if there's cardboard in these pieces in these strips that I'm actually putting my printed information on or painting these strips, I start with an acid-free white cardboard that I buy. 
Let's say the components are not carefully chosen, but they're very carefully placed. So it's like, I'm not saying I need to see an insect and I need to see something red here, I just have this pile of stuff and I'm going through and I work fast and there's a certain pace that really works for me that I feel comfortable in and letting something evolve fast and making quick choices works well if in the past I've done things that I've labored over and it kills it. And when I'm done, I'm done. 

In my opinion, when we, the viewer, looks at art, we take from it what we need and there's nothing specific, necessarily, that the artist is trying to say to us that we have to figure out. That said, what do you want to evoke in the viewer or walk away thinking about?
I think a couple of things. One is purely visual. There's this certain tonal quality, areas of rest and a lot of areas of contrast, so there's a pop there. I would love people to recognize this visual play and these cues that are happening within the piece where you're echoing something or letting something reverberate. I would love for people to pick up on different things- some humor, as well. I'll just throw out little bits and pieces of information and people can run with it and either expand on it or not and every narrative is correct no matter what someone comes up with. 

I read a quote, and I just looked it up before you came, by Einstein. One of the most beautiful things we can experience is the mysterious. I'm just paraphrasing, but the crux of all meaningful art and science is to approach something that way and look for the mysterious and if you sort of give up on that approach, then you know, life is dead. So there's something mysterious in all of these. Do I want to be there or not? Is it scary or is it kind of fun or…People are all going to have different reactions and feelings and see different things.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. - Albert Einstein

So there’s no specific theme to “Stacks of Facts?”
No because I've stripped all that down to the bare elements of visual impact. It's more about that, more about me enjoying the process and just being honest with myself on where this is taking me and who knows a couple of years down the road where that will take me.

I admire someone who can work on a series of painting for 20 years and doing a very narrow concentration of work but they just delve into that really deeply and I'm doing that but my concentration is a lot wider, I'm allowing myself to meander a little further.
Is that a conscious choice? The evolution from the political statement in Changing Landscapes to what you're doing know, the stripped down, more about process-
No, it's just how it's always been. A lot of times these are unconscious decisions; we just follow what feels right. I could do a ton of work on current politics, we all could, you could write until you die just about one week's worth of news, but I'm going to leave it to someone else because I really think people can look at things and they can add politics, they can add sex and violence wherever they see it.

What I'd like to see is something rough, but it has everything I need. It's a lot more exciting to me than typical landscape. There's a lot of run-of-the-mill work out there that just bores the hell out of me. There's not a lot of art that I see that I like.

What artists do you like?
It's always tough to just pick a few artists that ...but you know, Mark Bradford had a show at MOMA several years back that blew me away and he was just doing these really large paintings and he insisted they were paintings, but they were essentially collages. They're built up layers of information with textural bases and then he would sand down and expose these different layers and they had a real feel of arial maps at least that current body of work, he started somewhere else. So there you go. It's morphing, blurring the boundaries between painting and objects. I admire work like that.

There are some people who are doing work that's just kinda out there like Howard Sherman. He's literally doing these clusterfuck pieces on the wall of ripped and painted paper, and I mean some of these things look hideous and some are stunningly beautiful. And he's just doing it. There's work that's a little challenging to most people that I admire. And I when I go to museum or gallery show I really take it in and get burned out really fast. Sometimes I don't want too many influences and just try to get what's in my brain out.

What surprises you about what you're doing right now? What have you learned new?
I don't know if it surprises me, it's sort of an obvious thing, sometimes no matter what genre you are creating, you have these things that you try to accomplish, but they're elusive and you know what you're doing wrong, but you don't know what to do right to find it. So when I do things, I find that my best work is simple. I stop when I'm 70% there. I take the dogs out or something, and I come back and I'm like, screw it, it's done. So the simpler I am, the less I think about it while I’m working on it, the less I care about the end result, as long as I'm in a zone, then it works out. But that's easier said than done.

I just hope that when people see this show, they appreciate just the directness and the honesty and boldness and the energy of the fact that I'm not taking it so damn seriously- I'm very serious about my art but I'm not- let's face it, I'm making paintings, not saving lives-
It's not precious-
It's not precious and that's very poignant because I've always said, this stuff is not precious and that's something that really bugs me when you see artists that say, oh I can't part with that, I can't sell that, I can't get rid of that, my work is so precious to me, it's my baby. That tweaks me when people are like that. That's just a stumbling block that's just an attitude that's gonna keep you from growing.

Do you listen to music while you work?
All the time. I'm listening to everything from Charlie Parker to Tool. I listen to mostly beebop and Jazz. I love fifties and Sonny Rowlands and Charlie Parker and all the classics in jazz, especially sax and then I really like Deaftones and Radio Head and Perfect Circle and rock. I'll put it on shuffle. That's what I like, a jumble, it's not the same thing all day long.  

What is your arts education and background?
I went to Maryland College of Art in Baltimore BFA. I thought about going to grad school was accepted into NYU for sculpture, but didn't go. I traveled instead. At the time I just couldn't stomach having $50,000 debt and now it's probably three times that. I made that decision, and I always wonder how that would have affected my life differently but then again, I've done so many different things since then unrelated to art that I wouldn't have even touched, I know so much more than if I just had done art.
What are your interests outside of art?
Being outdoors, experiencing nature. Just experiencing the wonder of our planet. Every day's different, every bit of weather and light. I see light everywhere I go and how it's framing things and coming through things and bouncing off of things. These visual treats that are just out there for the taking.  I like to camp, dirt bike riding is a big thing for me. I love to ride dirt bikes-
Where do you ride?
After these fires, I don't know now, because Mendocino National Forest was my place. That was my favorite. That was the go-to, so now it's gonna be like a moonscape, which will be interesting.

You can see “Stacks of Facts” through September 20, 2018 at Jen Tough Gallery, 942 Tyler St Suite E, Benicia, CA 94510

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