Art Spy was out doing their regular job last weekend and
came across an open studio in, or very near to, El Cerrito. After finishing
what I do for money, I backtracked to the open studio.
I followed the signs into the backyard of one of the Magpies not knowing what to expect. I really was not expecting to find a group of women drinking white wine and taking sitting around a nest with a sculpture magpie surrounded by eggs.
As I began to try and collect some information I was overwhelmed by the number of people browsing the art. After locating one of the artists, and then being traded off to another after it seemed the first was making a sale, I finally began to collect some information about the group.
The Magpies, called that because they, like the bird whose name they have adopted, collect. These Magpies however collect art experiences. This artist collective has been around about 7 years and came together through acquaintances because they wanted to have their art noticed and showing collectively gelled the group.
The Magpies, that I met that day, are made up of Priscilla Birge, Barbara Hazard, Joanna Katz, Diane Rusnak, and Sarah Whitecotton. The two that I did not get the pleasure to meet are Audrey Wallace-Taylor and Olivia Eielson.
For more information on any of the Magpies please visit their website. It gives collective and individual biographies and some examples of each artist’s work.
Because all the basic information is available online I am going to give a “person” on the ground report. This means I am going to talk about how the art and artists appealed to me on a personal level. They, the artist, are all personable and their art is accessible and appropriately “artsy” for the common person.
It is the art aficionado that will be truly impressed because this is real cutting edge art produced by trained, seasoned, continually evolving artists not afraid of trying new things.
Each of these women are creating and expressing themselves daily in multiple formats and media types. These are not just photographs and watercolors and oils and digital and traditional mixed media. This art is an amalgam of originality and craftsmanship.
Art Spy has found a nest of art and originality that demands further investigation. Make sure to check out the Magpies.
Remember art is alive and thriving in Alameda County. Have a tip for Art Spy please send to firstname.lastname@example.org I will bring art to light.