Thanks to the recent passing of the Public Art in Private Development Ordinance, the search for artists continues in Richmond. As a Public Art Advisory Committee member, the vetting process to discover artists started the day the ordinance passed last year. Richmond is a wonderful, dynamic, and diverse city that deserves to be represented. Artistic opportunities must include every community.
Located on a scenic hilltop in Martinez, is the magical studio of Patricia Vader. Swirls of colorful artworks dance with wind welcoming visitors. Light flickers in Vader’s outdoor laboratory of bicycle parts and sculptures. Patricia has a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the California College of the Arts and a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Natural Sciences from the University of Amsterdam. Her incredible sculptures can be found in numerous public collections across America.
From a Pelican Hill Magazine interview, Vader: “I made my first piece of kinetic art, a windmill, one very windy day in 2007 on the windy hilltop where I live and work, using a bicycle wheel and 4” stainless steel disks of unremembered origin that I had stored in a tin. I checked the optimum angle for the blades of a windmill online and found it to be almost exactly reproducible on a bicycle wheel. I have always liked bicycle wheels, presumably because of my Dutch origins. I baked several with clay on their spokes in the kiln when I was in art school and they still hang on my walls, like precious but amusing relics.”
Next visit would be the Rachel Rodi studio near the Fruitvale exit in Oakland. The neighborhood is home to the yearly White Elephant Sale that benefits the Oakland Museum of California. The workshop is a colorful collection of sketches, materials, supplies, and projects. Rodi’s professionalism is evident from her in-depth knowledge of applications to installations. Overall, the artworks flow effortlessly despite a laborious process.
From the website: “Rachel Rodi Mosaics designs and creates site-specific mosaic installations for businesses, homes, public art and community projects. We specialize in large-scale installations, architectural mosaics, fine glasswork, and hand-made tile. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, our company creates mosaics for civic organizations, parks, schools, corporations and private clients throughout the United States…Our materials include ceramic tile, stained glass, mirror and hand made tile, and we are always exploring new and innovative materials and techniques to use in our projects.”
Notably, March is National Women’s History Month. Patricia Vader and Rachel Rodi are examples of two local woman artists who have dedicated their lives to the arts. My hope is that a new history can be charted. The goal is to create inclusive narratives, infrastructures, and opportunities into the future and beyond. Onwards with art!