Artist you should knowArts and CultureSF Bay Area

The Art Crowd: Meet San Francisco’s New It Girls

Updated: Apr 01, 2022 10:41
The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

“What if we lived in a world where we were celebrated instead of seperated? What if instead of being made to feel less than, we were raised up? What if we felt worthy? What kind of new horizons would we imagine then? These are the questions that burn in my heart.”  – an excerpt from Worthy, by Tracy Piper

"Bloom" artist Tracy Piper & Voss Gallery owner Ashley Voss on opening night.

“Bloom” artist Tracy Piper & Voss Gallery owner Ashley Voss on opening night. Photo courtesy of @thetracypiper IG

Last Week in San Francisco, the art crowd shined as they gathered in the Mission District at the Voss Gallery to celebrate local contemporary artist Tracy Piper and the opening of her 32 piece collection, Bloom. 

Bay Area Artist Tracy Piper stands in front her piece

Voss Gallery was packed this past Friday night to celebrate Bay Area artist Tracy Piper

Tucked away on a well lit corner near in the Mission, Voss sits on 24th Street near Bartlett, right near that one really good cheesesteak place — you know the one. The opening was was overflowing with some of the city’s most enthusiastic art patrons, fans, and spectators.

Sicerra, curator of Oakland's Metalhaus Gallery in Pendelton, Michael Kors, Banana Republic, & Kate Spade stand in front of painting on white wall

Sicerra, curator of Oakland’s Metalhaus Gallery in Pendelton, Michael Kors, Banana Republic, & Kate Spade

 

Temarius, in Banana Republic & The Men's Warehouse standing in front of brightly colored art on white wall

Temarius, in Banana Republic & The Men’s Warehouse

A long standing fan of Voss Gallery, I’d seen some of Piper’s paintings hanging at previous openings and they had always stood out to me. Large portraits of gorgeous subjects with a variety of expressions, painted to be ethnically ambiguous, in the sense that this particular artist substitutes all skin tones for bright shades slashed onto her canvases in tropical hues that that almost bring Lisa Frank to mind.

Chloe poses next to her favorite Tracy Piper painting at "Bloom" in a throwback vintage look 

Chloe poses next to her favorite Tracy Piper painting at “Bloom” in a throwback vintage look

I arrived halfway through the opening to an impressive, after dark crowd, that spilled onto the sidewalk, creating a spectacle for at least a block in each direction. By the time I stepped foot in the door there was already a fabulous buzz in the room, and Ms. Piper, with her brightly colored hair dyed in a literal rainbow of colors, was as noticeable as her paintings. Tracy Piper’s personality is infectious: with a broad smile and a full body way of laughing, I watched her work a full room as she answered questions and posed for photos, champagne in hand.

man in man bun stands in front of brightly colored portrait of himself

Arya, in vintage, poses next to a Tracy Piper portrait modeled after themself

Voss Gallery has always been a great spot to network. I’m mostly intentional with my outings, so my trips to Voss have usually catalyzed encounters with any number of entrepreneurs, musicians, models, photographers, and most importantly, other artists. The most impressive takeaway from that evening was witnessing just how many other local fine artists came out in support of Piper. It was an impressive roll call of a who’s who of the current Bay Area art crowd.

in the gallery's lower level in a dress by Mae Otti

Fine artist Le Bohemian Muse keeps operations at Voss rolling on a daily basis. Here she double duties with her exhibit piece in the gallery’s lower level in a dress by Mae Otti

There were two things that impressed me most about Piper’s showing that evening. One of which was just how large it was; 32 pieces in total, most of which commuted all the way to Miami and back to show at Art Basel this past December. The other thing that impressed me was, upon entrance, Bloom utterly engulfs you in vibrancy as the technicolor canvases adorn every inch of the main showroom. They spill down into the lower level to where you can see pieces by other artists including Le Bohemian Muse (pictured above) who keeps galley operations going with owner Ashley Voss.

Owner and curator Ashley Voss beaming after yet another successful opening at Voss Gallery stands in front of sign that says Bloom

Owner and curator Ashley Voss beaming after yet another successful opening at Voss Gallery

These two “Gallerinas” met at a San Francisco art fair where Piper was showing pre pandemic, leading to Voss offering the East Bay based artist an in house residency at Voss Gallery during shelter in place. Both in transitional phases of their lives with Piper – bouncing back to fine art after a maternity leave and Voss situating herself in the city after relocating from New Orleans – Tracy Piper produced a painting a week during her residency and entitled the resulting collection of works Down The Rabbit Hole. They explore overall themes of inclusion, social justice, and worthiness within a collective society.

There is something quite beautiful about witnessing the camaraderie between Voss and Piper. At my day job working in the music industry, a huge part of my workload is A&R aka Artist and Repertoire – scouting, coaching, developing and presenting artists to the world. My job is to actualize the potential I see within the artists I scout. It’s safe to say that if I support and encourage you, it’s because I *see* you, and this is something that Ashley Voss and I inherently have in common. In a way, it’s my fervent, obsessive dedication to developing the talent of my clients that makes all the extra difference at the end of the day. And I can sense that same artistically coached interconnectedness whenever I step into Voss Gallery.

dark room with chandelier and sign that says Monarch The bottle service lounge at Monarch, downtown on 6th Street in San Francisco

The after party took place at Monarch on 6th Street in San Francisco.

For some of us, the satisfaction comes from encouraging and showcasing the talent of others rather than putting the spotlight solely on our own names and brands. Both constant gardeners, I get the sense that another thing Voss and I have in common is the overwhelmingly maternal feeling we feel over our respective proteges, enthusiastically and protectively sending our collections of fully actualized phenoms out into the world. If I’m a “band mom” then Ashley Voss is an “art mom” and is an asset to the city of San Francisco.

The Gallerinas of the San Francisco celebrate Tracy Piper and Ashley Voss at Monarch downtown

The Gallerinas of the San Francisco celebrate Tracy Piper and Ashley Voss at Monarch downtown

Voss’ curations are done with a loving and careful hand as there is an overwhelming sense that everything is exactly where it should be when you walk into her Gallery. Her instinctual touch is everywhere you look, brimming with the sort of pride and enthusiasm one feels when catalyzing great talent. During her gallery openings Voss is a marvel to observe: petite in stature, she effortlessly runs a three ring circus by facilitating a dozen spinning plates at once with a calm and quiet ease that can talk to and get along with anyone.

The view from the VIP section at Monarch

The view from the VIP section at Monarch

Whether it’s your first or tenth visit to her gallery Ashley immediately makes you feel welcome and comfortable, a talent that aligns her with the new order of great social hostesses in the city. It makes sense that the exhibit was entitled Bloom, as you get the sense that Voss has brought the very best out of Piper via their creative collaboration, and vice versa. Judging by just how many showed up to celebrate the pair this past Friday night, it seems the entire city is cheering them both on, something that is both exciting and incredible to witness.

One of the highlights of the evening was when newlywed Editor In Chief Broke Ass Stuart showed up with partner Kayla

One of the highlights of the evening was when newlywed Editor In Chief Broke Ass Stuart showed up with partner Kayla

Last weekend left me hopeful for a cultural renaissance in a San Francisco and also hopeful that there are actually other womxn out there who are concerned with the bigger picture: womxn who are passionate and excited about the lives they’ve built for themselves with a man’s help or not, womxn who are equally as supportive as they are in admiration of the other brilliant womxn around them, and most importantly, womxn who can envision what it would be like in a world where this was actually the baseline for how womxn should treat other womxn, then embodying that example in their day to day lives.

These women know that no one single person’s beauty, talent, or uniqueness could ever take away from another persons’, and instead of competing with each other they join forces to manifest astonishing creations to put out into the world with much pride and deference for each other. My only hope is that my words are adequate enough to describe how much I admire them all, and the example the provide to our community and world at large.

Style for style. Passion for passion. Taste for taste.

Ashley Voss re: your author, in a high/low outfit by Versace & Target 

Your author, in a high/low outfit by Versace & Target

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

Oakland Government finally steps in after artist threats

Next post

How to Pronounce 'Chesa Boudin' Correctly


Rose Eden

Rose Eden

Rose Eden is a punk rock grown up fashion vlogger, style writer, content creator, and PR firm
Creative Director residing in San Francisco on the Upper West Side. She additionally contributes to music industry website PunkNews.org as a staff writer and reviewer

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.