|Featured artist David Misconish and Queen of the Castro Donna Sachet at the Given gift store gran re-opening party. Photo by Rink.
After being closed for nearly a month - serving as Harvey Milkâ€™s camera store for the filming of Milk - the gift store that took over Harveyâ€™s camera store, Given, reopened on Feb. 29 with a gallery of artistsâ€™ works. â€śHollywood has had its way with us and the on-location shooting of Milk has finally wrapped up,â€ť said Given storeowner Nick Romero. â€śWe want to extend our sincerest thanks to all of the location crew who made the experience as painless as possible.â€ť He said the crew took everything out of the store and conscientiously put it all back when the shoot was completed. They built a false wall to cover the psychedelic mural of Milk painted last August by John Baden, which has a gun shooting out the prophetic phrase Milk once said: â€śIf a bullet should enter my brain, let the bullet destroy every closet door.â€ť Romero said they have been proud of their connection with Milk and his old camera store, even before the movie was thought up. He said, â€śI came by four days after they had taken over the space, and I didnâ€™t even recognize my own store.â€ť He said unlike a few disgruntled storeowners, he and his friends were delighted in seeing the Castro temporarily turned back several decades.
There is a projection flashed onto the outside window of Given by Nate Mahoney called â€śOn Location, 2008,â€ť which is the first draft of a media project designed to reveal the history of Givenâ€™s location as Milkâ€™s camera store. Passersby will be drawn to and educated by the moving piece.
Ten pieces of art by local artist David Misconish are on one wall in a long row. Misconish is a San Francisco based designer and artist. He has a degree in landscape architecture and urban design, and the metallic surface is what he used to draft on. His work is reminiscent of the work of Francis Bacon, but saturated with gorgeous color and depth. All his paintings are done literally â€śby handâ€ť without the use of brushes, onto unconventional surfaces such as metal and Mylar. It is a reductive technique, where he puts the paint on and then removes it. The surface holds the paint well enough, but also partially releases it. No image is very easily defined, which is the artistâ€™s intention. It is purposely not photorealistic. He does not plan ahead, but just takes advantage of the moment. â€śI donâ€™t want to make art that tells people exactly what it is,â€ť said Misconish. â€śI prefer to let people look at my work and make their own interpretations.â€ť His series of work being showcased is entitled, â€śCaptured Spirits,â€ť which speaks to the wonderful, dreamlike quality of the paintings. He told Bay Times his philosophy on life is â€śitâ€™s too short to take too seriously.â€ť To appreciate the pieces, you need to stand at different angles from each piece to get a changing perspective. â€śFive different people can look at the same piece and see things quite differently,â€ť he said, â€śItâ€™s more about their personal emotional reaction to what they see and how they experience the world.â€ť He concluded his art is â€śsort of like a wrestling match between me and the piece, to find when itâ€™s right to stop pushing further.â€ť
Displayed on three walls is art by Danyol. â€śThe pieces I am showing here are kind of representations of the people that I meet on the streets of Castro,â€ť he told Bay Times. He said the background for his pieces are collages and decoupage of things he has found or that people have given him (such as fliers) in the neighborhood. His philosophy is being â€śa rather upbeat and positive person,â€ť and hoping that comes across in his art. His work is very whimsical, but if you look closely to find a deeper meaning, you will see a lot of sarcasm, â€śwhich is quite representational of my sense of humor.â€ť He said that growing up, he nourished himself on a steady diet of pop art, cubism, and sarcasm. â€śItâ€™s very non-cerebral,â€ť he said. â€śI just regurgitate my energy onto the canvas and put a distinct image on top to reign it in.â€ť He forms a dizzying combination of colors, patterns, and textures, masked out by definitive figures and shapes, somehow bringing some definition to his chaos. Happily, his work will once again be on display during the Castro Street Fair in October in the delightful Sugar Valley section â€“ the only part of the Fair that I look forward to in its noncommercial feeling. All the art at Given will be on display through the month of April, at which time it will change to a different artistâ€™s work.