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how it's made: ariel beads artwork

Artist Ariel Erestingcol’s process of reconstructing an image is rendered through the meticulous placement of colorful beads. While some beads arrive separated by color, mixed bags have to be separated by hand, further intensifying the process. Every so often his dog will get excited and knock over a bucket of beads so he’s grateful his nephews sometimes sort them on weekends—but Ariel says he still finds them all over the studio.

Once the beads are organized, an image is pixelated and then transferred to a mosaic filter, which creates a map for the placement of the colored beads—including some “glow in the dark” beads which were used for their color but technically they should emit a faint glow in the right circumstances.

These depictions of New York—in ariel times square taxi beads and ariel times square beads—are made up of over 5000 beads—each making one pixel of the digitized image and representing one unit of understanding. Through this process, the piece is given incremental meaning and its fractured nature attempts to create meaning of everyday events.

When the image is complete, it’s pressed with heat so the beads fuse together and mounted onto an MDF panel—the corners of which are routed to mimic the curved edges of the beads—and a hanging mechanism is added to the back which also creates a shadow lift and further adding dimension.

These numbered pieces are truly limited since they cannot be remade in the same colors—some are now discontinued—and requiring hours and hours of focus and intent, these limited-edition prints have a release of 75 each.


artist profile: kent youngstrom

Where was your favorite place to live?
Easy. Chicago.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
Kitchen/Living Room open space. Lots of Art, lots of Action.

Who are you design icons?
Pollock, De Kooning.

Form vs. function?
Round dice do not work very well

What is your signature?
Circles. I paint a lot of circles.

What’s your personal decorating style?
Minimal but unexpected.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
Other than the bikini? My back deck. It’s simple, comfortable and full of family and friends.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Sappy movies that really shouldn’t make me cry like Restoration. Stories of people coming full circle. Collections of things no one knows what to do with. The desire to be wanted.

What do you drive?
Ha. A mini-van with sto-n-go seats. I can carry a large amount of art & supplies along with my kids and their friends. Very artsy I know!

What one item do you wish you owned?
A large parcel of land with a Dwell style home and large studio within a few yards of the back door.

What are your interests outside of design?
Thursday night futbol. 5:30 am workouts. Laughing with the family. Scrambled eggs. Running the race to win.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
As far as i know, i can’t take anything with me when it is all over so i am not much of a collector. I will say that it would be hard to do what i do without my paint brushes and my Mac.

What’s had the biggest influence on you?
I think we are influenced by so many things in our life, but art-wise my grandfather could build/fix anything and he passed that on to my mother who has passed it on to me.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Oops Paint. You know… the discounted gallons at the hardware store that have been returned because the color didn’t look right or it was mixed incorrectly…

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
“I think your time here is over.” —a former boss. It forced me to figure things out on my own.

I am often asked how i manage to survive as an artist. My answer is always the same. “Hard work, hard work, and a little luck.”


artist profile: selene perez

From the Creativity Explored studio in
San Francisco—a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art—comes artwork by Selene Perez.

Born in 1982 in Mexico, Perez has created a vast bestiary of strong, graphic drawings of animals. Ranging from seven-legged cats to flocks of geese in flight, she makes her creatures with the simplest of marks across an array of media.

The influence of printmaking is evident in all of her work—vivid contrasts between dark and light, fine lines and densely black forms, all skillfully balanced. In a similar vein, her three owls pillow is executed with wisps of ink that expertly and simply catch and express the essential elements of the owls: eyes focused and finely feathered.

To spend a minute with Selene in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.


artist profile: ka wai shiu

Ka Wai Shiu was born in 1964 and was one of
the first artists at the Creativity Explored studio
in San Francisco—a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art.

Shiu creates elaborate, detailed drawings and paintings—often complicated natural environments populated by many figures, or very specific stories ranging from the path of a Chinese New Year parade to an epic voyage of ships across the sea.

She sometimes integrates text into the two-dimensional space using many languages—including Cantonese, her first language—to narrate or give clues to the scenes she depicts.

To spend one minute with Ka Wai Shiu in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.


artist profile: lance rivers

Born in 1967, artist Lance Rivers is a participating artist at the Creativity Explored studio—a nonprofit visual arts center in his hometown of San Francisco—where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art.

No aspect of the processes that make a city function has escaped him, and this—the sharing of his attention to the beauty of simple, industrial elements and compositions—is how he shows his love for the city.

Buildings, large-scale construction machinery, street cars, train lines—even the escalators within the MUNI and BART stations fascinate Rivers. He admits his obsession with architecture was first realized as a teenager as he began simply sketching the local bridges and tunnels he saw around him. Not surprising, the bridge architecture and landscape prints reflect a large portion of his work.

Go here to spend a minute with Lance in the Creativity Explored studio as he creates a new piece and reflects briefly on his love of architecture.

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