Eureka, CA: Saturday, July 3, 2021: Eureka took a beating during COVID as businesses shut down and the northern California community became a ghost town, until last night when the streets filled with people and the buzzing of open restaurants, busy business, and the echo of street musicians sung throughout the streets. The city was alive, and the wine was flowing abundantly as out of towners and the widespread Humboldt community united between C and H street. At nine pm the shops usually close and darkness fills the town but not last night. There was a pleasant resilience to go home, and business remained open, and people continued to roam and congregate on the streets of Old Town.
Starting on H street, I had the pleasure of stumbling into Art Center Space. The art gallery welcomes local artists to hang up their creations without a monthly fee. She asks the artist to sign a one-year contract with a 25% commission. The canvases blew me away, ranging from contemporary to abstract with no single theme. Prints in rows offered art for every type of collector to enjoy. Outside of Art Center Space, Eva Nebenzahl, a recent graduate from Humboldt State University, displayed her ceramic art. Hand-carved pieces to hold liquids of all kinds, her dedication to the trade shinned through the mugs with skulls and fish imprints and delicate, detailed leaves. Eva is on Instagram at @eva_nebenzahl.
On F street, the next stop was Sage Clothing, which showcased their resident oil painter from Ferndale, Shawn Griggs owner of Redeye Laboratories. His surf art style is a portal to a tropical island where the waves of detail wash away all problems. His warm and welcoming personality will inspire any artist to go home and paint with oils, a medium that gives in quickly to fine detail compared to acrylic paint. You can find Shawn on Instagram @redeyelaboratories.
Exploring Old Town is full of unique stores like Good Relations, which offered a comfortable LGBTQ environment, accompanied by exquisite tea vendors out front and an open artist studio hidden up a flight of stairs to the west. Gorgeous women (or men) wore classy lingerie and read sex-themed books through their glass windows in a steampunk/ Victorian fashion.
Lux Lounge, hidden on E street, was full of an all-women staff who pampered and gossiped every wonderer who entered. They can easily coax anyone into sitting in a chair and enjoying the amenities of the luxurious saloon. My most beloved local artist, Czeak, painted live. Last night he worked on a small-sized canvas, using a beautiful blend of reds and orange with acrylic. He painted a face emphasizing the breath in a multidimensional space. You can find Czeaks art on Instagram @visions_channels_. He is known for his unique new-age style and reasonable prices.
After dinner at Five Eleven (I recommend skipping the Fish and Chips and jumping straight to the Flat Steak), I was fortunate enough to wander backward and come across some of the most inspiring galleries yet @ 272 C Street. Here they are offering $5 Figure Drawing Sessions on Thursdays from 7-9 (707-442-0309.) If the hallway art doesn’t catch your attention, make sure to visit Augustus Clark. The studio is full of thousands of hours of bright-colored artwork, paintings of famous musicians, popular film characters, eastern religious deities and gods, abstract statues, and 3-dimensional art. Besides his fun concepts and bright color styles, I enjoyed the multi-media elements and use of metallics and shiny paints.
We were leaving, headed out the door, but something stopped me, and as my friends descended the stairs, I took a few more steps into the hallway to the very last door to find a studio still open. Ryan Jensen, a local impressionist oil painter from the bay area, draws his inspiration from nature, fishing, and his children. His self-portraits spoke to me and his ability to capture an image that can only be an astral projection. A thankful reminder of the great artists throughout time, Ryan’s name could easily accompany that list.