Alcatraz and Ai Weiwei

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The first time I went to Alcatraz was during my first visit to San Francisco. The second time was after I moved here and played tour guide. And the third was a few weekends ago, on a date, to see the Ai Weiwei installation.

I admit, I didn’t know much about this internationally-renowned artist/activist beforehand, but had heard a lot of buzz about the show, called @Large. Plus it was an excuse to play tourist in my own town for the day.

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The show was included in the ticket price, and intertwined within the prison walls. What’s really interesting is that Ai Weiwei created these seven site-specific installations—without ever leaving China. Briefly imprisoned himself, Weiwei is still not allowed to leave his own country.

Some pieces were so subtle, mainly using sound, I initially didn’t even realize they were part of the exhibit. But once we walked to the New Industries building, where the large, splashy sculptures were located, it became pretty obvious. This dragon kite, called With Wind, greeted us at the door.

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Those portraits on the floor are made of legos! You can read more about that here.

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The show also extended through the dining hall and hospital areas of the main prison, where porcelain flowers filled the sinks, tubs and toilets. And it was very (creepy) cool walking through the asylum and seeing those old beds. This would make a great night tour. Maybe on trip #4.

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If that doesn’t impress you, check out this amazing view on the way back. And just like Alcatraz, it never gets old. The Ai Weiwei show runs through April 26.

TheBay

Now Available on Minted: Painted Pines Holiday Cards

Painted Pines on Minted

My latest card design for Minted.com is now up for sale: you can buy Painted Pines here, in three different colorways for the holidays. I was thrilled to have one of my designs selected for their holiday collection as there are thousands of entries in this category, from some fantastic designers. And you can also check out my new Minted storefront, where you’ll find posters and art prints—more to be added soon!

Painted Pines on Minted

Painted Pines on Minted

Bay Area Hikes: Mt. Tam

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Some friends and I went on a beautiful hike in Mt. Tam this weekend. Just a few miles over the Golden Gate Bridge and you’re immersed in nature, and on this particular hike, a heavy forest filled with Redwood trees.

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Whenever we decide to go hiking in the Bay Area, one of the first things I do is pick up my trusty book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, to decide on a park and a trailhead. This time we decided on a 5 mile loop that started across from The Mountain Home Inn.

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We started down the steep Ocean View Trail and within the first mile we spotted an owl: a Spotted Owl. (See it on the branch up there?) And it was obviously used to hikers because it didn’t seem phased by us being only a few feet away.

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We continued on towards Bootjack Trail and found ourselves at the back entrance of Muir Woods, so we took a detour and walked through—it had been a while since I’d been there. And as usual, it was super crowded with tourists.

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We then followed the Troop 80 Trail back to Alice Eastwood Rd (a steep climb out, with lots of stairs) and finished our hike. With the little detour through Muir Woods it ended up being over 7 miles, and we definitely worked up an appetite. Fortunately, the hike ended back at the Mountain Home Inn where we had lunch on the back deck and enjoyed this gorgeous view.

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Tree Fall by Andy Goldsworthy

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I took advantage of this amazing weather we’ve been having by going on a nine-ish mile urban hike yesterday. We ended up in the Presidio, as I had been wanting to check out Tree Fall: the latest site-specific sculpture by British artist Andy Goldsworthy.

This one is indoors, although completely free-standing from the historic structure that it’s within. You can read all about it, as well as his other Presidio works, here. And there’s yet another installation slated for this Spring, at the Officer’s Club, once it’s renovated 🙂

Andy Goldsworthy Tree Fall

Andy Goldsworthy Tree Fall

I just love his work, and feel lucky to have so much of it nearby. If you’re unfamiliar with it you need to check out Rivers and Tides. It’s a fantastic movie documenting his process of creating these (mostly) temporary, and always intriguing sculptures.

Andy Goldsworthy Tree Fall