Ice cream and childhood memories go hand in hand. For San Francisco based artist Kelly Tunstall, some of her earliest memories often revolved around eating an ice cream cone or a popsicle. Her colorful illustrations of elongated sparkly-eyed girls and quirky characters, featured here on our blog, have always had a sugary-sweet palette of bright yellows, pinks, blues, and reds and other delicious shades. She once told us, “I have really innate reactions to color- I really fall in love deeply with colors for awhile but then there’s the basics. I always feel like I’m learning, but I really FEEL color.” Her upcoming exhibition “Soft Serve” at Stranger Factory in New Mexico explores a world of colors inspired by her ice cream dreams and sugar’s place in her happiest moments.
San Francisco based husband and wife duo Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall (featured here) share a style that is loose, playful and refined at the same time- a collaboration that they lovingly call “Kefe”. Plock’s blocky and cute animals and Tunstall’s starry-eyed girls in funky outfits look very different on the outside, but happily coexist and enjoy each other’s company. The couple brings their characters into the same visual space by working with the same colors, techniques and art materials. The idea of coming together and transitioning between two spaces is a running theme in Kefe’s upcoming exhibition “Holding Pattern” at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco.
In 2011, Feminist artist group the Guerilla Girls discovered that fewer than 4% of artists in the Metropolitan Museum’s modern art section are women. While things are getting better, statistics still show that opportunities are low for women in the art world, with women earning 29% less than their male counterparts. In the spirit of the Guerilla Girls, FFDG Gallery in San Francisco has rounded up a group of 25 international female artists to represent the 4%. They call themselves the “4%ers”: Mariel Bayona, Pakayla Rae Biehn, Monica Canilao, Claw Money, Deb, Lola Dupre, Kristin Farr, Michelle Fleck, Angela Fox, Mel Kadel, Aubrey Learner, Lauren Napolitano, Kelly Ording, Pacolli, Meryl Pataky, Emily Proud, Bunnie Reiss, Erin M. Riley, Jenny Sharaf, Minka Sicklinger, Winnie Truong, Kelly Tunstall, Nicomi Nix Turner, and Lauren YS working in various media.
Together known is KeFe, Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock are getting ready to debut their third solo show at Fecal Face in San Francisco tonight. Titled “Inside Voices,” the exhibition features playful, colorful collaborative paintings. The artists culled inspiration for these works from their experiences with parenting two young boys. The term “inside voice” is often used to quiet children, which can, in effect, stifle their self-expression when it’s inconvenient to adults. KeFe reclaimed this term and made it a more liberating one, describing their conception of an “inside voice” as the inner voice that guides one’s creativity. By following this internal teacher, they created work that brims with a childlike sense of curiosity.
Partners in art and in life, Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall collaborate seamlessly, almost out of necessity. They work in close proximity to one another in their studio, switching between parent duty to their two young children and working on their paintings. Elements of Plock’s blocky, geometric style end up on Tunstall’s softer, more painterly canvases and vice versa. The couple, sometimes known by the monicker KeFe, currently has an exhibition at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery titled “Floating World: Part One” on view through August 9. Part two of this body of work will open at Antler Gallery in Portland on July 31, creating a visual dialogue between two cities.