Editor’s Note: This is part one in a series about local people connected to the early days of television.
While meeting with this publication last week to share details about an art show that he would be taking part in with two other artists, Carmichael area resident Bob Miller explained that his involvement in art extends beyond the strokes of brushes on canvas.
Bob, 83, noted that his background in art even included working for television stations during the 1950s.
In speaking about his longtime interest in art, Bob said, “My first memory was drawing cartoons from coloring books, doing pictures of Disney characters and so on. I was always one of the best (at drawing) in class.”
Long before becoming a television pioneer, Bob was raised in the town of Hughson, about 10 miles east of Modesto by his parents, Pierce and Mae Miller, who he mentioned were much older than himself.
“My father was born in 1886 and my mother was born in 1896,” Bob said. “My mother, I think, was in her late 30s when I was born and my father was in his 40s. They were both Pennsylvania Dutch, German, and as a matter of fact, the first language for both my mother and father was German.”
Bob, who was the fourth of five children in his family, said that his father grew up as an orphan, came West when he was in his 20s and for a short time homesteaded in Arizona.
Bob described the events that led to his parents’ marriage and the early part of their life together, as he said, “My father had apparently worked as a farmhand for my mother’s father and he had remembered my mother and went back to Pennsylvania and asked permission to marry her from her father. My mother just barely knew him, and they were married and he brought her to California. Instead of going back to Los Angeles, they settled in (Hughson).”
Despite dropping out of school when he was about 10 years old, Pierce proved to be very successful working in a variety of jobs during his life. His jobs in Hughson included working in a livery stable and operating a notable peach farm of about 40 acres.
The Millers eventually moved to the town of Empire – about five miles east of Modesto – where Bob attended Empire Grammar School (the predecessor to today’s Empire Elementary School) through the eighth grade.
In 1944, Bob began attending Modesto High School, where he was active in the art club, was student body president in 1947 and graduated a year later.
During that time, Bob, who was influenced by two art teachers, Ida Gross and Jean Ariey, was the sports cartoonist for the school newspaper.
In commenting about that experience, Bob said, “(Working as a sports cartoonist as a career) was sort of what I wanted to do. Well, that sort of thing sort of fell by the wayside.”
In 1948, Bob began attending San Jose State College (today’s San Jose State University), where he majored in commercial art, minored in history and was editor of the school’s magazine, Lyke.
During his sophomore year at San Jose State, Bob married his high school sweetheart, Anita Richardson.
While still attending that institution, Bob obtained part-time work as a sign painter.
And with his college days finally behind him, Bob was hired to work full time as a silkscreener for a Sunnyvale, Calif. firm called R and A Signs.
His employment with that company lasted about three months, at which time Bob moved to Sacramento with his family, which then included his wife and two children.
With that move, Anita was able to live closer to her parents, Raymond and Ardis Richardson, who then resided in Carmichael, near the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Marconi Avenue.
Bob’s first employment in the capital city was at The Dosch Co. at 200 V St., where he worked on silkscreen jobs and other projects.
In describing his uninviting working environment at that company, Bob said, “My silkscreen shop was an old chicken coop and it had tar paper on the roof. During the summer, it was like 120 (degrees) and during the winter, it was like 50 (degrees). There was no air conditioning, no heating, no anything like that. So, I cut stencils and old man (F. Elwood) Dosch would give me like five X-Acto blades a week and a wet stone to sharpen (the blades). It was just ridiculous.”
Although Bob is many years removed from that job, he spoke about various irritations of that workplace as if they occurred the previous day.
Among those irritations were his daily interactions with the business’s guard dogs, which were tied to a post about 10 feet from where he worked.
“One of my major jobs was there were dogs, Dobermans, that (Dosch) used at night and turned loose in the yard as guard dogs,” Bob said. “The dogs were chained to a post and it was my job to clean up their (droppings) and to feed them. Well, they hated me. All day, they would sit there and growl at me while I was cutting my stencils.”
Bob was undoubtedly thrilled to finally change jobs about a year later.
In recalling the moment that led to his new employment, Bob said, “I was home one night (in 1954) and we flipped on the television and Channel 36 in Stockton had just gone on the air. It was KTVU, and I looked at their artwork. Their artwork was absolutely miserable, so I threw my portfolio in my Studebaker and I drove down to Stockton. I was interviewed by a guy named Dave Hume, and Dick Block. Dave ultimately became the news director at Channel 3 (in Sacramento). In any event, I was interviewed by them. They really liked my portfolio, but it also meant that I was to be a floor man on television shows. Everything was live in those days. Dave said, ‘You know, I really like his (art) work, but I think he’s too short to reach the mic booms.’ And here I am, I’m going to be a floor man, I had to reach the mic booms. So, we went down in the studio, and I got down on my tippy toes and I managed to operate the mic boom and he said, ‘Okay, that’s okay.’ So, they hired me.”
AWASH: an exhibit of watercolor paintings by eight Sacramento area artists is now open at the SMUD Art Gallery, 6301 S St.The exhibition offers different approaches to watercolor painting by emerging and established Sacramento area artists:
About the featured artistArtist Shannon Raney is a mother, wife, artist and teacher by heart. A Minnesota native, Shannon remembers a home that helped encourage and influence her artwork. Today, as a mother of two Shannon Raney continues the legacy of mentorship with her own children and as a teacher, designs art projects that encourage confidence and artistic success for her students.
Fun and simplicity are important to the artist. Shannon Raney weaves these concepts into each art piece, creating a composition of strong colors and whimsical landscapes of new textures and vibrations.
In the “Game of Cat and Mouse”, this classical story offers a fixed theme of play and solitude guiding the viewer into landscapes of mixed media textures.
Shannon Raney looks towards her future in art with a smile. She is calm and she is peaceful, creating in her backyard studio sanctuary with heartfelt plans to expand and grow both personally and in her ability to influence the artistic generations to come.
Join Artistic Edge Gallery for their Second Saturday Art Reception for the unique opportunity to meet Shannon Raney and the added benefit of our featured photographer Don Tackett.
To learn more about the Artistic Edge Gallery, Second Saturday Art Reception, call Kathy Caitano at 482-2787 or email email@example.com. Artistic Edge is located at 1880 Fulton Ave., Sacramento.
Prison art, letters of the prison industrial complex and zines of political content will fill the space of Exhibit S Gallery with content from 25 years of correspondence between Anthony Rayson from the South Chicago ABC Zine Distro and incarcerated people.
Zines have been published with minimum editing, since most of the pieces are written and compiled by the prisoners themselves, according to a YouTube video by Tahoe Park videographer Martin Conlisk who first met Rayson when the activist was on a cable access show back in 1996. More recently Conlisk was in Chicago and got Rayson on camera again. “I was just a lark walking around the door,” Conlisk said. “The artwork inside Rayson’s home was just the stuff he had laying around.” But there was a lot of it. Stacks of artwork and zines in progress fill the house.
It’s been said that books aren’t necessarily wanted in prison; they can be bulky and easily stolen, so zines are preferred because they can be hidden inside prisoners’ pockets.
Along with the writings, Rayson and his partner, Mike Plosky, get incredible prisoner artwork that they help distribute. “Some are either one or the other and we encourage collaboration,” Rayson said. They ask the inmates who might be interested in helping with the collaboration, “Well, do you write? Are you an artist?”
Rayson has several samples of brilliant pieces by Kevin Rashid Johnson, an African-American socio-political photographer who produces conceptual post-black art. According to http://rashidmod.com, a website created in his honor, Johnson was a drug dealer who was arrested in 1990 and received a lengthy prison sentence. He has been incarcerated ever since – for the past 18 years in conditions of solitary confinement.
“A lot of them are into the (Black) Panthers as you might assume,” Rayson said. “A lot of tattooers might work for us.”
Using random supplies like napkins, envelopes, to create art, the pieces have included tributes to the great leaders of Africa, Latina art. There are punk oriented pieces and there are some that are more classic, harkening back to the slave days. Malcolm X is always a favorite. One piece was created by a White Muslim in Indiana who drew images showing the discrimination he faces from being White and Muslim.
“We make prints in color, so prisoners can have this stuff, Rayson explained. “They can line their walls with it and put their favorite political leaders up and the coolest graphics up there along with the literature they spread around, which is very cool – the way they kite things. They unravel towels and the string – they just tie it just like a long clothes line and hang it from different floors even. Across halls – they get these zines and artwork to as many inmates as possible no matter how restrictive they are. So it’s a helluva project and we’re going to just keep doing this stuff. It takes a lot of time money and effort. It’s very labor intensive, but it’s extremely rewarding.”
“We are expanding their horizons of thought,” Plosky said in the interview. “They’re doing the same for us,” Rayson said. He added: “We’re working on a zine From Gangsta to Guerrilla. I am sure, as always, the authorities are loving what we are doing.”
The show will be held at Exhibit S Gallery in Downtown Plaza, located at 5th and L streets. The reception will be held on Second Saturday (Jan. 11), starting at 6 p.m., followed by a lecture at 8 p.m. by Rayson, who will be one highlight, along with the artwork, graphics and zine literature from the inside of the prison industrial complex from across the nation. Featured artists include: Todd ‘Hyung Rae’ Tarcelli, Rasheed Johnson, Brain Scam, Joey Torres, RJ Hall, Jr. The show will be up until Jan. 26.
The art show is a fundraiser for Rayson and his efforts Conlisk said when he first thought of doing an art show, he thought about having the art hung at local coffee shops, but from those he spoke with none wanted to hang the art. Asked whether he expects the show get a good response, Conlisk said: “Honestly it’s hard to say. You’re dealing with a segment of the population where they listen and nod. But we have made connections with the New Black Panther Party, (a black political organization founded in Dallas in 1989). Will they bring people? I don’t know.”
ABC Distro stands for Anarchist Black Cross, which, according to the website www.activedistributionshop.org was started in Tsarist, Russia to organize aid for political prisoners captured by the police, and to organize self-defense against political raids by the Cossack Army. During the Russian civil war, they changed the name to the Black Cross in order to avoid confusion with the Red Cross who were organizing relief in the country.
Inside the Sol Collective art gallery and center for culture and activism, is Spanglish Arte, a retail space which features “local artists with a global following.” Spanglish relocated from its space in midtown on J Street and has been inside Sol Collective for about three months now, explained Mari Arreola, the creative director. With the slogan local arte for the masses, Arreola said the mass production of prints she has for sale works toward that mission of being able to provide all income levels with quality local art. She said she has enjoyed the new space inside of Sol Collective as it has a good vibe with student interns who are interested in art and culture. Sol Collective is located at 2574 21st St.
Here are a few pieces on display at Capsity from local artists. Founded in 2008, Capsity is an owner-occupied professional workplace located on at 2572 21st St., just south of Sacramento’s Broadway corridor. It includes a community art gallery. General hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Capsity is located at 2572 21st St.
Photos by Monica Stark
This photo was taken on Dec. 22 near Rio Americano High School on the American River Bike Trail at about 6:50 a.m. during a morning run by the photographer.
Family owned and operated, Artistic Edge Custom Framing & Gallery, defies the economic odds and continues to grow. What started with a passion and a vision has evolved into a quality custom framing shop and a unique forum for local artists.
It all started with a vision. As a wife, mother and entrepreneur at heart, Kathy Caitano has a talent for creating success in her business ventures. By 2007, she had already grown and sold two businesses and was ready to invest into a business that connected to her passion for art. It was in the energetic atmosphere of an art auction, and encouragement from her husband, the idea transformed into action that Kathy Caitano decided to buy her first custom framing and gallery store.
With her investment made, Kathy’s vision was to transform a 2300 sq. ft. local framing and print shop into a unique platform for original art and quality custom framing. To Kathy, quality can be affordable and “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.
This is what she shares everyday with her local community.
Today, Kathy’s vision has become a reality. In just 6 years of business, Artistic Edge Custom Framing and Gallery has expanded into 8000 sq. ft. of showroom space and has built a strong connection with the community she serves. Artistic Edge’s now vast showrooms offer individuals the opportunity to experience original art from local and national artists, find unique and original gifts, and connect to a nostalgic quality of a family owned and operated business.
With continued growth in mind, Artistic Edge moves into their final stage of the transformation with the addition of six individual artist studio spaces. Here, independent local artists can create and sell their art on site, and become a bigger part of the Artistic Edge family.
“It’s been a slow work in progress and this January we took on more space and have been working so hard. It’s 85 percent complete and my artist studio spaces will be complete by December,” Caitano told the Arden-Carmichael News.
“Almost, Maine” is a series of nine amiable and sometimes absurd vignettes about love, during one magical evening in the mythical town of Almost, Maine during the Aurora Borealis. It is whimsical, charming, and very funny with a touch of magical realism, and a touch of the Cohen brothers mixed in, making for a very entertaining evening.
Six actors — Jacob Garcia, Shelby Saumier, Steven Amaral, Tiffanie Mack, Natalie Jones, Urias Davis — play the 19 different roles and all of the events of the play happen at the same time. Felten said she casts these particular actors for their comic skills and their innate sensibility for the material, which requires honest communication skills, spontaneous responses, and physical commitment. “We have been having a great time working on the show!”
Stage manager Megan Aldrich said she enjoys the emotional roller coaster this show takes you on. “One minute, it has you laughing hysterically and the next it’s yanking on your heart strings. This play is just so honest and I think it’s a very relatable story. With nine different vignettes, there really is a story in this show for everyone.”
In the Prologue/Interlogue/Epilogue, a young couple, in love, learns what being close and getting closer is all about.
In scene two, titled Her Heart, a young woman searches for closure in the front yard of an experienced “fix-it” guy, but can he mend her broken heart?
In the third scene, “Getting it Back”, a couple, in love, explore the tangible qualities of loving, giving, and “getting it back” to comedic effect.
In scene four, “This Hurts”, two very different people find a common bond after an ironing board brings them together.
In the fifth scene, “Sad and Glad”, Jimmy knows he’s in love, but has he chosen the right woman? Only his tattoo has the answer.
In the following scene, “They Fell”, two regular guys find love where they least expect it.
In the scene “The Story of Hope”, a young woman arrives on the doorstep of her ex-boyfriend to answer the most important question of her life, but is she too late?
In scene eight, “Where it Went”, viewers come back with the feeling that sometimes the best choice in love is letting go. Lastly we are left with the questions – Is it road kill? Is it art? Or is it love?
This is the first time Aldrich has ever been a stage manager and it’s something she’s been dreaming about for a very long time. She worked her way up by starting off as an assistant stage manager at Washington State University so she could learn the ropes. Then when she got to Sac State, she started off as a spot light operator and then ASM again.
“I think I proved I could handle this position when I took over one of Sac State’s theater clubs, Dramatist Society, as president last spring,” she said. “So when Professor Felten asked me to be her stage manager, it was literally like a dream come true. Stage management isn’t a walk in the park though. You have to be everything to everyone at all times. You have to be an authority figure they respect, a shoulder to cry on when things get rough, a confidant so people realize they can trust, etcetera, etcetera. The list goes on forever. So I really just try to take one day at a time, because this is a learning process for me too. But so far, so good. I’m very excited to keep pushing forward.”