Advertising
Advertising

You are here

Park Life, San Francisco

I was in San Francisco's Inner Richmond neighborhood a few days ago, and stopped by one of my favorite shops: Park Life, a cool and highly unconventional gallery and shop. It opened in 2006, the brainchild of two friends and art collectors, Jamie Alexander and Derek Song. Alexander calls the space "like a museum store, but without the fluff."

parklife shop exterior

That's selling it short, though. The shop has 1,400 square feet of retail and gallery space, packed with a colorful, curated collection of books, modern design objects, edgy artist-designed t-shirts and jewelry, and artist multiples.

parklife shop interior
Work by established and emerging artists from the Bay Area and beyond cover the walls, salon-style; an adjacent gallery space is dedicated to monthly solo and group exhibitions. They also publish books and catalogs under the imprint Paper Museum Press.

parklife shop gallery
It's a cool art-meets-commerce model: Having the retail component means the gallery isn't dependent on art sales alone—which frees them up to be more creative and less commercial (they often exhibit "non-sellable" art, as Alexander puts it), and also to sell work at really affordable prices. A couple years ago I checked out a show featuring a gigantic wall mural and three small paintings by artist Chris Ballantyne; they also sold limited-edition prints of his work for $350 each, and 50 post-it notes of his rough sketches for $50 each. They ask artists to take risks and do things they wouldn't get to do at a 'normal' gallery.

parklife shop books
Because they're not a full-service gallery, they give their artists a higher percentage of sales, usually 60%. Other galleries don't see them as a threat, and allow their artists to work with Park Life on special projects; for example, Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley has created skateboard decks and t-shirts for the shop, plus a set of salt-and-pepper shakers inscribed with the words 'cocaine' and 'heroin' (yours for $125!).

On October 22, they'll open 'Unnatural Plans,' an exhibition of colorful abstract paintings by Masako Mike and Steven Lopez. Come November 4 through 7, they'll be at the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA's PS1, releasing a new Tucker Nichols' limited edition print and displaying a selection of products and artworks from the San Francisco shop. Check them out if you're in New York!

dwell.com is your online home in the modern world. Join us as we follow our team around the globe on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Want more? Never miss another word of Dwell with our free iTunes app.

Comments

Log in or register to post comments
Advertising