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ISSUE 11.2 May/June 2019


Silicon Valley’s Innovative and Creative Culture


Issue shot entirely with

Google Pixel 3 XL


Illustration by Shannon Knepper CONTENT MAGAZINE, SAN JOSE $9.95

Alan Rath The Tech Museum Gallery Suha Suha Humble Sea Brewing Company Fashion Design and Apparel Technology of West Valley College

works is your community art and performance center, a welcoming space where you can experience and create exhibits and events.

next at works: shifting tides: a convergence in cloth exhibition: april 19–may 5, 2019 fiber art from the bay area to around the pacific rim on ocean life and environments. keyframes: experimental animation exhibition: may 17–june 9, 2019 70 graduates from sjsu’s animation program. works member exhibition (title to come) exhibition: july 26–august 18, 2019 the annual salon of artist members of works. join works to participate!

works is a creative laboratory where artists, audience, and ideas interact to expand the scope of cultural experience.

works/san josé 365 south market street exhibits and exhibit guidelines: workssanjose.org facebook, twitter, instagram: workssanjose

C CONTENT ISSUE 11.2 “Device” May / June 2019

Cultivator Daniel Garcia Editors Elizabeth Sullivan, Rah Riley Samantha Tack, Grace Olivieri Linnea Fleming, Lisa Mendricks Community Partnerships Kristen Pfund

Photographers Paul Ferradas, Daniel Garcia Writers Peter Hsieh, Gillian Claus Thomas Ulrich, David Perez Brandon E. Roos, Daniel Codella Tad Malone, Esther Young Hannah Duchesne, Johanna Hickle Grace Talice Lee, Kunal Sampat Marissa Ahmadkhani, Jeff Brummet Taran Escobar-Ausman,Yale Wyatt

Publisher SVCreates

This Device issue, as I mention on the preceding page, was shot entirely on the Google Pixel 3 XL Phone. What better way to focus on tech in Silicon Valley than to use a new gadget for an issue devoted to emerging innovation? I like to balance the gadgetry and digital world with the tangible and analog, especially since I would not consider myself a techie—even though I was raised here in the valley of innovation. Hence, in this edition, we feature Bay Area creators who combine the two worlds, such as strawberry farmers, painters, and a trivia quiz leader. Technology not only affects what and how they do their work—like running the music and quiz questions from an iPhone or using DNA sequencers on a strawberry farm—but, inversely, the pioneers of the tech industry are both creators of art and the valley’s patrons of the arts. Here is a small look into our region’s art and tech, all captured through the len of a Silicon Valley emerging Device. Enjoy. Daniel Garcia THE CULTIVATOR

IN THIS ISSUE Humble Sea Brewing Company | The Tech Museum | Wally Schnalle | Joseph Domingo

To participate in CONTENT MAGAZINE: daniel@content-magazine.com Subscription & advertising information available by contacting editor@content-magazine.com


CONTENT MAGAZINE is a bimonthly publication about the innovative and creative culture of Silicon Valley, published by







May 19, 2019 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Cultivator Notes

Issue 11.2


Written by Daniel Garcia

Issue shot exclusively on Google Pixel 3 XL Since this issue is called “Device,” we’ve decided to plunge into an experiment and shoot the entire issue on a Google Pixel 3 XL phone’s camera. As Google is on the minds of most South Bayers these days, we thought it would be interesting to give this praised device a practical run-through and publish the results in a print magazine. And, Google agreed to loan us a phone for a real-world test. I have been a photographer for 30 years, starting with a Kodachrome ISO 25 (used to call it ASA). Having shot from large-format cameras to Polaroid land cameras over the years, the technological advancment in camera technology raises excitements. However, to start with a new tool does raise technical and creative challenges. The only obstacles I encountered were primarily related to lack of familiarity over any shortcoming in the design. When I grab my 35mm with the 50 mm lens, I am accustomed to its features/formatting; I can perceive framing the image even before putting the camera to my eye. However, the wider-angle lens of the Pixel 3 XL, which is approximately equivalent to a 27mm standard DSLR lens, is not my personal favorite go-to look. I find that it looks too “cheeky,” which you find in many newspapers and “photo-journalism” publications than with images needed for a magazine feel. I like to stay between a 35mm to 50mm lens for the CONTENT aesthetic. But, it is good to be challenged, right? And, the lens is sharp on the Pixel, so I can’t knock it for that. However, if I were to give up my DSLR, I’d probably purchase an attached lens like the Moment’s Tele 58mm (IG: @moment) to give me the feel I prefer. We did not use a third-party attachment lens or apps to shoot

for this issue, because we wanted to use what is built into the Pixel 3 itself. Another thing we did not use was the Portrait mode since it is not a real bokeh effect but a digital effect. Albeit, it looks great, but it does not work in RAW mode, and we needed to shoot in RAW to maximize image size and resolution for print. But, if I was only going to post digitally, or for smaller prints, not the potential 12x18 double page spread we need for a magazine, then I would be in portrait mode all day long—the image quality and effect are, indeed, impressive. The JPG images are stunning (it captures both JPG and RAW in RAW mode). The tonal range, the color, and the sharps that it produced were of such a high quality that we used several, untouched, right from the “camera” here (mainly no portrait images). Most, if not all, of our online posts to promote this issue will be from the JPGs. As mentioned, lack of familiarity was the biggest issue. And finding out how to set to shoot in RAW, how to download files to get them on my MacBook to proof and edit, was not intuitive. The RAW files are stored in a specific folder that is within the camera setting /More/Advanced, but all it took was a few quick web searches to find the answers and to download transfer software, rather than natively working with Adobe’s Camera RAW, to get me up and running. Once shooting, the challenge was just in the area of form and function. Focusing on a touch screen, though very accurate and fast on the Pixel, is not ideal for professional work. First, it is difficult to confirm you have touched the exact area with complete accuracy, and two, extraneous movement— either when touching the shutter button on

the screen or movement from your hand shaking, since you are holding the camera out in front of you, which isn’t the most ergonomic for stability. Movement and focusing affects the final quality of the image as well as sensor size. The Pixel has 12.2 megapixels on a 1/2.55” sensor which is approximately 1/15 the size of a standard DSLR. Given the smaller sensor, the images has to be enlarged more. This is the reason why most consumer pointand-shoots and camera phones have not rivaled DSLRs. However, the engineers at Google have developed what is called “computational Raw,” making a smaller sensor and movement minimized in Pixel 3.* I will not go into too many details, mainly because it is over my head, but the gist of it is: the Pixel 3 is stacking multiple images to increase the number of sensors exposed, then, adjusting (choosing the sharped ones) to aid in improving the image quality. The software inside your tiny phone is analyzing multi-pixels at a micro level to select the sharpest ones to produce the RAW (DNG) file. Also, Pixel employs optical stabilization which has the lens elements floating, typical in most modern DSLR VR (Vibration Reduction) lenses, to minimize movement. The Pixel’s computer is taking all that info and technology and amazingly processing it to produce the image nearing the quality of most DSLR. Very impressive! In the end, though, the proof is in the final product. We shot fashion, studio light, natural light, and available light scenarios to test this advanced camera/phone in this issue. So, see for yourselves. How did it work to shoot this issue on this innovated DEVICE?

*For more on this, Google search Marc Levoy, Distinguished Engineer, and Computational Photography Lead at Google. Special thanks to Chris Blanchard and Mallory Richards of Google for making this happen. And, to Rachel Flynn for helping make the connections.


May / June 2019 San Jose, California

CULTURE 10 Remaking Diridon, SPUR .GATHERING SPACES 14 Public Event Producers, American Leadership Forum 18 The Come Up, Riley McShane, Isaiah Wilson & Leo Macaya 22 Triviolity, Jan Berkeley 24 The Experience Team, The Tech Musuem 28 Gallery Suha Suha, Sung Jae Bang & Haelee Choi ART & DESIGN 32 Branding Series: Product Design with Dan Harden, Hannah Duchesne 36 Mighty Studios, Tark Abed 40 Artist, Allison Marie Garcia 46 Artist, Jordan McKenzie 50 Multimedia Artist, Joshua Curry 54 Artist, Yosef Gebre 60 Robotic Sculpture Artist, Alan Rath 66 SlimFold, Dave Zuverink 70 Fashion Designer, Joseph Domingo 74 West Valley Fashion Design Class 84 Wearable Art Designer, Matthew Molcillo .FOOD & DRINK 88 Swanton Berry Farm, Jim Cochran & Pedro Tortoledo 94 Humble Sea Brewing Company, Taylor West, Nick Pavlina, & Frank Scott Krueger .MUSIC 98 Drummer, Wally Schnalle 100 Album Picks, Needle to the Groove

Allison Marie Garcia, pg. 40

Humble Sea, pg. 92

102 Calendar 104 Contributors All materials in CONTENT MAGAZINE are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published, broadcast, or modified in any way without the prior written consent of Silicon Valley Creates, or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of this content. For further information, or to participate in the production or distribution, please contact us at editor@content-magazine.com.

The Come Up, pg. 18

CONTENT magazine’s production is powered by

West Valley Fashion, pg. 74


REMAKING DIRIDON Principles to Plan and Grow By


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Illustrations Suhita Shirodkar suhitasketch.com SPUR San Jose 76 South First Street San Jose, CA 95113 SPUR.org Instagram spur_urbanist

ver the next decade, more than 10 billion dollars worth of transportation investments will start to remake San Jose’s Diridon Station into the first high-speed rail station in the country and the busiest transportation hub west of the Mississippi. This historic opportunity has the potential to reshape not just San Jose but the entire Silicon Valley: on December 4, 2018, San Jose City Council agreed to sell about 20 acres of public land to Google, which has expressed an interest in developing 8 million square feet of office in the station area. Throughout the world, projects to redevelop major multimodal transportation hubs have had transformational impacts on cities and regions. It can happen in San Jose, too—but success is not assured. In the public sector, decision making about stations and station areas is notoriously fragmented, priorities can conflict, and resources are scarce—all of which create obstacles to taking risks or thinking boldly and comprehensively. And yet this type of thinking is critical if Diridon is to live up to its potential. Major infrastructure and land-use decisions will be made at Diridon over the next few months through multiple planning processes, including the Diridon Integrated Station Concept (DISC) planning process. SPUR proposes seven

principles that should guide these planning, land use, and transportation decisions. The following are derived from best practices and cautionary tales from international station and city-building efforts, extensive engagement with the public, and conversations with technical experts from around the world. 1. COMMIT TO A SINGLE, SHARED VISION THAT IS NOT WEIGHED DOWN BY PRESENT-DAY CONDITIONS AND CONSTRAINTS. Remaking Diridon Station and the 240-acre area around it isn’t about making room for new rail lines. It’s about fundamentally reshaping San Jose. The vision for Diridon Station and the station area should be ambitious, integrated, far-reaching, and shared by everyone involved: the city, the public, VTA, high-speed rail, and Caltrain. It should lead with a focus on the type of place that Diridon (both the station and station area) will become, with the transit acting as catalytic infrastructure that supports high-density land uses and links cities and regions. In this bold and cohesive vision, Diridon becomes a great urban train station and the gateway to the Bay Area, connecting people seamlessly to the neighborhoods around it, part of a greater downtown San Jose. It would be a mistake to take today’s conditions or constraints as inevitable. The current land uses and users, finan13

cial challenges, and fragmented public sector decision making are not a given. Decision makers can and should start with a bold vision and work to overcome challenges together. The remaking of Diridon Station and the station area must be viewed as a city-building initiative, not a series of discrete capital projects that happen to be next to each other. This is critical. It will help determine how public and private dollars get spent and will create a goal post to help guide each decision. 2. CREATE THE RIGHT GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE TO IMPLEMENT THAT VISION. Remaking Diridon entails thousands of decisions, including how tall the train platform heights should be, how much developers should pay for public improvements, and how high-speed rail should come into the station. They all matter. For a long time, each public agency has been making these decisions independently and according to their own priorities, not according to a shared vision. That won’t do. But building upon SPUR’s lessons, the partner agencies signed a cooperative agreement that we believe is the first step toward joint planning and governance of San Jose’s central station, Diridon. We believe remaking Diridon Sta14

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tion will not be successful without a consolidated public governance entity that can implement the vision over the long term. This new entity should have some level of decision-making and project-delivery authority over land use, funding and financing, transportation service planning, and construction and maintenance. The new entity should be small, nimble, able to take risks, and appropriately empowered to make decisions quickly on behalf of Diridon as a whole—a major asset for the fast-paced nature of construction and project delivery. While the private sector is often a key partner, this is ultimately a public entity responsible for ensuring that the redevelopment efforts contribute to the public interest. There is also an important role for the state to play in development, leadership, and financing in order to achieve success. In France and the Netherlands, local governments apply for a special designation that provides financial resources but also political leadership. Having the state involved is seen as mutually beneficial for the local government and the state. It’s like insurance: both sides honor their promises to make public investments that will have the most positive impact possible.

3. MAXIMIZE DEVELOPMENT CAPACITY NEAR THE STATION. Although 240 acres sounds big, the land in the station area is finite and valuable. Other cities maximize station areas by building taller buildings. Today, San Jose can’t do that. Located just south of the Mineta San Jose International Airport, the areas closest to the station have a building height limit of about 11 stories due to flight path regulations and airline procedures. SPUR estimates that buildings could be between 30 and 90 feet taller in some areas, within the current FAA height limits. We conservatively estimate that this could translate to adding 2.3 million more square feet of development capacity in the station area. (For comparison, the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco is 1.4 million square feet.) San Jose must also minimize the supply of parking at Diridon. Parking is not a good use of the limited and valuable space in the station area. We can either make room for storing cars or make room for people and jobs. Additionally, parking deadens the public realm, making walking unpleasant. Parking also undercuts the billions of dollars that are being invested in transit. People will not choose transit if it is too easy to drive and park. Instead, people should be able to walk to transit or take transit to

transit, using more conventional park-andride stations (such as the Santa Clara BART station) and light rail as feeders into Diridon. 4. PUT PEOPLE FIRST. Mobility doesn’t stop at the station’s edge. Walking moves the most people with the least amount of space and therefore people who walk should take priority over all other modes of travel. This means shifting from and deferring auto-oriented investments like street widening or large amounts of parking to removing physical and psychological barriers to walking and improving pedestrian and bicycle access on all sides of the station. Putting people first also means designing buildings and public spaces to create a place that is comfortable, welcoming, and engaging. Urban design is not a luxury—it’s essential for making transit successful, creating a walkable neighborhood, and building connections between neighborhoods. The station itself should be designed to connect seamlessly to nearby neighborhoods and be a part of the city’s urban fabric—not a barrier between neighborhoods. This can be done by making the station permeable and accessible from a larger network of well-designed, publicly accessible spaces such as streets, paseos, parks, and plazas. 5. PRIORITIZE JOBS WITHIN THE STATION AREA AND ADD HOUSING, CULTURAL USES, AND EDUCATIONAL USES TO SUPPORT ROUND-THE-CLOCK ACTIVITY. The transportation investments planned for Diridon Station can dramatically change the city and its economy, but only if the right land use decisions are made. Caltrain, BART and high-speed rail will reach their full potential when the speed, accessibility, and reliability of the transit services combine with a strong land-use program that gives people

many different reasons to come to downtown San Jose. The density of jobs near transit is the biggest predictor of whether transit will be successful, and transit accessibility is one of the top features that companies are looking for. Many international cities have successfully transformed and rebranded their economies based on new access provided by high-speed rail. If a significant amount of new jobs are concentrated in the station area, Diridon can become a major economic engine for San Jose and the South Bay. But jobs alone are not enough. The Diridon Station area should be active throughout the day and night. Adding housing, cultural uses, public art, recreational uses and public spaces—and programming events and activities there—will support round-theclock activity and feet on the street. 6. MAKE TRANSIT FAST, FREQUENT, ALL-DAY, AND SEAMLESS, MAKING IT A RELIABLE, ATTRACTIVE, AND PREFERRED WAY TO GET AROUND. Transit service is the foundation for making the Diridon Station area work. With the advent of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, people today have more choices than ever about how to get from point A to point B. These services offer advantages such as extremely short wait times (often less than 5 minutes), door-to-door service, relatively low fares, and easy payment from a smartphone. The majority of people will only use transit when it offers better service than it does today. Imagine if transit to, through, and from Diridon were fast, frequent, and all-day. Wait times would be shorter. You would never worry about missing “your train,” because another one would be right behind it. Trip times would be shorter and more

competitive with driving. You could walk up to the platform and go, instead of planning your day around the train schedule. In order for our significant public investments in transit services to pay off, we need to start putting concepts like this into practice. This requires making sure the blended system of high-speed rail and Caltrain offers a predictable timetable and frequent trains at all times of day. 7. TREAT DIRIDON AS A “THROUGH STATION,” NOT A TERMINAL. Today, Diridon Station operates like a terminal since it’s the southern end-point for many trains, including Caltrain and the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE). This means that many trains lay over or are stored on the tracks, using up valuable track and platform space that could be used for trains that are in motion. In the future, the tracks and platforms will need to accommodate a larger volume of trains and passengers (up to nearly 140,000 passengers per day). In addition to the arrival of BART and high-speed rail, Caltrain, ACE, and Amtrak all have plans to expand service. This means the station and rail yards will have to operate like a “through” station, where trains stop only for a short period of time for passengers to exit and board. This shift will require some operational changes such as reducing train layover times and changing the signal system. But it may also include some bigger capital investments, such as rebuilding platforms so that both high-speed rail and Caltrain can use them, building passing tracks, fully depressing light rail underground at Diridon, and possibly turning a different Caltrain station into a southern terminus. NEXT STEPS To deliver a place worthy of this once-in-a-century opportunity will require bold leadership, visionary thinking, and new ways of working. Fortunately, there are models around the world that we can look to as we move forward. SPUR has launched a multi-year initiative to help shape this monumental transformation. Look out for our other publications related to the transformation of Diridon Station, and stay tuned for our upcoming lunchtime forums as our research progresses. umental transformation. Look out for our other publications related to the transformation of Diridon Station and stay tuned for our upcoming lunchtime forums as our research progresses.

Written by Laura Tolkoff, Regional Strategy Project Director and Teresa Alvardo, San Jose Director, SPUR Contributor: Eric Eidlin, Station Planning Manager, City of San Jose Edited by: Nicole Soultanov, San Jose Project Manager, SPUR ORIGINAL ARTICLE : http://bit.ly/diridonplan1

“San Jose was not realizing its full potential as a city. We needed a network of leaders that did not exist before to drive critical changes and innovations in the areas of art, community engagement, and cultural preservation.� -Jenny Niklaus

BLAGE ZELALICH City of San Jose Office of Economic Development downtown manager

MELINA IGLESIAS City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs senior events manager



Urban Innovation Network Making Public Events Happen

Blage Zelalich & Melina Iglesias

Written by Peter Hsieh | Photography by Daniel Garcia


“You are never done building a city. It is a complicated task that takes years and years, but it is very exciting work.” -Blage Zelalich


n 2015, American Leadership Forum launched the Urban Innovation Network, bringing together demonstrated leaders to address the revitalization of downtown San Jose and its surrounding neighborhoods. This network, which includes 77 senior fellows, is committed to improving, activating, and promoting downtown San Jose through events, arts, cultural activations, civic engagement, and networked leadership. Senior fellows Blage Zelalich, City of San Jose Office of Economic Development downtown manager, and Melina Iglesias, City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs senior events manager, talk about events, why they are important, why they can be difficult to produce, and why it takes a network to bring events and activations in San Jose to the next level. How long have you been involved in event production? Melina Iglesias: I was hired by the City of San Jose to be a coordinator for Christmas in the Park in 1999. That first one was particularly memorable because it was Y2K, so we had put in place all these extra precautions and safety measures, planning for different scenarios. It was a fun way to get into event production. Blage Zelalich: I’ve been involved in events for a long time, but


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my first real experience with events in San Jose was with Downtown Ice in 1999. We’ve moved the location a few times, but it has been a regular event that people look forward to every year. My favorite thing about being a downtown manager and getting the opportunity to work on events is building a city. You are never done building a city. It is a complicated task that takes years and years, but it is very exciting work. Why are public events and activations important? BZ: Public events and activations bring people downtown; it is a great way to support businesses and bring in new customers. It is also a great way to bring people from different parts of San Jose together and foster a sense of community and civic pride. The great thing about public events versus an event in a specific venue, like a concert or a staged play, is that it is more community based and experimental, exploring what works and what can be improved. MI: Public events are important because they highlight the potential of a space, address underutilized public space, and spur a sense of community. Summer in St. James Park was something I was involved in that showcased a need for more vibrancy and addressed public safety and social equity

issues. Viva Calle is another great example of this and something that has gotten bigger every year. What are some of the difficulties that event producers face in San Jose, and what is being done to address that? MI: I think the processes can be difficult. San Jose is a very big, diverse city, and it can become a little overwhelming for people to navigate the system and processes. The Office of Cultural Affairs helps event producers by guiding them through the processes and interpreting the ordinance to make sure the event is in compliance. We have a one-size-fits-all process, which is great for the large-scale events; but if you are a small community event that doesn’t need all these other permits, it can be a little daunting. One way in which we’ve tried to mitigate that is with the fast-tracking event approval process, a prototype that we had developed through the Urban Innovation Network, which makes it easier for new producers to come to San Jose and produce events and activations. This is something that the City of San Jose has embraced and a collaboration I worked on through ALF and with members of the UIN. BZ: There is always tension for event producers when they try to do events or pub18

“I’m excited for the future of events and activations in San Jose. We have the opportunity to get this right.” -Melina Iglesias

lic activations in San Jose and in other cities as well. Part of this has to do with permits and the amount of work that goes into making sure your event does not violate any city ordinances. Another part has to do with funding. Events can get very expensive. All of the things that make people want to attend events cost money—things like food, music, performances, and alcoholic beverages. Security is another cost that producers have to factor into their public space events, and that cost can vary depending on different factors. Like Melina said, there was the fast-tracking event approval process, which creates a fast-track permitting process for events in San Jose. Another is having a diverse network of leaders committed to finding solutions for these problems. How did you become involved in American Leadership Forum’s Urban Innovation Network? MI: When I first heard about ALF, it sounded like an exclusive network of high-level executives and leaders, and I didn’t think it would be something I would be part of. After learning more about their mission, which is to build diverse networks of leaders, the Urban Innovation Network, and talking to people like Jim Weber, Ryan Sebastian, and Rick Scott, I began to see the value that such a group

brings to San Jose and that they are working towards creating a thriving and inclusive Silicon Valley. I was happy to accept the offer to join and am grateful that the city has been really supportive of my decision to do so. BZ: I was part of the first UIN class actually, Class 34. My previous boss, Scott Knies, was an ALF senior fellow, along with a number of other downtown folks I work with, and so when I was approached about joining, it was an easy decision for me, and I am really glad I did. What impact did joining this network have on you? MI: There is trust and understanding on a deeper level between members, and being a part of the UIN helped make those relationships develop faster. I knew Rick Scott and Reena Brilliot from working at the City, but got to know them more closely through ALF and the Urban Innovation Network. I got to collaborate with Cayce Hill of Veggielution and Chris Esparza of Giant Creative Services on Eastside Grown, a program that connects local food entrepreneurs and residents to each other, and those relationships were made through ALF. BZ: I’ve kind of touched on this already. Humans are social by nature; it is hard to do things alone or in isolated silos. You might be able to, but it

might not be as effective or as cutting edge. Being in a network allows you to collaborate and bounce ideas off of each other, which is important when trying to accomplish great things. I knew most of the people in my class from having worked in downtown San Jose for 20 years, but I got to know them on a deeper, more personal level through the network. What does the future of events and activations look like in San Jose? BZ: It looks promising. In 2016, a year after the creation of ALF’s UIN, we had 172 events and that number grew to 187 in 2018. I think that number will go up as prototypes and projects such as the fast-tracking event approval process and Viva San Jose continue to develop and have impact. MI: I’m excited for the future of events and activations in San Jose. We have the opportunity to get this right. There are transit-oriented developments in the works that are going to make it easier for folks to come downtown, and we have been creating the setting for more events and activations. Like Blage said, it looks promising. C


COME the


The Community Performs

A musician performs at an open mic. He comes off stage to find a stranger in his seat. The stranger apologizes, moves aside, and compliments the musician on his singing—an original piece called “San Jose.” The musician is Riley McShane. The stranger, Isaiah Wilson. A couple months after that fateful open mic, they huddled outside Café Stritch hatching a plan for their very first show when another stranger tapped each of them on the shoulder and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I want in.” Enter their third founder, Leo Macaya. And thus began The Come Up—a grassroots booking agency and production company for musicians in downtown San Jose. Fast forward four months to February 2, 2018, when their inaugural show came to life in the 20

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newly established Uproar Brewing Company with four musicians, three comedians, and a borrowed sound system. Riley took charge of setting up mics and speakers, Isaiah played host to the incoming talent, and Leo documented the evening with crisp, clean photography that’s since solidified as the collective’s visual identity. More than a hundred people came through, generating so much interest that The Come Up soon landed a monthly showcase, a performance series at SoFA Market, and a stage at SoFA Street Fair. But the best part of that first show wasn’t the lively crowd or the gigs that came after. It was the end of the night, as the last round of applause died down, and it finally dawned on the founders what they had just pulled off. As Leo said of that moment, “It was like, ‘You had

fun? You had fun? Let’s do it again.’ ” And so they did—again and again and again, 27 shows in their first year—at least once every two weeks. With such a rigorous schedule, it’s no wonder that the founders turned from strangers to close friends—or as they call themselves, The Come Up Kids. Their professional dynamic evolved in tandem, the three now working in perfect unison. Riley shows a keen mind for logistics. Isaiah trades in social capital. And Leo’s the third star in a Michelin rating, adding his knack for branding that takes their shows from “worth a detour” to “exceptional, worth a special journey.” Of course, it’s all for the love of music, and maybe even more so, the love of musicians. What started as a simple mission to activate local businesses into

Written by Grace Talice Lee Photography by Daniel Garcia The Come Up sjcomeup.com Social Media sjcomeup

Riley McShane

Leo Macaya

Isaiah Wilson


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Images Courtesy of The Come up

performance spaces has now proven itself a vibrant exchange of ideas, culture, and friendship between artists—resulting in new albums, new styles, and new collaborations. “There are certain people who perform with us, who come out to shows on a regular basis, who come out to different parties that we throw,” said Isaiah. “[The Come Up] is always going to be a platform for local artists, connecting people to the Bay Area sound—but another aspect is that it’s a community for people to connect and get to know each other.” With Riley, Isaiah, and Leo, this sense of community is where everything begins and ends. It’s how they got started,

funding their first show by winning a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation’s local chapter. It’s how they operate on a daily basis, curating each lineup and crafting each performance with the audience experience as their priority. And it’s how they work as a trio of leaders, both now—pursuing their shared dream with equal parts enthusiasm and egolessness— and in the future. When asked about where they see the collective a decade from now, Riley said, “This is going to sound a little bit weird, but The Come Up in 10 years would be run by different people. We love what we do, and we want to keep it going for as long as possible, but at some

point there’s going to be a new generation of really talented creative people. There already is. It gives me a lot of hope seeing kids who are 19, 20 years old who are already producing some really cool stuff. Handing off The Come Up to somebody like that, down the road…that’s how I see it.” Isaiah said of their project, “It’s our love letter to the San Jose music scene.” But clearly, from the dozens of shows they’ve put on, all the way back to what Riley sang at that very first open mic—it’s really much more of a love song. C


“It isn’t just for nerds. Everybody knows something.” -Jan Berkeley

Jan Berkeley

QUIZ QUEEN Is this information age making us dumber? Jan Berkeley often asks herself that question while she stays up late hunting for facts and she probably has a better idea of the answer than most.

Written by Gillian Claus Photography by Daniel Garcia Triviolity game: Tuesday nights, 7:45pm Britannia Arms 1087 S De Anza Blvd San Jose, CA 95129 Facebook triviolity

Going down rabbit holes on the web searching for question fodder takes time, but she can’t afford not to follow the news. Her interests have to stay broad—it’s just as important for her to know how many rivets are in one tower of the Golden Gate Bridge as what Drake’s real name is (600,00 and Aubrey Graham, in case you were wondering). That is because Berkeley is a quiz mistress, running her own company, Triviolity, that creates tailor-made quizzes for fund-raisers and bar trivia nights. After hosting more than 370 games, her general knowledge skills are Jeopardy-worthy. Acknowledging that most people consider it an unusual way to make a living, she still keeps her day job teaching art at St Martin of Tours School. Why this thirst for knowledge? Berkeley said, “My parents insisted that I get a really good education, because they never had the chance.” So she attended a girl’s convent school growing up in the UK. Her father worked on tugboats in Liverpool, but her parents sold their house and emigrated to California in 1978 in search of a better life. She continued her education at community college, and, while working part-time at Palo Alto library, achieved a masters in political science. Her first experience with trivia was when she joined a team of three women called Macbeth at Britannia Arms in Cupertino over 20 years ago. She kept coming weekly, playing with several different groups. Occasionally, she would volunteer to produce her own questions for Fun Week. When the owner eventually asked her to take over in 2011, she jumped right in and has been doing it ever since. “I even did quizzes for the bar on Skype when I moved back to England for a year,” said Berkeley, who was determined to keep her long-distance business alive. Many bars simply buy trivia games from large companies like Brainstormer, but Berkeley offers her players a personal touch. “My quizzes are a bit more challenging.” And her trivia nights are very popular, fill-

ing the Brit to capacity most Tuesdays. Apps like Trivia Crack and HQ Trivia have really raised trivia’s profile and whetted people’s appetites. The format works well and is inclusive while being competitive—a kind of perfect storm of team building for nerds. “It isn’t just for nerds. Everybody knows something,” Berkeley said, arguing that every kind of knowledge is useful when you join a team. Many people feel intimidated, but that one question you know the answer to may just score the winning point. Her games consist of four rounds, 75 questions total, and smartphones are not allowed. All players bring to the party is their own general knowledge. The questions can cover word play, video games, puzzles, anagrams, and plenty of pop culture. One round features music, playing stuff for all ages. With 22 teams competing in three divisions for glory and gift certificates, she has to keep things interesting. Admittedly, finding the sweet spot between fiendishly difficult and super easy is one of her challenges. An average score is about 87, so if the numbers dip far lower, she knows it was too tough. Berkeley loves providing a unique social experience for Silicon Valley’s admittedly introverted population. The weekly trivia night has been really helpful to those new in town looking to make friends. One guy told her, “This is a highlight for me. I didn’t know a soul. You’re responsible for everyone I know in the Bay Area.” That makes Berkeley smile. Her regular meetups have proved encouraging to team members undergoing chemotherapy or recovering from divorce. Knowing that people have found friendship and support each week makes staying up late writing questions worthwhile. So, in an age of endless information, Berkeley hopes curious people will come and try their luck with her questions. “Meet people, and exercise your brain. It is a safe, welcoming place.” C


The Experience Team Every museum has exhibits. But only The Tech Museum offers experiences: the experience of taking on a tricked-out egg drop challenge, of hacking microorganisms to do your bidding, of playing Lego charades against a supercomputer. At this particular museum in the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s not just what you’re doing—but how you’re doing it. Because, as we know in our hotbed of design thinkers and positive disruptors, the most meaningful solution can only come from you. The only one who can try, experiment, and discover—is you. So the kind facilitators at the Tech Museum will point you toward the materials and stand back as you rifle through the test tubes, plastic blocks, and cut-up yoga mats. They will answer your questions, but they will not spoon-feed you answers. They might drop a few hints, but they will never tell you what to do. This wonderland of insight and investigation is composed of three experience spaces: the Tech Studio, which focuses on mechanical engineering, the BioTinkering Lab, which makes biotech accessible to all, and ReBoot Reality, bringing together the forefronts of art and technology. 26

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The Tech Studio revolves around the concept of prototyping—the principle of try it, test it, and try it again. You can see it in the egg drop, called “Solve the Fall,” where kids dash in circles from the material bins to their work stations to the testing rigs with nets and straws clutched in their fists. You can see it in the lab’s tables, shelves, and carts— everything set on wheels so the whole room can be reconfigured at a moment’s notice for a field trip, birthday party, or hackathon. And you can see it in the exhibit design itself. Every interactive display starts as a simple paper mockup, then evolves through dozens of iterations, getting work shopped within the department, then with the museum staff, and then with the public. At each stage, the Tech Studio eagerly welcomes feedback, incorporates suggestions, and then comes back with a bigger, badder version of their exhibit. Lather, rinse, repeat. This ability to adapt is also

reflected in Katie Ozawa, the experience developer who built Solve the Fall from the ground up and who originally trained to become an engineer. “I was inspired to switch to education after not being allowed to teach girls,” she said. “Girls weren’t allowed to do my afterschool program related to solar-powered cars. They had to go to ‘Magazine Club,’ and for the life of me, I do not know to this day what Magazine Club is.” Ozawa is still angry about that, but decided to go into informal education. “It can really fill a gap and provide moments of inspiration related to science, to help build a more STEM-literate and STEM-confident generation,” she added. All are welcome to science and technology. If you need more proof of this warmth and acceptance, just take the escalator upstairs to the BioTinkering Lab. This learning center, with its circular wooden bookshelves and cushioned reading nook, is intentionally designed to look cont pg. 59

Written by Grace Talice Lee Photography by Daniel Garcia thetech.org 201 South Market Street San Jose, CA 95113 Social media thetechmuseum


Director of Experience Development & Prototyping Expertise: Prototyping, maker education, creative confidence and problem solving Prinda leads a creative, multidisciplinary team of experience developers in The Tech’s three learning labs (The Tech Studio, BioTinkering Lab and Reboot Reality). She’s been a key player at The Tech for nearly six years. Prinda earned her doctorate in biomedical engineering and has more than 10 years of experience in making and engineering design in informal learning environments. Tech in 20: From mind to matter “Digital fabrication is undergoing dramatic changes. I predict that in 20 years we’ll have the ability to make anything we can see in our minds a reality. It used to take a decade of schooling and work experience to master computer-aided programming for production. The tools to bring something from the digital world into the physical world are getting simpler every day. One day, a kid will be able to think about designing a treat-dispensing harness for her dog, and the tools to create it will be right at her fingertips. She could 3D-scan her dog or even just trace the puppy in AR or VR and draw the harness in augmented reality. Send those specs to a 3D printer and Fido will have treats in no time!”


Program Director, Biology + Design Expertise: Bioengineering, bio-tinkering, science communication Anja brings her expertise in life sciences to The Tech, where she leads the design and development of interactive exhibits and novel hands-on experiences to engage visitors creatively with biotechnology, biological design and DIY biology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Pomona College and a doctorate in developmental biology from Stanford, where her research focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive neural development. Tech in 20: Living clothing “In 20 years, I predict we will have smart and programmable bioclothing, integrating actual living organisms to create clothing that is alive and responsive to bodies and environments. Imagine that your newest track suit is constructed from an engineered biotextile that combines glow-in-the-dark spider silk and sweat-absorbing algae fibers. It is embedded with engineered living bacteria that sense chemicals released by your own microbiome and regulate your skin biology. Now, think about going for a night run — your legs will light your path and make you visible in the dark; the spider silk is as strong as a bulletproof vest, protecting your knees if you fall; your sweat is automatically wicked away and consumed by your clothing; and the living bacteria in your suit talk to your skin microbiome in real time to neutralize odor.”



Program Director, Art & Technology Expertise: The intersection of art and technology, immersive media, AI Nadav leads The Tech+Arts Incubator and manages its R&D gallery, Reboot Reality, exploring artistic applications of emerging technologies by facilitating creative collaborations between global artists, industry partners, and research institutions. Prior to joining The Tech, Nadav led acclaimed projects in the tech industry, academia, and the art world. He holds a doctorate in art history, focusing on the use of computational methods for the analysis of massive visual data sets. Tech in 20: Creative AI “Artificial Intelligence isn’t just imitating the work of previous artists. It is also amplifying creativity in new ways. For example, one of the most interesting aspects of creativity is that ability to combine ideas or to create together. If you are painting, AI could help analyze and suggest directions to take your artistic output—is it similar to the works of Picasso? Should you include more blue? Do you need more practice painting shadows? In 20 years, what if you took a class with one of the top painters in the world, and wore a haptic suit that self-corrected your arms as the teacher moves. AI could adapt to your learning style and automatically help you with techniques you’re working to master, predicting where you might need a little help before you even need it!”


Experience Developer & Program Manager, Engineering Design Expertise: Engineering design, maker education, equity and accessibility in learning Katie creates engineering design challenges for The Tech Studio. Her team’s goal is to design fun and unique ways for our guests to interact with real engineering concepts. She has an engineering degree from Swarthmore. Before coming to The Tech, Katie taught in a one-room, four-grade classroom overseas and also spent some time teaching robotics and coding to kids in low-income schools. Tech in 20: Education with AI “I am hopeful that artificial intelligence will help us bridge important accessibility and educational gaps in the next few decades. Teachers can focus more on the human side of learning and inspiring kids, and AI will be there to support their efforts. Some of the biggest challenges teachers face are catering to a classroom of 30 students who are all learning at different speeds. It’s especially hard in communities where families can’t afford tutoring. What if teachers could instantly adapt textbooks and lessons to students’ learning needs? For example, offering up word problems customized to a student’s favorite sports team or movie, or moving away from word problems altogether to another style of learning. Kids will learn from each other, but at their own speed without shame, and teachers will have more time to connect with each student.”


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– Joe Kaplow

like a cross between the kids’ section of Target and the film set of Bill Nye the Science Guy— to make you both comfortable and curious. It’s the spoonful of sugar that helps you swallow the often-intimidating subjects of genetics, bioengineering, and doit-yourself biology. Such is the BioTinkering Lab’s overall mission. As said by Program Director Anja Scholze, “We wanted to figure out a way to engage the average person in these topics. But more than just help them understand, we wanted to invite them to participate, to feel like they could be involved. We don’t want people to view biotechnology as a thing that somebody else does.” They achieve this, so far, to great success. The BioTinkering Lab’s inaugural display showed guests how to make bricks out of mushrooms, punching the material into Tetris-like shapes that feel like a velvety, sturdier version of Styrofoam. The second exhibit challenged visitors to figure out how to extract pigment from bacterial growth, fumbling through strainers and sponges to collect their ink-like substance. And the current show invites you

to mix teas, sugars, and storebought kombucha with a healthy dose of microbes, turning your mad-scientist concoction into a passing substitute for leather. Makes you think: how else can we remix everyday objects into innovative new solutions? What else is teasing us from the edge of possibility? Enter ReBoot Reality, which explores the wildest frontier and happiest marriage of art and technology. Their recent project, Animaker—which earned a South by Southwest nomination—asks you to construct a gorilla (or elephant, or giraffe, or alligator) out of Legos, scan it in three dimensions, and challenge the computer to guess which animal you made. When it guesses right, your animal shows up onscreen in the form of splashy dancing graphics. Then you get to choose: whether your animal plays tennis, licks ice cream, or strums a bass. Animaker spans multiple disciplines, industries, and countries. The artificial intelligence comes from Resonai of Israel and Palo Alto, the scanners come from Occipital of San Francisco, and the animations come

from the art collective OMAi of Austria. Yet there’s a reason why their minds met here in San Jose. As explained by Nadav Hochman, the ReBoot program director, whose role is to pair current technology with forward-thinking artists, “This project can never happen anywhere outside of Silicon Valley, because artists don’t usually have access to emergent technologies before they go to market. That’s what we’re trying to do here, so artists get a chance to form technology in their development process.” And even with all this, the fun has only just begun. Coming soon in the Tech Studio is an exhibit called Solve for Earth, where you’ll learn about energy-efficient architecture by experimenting with toy houses, toy insulation, and toy double-paned windows. The BioTinkering Lab is packaging their experiments and creating facilitation guides so that other science centers can join the effort to democratize bioengineering. And ReBoot Reality now offers two new projects using Leap Motion sensors—Resonance, which allows you to splash across a wall of digital water with a flick of the

Kaplow will release his new album, Time Spent In Between, at Michael’s on Main in Soquel on April 13, 2019.

wrist, and Unfolding Nature, which lets you create alien creatures with a pinch of the fingers. But the experience team’s innovation isn’t just about what goes into the museum—it’s the museums themselves. There are no passive spectators in the Tech Studio, BioTinkering Lab, or ReBoot Reality. Everyone participates, engages, and solves problems, rethinking our impact on the world. According to Prinda Wanakule, the director in charge of developing and overseeing all these mind-boggling projects, “Your experience doesn’t end in the museum. Our whole goal is to create these experiences so that people can see themselves in a different light here and take that away and apply that to their own lives. A lot of these kids don’t think they’re going to be an engineer or scientist, but if you come here, you can see what goes into science. It’s not memorizing facts—it’s about a creative process.” C


GALLERY S u h a S u h a While they previously struggled between creation and practical living, the gallery space provides Haelee and Sung with the motivation to create. Written by Marissa Ahmadkhani Photography by Daniel Garcia Suha Suha Gallery 45 E William Street San Jose, CA 95112 Facebook gallerysuhasuha Instagram suhasuha_art

General Manager Dan Reineke

Head Brewer Brogan Hunter

“Making an art piece and making a product are very different things.” -Haelee Choi


estled between East William and South Second Street in San Jose, you’ll find Gallery Suha Suha. Located in the downtown SoFA District, Gallery Suha Suha provides a unique and fresh space for local artists to display their work. Founded by Haelee Choi and Sung Jae Bang, gallery doors opened in December 2017, but the journey really began in 2007. When walking through the gallery, you find art neatly displayed across the white studio walls. If you continue through to the back, you’ll enter the Suha Suha gift shop. In it, you’ll find bags, pins, artwork, and above all else, colorful tiles and clay knickknacks. After completing their respective art programs, Haelee at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and Sung at the Art Institute of Chicago, the two met in the Bay Area while working as art teachers. The concept of Suha Suha was born when the two artists began experimenting with making decorative tiles, ultimately bringing them to different farmers’ markets all over


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the Bay Area. “When we first started making the tiles, we tried a lot of strange things, but really it was a lot of narrowing down, narrowing down, narrowing down,” Sung reflects. It was trial and error as Haelee and Sung searched for their signature, eventually ending up with something that was accessible though different from their own personal work. In Haelee’s own words, it was the necessary realization that “making an art piece and making a product are very different things.” For 10 years, Haelee and Sung continued to regularly display their work at Bay Area farmers’ markets. With different artistic backgrounds, Sung’s being painting and Haelee’s being character illustration and animation, two different tile styles were born. While Haelee’s tile designs focus more on characters and animals, Sung’s tiles feature objects, one of which is a coaster that looks like an egg. Not an easy task: making the tiles is time consuming and involves drying the clay flat, which takes around two weeks. “The first market we went to was Willow Glen. We sold one tile that

“When we first started making the tiles, we tried a lot of strange things, but really it was a lot of narrowing down, narrowing down, narrowing down.” -Sung Jae Bang

day,” Haelee says, laughing. “Now, over the last 10 years, we have probably sold over 5,000 tiles. It’s scary to think about that sometimes.” Moving from farmers’ market to farmers’ market, Haelee and Sung’s work began to be noticed, and soon, their tiles were being discovered, recognized, and collected. “We met a lot of wonderful people and have a lot of funny stories from that time,” Haelee reminisces. “There was one time, when we had recently moved into a new home. Our new neighbor invited us in, and so we went inside, and there were our tiles! She was showing them to us, and of course, they looked familiar. She just didn’t know we were making them next door.” With the money made through sales, as well as flourishing jobs as art teachers at their private school, Studio Suha Suha, located in both Sunnyvale and Cupertino, the two were able to open Gallery Suha Suha in 2017. Their very first show was an apt celebration of their signature tiles, and since then, the space has housed other art-

ists’ work, as well as some of Haelee and Sung’s own personal work. While they previously struggled between creation and practical living, the gallery space provides Haelee and Sung with the motivation to create and show their own work despite their busy teaching schedules. Each Suha Suha show stays up for approximately two months, with their current show, featuring Sung’s work, opened in April. A part of the San Jose Art Walk, Gallery Suha Suha participates in First Fridays, displaying work and offering their signature Suha Suha work, which now includes bags, magnets, tiles, and other small objects. “We see a lot of local San Jose people in the gallery,” Sung says. Haelee adds, “they really love and appreciate art, and we want to offer them this space.” C


Dan Harden, President, CEO, principal designer, and cofounder Whip Saw

PRODUCT DESIGN Dan Harden with

Written by Hannah Duchesne

How do we communicate ideas with things? How do branded products speak to us, as consumers, through their design? How does the decision between rounded or sharp corners of the iPhone impact how we think about Apple as a brand? Does any of it even matter? Newsflash: it does. It all matters and that’s why people like Dan Harden from Whipsaw, a 20-year-old Bay Area industrial design and engineering consulting firm packing serious product design experience, have dedicated their professional lives to pursuing perfection in the art and discipline of product design. Product design and branding are and should be inextricably linked. In Harden’s words, “Product design is the product itself plus everything within its orbit, such as an app, an operational interface, its package, and its service model. Product design as a discipline extends all the way to market.” Product design intersects with the concept of branding at three foundational times: at conception, production, and introduction. We’ll explore each of these time periods in the life cycle of a product and the influence and effect of a brand’s identity on their products and their perception.

Whip Saw 434 South First Street San Jose, CA 95113 whipsaw.com Instagram whipsawproductdesign Twitter whipsaw_inc

The Conception of a [Branded] Product “Product brand identity, in addition to user experience and function, is what I call a ‘primary informant,’ ” Harden shares, “In other words, brand should highly influence and sometimes even completely drive a product’s design.” At the conception of a product, the brand identity is critical to what that product should become. Even before considering concepts like “look,” “feel,” or “user experience,” what the product does or why it exists in the first place is influenced by the brand of the company making the product itself. The “why” for the product is indivisible from the brand itself. “Brand perception and product design should be so integrated that you can’t really separate them. To some users, owning a cool brand

is sometimes even more important than owning a good product,” Harden offers. Take the brand out of the product and you’re taking the soul of what makes that product matter to anyone. When balancing an impending new product with the existing brand identity, decision makers must determine how to innovate, but only in a direction that makes sense for the brand’s trajectory. What do people expect from the company based on their historic brand promise and product portfolio? When asked the extent to which brand identity impacts product design, Harden responds, “You need to consider how the product design will contribute positively to that overall company impression and how it will complement the other brand components”—a tall order. We can all point to brands that have created too far from their niche, confusing consumers and even compromising user experience by doing what they don’t do well. The expectation of consumers is that brands will deliver what they do well to solve the problems of their brand following. Likewise, we can all point to the brands with capable captains at their companies’ helms, navigating consumer demand, product landscape, and brand legacy with aptitude and foresight. Those are the brands that live to innovate another day.

“The scope and reach of design will grow in the future. I’ve seen design go from styling a product, to styling an experience, to styling a business, to styling infrastructures.” –Dan Harden

Top: Bizzy Robotics, Home serivce robot. Botom: Dell Computers, Precision line. Illustrations: DropCam


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The Production of a [Branded] Design Understanding a brand’s audience and the expectations for that brand is pivotal in designing a product and for the company that produces it. “As a product designer, you need to bake in brand attributes so customers can make the connection, while at the same time delivering on performance, function, and value.” A brand, in large part, dictates how people will feel about products—separate and apart from the truth and actuality of those products. How can you tell an Apple product is an Apple product from across the room without seeing the logo? You just can. But that doesn’t happen accidentally—Apple understands how to extract brand essence and transubstantiate it into product design. All great brands that continue to produce great products do. The fact is, a product that is produced by Apple impacts how the individual feels about that product and continues to experience that product well after they make the purchasing decision. The actuality of that experience and the perception of what sort of experience that person thinks they should have can be almost entirely attributed to brand perception and expectation. Pinpoint the microscopic target of perfect alignment between perception and reality and you’ve got a product that’s ready to work for your brand’s legacy. What the consumer expects is the driving force behind what the company will (and should) deliver. It is up to the team of product designers to understand first what it is their people want and then how to innovate something that makes sense for the people, the brand, and the future. Great product designers “patiently usher the solution from concept all the way through engineering, prototyping, tooling and early production. You need to keep refining, tweaking, and improving it along the way because the solution is only as good as what ultimately gets tooled and mass produced,” asserts Harden. Every aspect of product design has opportunity to affect brand perception. The Introduction of the [Branded] Innovation Products communicate. When we experience a product, what we are exploring is a curated brand experience (at least, hopefully). Beyond marketing, products themselves are the primary ambassadors for a brand. A great product takes the brand’s core reason for existence and marries it with its vision for the future and the individual purpose for that product. Great products communicate these ideas through look, feel, user experience, packaging, marketing, and placement. When products are synergistic with brands, people keep coming back for more. It just works. “A product’s form, features, color and materials all work together to communicate a product’s declaration of purpose, quality, brand, and value.” Miscommunication is a missed opportunity. Planning the introduction of a new product only zooms in the focus on the consumer. Except now there is pressure to communicate something new aligned with the historic essence of the brand

Beyond marketing, products themselves are the primary ambassadors for a brand. A great product takes the brand’s core reason for existence and marries it with its vision for the future and the individual purpose for that product.

in order to affect purchasing decisions positively. Introduction must have both affirming and converting effects concurrently. Brand loyalists must be reminded of their enthusiasm for the brand and what it makes. Consumers unfamiliar or “not sold on” a brand must be enticed, educated, and convinced that the product (and brand) belongs in their life because it solves a problem or fills a void that they have. This “user experience” begins with the advertisement of the product itself. “Creating experiences that touch or help people in more meaningful and lasting ways; creating products that are relevant to what we need as individuals and societies; creating products that make life easier, safer or more fun; creating design that is inseparably functional and beautiful at the same time,” is the goal of people like Dan Harden and a noble one at that. Products speak and the stories they tell are telling of their brands and the individual creatives behind them. The goal is to create timeless products that matter to people, because they solve a problem or improve their life in another way. Obsolescence is always the thief of legacy. “One mitigates this by creating as timeless a design as possible but also by doing what nature does—create brand DNA that propagate in all future product offspring,” offers Harden. Think ahead and plan for the future. With technological advances bounding forward, industry landscapes are constantly evolving. We see this in technicolor here in Silicon Valley. The pressure to innovate for better without causing excess is great in 2019. The burden is on the product design and brand teams to make better—not necessarily more—because what they’re creating matters from now into the forever future. “The scope and reach of design will grow in the future. I’ve seen design go from styling a product, to styling an experience, to styling a business, to styling infrastructures,” Harden adds. The burden of responsible creativity and ingenuity falls more and more to product designers and branders as the scope of that design increases. It extends far beyond the product itself. Within the product itself is all the power, however, and every screw matters. C 37

MightyStudios might·y / mīdē / Adjective Possessing great and impressive power or strength, especially on account of size.

On the eastern edge of downtown San Jose is a small, unassuming building with the word “mighty” affixed to the side in metallic letters. It’s a little ironic to see such a bold word placed on that tiny structure. But after learning what happens inside that building and about the team that calls it home, you begin to realize what an accurate description “mighty” is for one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific product design studios. Mighty Studios was founded by Tark Abed, a Bay Area native born in Oakland, California. Growing up, Tark and his brothers were constantly engaged in creative endeavors, from building Lego sets to model car kits. In the late ’70s, while snowboarding was still in its infancy, Tark was writing letters to Jake Burton, founder of Burton Snowboards, with his designs and sketches. Tark’s older brother went on 38

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to attend USC, later pursuing a career in film and exposing Tark to a new world of set designers and prop makers and to a discipline he had never heard of before that point: industrial design. “This profession finds you. You don’t find it,” Tark says. Returning to the Bay Area after completing his degree, Tark spent over a decade working for product design agencies and consulting for some of the biggest brands in the world. Silicon Valley had become not only the tech capital of the world, but also an industrial design powerhouse due to forward-thinking companies like Apple, IDEO, Matrix, Lunar Design, and others. Despite this ultra-competitive environment, Tark felt this was the perfect place to start his new company. “There is something special about Silicon Valley. I’ve had the opportunity to work all around the world, including

Japan, China, and other parts of Asia. Silicon Valley continues to stand out as unique. We are all going 150 miles an hour all the time. That’s the bar. People on the outside say it’s unhealthy. But it keeps us vibrant, alive, and alert. You need to innovate to survive. We help companies do that.” Mighty is unique compared to most other product design studios, because they have experience not just designing for others, but developing, producing, and marketing their own products and IP. A product’s success depends on a myriad of factors, all of which the Mighty Studios’ team has firsthand experience with. From an in-house ethnographer that provides insights into user needs to a brand designer that helps companies build visual identities and interfaces, the Mighty Studios’ small but diverse team has a broad range of deep expertise that’s hard to

Written by Daniel Codella Photography by Daniel Garcia Mighty Studios 1272 East Julian Street San Jose, CA 95116 mighty-studios.com Facebook mightystudios Instagram _mightystudios

“You need to innovate to survive. We help companies do that.” –Tark Abed, Creative Director/Founder



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1. K-PAK: Mighty Studios’ first self-funded product release. K-Pak is the world’s first fully integrated flash solution for the GoPro Hero3 & Hero4 camera. 2. The Blink Indoor | Outdoor Cat House A hideaway where cats can stay warm and cozy. 3. Chowbotics: Develops food service robots. The company’s flagship product, Sally (the Salad Robot), creates custom salads that are ingredient-driven, chef-inspired, and robot-delivered.

match. “Other agencies design to win awards,” Tark claims. “We design to create successful products.” Members of the team have an incredible level of respect for each other, and it’s reflected in the trust that permeates their culture. “We’re all friends. We foster each other’s interests. One of our designers has taken a long sabbatical. He’s been in Vietnam for a year now, creating a new product—specialized travel bags for bikes. To me, when people pursue what they love, it benefits all of us. We gain valuable experience to bring back to the team.” In 2012, Google launched Project Aristotle, a study to determine the ingredients for

building successful teams. After observing hundreds of teams, the key trait was revealed to be psychological safety. When teams feel safe to explore ideas and risk failure, they were found to be more creative, innovative, productive, and happier. This kind of familial atmosphere can be felt all over the building Mighty Studios calls home. Team members feed off each other’s creativity. This trust has helped them break creative ground and take risks on new ideas. “We’re always looking for some hook or some innovation that will surprise and delight our customers. We’re obsessed with pushing boundaries,” Tark says. Whether it’s out of fear

of failure or fear of shareholders, many of the Goliaths in the product design world have begun to shy away from risk taking. They’re playing it safe, which has proven detrimental to their ability to innovate. But Tark and his nimble team continue to take creative risks and crank out impactful designs that make the sign on the outside of their building all the more fitting each day. C


Although artist and illustrator Allison Marie Garcia is still in school, her artwork shows the technical poise, confidence, and restraint of a veteran artist.

ALLISON Marie Garcia As with many of the artists profiled in these pages, Santa Cruz– based artist and illustrator Allison Marie Garcia has been loving and creating art as far back as her memory will take her. A native of Hollister, Garcia found her life’s obsession early, and as she puts it, “it has never really stopped.” As an adolescent, Garcia found that her love of art and its visual manifestations helped her define herself as well as draw people in. “It was a way for me to make friends and fit in somewhere once I got into high school, which is where I think it really started to feel like more of an identity that I was stuck with, in a way,” Garcia recalls. So, naturally, when it came time for applying to college, Garcia gravitated toward schools that could help her fully develop as an artist. First she took a “few years’ break at a local junior college.” Fortunately for her (and us), from there Garcia chose to attend San Jose State University, which has a distinguished and broadly applicable arts program. And as with her early obsession with art, it followed that her talent would be noticed earlier, too. Although Garcia is still a student pursuing her BFA at SJSU, her work has the restraint, technique, and confidence of a veteran artist. Working in a variety of mediums (digital, pen and ink, acrylic, and oil) and composing in a range of styles, Garcia imbues her work with dueling senses of harmony and dissonance, a combined rawness and poise that gives the viewer an intimate perception of what Garcia puts into each piece of art emotionally, and, admittedly, it’s often powerful and dark. Thematically, Garcia’s work uses a lot of faces, outer spaces, and imagery with a nihilistic, or at least, alienated touch. Much of her work shows an incredible sense of composition, tonal subtlety, and restraint, as well as confident linework that is playfully austere in its ability to careen in and out of sharpness without ever losing Garcia’s unique aesthetic touch. 42

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Written by Tad Malone Photography by Daniel Garcia allisonmariegarcia.com blindthesun.threadless.com Instagram blindthesun

Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Brian Rampas cinetellers.com 300 South First Street, Suite 230 San Jose, CA 95113 Instagram cinetellers 43

Make room, digital

Constraining I, acrylic on canvas

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Uncomfortable, digital


Valley, digital

Dark Orb, oil on canvas


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A very small animal diptych, oil on canvas

“Once I am done designing/ thinking, I get to work and sometimes hours go by before I realize it’s time to step back.” -Allison Marie Garcia

While her work manifests itself wonderfully in seemingly whatever medium and with an organization and (there it is again) restraint that suggest singular focus in her creative process, Garcia prefers to work in bunches and mostly in acrylics. “My process for painting is usually working on four to five pieces at once, and I prefer acrylic, usually, because I work fast and frantically most of the time,” she says, adding, “Once I am done designing/thinking, I get to work and sometimes hours go by before I realize it’s time to step back.” Garcia credits her influences in art to a broad range of expressionist painters, illustrators, and musicians, noting everyone from the mother of abstract art, Hilma af Klint, to another early shapeshifter, Paul Klee, as well as more contemporary purveyors of expressionist concepts like Margaret Kilgallen. She also credits music with being a heavy influence, if not catalyst, for her work. “I derive a lot of inspiration from music and use it to spark the beginnings of work—often,” Garcia says. A recurring theme is Garcia’s natural love of art, almost as if imbibed at birth. Her life, if not career, as an artist is something she never questioned and still doesn’t. This speaks to another huge influence on her work: her family. “I was lucky enough to have a family that has always supported my dreams of making a career out of art,” Garcia says. “I think, regardless of who I want to speak to, certain people will always connect or understand,” Garcia says about what she wants viewers to take away from her work. “I think my work deals with some darkness and heavier ideas, but I am optimistic in a sometimes slightly uplifting way. At least that’s what I try to do, and I hope that is what people get out of it.” People are certainly getting something out of it. Though still technically a “student” of art, Garcia boasts over 25,000 Instagram followers, a level of exposure that she is nothing but thankful for. “The illustrative side of my work seems to do okay, business-wise, especially my tarot card deck, so I’m just grateful for it and hope to do more commissioned illustrative freelance work down the road,” Garcia says, adding for hopeful clients: “I love designing shirts, beer labels, packaging art, and things like that.” As for the future, Garcia just hopes to keep making art. C 47

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MCKENZIE Cut, construct, collage

Written by Marissa Ahmadkhani Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram alldaydirt

With distinctively sharp edges and material sourced from comic books and fashion magazines, San Jose native Jordan McKenzie creates and shares his eye-catching collage under the Instagram moniker, alldaydirt. At 27 and cutting collage for about six months now, McKenzie, though relatively new to the craft, seems to have found his artistic niche. Having previously worked in music and photography, McKenzie has had a lifelong interest in creative work. However, with collaging, he really feels that he has discovered his true medium. For him, it’s all about the process of collaging. Cutting the many pieces and constructing the images is what really makes him happy. The process of collaging is an act of meditation—while he cuts and then constructs his works, his mind quiets and he fully focuses on his work. He touches on the importance of this: “When you find something that gives you such mental peace and clarity, it’s worth doing. It’s just cool that other people dig it, too, that, fortunately, the thing that gives me clarity can be shared with others. There’s an end product to show.” McKenzie finds his material in magazines, things he’s been given, and everyday papers found while out and about—he is always looking for content for his next collage. He is particularly drawn to sharp edges, high fashion, images of smoke and guns, and matching postures. However, though partial to these things, McKenzie doesn’t really go into a collage with a set plan. “I tend to work with high fashion magazines, because I really like the outfits,” he shares. “Oftentimes, I’ll cut the model’s heads off and use, like, a comic book character instead,” he laughs. He also likes using the female form. “The idea of a woman, to me, is a strong thing. So I try to make and convey strong female

figures. I don’t really go into these thinking what the subject is going to be. I kind of just start cutting, and things just come together.” Though it really is about the artistic process for him, McKenzie is still very conscious of how people interpret the art that he makes. “Aside from just enjoying cutting collage, I’m also really interested in how people receive the things that I make. Because I can make something on a fluke or make something that I specifically like, and someone can interpret it in some wild way and give it a whole other meaning that I didn’t necessarily intend. It’s cool,” he muses. For McKenzie, the idea of leaving behind something tangible is very important. With collaging, he feels that he will. This newfound passion has also opened doors, particularly in terms of meeting other creatives and allowing him to network and learn while maintaining his own unique creative process. “Meeting like-minded people is always a fun thing. I’m still relatively new to this, and I want to learn as much as I can. I’m just trying to stay really open,” he says. Moving forward, McKenzie is considering collaborative work as well as having his very own show sometime in the near future. “I’d love to do a show at some point. I’m not a classically trained artist, I don’t know the color wheel or anything like that, but I like what I like, and this is something that makes me happy,” he adds. When it comes down to it, happiness and putting himself out there is what really drives McKenzie and his work. “Right now in my life I’ve been very big on happiness. Whatever makes you happy and gives you that moment of clarity, hold on to that. Because it’s not gonna get any easier. So you just have to do what makes you happy.” C



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Tech Art Joshua Curry’s studio is a tech haven saturated with LEDs and wires, screens flickering abstract visuals, gently humming monitors, a congregation of speakers, and two electric keyboards. But Curry underwent quite the journey before arriving at the base of operations where his current wave of work unfolds. Like so many artists before, he started questioning societal norms at a young age. After being threatened with an “F” on a high school photography assignment if he submitted a picture of a punk couple smoking at the local 7-Eleven, Curry kept it in. “It was my big stand,” he reminisces. “I said, ‘If they’re trying to make such a big deal out of this then there’s something to messing with what people expect a photograph to be.’ ” After capturing numerous images of his airborne skater friends, Curry decided to pursue photojournalism at San Francisco State, shooting everything from the Rodney King riots to the Oakland Hills fire. “I was covering serious news. It was very adult. And I was not very adult,” he recalls. “It was a quick growth period.” He then left the Bay to finish school at Atlanta College of Art. “I ended up with a lot of accidents and a lot of bad photographs that I liked a lot,” he says of the time. “I opened up to a lot of different ways of seeing.” His next destination was New Orleans. 52

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But although he covered some big stories— hurricanes, presidential campaigns, even a serial killer—he was mainly assigned high school sporting events (a scene he and his skater friends had never cared about as teens). Sucked into wedding photography next, Curry found it difficult to stomach the family dysfunction and “drunken politics” while being expected to capture rosy, idyllic moments. “I reached the point where I couldn’t smile anymore,” he remembers. “I didn’t want to hear the word ‘elegant’ ever again.” One night during dinner, Curry determined to cut ties with the wedding world for good. “I want you to watch me do this,” he told his assistant, unfastening his silk tie, borrowing scissors from the bartender, and snipping the offending accessory symbolically in half. He spent the next three months cross-country, living out of his truck, shooting American Way, a photo essay on America in the aftermath of 9/11. After 20 years, he returned to San Jose, refocused on fine arts and began sorting through boxes left unopened for over a decade. The gesture allowed him to unpack places and phases of his past—not only physically but mentally. “My life had really fractured,” he says. “I was totally compartmentalized.” One box—obsolete music equipment from Atlanta in the ’90s—im-

Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Daniel Garcia lucidbeaming.net Social Media lucidbeaming

“There’s a lot of room to explore once you release people from the expectation of a commercial/ entertainment payoff.” – Joshua Curry

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pelled him to explore experimental music. This new focus on sound soon had Curry noticing the collision of noises scattered across downtown San Jose: the garbled bass of a car radio, the chk-chk-chk of a broken latch on a Caltrain door. Posing the question “What’s the real experience of being here?” he started field recording and utilizing synthesizers to fabricate otherworldly soundtracks. “It’s dangerous to really open up,” Curry remarks, sympathizing with those who retreat under headphones to escape the sounds of commercial ads and political slogans. “If you’re malleable, and if you’re vulnerable mentally or emotionally, those things can get in.” However, instead of filtering it out, he engages it with the aim of withholding opinion and simply being present. Curry also plays with people’s presuppositions about technology. Take a high-definition widescreen, for instance. “It’s the kind of thing that’s designed to be an entertainment vessel,” he observes. “But instead of putting Avatar on there and letting people 54

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sit and passively watch it, [I’m] laying it on its back and running a bunch of glitch hair curlers through it—just to see what happens.” He adds, “There’s a lot of room to explore once you release people from the expectation of a commercial/entertainment payoff.” In this new phase, Curry has often partnered with SubZERO Festival. One piece, Embers, took breath-powered LEDs within origami to evoke the sense of fellowship one gets from sitting with friends by the glowing coals of a dying fire. Festival goers warmed to the concept, recruiting strangers to blow the “embers” to life. “I had never made anything that did that,” Curry says. “With photography, I never saw that happen…once in a while somebody would have a conversation or leave an internet comment, but nothing like this. And nothing nonverbal. It was a rush!” Curry intends to keep on overturning expectations and instigating connections. If you let him, he’ll take familiarities and show them to you from strange new angles. C

YOSEF GEBRE Artist Yosef Gebre finds the essence of the human spirit in his expressive, vibrant artwork.

Written by Tad Malone Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram yosefthefunkyhomosapien


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Although born in Eritrea, Yosef Gebre grew up in suburban Milpitas. Art was always present in his life, but in adolescence, he was exposed to the interests of his friends—things like music, skateboarding, and graffiti—that still inspire the work he does today. Two things sparked Gebre’s artistic inclinations—a painting class he took on a whim his senior year of high school, and the work of artist O.T.E.S. (ONLY THE EDUCATED SURVIVE), who, according to Gebre, “inspired and compelled me to create work that represented my experiences— to unapologetically embrace and celebrate my blackness.” That, coupled with the potential his painting teacher saw in the doodles he did in class, set Gebre on the proverbial path of an artist. Gebre is still in his twenties, but his art shows a maturity of composition and theme that betrays his youth. He works with a kaleidoscopic color palette that coalesces in energetic and expressionistic human forms. But are they human? Gebre’s art is arguably figurative, but there are abstract tendencies to his marks and strokes, rendering figures not so much as they are, but what they could be. Unsurprisingly, Gebre credits a number of influences on his work. “My influences tend to be fluid and shift around,” Gebre emphasizes. “Similar to most of my peers, I had romanticized ’90s street culture/hip-hop and found the music during this period to be stimulating and conducive for the work I was producing.” Gebre is also particularly attracted to the interdisciplinary work and life of Virgil Abloh. In Abloh, Gebre recognized a kindred spirit. “We both share education backgrounds in eng ineering. Hearing his story validated my idea that I didn’t need art school to learn how to express myself.” Beyond that, there is the encompassing influence of Gebre’s Habesha background. “I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for my family and the tight-knit Eritrean community I grew up in.”

While Gebre shows a certain carefree quality in his work—loose lines and wild colors. The order varies, but usually, Gebre commences with wheatpasting print media to a surface before adding acrylic paint or “distressing” the paper with a blade while the paint is still wet. As the subject comes into focus, Gebre further accentuates the given work with chalk or pastel. “In terms of illustrations, I usually start with a few characters and problem solve until they interact with each other and fill the space I’m drawing in.” Lately, Gebre has been drawn to all types of mixed-media art. Everything from oil stick pastels to found objects make appearances in his work. Perhaps instinctively, Gebre realized that his illustrative style would lend itself to all types of art, particularly the wearable kind. As such, Gebre also makes a number of clothing designs featuring cut-and-sewn graphics or his characters. While Gebre’s compositions may suggest a relaxed attitude toward form, which is sometimes the case, Gebre enjoys being as carefree as he does prescriptive—the tone of his work is often serious and reflective. “I want people to understand my work is a reflection of my personal experiences,” Gebre says, adding: “I also hope to facilitate meaningful discourse on racial and socioeconomic disparities. Ultimately, I’d want my work to push people to think.” Gebre is still relatively young, but he sees a lot of potential avenues that his art could lead h i m down just over the horizon, especially fashion. Most recently, he’s been making clothing feat u r i ng his art, “particularly a collection solely comprised of wearable art and statement pieces.” However, in the end, the style doesn’t matter so much as the fact that he gets to continue making art. “All things considered, I just want to be able to create at the same pace I am now if not more,” Gebre says, adding: “that in itself is a huge achievement.” C


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“I want people to understand my work is a reflection of my personal experiences. I also hope to facilitate meaningful discourse on racial and socioeconomic disparities. Ultimately, I’d want my work to push people to think.” -Yoseph Gebre


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A R lan


One of the world’s most tech savvy sculptors reflects on the connection between machines and their makers.

Written by David Perez Photography by Daniel Garcia alanrath.com Facebook alan.rath.artist Twitter & Instagram alanrath 62

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“There’s something about building machines that makes you think about nature and ourselves. Most machinery is modeled on nature, modeled on the body, and now starting to be modeled on the mind. That’s why I don’t think it’s so alien. It’s really just us being projected.” -Alan Rath

Eyeris IX, 2017


wo robotic arms swivel in long arcs over a gallery wall. A sizeable crowd of art goers watch the appendages dance in long, sweeping rotations that give way to finer, more delicate gestures. At the end of each arm is a small pointer, kind of like a pinball flipper. As with any other art piece, people observe for a few beats then move on. But there’s one moment no one walks away from—a part of the dance that has everyone hooked. At one point, the arms move painfully slow, and the two little flippers move to touch. The closer they get, the slower they go. And here’s the thing…No one can breathe. Everyone is stone silent, dying for these two flippers to make contact. Why? These are two slabs of aluminum and steel powered by motors pulling on rubber cabling. How then is it so irrefutably human? Why is it able to tell a story about connection and disconnection that is so familiar? Artist Alan Rath has provoked these questions for the past four decades, and they’re as relevant now as they have ever been. Of the connection between people and machines, Rath observes, “There’s something about building machines that makes 64

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you think about nature and ourselves. Most machinery is modeled on nature, modeled on the body, and now starting to be modeled on the mind. That’s why I don’t think it’s so alien. It’s really just us being projected.” The piece with the robot arms and little flippers, entitled Again, beautifully illustrates this point about projection. It’s thoroughly mechanical. The metal isn’t disguised to seem more human, and still it reminds us of ourselves. As such, this robotic movement has the power to recall ancient human dramas about desire and loss. Yes, we’re staring at technology, but we can’t help but lay our own stories over it. Is this the reason the arms look vaguely skeletal in the first place? So much of Rath’s work evokes this kind of self-reflection, sometimes with displays of animated eyes, hands, and mouths or with pieces like Vanity, where a human face on a screen looks into a mirror. But the same effect—of a machine evoking lifelike qualities—shows up in different ways. In another part of the gallery, an aluminum pole extends from floor to ceiling. At its top end, pheasant feathers radiate outward like flower petals. Motors cause the plum-

age to flutter, as if the piece is preparing to take flight. Whether it’s an image on screen or feathers overhead, a crucial tool makes the pieces work together as a cohesive whole. Algorithms. Algorithms govern all the motion. “They’re not recordings,” Rath explains. “I want to make machines that are playful and funny—that people respond to as living things. The algorithms just keep on unfolding. They don’t have a predictable loop.” Rath’s work constantly challenges convenient divisions between the natural and the synthetic, and not always in ways that are immediately apparent at a gallery show. Some pieces alter their behavior years or even decades after they’re created. Examples of this can be found in his Running Man pieces. According to Rath, “Sometimes he’ll be running to the left, sometimes to the right. Some days he’s kind of confused, running back and forth, changing color and speed on a daily basis, but then there are these much longer things that happened over years.” As for what changes these are, it’s up to whoever takes them home to find out. This spontaneous quality suggests that what draws people to art is the same thing

Positively, 2012


Atherton Wallflower, 2001


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Exhibition “Virtual Unreality” on display at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art through June 2, 2019

Monocle, 2003

that draws them to each other—a sense of discovery and surprise. “If you look at a painting,” says Rath, “you somehow want it to be rich enough that you could look at it for a long time and discover more. That’s really what we want with people. All relationships with people are about this constant change. This is something we feel is different about machines. But what if machines have long term change?” Rath’s body of work is the journey that results from exploring this and other questions about our relationship to the things we build. For the artist, the journey began as a childhood curiosity with the mystery surrounding machinery. From a young age, he was curious about how mechanical things came into being. He explains, “I was always fascinated as a little kid by how the washing machine or the lawn mower existed. It wasn’t obvious where they came from. You knew that the food grew, and even furniture you could kind of look at and figure out how it was built, but something like a lawn mower seemed really mysterious.” His education around machines began when he was a young man poring over mag-

azines and library books, and it reached fruition when he attended MIT. But he didn’t apply his expertise to artwork until after taking a job for an art-shipping company. There he noticed that almost none of the art used the electronic components ubiquitous in the world. And even when it did, everything mechanical was meant to be ignored. He points out that in the ’70s and early ’80s, video art paid attention to what was on screen, with little thought about the screen itself. Of this artwork, he points out, “You had a Sony Trinitron and a tape deck that were so overwhelming as objects that what was on the screen seemed really tiny. It couldn’t match the presence of those objects. There was always this division between an effect that the artist was showing over here and a thing they hired other people to do behind a wall. And they would say that’s not part of it. Only look at this part.” Rath’s work removes this division. Everything visible is part of the piece. From the point at which it plugs into the wall all the way to the screen staring back at you or the feather flying in your face—all of it contributes to the experience. And this is his artwork’s real power. In both art and tech-

nology, the inner workings of a given piece or device are usually concealed. We are encouraged to focus on the front end, while the back end is hidden so thoroughly that it might as well not exist. There’s so much attention, in other words, on what machines do for us and so little on how they, in a sense, are us. We have an oblique awareness that machines magnify our desires and amplify our perceptions, but Rath’s work brings this awareness forward and lays the clockwork bare. As for the future, Rath plans to keep making objects that question the division between human beings and the technology we create. He explains that each piece he makes begets a new one, and that he’s always working on multiple pieces at once, with no signs of slowing down. “If I never have a new idea, I still have a backlog of more pieces than I could ever make in my lifetime.” Rath’s work regularly appears at the Hosfelt Gallery. C



The Creator of Functional Beauty

“There are two general phases—making the right thing and then making the thing right. Both are critically important.” -Dave Zuverink

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limFold has been the force behind the world’s thinnest, lightest, and strongest slim wallets and bags, designed and made in Northern California. The creator, Dave Zuverink, and his team have launched three successful Kickstarter campaigns, which have collectively raised over $500,000. In this interview, Dave shares how to stay creative and design products that people want and love.

Written by Kunal Sampat Photography by Daniel Garcia School of Visual Philosophy

How did you develop your artistic mind? I was always interested in making things and made products from a very young age. I started off as an undergraduate as a physics major, intending to study mechanical engineering. During this time, I did an informational interview with the architect, who introduced me to the discipline of industrial design. I was always more interested in how things worked—and worked with people. This led me to study human factors, a subdiscipline of industrial design. It is more focused on the way people use things and less about the way they look aesthetically. I ended up finishing up at San Jose State with a master’s in human factors.

1065 The Alameda San Jose, CA 95126 slimfoldwallet.com Social Media slimfold

How has your childhood influenced the work you do? My parents always gave me the freedom to explore things that I wanted to. We lived in Manhattan, and I remember going to a lot of museums on a regular

basis. They were very supportive of the things that I wanted to do. I was into skateboarding and wanted to build a ramp in the backyard. They said I could build the ramp. I don’t think they knew what they were getting into, because I drew up the plans for the ramp, ordered all the materials from my savings, and a big delivery truck showed up with pallets of sheet plywood. We ended up building a 28-footlong, 4-foot-high, 16-foot-wide half pipe in the side yard. Luckily, I built it with screws. What led you to create SlimFold? I had the problem of not being able to find a wallet that was thin enough for me. Going back into my model-making, industrial-design roots, I started sketching and experimenting with Tyvek as a material. When I investigated the process to actually make one at high enough quality that I would want it, I had to make thousands of them. I decided to do it, and that led to me having thousands of wallets. Back then there wasn’t an e-commerce ecosystem like there is today. If you came up with an idea for a product, there wasn’t necessarily as direct of a path to make it or to sell it. We were just starting to enter an era where it was possible for a person by themselves to completely produce a product. I happened to already have training in product design and development, but even before 69

that, you couldn’t just send a digital file to someone and have something physical come back that was holdable. How are you currently getting feedback from your customers? I do get customer feedback at every phase of the product-development cycle, all the way to asking what I should make. There are two general phases—making the right thing and then making the thing right. Both are critically important. If you make the wrong thing, nobody cares. Sometimes we will do a survey. If I have a few potential ideas, I will simply email my customers and say, “What should I make next?” and give them those ideas while making room for them to list their ideas. I answer some of the customer service emails daily, especially ones that have product suggestions. Then, as a product is developed, we will pose a question to either customers who have given us feedback in the past or to people asking for a product for whom we have something in development. It draws back to my user research background at Adobe where I was conducting interviews with people about what their needs were and what problems they had. How do you balance two conflicting ideas of making what customers want and the Steve Jobs way of thinking that customers don’t really know what they want? There are two elements at play. One is the balance of solving problems as


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opposed to building for this specific thing that someone wants. The other is the balance between art and design. The key is to really listen to what the pain point is behind what they are asking for. This is often the root of the misunderstanding. You do not want to take that to the extreme and say, “People don’t know what they want, so I’m just going to give them what’s best for them.” It does not give the customer as much credit as they deserve. It is better to acknowledge the reality of their pain and try to understand every aspect of it. Then, when you come back with a potential solution, you can see what their reaction is to it. If you did a good job, they are going to put together that your solution solves their pain. Is there anything else you would like to share? There is a lot of interest in people doing their own thing with e-commerce. I am really excited about that opportunity. The way that I did it was to maintain my career long after the business was growing and sustainable. It is a path a lot of people don’t necessarily consider. They feel like they have to do one or the other. You don’t have to quit your day job, jump off a cliff, and try to build an airplane on the way down. If you can keep your job, invest your time and a bit of money into your side project, you essentially become your own patron, and it takes the pressure off you. C


“I would say, more and more people will be self-accepting individuals and will not follow trends—which I think is better than becoming a walking billboard.” – Joseph Domingo


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Joseph Domingo Fashion Designer

Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Daniel Garcia josephdomingo.com

Picture yourself attending LA Fashion Week. Let’s say you’ve somehow managed to secure a front row seat—so close you could stretch out your toes and touch the side of the catwalk. Around you, designers and photographers hum in expectation. The noise and the lights dim down. But as the first model emerges, disconcerted murmurs sweep the room. And then you notice, too. The woman striding down the catwalk is as eyeless as a storefront mannequin. And so are all the others. “How?” you wonder. Seemingly unfazed, each model strides forward, somehow confident in her ability to not pitch over the side of the walk and into the audience. After you and the rest of the crowd recover from the initial shock and notice the flesh-colored gauze eye patches worn to simulate the look, you recognize that the lack of facial features allows you to focus more fully on the sleek, stunning garments in shades of sable and scarlet. Ironically, the San Francisco designer behind this memorable show, Joseph Domingo, felt compelled to conceal his creative face growing up. The

youngest of seven brothers (and only one sister), Domingo faced pressure to conform to the testosterone-heavy norm of his household. “I hid under the kitchen table when I made my own paper dolls and dresses,” he recalls. Because of this upbringing, the start of his vocation occurred in an indirect sort of way. Domingo made the transition into fashion gradually, inching toward it as if he might scare it off. After attending architecture school, he rerouted to try his hand at interior design. From there, he finally eased into the industry he has now contributed thirty years toward. But the years leading up to his fashion escapades have not been wasted. Those previous experiences continue to flavor the aesthetics and symmetry of his work. “It gave me the sense of balance, structure, and attention to details that is a basic, fundamental way of creating something out of your imagination,” he explains. Culture also weaves its way into his designs. Pulling from San Francisco’s art, food, and incredible diversity, as well as 73

Photography by Red Punzalan


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Photography by Olga Lavruhina

other countries’ museums and events, Domingo constantly integrates his surroundings into his work. “It may be a fabric, a print, a color, or a silhouette that inspires me to translate it into my own creative interpretation,” he elaborates. Though Domingo has dabbled in ready-to-wear fashion, he’s more well-known for producing custom-made pieces out of his studio a few city blocks from Union Square. Miss America, Miss Universe, a number of Hollywood actresses, and even Shakira have adorned themselves in his handiwork. “The beauty of custom-made clothing is working with the client from start to finish,” he says, adding later, “I’m hands-on every step of the way.” There’s also the satisfaction of matching a shiny sports jacket or an asymmetric chiffon dress to the wearer’s body type. Though it may take twice the time as ready-towear products, Domingo notes there is something magical in the moment someone slips into an outfit crafted expressly for them. Besides tending to his private clients and preparing for upcoming shows, Domingo is a

freelance consultant for a menswear brand in Southern California. He also partners with the fashion design program at his alma matter, West Valley College, as a producer and creative director for the graduating student fashion show and is also this year’s guest designer. When asked what styles the fashion forward should be investing in this upcoming season, Domingo is rather cryptic. “The industry is fast and trends come and go,” he says. “I would say, more and more people will be self-accepting individuals and will not follow trends—which I think is better than becoming a walking billboard.” He certainly has come a long way from the complaisant, self-conscious little boy, driven under the family dinner table to covertly sketch dresses. Nowadays, he’d much rather stand as a walking reminder that originality, rather than conformity, will always remain in style. C


West Valley College Fashion Design and Apparel Technology The Fashion Design and Apparel Technology (FDAT) program at West Valley College is a two-year accredited career technical education program, established in 1985 by a group of industry professionals to fill the need for public education in the field of fashion. Recognized as a leader in fashion education, both locally and nationally, the program now offers two associate of science degrees and three certificates in design and production. The Cilker School of Art proudly presents the work of Fashion Design and Apparel Technology students at ALCHEMY, a gala fashion show on Saturday, May 11, at the West Valley College Cilker School of Art and Design.


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Fashion Photographer - Paul Ferradas | Portrait Photographer - Daniel Garcia | Producer Kristen Pfund | Models - Desiree Davis and Leilani Sioson from @lookmodelagency and Dahlia Persephone from @scoutmodelagency | Stylist - Mariana Kishimoto | Hair Stylists - Ivo Skilj from Ivo Salon and Emily Selfridge and Angelica Mora from Bedlam Beauty and Barber | Make-Up Artist - Zenia Marie | Location - Blink Creative Agency | Accessories by - Kendra Scott, Santana Row and Cross Roads | Camera - Google Pixel 3XL


Peter Esparza A son of Mexican immigrant parents, Peter is a fashion designer based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Growing up on the east side of San Jose, he became familiarized with all the traditional Mexican holidays. Dia de los Muertos became his favorite holiday to celebrate, with its bright, cheerful take on what is usually a mournful subject. Inspired by Dia de los Muertos, Peter’s latest collection uses the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe, which is commonly used to decorate alters for loved ones who have passed away. In an effort to create wearable pieces that can be used to celebrate Dia de los Muertos or worn year-round, he embellished the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe with beads and crystals to mimic the glitter that’s commonly used to decorate her portrait.

Instagram: petercupcakes

Britney Bliven Britney grew up surrounded by the arts, and has a passion for hands-on design. She aspires to continue her work with costume design and production, inspired by vintage eras, rooted by her passion for all things Disney. In the near future, she plans to open up a shop where you can buy retro-chic designs that allow you to keep on dreaming.

Instagram: vintage.dreamstress

Lakshmi Uma Rachakonda To Lakshmi, authentic is aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from indigenous hand-loomed traditional textiles, she aspires to launch an ecofriendly, ethical, sustainable, slow fashion brand with timeless designs. Lakshmi’s journey as a designer began at the age of 13 when she sketched a pouf frock which she asked her mom to sew from a sari. Later, to follow her passion, Lakshmi did a master’s degree in textiles and clothing and worked as an apparel and fabric merchandiser for the export industry in India. She is currently designing customized Indo-western wear.

Instagram: lakshmirachakonda.designz


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Dipti Nichani An avid crossfitter, runner, vegan culinary enthusiast, travelholic, and certified yoga teacher, Dipti treats fitness as her life and is very passionate about designing ethical and sustainable activewear. She comes from a family with over 30 years of textile business expertise and aspires to own the first ever independent athleisure clothing brand for women in India.

Instagram: pocketfullofdrama

Maria Lee Witnessing the transforming power of the custom clothing she makes for her family and clients, Maria Lee aspires to make each individual become their best self in the garments she makes. She is inspired by her love of Korean hanbok and the ocean.

Instagram: maria.riakay

Nicole Markelz There is nothing Nicole enjoys more than creating: sewing, knitting, and baking macarons make her heart sing. With an education in botany, Nicole finds joy and inspiration in all things colorful and beautiful in the natural world.

Instagram: bea_and_lucille


Peter Esparza 80

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Maria Lee 81

Britney Bliven 82

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Dipti Nichani 83

Lakshmi Uma Rachakonda 84

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Nicole Markelz 85



Designer of Wearable Art At 15, Matthew Molcillo was just a kid attending Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose. Always drawn to the macabre, he spent class time drawing the demons that formed in his head—scaring him as much as they evoked his awe. All the while, he prayed for his body to respond to the medications prescribed for the epilepsy that had caused his driver’s license to be revoked. The best and the worst were yet to come. Eight years later, his doctor advised him to quit the medication. Cloistering in his house for three months to avoid an epileptic attack in public, he found himself painting indigenous children and warriors who had endured intense struggle—basing his unframed portraits on a book of photographs. “I was drawn to the strength in their eyes,” Matthew realizes today. “At the time, I didn’t 86

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know why.” Meeting him today and encountering his daring, detailed art, one senses a risk-taking optimism and the courage to lean into fear in order to work through it. Matthew’s creations are to be touched and worn; they are authentically empowering. His customized projects include a stunning latex pantsuit, an elegant airbrushed hair accessory, a leather cuff radiating with old-world mysticism, and a geometric arm brace expressing refined power. Taking care to wholly manifest the vision of each client, he etches his leather designs with tattoo-like quality and dramatizes softer crafts with sparkling quartz beads. The subtle force of self-determination emanates from stainless steel shoulder pieces that, on any body type, connect the wearer with their inner superhero. Matthew emboldens his clients with the same belief he lives

by: “Health and fashion—you need both,” he presses. “You could wear beautiful clothes and not feel good about yourself, then what difference does it make?” His philosophy of radiating strength from the inside out marks a distinguishable difference in the relationships he cultivates. “I’m so fortunate to work with so many amazing women who trust me, as a male designer, to be in a very close space they feel safe in.” He doesn’t allow bad talk. “I try and give another perspective, get them to embrace who they are, what they have. It helps me too, with my own struggles.” His artistic portfolio expands selectively, each project commissioned by a client seeking art forged with integrity. High turnover in the fashion industry tempts cheap labor and material sourcing. But one of Matthew’s mantras is to “be aligned with the right people in

Written by Esther Young Photography by Daniel Garcia katraa.com Instagram & Twitter _katraa_ Facebook katraa.matthew.molcillo

“At the core of it all, I believe the universe has my back. You have to believe what you cannot see.� -Matthew Molcillo


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the right place at the right time for the right opportunities.” Matthew interviews each client before they create something together, consciously gauging his visceral instincts—expansion of excitement or contraction of doubt—to decide who to align with. “My price point comes from value—not just from aesthetic perspective, but from what I do to ensure things are produced ethically,” he explains. He plans to keep his process in-house, creating a safe space for artists hired for their specialized skill sets and their passion for their craft. The same hope drives his dream of creating custom prostheses, of being responsible for the fairings that make them beautiful. “Certain wear-

able art pieces I’ve made are inspiration,” he says, such as the brace he made for a fellow artist friend, as well as the one he himself frequently sports on his right wrist. All the while, designing exclusive custom pieces presents constant challenges. When the cost of one project blows all the profit from the last, he sits tight and waits for the next. If life imitates art, his personal journeys through epilepsy and hospitalization for mental illness have shown him the refinement of strength. “I’m doing the best that I can in every moment, and that’s the best that I can do,” he says of the daily battles. “At the core of it all, I believe the universe has my back. You have to believe

what you cannot see.” After all, the teenager blasting death metal in Catholic school could not see himself becoming the foreman for sheet metal union workers at age 23; at 23, learning to snap out of trances forewarning seizures, he could not predict someday running his own design brand. “Be the change you want to see in the world and lead by example,” Matthew sums up. It’s the driver of perseverance. C


Jim Cochran 90

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Swanton Berry Farm Cultivating Strawberries to Restore the Planet

Written by Thomas Ulrich Photography by Daniel Garcia Swanton Berry Farm 25 Swanton Road Davenport, CA 95017 swantonberryfarm.com Social Media swantonberryfarm

The dog days of summer have surrendered to a season of renewal along California’s central coast, and Pedro Tortoledo is cultivating a field the way he worked his 20-acre farm a quarter century ago. Today, he hauls a disc plow behind a vintage tractor instead of a seasoned draft horse, but he still listens for the simple mechanical whirl of two dozen steel blades turning compost into dark, fragrant soil. Tortoledo, a thoughtful man with an affable grin, comprehends the global reach of American agriculture. Ask him to explain world trade, and he offers a homegrown proverb that resonates like a migrant farmworker’s article of faith: no hay mal que bien no venga–there is no bad that comes without a good. Like thousands of campesinos from central Mexico, Pedro abandoned his farm because he could not compete with corporate US farmers who sold subsidized corn to his neighbors for 30 percent below their cost of production. Tortoledo joined a groundswell of migrant farmers desperately searching for work. Some drifted to northern Mexico to pick tomatoes for seven dollars a day. Others, like Tortoledo, endured a treacherous cross-country journey that brought them to the wind-swept coastal terraces of Central California. Despite the hardship of his 1,600-mile trek, the prospect of higher wages and better working conditions convinced him to forsake his family farm for the American dream. With California farmers required to pay fieldworkers the state minimum wage, Pedro earns more in a week than he made in a month since leaving his rancho for several disquieting weeks on the road. For Tortoledo, the bad news turned good when he arrived at Jim Cochran’s 84-acre vegetable, kiwi,

and berry farm near Davenport, California. Swanton Berry Farm, Cochran’s life work, lives up to the notion that a modern farm should be economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially equitable. A generation in the making, his story reminds us that agriculture’s most compelling advances originate from ideas slowly gathered—knowledge sorely gained. FIRST TO KNOCK, FIRST TO ENTER Three decades ago, Cochran traded abundant yields requiring synthetic fertilizers to enrich the soil and harsh chemicals to eliminate pests for sustainable harvests that embody the climate, elevation, and soil of his Northern California farm. Cofounder of the first USDA-certified organic strawberry farm in California, he relies on his skills as a farmer—not an arsenal of chemicals—to control pests and replenish the soil. But he does not tend his fields the old-fashioned way. His drive to eliminate pesticides and synthetic fertilizer from the fruit and vegetables he grows has helped scientists redefine what it means to cultivate rich, balanced soil. Before he developed a protocol for growing strawberries organically, farmers applied an insecticide, herbicide, and a fungicide at the beginning of the growing season, then replenished what they’d stripped from the earth with synthetic fertilizers; the fumigants sapped life from conventionally farmed fields. Today, Cochran works with geneticists to identify microorganisms living in his soil that accelerate the turnover of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Rich soil is no longer just a matter of plant nutrients, it’s also a measure of the health and diversity of microbes that help deliver the nutrients to each crop. Agronomists from Trace Genomics 91

Pedro Tortoledo

use DNA sequencers to identify microorganisms and recommend practices and products that boost the productivity of the soil. “Without research to guide him,” says Samuel Fromartz, author of Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew, “Jim Cochran came up with precise methods for raising organic strawberries and proved that he could grow them commercially.” Conventional and organic strawberry farmers have adopted many of Cochran’s techniques for combining compost, cover crops, organic fertilizer, crop rotation, and integrated pest management to produce a berry that balances the fertility of the plant with the well-being of the planet. Together, these techniques increase productivity, resist drought and pests, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to researchers from the University of California at Davis. BEYOND ORGANIC But Cochran set his sights well beyond discovering new ways to cultivate strawberries to restore the planet. Because muscular-skeletal injuries, not pesticide poisoning, is the most common occupational injury reported by farm laborers, he culti92

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vates planting beds that crest 18 inches above the coastal terrace. The earthen mounds reach halfway toward his goal to eliminate stoop labor from strawberry fields. Cochran’s willingness to innovate and commitment to basic research has changed the way farmers grow specialty crops in a state where one-third of all fruit and vegetables are harvested by hand. “We have taken research to Swanton Berry Farm,” Stephen Gliessman, professor of agroecology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, says, “and turned it into sustainable practices that all farmers can adapt to their own growing conditions.”

Farm Stand & U-Pick Open Everyday 8am - 6pm

SHARING THE BOUNTY If the USDA certifies the company’s farming methods, the United Farm Workers of America sanctions its labor practices. In 1998, after the UFW embarked on a bitterly fought campaign to organize strawberry workers at large conventional farms, Cochran’s collaborative approach to management produced the nation’s first agreement between an organic farmer and the labor union. “I was searching for a way to ensure that fair labor practices became part of the company,” Co-

Farm Stand: Stop by for fresh berry pies, strawberry shortcakes, hot soup, strawberry lemonade, jam tastng & more. This a great spot to slowdown, relax, play boardgame, or a good read. U-Pick: A great way to experience the farm and come away with fresh fruit to freeze or share with the neighbors. Check webiste for U-Pick seaonal schedule.



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Purchase Swanton strawberries at following farmers’ markets:

chran says. “The labor agreement preserves our commitment to job security, open communication, participatory management, mutual respect, and shared economic gains.” According to Philip Martin, professor of agricultural and resource economics at U.C. Davis, full-time field workers earn an average of $17,500 per year. The most recent labor survey reports that small and midsized organic farmers in the state offer workers modest fringe benefits. Fieldworkers at Swanton Berry Farm earn as much as $35,000 a year with medical and dental insurance, vacation pay, holiday pay, family leave, and a union pension. Cochran offers these wages and benefits on the strength of the demand for his fruit and vegetables from customers who purchase produce at the farm and local markets. “They’ve bought as many strawberries as we can produce at a price that supports organic farming and a living wage for our employees,” he says.

Berkeley (Tues. and Sat.) Marin (Thurs. and Sun.) Menlo Park (Sun.) San Francisco-Noe Valley (Sat.) Ferry Building (Sat.)

FOR GOOD REASON Workers from Swanton Berry Farm plant a variety of strawberry that is high in natural sugar and volatile oils. Its flavor peaks within days of har-

vest. “Strawberries do not ripen once they’ve been picked,” Cochran explains. “So we harvest them as close to dead ripe as possible. It’s much easier for growers to pick strawberries early to extend the shelf life of the berry,” he explains. “But there is an inverse relationship between shelf life and flavor.” While some commercial growers place strawberries with a 17-day shelf life in cold storage before shipping them cross country, fieldworkers at Swanton Berry Farm load pallets of fruit directly onto trucks that whisk them to market within hours of harvest. Cochran’s fresh outlook on raising fruit and vegetables is not lost on the men and women who work his fields. A quarter century after arriving in Davenport, Pedro Tortoledo has reason to celebrate. While a Mexican corporation planted and farmed sugar cane at his ranchero because his family could no longer afford to grow corn, prospects look good for him and the rest of the Swanton Berry Farm field crew. “My long-range plan,’ Cochran says,” is to give each employee a stake in the farm.” C


Taylor West Frank Scott Krueger Nick Pavlina

Humble Sea BREWERY

It is a lazy Monday afternoon, the first holiday weekend of the year. The fog in Santa Cruz has cleared and the sun is warm. Locals are busy exchanging pleasantries with family and friends at Humble Sea Brewery, a perfect paradise for beer lovers who also love art and creativity. There is a line out the door with people waiting to quench their thirst. Every seat on the rustic outdoor patio is occupied, and the brew house is filled with a hoppy aroma as golden beer flows through the tap. The team at Humble Sea Brewery, including co-founders—Nick Pavlina, Taylor West, and Frank Scott Krueger—have brought to life a brewery that is filled with energy, creativity, and, of course, delicious beer. WHAT MAKES HUMBLE SEA A MULTIPERSONALITY BREWERY? Frank Scott Krueger: We are trying to make the best style amongst multiple different styles. We think it is more interesting for the customer to be able to say, “Hey, I want to try some big dark imperial stouts,” or “I want to try something really light and delicate, like a pilsner.” It is also more challenging from a brewing perspective. Businesswise, you don’t necessarily need to make all of these styles to do well. You can just hone in on one style. But we’re super interested in making the best of each category that we can possibly make it. It is just more fun and more challenging. Interview by Kunal Sampat Photography by Daniel Garcia Humble Sea Brewing Co. 820 Swift Street Santa Cruz, CA 95060 humblesea.com Instagram humblesea Twitter humblesea

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES IN RUNNING A BREW HOUSE, EVEN AT THE PRO LEVEL? FSK: One mistake I see often is the lack of balance between brewer’s ownership and customer experience. There is like this classic old saying in craft beer, “We make what we might want to drink.” You definitely want to make things that you do want to drink and are passionate about, but if you only make those things, then you should just be a home brewer. A lot of brewers overlook this aspect. You are making a lot of this liquid. There needs to be a lot of people that enjoy this liquid. Listening to what drinkers are saying and what people are interested in and having a conversation with the consumer is really important. That to me is like the biggest mistake that I see all the time. 97


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Nick Sanchez

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE CRAFT OF MAKING GERMAN BEERS? Nick Pavlina: In my early adulthood, finding different craft lagers was really hard, and finding a good one was even harder. That is why I wanted to start making them and experimenting. The first few I made, I was blown away on how good they were. I just obsessed over it, and that is how I got started. WHAT WOULD BE AN IDEAL DAY FOR YOU? NP: A perfect day would be like exercising in the morning and maybe go surfing, coming in and brewing a batch of pilsner, sampling barrels, and going home. That sounds like a pretty nice day. FSK: I do like design and branding. Being able to sit down and crank out, from start to finish, a logo or illustration for a label would be ideal. I also like the feedback loop and experience of tasting beers and learning more about it. Having a tasting session is educational for the whole team, including myself. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE TASTING SESSIONS? FSK: Whichever beers are new that week, we bring them up on a long table. We each taste in silence. We have different categories we focus on such as appearance, aroma, flavor, and the experience of tasting a beer. We give our feedback of what we like about it, what we think could change, and what is working. Usually, there is an interaction with the brewers as well. It is an educational moment for all of us. If we agree on something, the brewers will take note and then make changes for the next batch. It is really a fun process. Everyone learns and gets better. DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE INSTRUCTIONAL BOOKS OR RESOURCES ON BEER? FSK: I like the book Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher. He is not only a beer expert but also a graphic designer. The way he organizes information is eas-

Chloe Lew

ily consumable, less like a textbook. He is my hero! NP: The classic book How To Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time by John Palmer has everything a homebrewer needs to know. HOW OFTEN DO YOU CHANGE YOUR BEER MENU? NP: Socks and Sandals is our staple IPA. But, our beer board changes weekly. We hardly make the same beer twice. WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS TO COME UP WITH THESE BEERS? NP: Tasting other breweries, seeing what the market is trending for, and seeing what hops are available inspire me. Then there is the culinary inspiration and suggestions from our brewers, taproom staff, and friends. FSK: We are constantly doing events and collaborations with other breweries and invitational style beer festivals. We were recently in New York for a festival and then trying different beers around the city, meeting with other brewers, getting to see their space, their process, and which ingredients they have access to compared to us. Things are obvious when they stand out to us as new, good, or interesting. WHAT ABOUT YOUR JOB DO YOU LOVE THE MOST AND WHY? NP: I like to have the creative freedom, flexibility of making my own schedule, and being my own boss. FSK: Liberty. I like when an entire beer comes together and the beer name works well with the actual beer execution, style, flavor, and can design. When everything is a continuous experience, you can tell customers are getting that experience. It absolutely hits and people are blown away by it. C


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Wally Schnalle After ten years in tech, Wally Schnalle left Silicon Valley to follow his dream of becoming a professional drummer. Now, 30 years onward, he continues to push the kit’s technological limits.


Written by Brandon Roos Photography by Daniel Garcia itrhymes.com Social media wally.schnalle

rummer Wally Schnalle, a key pillar in the South Bay jazz ecosystem, has both inspired and educated listeners over the past 30 years, teaching not only on the bandstand, but also in the classroom and through the pages of Drum! Magazine where he’s served as a columnist and music editor at large for over 20 years. Through it all, he’s never lost the joy he felt when he first witnessed live music. That moment happened in the third grade, when a country band was performing in his parents’ living room. Sitting at the end of the couch, he couldn’t take his eyes off the drummer and his sparkling red drum set. “I remember being amazed at how fun and cool that looked. This many years later, it’s still cool and fun, so that worked out,” he says, finishing his thought with a laugh. It did take a long time to get there. After a year and change at Foothill Junior College, Schnalle dropped out because he was tired of the broke student life. He found success in tech in Silicon Valley, steadily moving up in status and salary. A decade passed before he realized he could no longer continue to defer his dream—at 28, he quit his job to pursue jazz performance studies at San Jose State University, where he attended from 1984 through 1989. For him, the cost wasn’t just the tuition, but the wages he chose to leave behind, that had galvanized his sense of purpose. In the years since, Schnalle has provided instrumental support for musicians Phil Woods, Mary Wilson, and Ernie Watts among plenty of others. His own work—most notably with the group Idiot Fish—shows his jazz fusion leanings and deep desire to push the harmonic possibilities from behind the kit. “At the core, what I imagined is being able to play melodic and harmonic information at the drum set with the skills I already have, and not turning it into an imitation of a drum set,” he shares of his overarching musical vision. He first witnessed the possibilities in the late ’70s, when he came across a percussion controller that, though haphazard, allowed you to play melodic content on a drum. He’s been steadfastly inching that vision along ever since.

On his 1994 debut, (it rhymes), there are several short passages that showcase this idea, though he admits if he didn’t play things exactly right, the sequence would be off. Special drums evolved into keyboard vocoders. Now with Idiot Fish, he’s triggering plug-ins through a laptop and adding live effects with pedals. He even has a program that visualizes his playing through a projector, allowing the performance to coalesce into an engaging multimedia experience. “Anybody who takes this creative journey has got an uphill battle. This is just the hill I chose to climb,” replies Schnalle when asked why he never gave up on making his vision come true. “I feel like I’ve taken it a step further. When I’m soloing, or playing by myself, I’m hearing melodic content…I just want to be able to bring that to life.” Schnalle also has an extensive track record as an educator, teaching privately and serving as camp director at San Jose Jazz’s Summer Jazz Camp for the past six years. The success of his faculty’s live concerts, which started as a fun way to raise awareness for the camp, evolved recently into a touring group, the SJZ Collective. Last October, the ensemble of South Bay heavyweights traveled to Taiwan, where they performed in front of ten thousand people at the Taichung Jazz Festival, a remarkable experience for a quintet of jazz educators. “I think sitting in a room talking to somebody about what you love to do, and helping them to do that, is a gift. Helping other people to grow their own level of possibilities is a joy to me,” he shares before transitioning to an anecdote. He recalls someone once asking him at a gig what he’d do if he won the lottery jackpot, the winnings hovering at around $400 million at the time. “I wouldn’t change that much of what I do. The equation might change, but the components would stay the same,” he recalls sharing before adding that drumming is no less joyful than it was when he was a kid. “I think it gets richer and more interesting. There’s a never-ending quest for the possibilities.” C


ALBUM PICKS Curated by Needle to the Groove Instagram: needletothegrooverecords


Durand Jones and the Indications

A crucial re-issue from minimal synth artist Thierry Muller under the Ilitch guise and recorded in 1980, this dark and harrowing release mostly sticks to that tone yet is still unpredictable from song to song. The droning, heavy-on-the-vocoder “Elle Voulait Que Je Sois Drôle” is a fantastic album opener leading to the glacial, warbly piano instrumental, “Symphonynachevée,” heavy in theme and tone—and, yes, a record entitled 10 Suicides isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart—this piece isn’t for bummer nights only. Within are moments of Eno-like seclusion and stark and quiet soundscapes amidst the post-punk blasts and artdamaged scratched tracks. “Peripherikredcomando” is a wild stomper with tremolo pedaled out vocals by frequent Muller collaborator Ruth Ellyeri. Their “Ruth” project is also an essential listen. The caustic, neghead “N.A. (No Answer)” reads like a diary for the dejected. “There’s nothing in my brain, nothing warm outside, nothing cold insiiiiiiide,” he sneers amongst the pulsing synths and cutting guitar lines. Important and bleak sounds here.

Durand Jones and the Indications had a conundrum on their hands entering recordings for their sophomore album, American Love Call. Though lead vocalist Durand Jones’ gruff, impassioned delivery was the group’s hallmark, it was the sweet falsetto of drummer Aaron Frazer on “Is It Any Wonder?,” a standout on their 2016 self-titled debut that gained the most attention. It was also the only song where Frazer sang lead, creating confusion for new listeners expecting an oldies-leaning sound from the group rather than the hard-driving southern soul and funk found elsewhere. The group’s answer comes quickly on American Love Call. Rather than make an album with dueling vocalists, the group applies their wealth of talent in a collective way. Frazer’s dreamy harmonies sync with Jones’ plain-spoken delivery, and the two share the spotlight well. Jones is toned down by design to suit this set, which is more in the slow-burning sweet soul realm. This shift presents the perfect playground for Frazer, who turns in a breakout performance. “Walk Away” feels like Teddy Pendergrass meets soul jazz, and “Long Way Home” still shows an affinity for crisp drum grooves. Frazer’s work is often low-key until “How Can I Be Sure,” where the yearning, contemplative song builds to a hair-raising crescendo. Durand Jones and the Indications are still deeply embedded in soul territory, but American Love Call shows the group discovering new ways to carry on that storied sound.

10 Suicides (Superior Viaduct) Release date: Dec 1, 2018

American Love Call (Dead Oceans/Colemine) Released: March 1, 2019

Favorite track: “Peripherikredcomando” superiorviaduct.com/products/ilitch-10-suicides-lp Written by Jeff Brummet

Favorite Track: “How Can I Be Sure” durandjonesandtheindications.com Written by Brandon Roos

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Colter Wall

George Clanton

If there is anyone to inherit the Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings mantle, it is Saskatchewan-born Colter Wall. On Songs of the Plains, his sophomore release, Wall presents himself as a storyteller in a traditional cowboy country and folk vein. He stirs up images of simpler, forgotten times with a low and intimate baritone that can rumble and shake the blades off a field of barley. This is music for staring out the window, sitting next to a crackling campfire, or passing the time in a train car, hitchhiking across the plains. Wall’s lyrics highlight enigmatic storylines of an older America, narratives brought to life by producer Dave Cobb’s use of eerie lap steel and the soft drums and bass that accompany Wall’s strong fingerpicking. Cobb intended to round out Wall’s sound this way, even going so far as to have Wall record his vocals beside a campfire. The album is also an ode to the history of the flat plains of Saskatchewan Province. Wall declares himself a man of his homeland, singing on “Plain to See Plainsman,” “Let me die in the country that I love the most, I’m a plain-to-see plainsman.” He dives deeper into his historical homeland, reminiscing about a wilder, untamed landscape in “Saskatchewan in 1881,” and chases away the slick-talking city man, singing, “Mr. Toronto man, go away from my door…Better fly ’fore I produce my .44.” At age 23, Wall shows a maturity beyond his years, not to mention the musical intuition of a seasoned performer. He recognizes, however, that he has much to learn from the journey to come, singing, in “The Trains Are Gone,” I know I’m young, I know I’m young I’ve seen too few a settin’ sun But the more I run the changes come Swift as a freight train, the kind that’s gone.

Nostalgia for the ’80s is in. Not just in—it practically dominates every facet of current popular culture, with artists either incorporating ’80s aesthetics into their music or making a pastiche of the hits of the time. This oversaturation makes it hard not to be a little cynical about the substantiality of the moment—how else to move forward when constantly looking behind? George Clanton’s latest record, Slide, is a masterclass on assembling a hodgepodge of old styles with a modern approach. Clanton is a musical junkman, pulling from hodgepodge ’80s pop-art, shoegaze, and house to create pop music unlike anything else, now or then. Unlike other contemporaries that make a career of pilfering forgotten styles, Clanton plays it straight. Slide isn’t tinged with any irony to make a joke of the styles he uses. Clanton demonstrates a deep understanding of the best elements that inspires him, which directly shapes the structure of his music and Slide as a whole. The rolling dance beat in the opening track, “Livin’ Loose,” feels booming and meditative at once, revelatory in its antiquated bliss. The pop banger “Dumb,” which is similarly bouncy yet surprisingly raw and noisy, flexes Clanton’s impressive singing ability. These tracks demonstrate that Clanton has an impressive range of sounds at his disposal, even with the setup generally the same across the 40 minute track listing. Even tracks that seem half baked or too short for their own good, particularly “Walk Slowly,” remain engaging just by the sheer density of sound at play. Though it’s his first major release, Slide has established Clanton as one of the premier internet pop stars to keep an eye out for. Clanton has the foresight to bring the sheer amount of work he’s pulling from into new ground instead of merely playing into nostalgia, and in this moment that alone makes his work necessary.

Songs of the Plains (Young Mary’s/Thirty Tigers) Release date: October 12, 2018

Slide (100% Electronica) Release date: August 17, 2018

Favorite track: “The Trains Are Gone” colterwall.com Written by Taran Escobar-Ausman

Favorite Track: “Monster” georgeclanton.com Written by Yale Wyatt


MAY/JUNE #ContentPick



Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World Through fanciful sculptures

Lunchtime Lecture: The Art and Science of Catherine Wagner


Art Hangs: Laugh Your Art Out

Into the Wild: Landscape Exhibition


Keyframes: SJSU Animation/Illustration 2019

Celebrates landscape art with a jurored exhibition of various mediums depicting landscape. 5/3 5:30pm-8pm Pacific Art League pacificartleague.org

Bay Area comedians Jeremy Talamantes and Jordan Cerminara riff on art critics and curators. The night will begin at the ICA galleries and end at Café Stritch. 5/17 5pm-8pm ICA & Cafe Stritch sjica.org

Experimental animation and character design by 70 graduates from SJSU. 5/17–6/9 Works/San José workssanjose.org


Pear Slices 2019


21st Latino Art Now! Auction


Triton Museum Annual Gala: The Roaring Twenties


Viva Calle SJ: Downtown & Eastbound

Spring means Slices - a collection of original, short plays from the members of the Pear Playwrights Guild. 5/3-5/19 Pear Theatre thepear.org


Celebrate contemporary Latino art with artist meet-and-greet, a lively auction, local entertainment, and food. All proceeds support MACLA’s programs. 5/18 MACLA macla.eventbrite.com

An evening featuring signature cocktails, delectable bites, an amazing art auction and a speakeasy room! 5/4 Triton Museum of Art

Explore the city in new ways while walking, biking, skating, and playing on the temporarily closed city streets. Route on facebook.com/VivaCalleSJ/ 5/19 10am-3pm vivacallesj.org

SUN 7PM–11PM The Eulipions Jazz Jam Session The house band led by saxophonist Tim Lin plays a set followed by an open jazz jam. Cafe Stritch cafestritch.com

TUES 7PM–10PM Caffe Frascati Open Mic Open Mic Night! All styles welcome. Happy Hour all night. Caffe Frascati caffefrascati.com

THURS 9PM The Changing Same This excursion keeps time with the future of soul, R&B, and jazz through guest DJ sets and live performances. The Continental Bar thecontinentalbar.com

MON 7PM–9:30PM Red Rock Open Mic Night A family-friendly open mic experience that welcomes people of all talents to share and perform their art. Red Rock Coffee redrockcoffee.org

WED 9PM The Caravan Lounge Comedy Show Comics from all over the Bay Area and the world perform, hosted by Ato Walker. The Caravan Lounge caravanloungesanjose.com

FRI 10AM - 3PM (Begins May 3) Downtown Farmers’ Market Fresh seasonal produce, freshcut flowers, gourmet foods, artisan booths, and great people-watching. San Pedro Street sjdowntown.com


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Sugary, lo-fi LA rockers serenade San Jose with support from singer/songwriter Jenny O 5/11 8pm The Ritz theritzsanjose.com

made of materials sourced throughout the world, Rina Banerjee explores the splintered experience of identity prevalent in diasporic communities. 5/16-8/6 San Jose Museum of Art sjmusart.org

A cross-disciplinary lecture at the intersection between art and science in conjunction with the exhibition, Catherine Wagner: Paradox Observed. 5/1 12-1pm San Jose Museum of Art sjmusart.org


The Wild Reeds







Community Day: Maker Day

Celebrate the spirit of Silicon Valley with a day of hands-on activities for all ages and maker-inspired demonstrations. 6/1 11am-5pm San Jose Museum of Art sjmusart.org

Mamma Mia!

The story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter, and friendship. 6/1 Opening Night 8pm The Stage thestage.org

SubZERO Festival SoFA SJ

Two evenings of arts & culture with outdoor stages, artists and maker booths, and performers & musicians celebrating the indie creative spirit. 6/7-8 6pm-Midnight South First Street DTSJ subzerofestival.com

Movable Mirror: Rudresh Mahanthappa

W/ Eric Revis and Dave King With new trio Moveable Mirror, Mahanthappa celebrates Sonny Rollins’s legacy while exploring a bold new vehicle for expression. 6/14 7:30pm-10pm Art Boutiki artboutiki.com

Concert in the Park, Santa Clara

A family-friendly dance party featuring Bay Area band the Hitmen in an outdoor, park environment. 6/14 6:30-8pm Live Oak Park santaclaraca.gov/culturalcommission

Local Editions: A Celebration of Bay Area Printmaking. Collected pieces on display to celebrate the rich tradition of fine art printmaking. 6/15-8/25 Palo Alto Art Center cityofpaloalto.org



Skateboarding jam, games, and music with the community. Part of the Momentum @MACLA Series. 6/15 Parque de los Pobladores (across the street from MACLA)



The Basement Series DTSJ Presents: It’s Butter West Hollywood rock duo It’s

Butter returns to San Jose during its summer West Coast tour. 6/19 6:30pm-10pm SJ Peace & Justice Center instagram.com/basementseriesdtsj


Music in the Park Presents The Delfonics Philadelphia R&B/soul group kicks off new series featuring famous headliners and local artists as openers. 6/21 5:30pm Plaza de Cesar Chavez



Make Music San Jose

Celebrate music in San Jose with free performances and events across the city from sunrise to sunset. 6/21 Citywide!



Content Pick-Up Party & SVARTS Awards Celebrate local artists who are featured in issue 11.3 “Perform” and congratulate this years SVCreates Laureates, including Content Emerging Artist Award. 6/27 Forager Tasting Room & Eatery



The Country Fair

History Park presents an old fashioned country fair with classic carnival rides, live music, great food, pony rides, and more. 6/29-30 starting at 12pm History San Jose historysj.org


*Events are subject to change. Please confirm event details with the presenting organization or venue.

1ST MON 8PM San Jose Poetry Slam Slammaster Scorpiana Xlent leads this spoken-word competition that features tasty food, brews, and poetry. Gordon Biersch pcsj.org

LAST TUES 7PM Nerd Nite Silicon Valley A great night of (sometimes ridiculous but) thoughtprovoking presentations with drinks. The Tabard Theater

2ND & LAST FRI 6PM (BEGINS MAY 10) Flicks & Grooves Outdoor cinema and concert series happening the second and last Fridays of May to October at SJ History Park. Fire House Green historysanjose.org

3RD TUES 7PM–10PM Two-Buck Tuesday The gallery hosts $2 art sales, along with a combination of performances, live painting, and/or art-making activities. KALEID Gallery kaleidgallery.com

2ND WED 8PM-10PM Cafe Lift Open Mic + Canvas Play music and/or create a painting. Or, enjoy a cup of coffee and music with friends. GateWay City Church cafeliftsj.com

2ND SAT 6PM–9PM Songwriter Saturday Showcase Coffee is served while local songwriters perform. New Crema Coffee facebook.com/ songwritersaturday



CONTRIBUTORS The production of CONTENT MAGAZINE would not be possible without the talented writers, editors, graphic artists, and photographers who contribute to each issue. We thank you and are proud to provide a publication to display your work. We are also thankful for the sponsors and readers who have supported this magazine through advertisements and subscriptions. Be a part of the CONTENT community. Contact us at:


GRACE TALICE LEE Grace Talice Lee is a writer and educator. Her current project is a book of essays on social policy called Every Body, Every Dream. instagram: gracetalicelee

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SUHITA SHIRODKAR Suhita is an urban sketcher, an artist, illustrator, journalist and teacher. And, has been featured in the Mercury News, on KQED, and has taught workshops in exciting locales around the world, as well as locally. instagram: suhitasketch

PETER HSIEH Peter is a writer from San Jose, California most known for his stage plays. Besides writing, he enjoys film, pc gaming, and playing guitar. instagram: peterh.exe

SHANNON KNEPPER Shannon of War Admiral Press is a visual artist and printmaker from San Jose. When not covered in ink, she enjoys hockey and crispy tacos. instagram: waradmiralpress

TARAN ESCOBAR-AUSMAN Taran is an educator, author, record collector, and cerebral vagabond who is completely driven by inquisitiveness and curiosity in search for any revelational serendipity. instagram: taran_ea

YALE WYATT Yale is a recent graduate and journalist living in the Bay Area. twitter: yalewhat

SAMANTHA TACK Samantha is a contributing editor for CONTENT. She is very passionate about editing and works in online content operations. In her free time, she enjoys all things crafty, weekend road trips, and country music.

PAUL FERRADAS Paul is a Commercial & Advertising Photographer based in Santa Clara where he also owns studio BLiNK Creative. When he’s not busy with photography, Paul enjoys staying in shape, learning martial arts, and trying new wines from around the world! instagram: paulferradas

CELEBRATE PEAK MOMENTS® California vodka handcrafted from 100% apples.

Banking with your best interests at heart. techcu.com


©Technology Credit Union. Federally insured by NCUA.

June 27, 2019 Forager San José



Join us for an evening of celebration and recognition for our arts community, featuring live performances and the CONTENT magazine Pick-Up Party presenting the 2019 SVLaureates. www.svcreates.org

NOW OPEN IN SUNNYVALE Stylish, intuitive guest rooms Luxurious lobby lounge serving hand-crafted cocktails and small bites Innovation Lab and Media Salon for next-generation meetings Beautiful indoor/outdoor gathering space 24/7 Fitness center

MARRIOTT.COM/SJCAN | 408-733-7950 | 597 E. El Camino Real | Sunnyvale, CA 94086 @ACHOTELSUNNYVALE 109 Sight & Sound 11.1


The School of Visual Philosophy is excited to have their annual Spring Fundraising Auction. Designed to help fund the purchase of computers for our 3D printers and other Tech Lab equipment, the auction will include fabulous art for sale by our in-house artists as well as several more hand picked local talent. Checkwebiste for updates on tickets, special event inclusions and artist “pick of the week” auction preview highlights. Lots more sneak peaks, information and images coming soon, so sign up for our mailing list below to get involved.

The School of Visual Philosophy 1065 The Alameda San Jose, CA 95126 831.239.7449


FRIDAY, JUNE 21 Sign Sign up up as as aa venue venue or or performer performer by by May May 21 21 www.MakeMusicDay.org/SanJose www.MakeMusicDay.org/SanJose Make Music San José is a program of the Make Music San José is a program of the San José Office of Cultural Affairs. San José Office of Cultural Affairs.


ALCHEMY May 11, 2019 Presenting the 2019 West Valley College Fashion Show! Show highlights the work of students in the WVC Fashion Design and Apparel Technology program and a special WVC alum guest designer, Joseph Domingo. Seating for this intimate and exclusive event is strictly limited. Please arrive early. Late guests may not be seated.

The Cilker Building at West Valley College Ticket link: https://alchemy2019.eventbrite.com

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Perform 11.3 Pick-Up Party & SVArts Awards June 27th 5:30pm-9:30pm Forager Tasting Room & Eatery


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