Weston Teruya

September 13, 2006

Weston Teruya

By Trippe

I first spotted Weston’s work at last year’s CCA graduate show and was instantly impressed. It was by far
my most favorite work in the show, and ever since then I’ve been trying to get him up on the site even though
I know that the work won’t translate as well as it does in person. Most of the work you’ll see below is so much detailed and larger than what it appears… Let’s just say that you should go and check out his show that’s taking place at Patricia Sweetow Gallery the first week of November. You’ll be pleased you did.

Weston Teruya, Fabulous Beachfront Property (mainland transportation project), 2006, gouache, spraypaint, ink, and cut paper collage on paper, 18 x 22 inches

Location? Age? Describe what you were like in high school.

In the process of moving from the Mission to South Berkeley. A year ago I was moving from West Oakland to San Francisco, so hopefully I’ll stay in this new place a little longer this time. In high school I think I was much more driven to be a “nice guy”…whatever that may mean.

There is some art that just doesn’t translate online – or that it’s much more impressive in person. Your work, for example, is very detailed and is also mixed media. Can you explain your work in terms of how you go about creating a piece?

Usually I start with some loose sketches to get a sense of the layout of the piece and work through some of the narrative and conceptual ideas. The first part to go down on the actual paper is typically a stencil/spraypainted section. From there I’ll build up on the surface, either by adding the cut outelements like the roots, fences, texture for the trees or other drawn elements like the shisa (guardian figures). Then I’ll finish up any last details of the drawing with gouache. That being said, in the larger pieces there’s a little more room for play. I might have this overarching idea of what the piece is about, but as I start working through the piece, I try to make sure that the original sketches are loose enough that I can respond to things as they go down. Because I generally work from a pretty consistent base of images and visual elements, it’s important that there’s some leeway in there to make sure not everything is predetermined.

You’re getting your masters at CCA in fine art. What would you tell a friend who may be thinking of going there?

I actually just finished up the MFA program but have another year for an MA in Visual Criticism. The dual degree mashes together the 2nd year of the MFA and the 1st year of the Vis Crit program, which is a nice option because I think it allows for some additional theoretical backing if that’s your thing. I think CCA’s strength is definitely their studio practice (independent study) units which you can use to work one-on-one with faculty or outside curators and artists. I went to a liberal arts college with about four art faculty for my undergrad, so the experience of getting to work with such a wide range of folks is pretty mind blowing.

Mode of transportation?

I’m fond of my increasingly beat up truck.

How long have you been in the Bay Area – and what’s your take on it and the art scene here?

I’ve just been up here for two years now. When I first got here for school I remember walking through the Mission at one point and seeing all the art spaces, posters for upcoming shows, small boutiques or cafes with art on the walls, and feeling both like I was a small fish amongst all this and glad that I was somewhere that there was so much going on. I was in LA prior to this; obviously there’s a strong art scene there, but the geography makes it hard to get a sense of things unless you’re already in the loop.

With SF having higher rent and the fact that SF doesn’t sell as much art as LA does, do you have a city of preference or are they just not comparable, and why if so?

I relate to each city very differently. SF, being the place where I got my MFA, is where I have a visual arts community and the entryway to what’s happening in that sphere. My relationship to LA was built through activist and community work, so my network there covers a different kind of territory. The Bay is growing on me but I still have a loyalty to LA. Probably because it gets shit on a lot. And having been there for so long, it’s the closest I have to “home” outside of Hawai’i.

You were just part of a show down at 49 Geary at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery. What was your experience with the show and showing down there? Did you sell some of your work?

I was fortunate enough that Patricia was able to sell a small piece and the large drawing that was in the show. I actually have another show coming up at the gallery at the beginning of November. It’s been great to work with her through this process. I’m still learning a lot so I’m just lucky that things have been going well in that regard.

What’s an average day for you?

At the moment my routine is a bit scrambled since school just started up again. One of the constants tends to be that no matter how hard I try, I lean toward a fairly nocturnal schedule. I’m usually most productive somewhere between about nine and four in the morning.

Favorite place in SF (bar, park, neighborhood, whatever) and why?

It’s not SF but for a bar, I like George and Walt’s in the East Bay (Rockridge/ Oakland). Tell us about the last time you got into a fight and why.

With my partner a couple of days ago. For being a selfish and neglectful bastard.

Favorite magazine and candy bar?
I used to be into Blu and Stress when they were being published. Usually candy bars are more about a

lack of other options for me, so almost anything works as long as it doesn’t have too many nuts.


The show at Patricia Sweetow at the beginning of November.