Early Warning Events – Part Two: Bios of featured artists and photographers

Below is the second round of bios for the following esteemed individuals: Eddie Valentine, Winston Smith, Aleph Omega, James Stark, Erich Bragger, and JoJo Planteen Stay tuned for more bios as the days progress!

EDDIE VALENTINE creates beautiful and whimsical art works using everything from broken toy parts and jewelry, to salvaged scraps of wood, plastic, fabric and metals. This cast off “Stuff” is sculpted, painted and re-imagined into 2D and 3D works which are finished off with a shiny and glittery veneer; a lure to capture his viewers’ attention. As a visual artist, he is a member of and represented by Visual AIDS NYC, an organization that helps artist with life-threatening illnesses to continue their work. Eddie received his formal education at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Art Institute from 1976-1982, and in 2003 received a grant from the Department of Rehabilitation through his participation in the Positive Resource Center to the Academy of Art College in San Francisco helping him along with ongoing education in the arts. Eddie brings a wealth of wit, charm, and general panache to every performance. Stay tuned!

WINSTON SMITH—Over thirty years after his emergence on the underground Winston is recognized as a counter-cultural icon. His one-man gallery shows in San Francisco/ Los Angeles New York/ Detroit /London/ Tokyo and Rome draw like rock concerts. Wielding a glue-stick and a razor-sharp wit, Winston Smith$ signature approach to his work since the mid-1970s has been to liberate choice images from the pages of vintage books and magazines, and then artfully reassemble them into politically compromising positions in his surreal collage landscapes. Winston$ artwork first came to public attention by way of his political shock piece Idol—a ‘bowling trophy-style’ Jesus nailed to a cross of dollars that was used for the Dead Kennedys’ album In God We Trust, Inc. The album cover art for that release was temporarily banned in England and condemned by the American Religious Right. This landed Smith and the Dead Kennedys a permanent spot in the punk culture hall of fame. In early 2014 Winston founded The Collage Museum of Son Francisco/ a forum for creative individuals to explore the art of collage and to be exposed to contemporary collage artists worldwide.

ALEPH OMEGA—Aleph Omega is a Musician and Collage Artist, among other things. He’s Bay Area born and raised, and was a late bloomer into San Francisco’s thriving Punk Rock scene in 1980. This is only the second public showing of his artwork, and the first in San Francisco. Creating Collage is about the quietest thing that he does, but often times his pieces still go to 11.

JAMES STARK—Pioneering urban artist/photographer James Stark acquired a love for the gritty street approach to photography while living in New York City in the late 1960s. He was one of the artists instrumental in the forming of the punk rock scene in San Francisco. Utilizing his photographic and graphic art skills, James designed posters and shot photos of bands and people who populated the San Francisco scene. In 1992 he published “Punk77, an inside look at the San Francisco rock n’ roll scene, and 1977, a history of the early days of the San Francisco punk scene. His photos were published in New York Rocker, Search and Destroy and Slash, among others. Several of his photographs and posters later were published in Hardcore California, Street Art, Art Rock, and Fucked up and Photocopied. His posters for the band Crime have become classics and highly prized collector’s items. After the punk scene lost its terror and was taken over by the suburban crowd, James moved on to other pursuits: motorcycles, painting and a continued exploration of photography. In the late eighties, he became interested in industrial/city/urban landscapes. He started the Urban Art project working the alleys and out of the way corners of San Francisco’s SOMA district, documenting the area in black and white, shooting when there was still a sense of danger that existed there before gentrification took over. When the Lorna Prieta earthquake of 1989 hit, the work became more meaningful. The earthquake had damaged a lot of the old building which created opportunities for real estate developers to come in with their urban renewal projects destroying what character was left in that part of San Francisco. After the dot com boom forced him out of the city, he ended up in the rural San Joaquin Valley transposing his unique vision on the rural landscape where he continues today.

ERICH BRAGGER grew up in the suburbs of the Bay Area. As soon as he could take BART into San Francisco, he was there every weekend, most of the time with his best friends Zeis Waidtlow, Myke Reilly, and Janet Soder. Erich was emancipated at 17 in 1978, whereupon Zeis aka “Snit” moved into San Francisco. His first job was at the Strand Theater on Market Street. He started photographing with his Minox camera and Sx70, he also made super 8 films like Girls in the Future (a cross between Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill and Godard’s Alphaville. He was a singer in the punk band The Situations. Erich was fascinated with his first home Folsom Street where new wave and punk Bohemia met behind the leather curtain.

JOJO PLANTEEN—I started drawing at a young age. Went to the SF Art Institute, studied painting and performance art in the 70s. Graduated from CCAC in Painting in the late 70s. At this time, I saw Patti Smith in SF and started going to Mabuhay Gardens to see punk bands.  Fell in love with the music and started my own punk band called the Inflatable Boy Clams, an all women punk band. During this time I met performance artist, Winston Tong and filmmaker, Bruce Geduldig. Together with Carol Det McClellan, we made the film, Childhood Prostitute. I performed in Childhood Prostitute at the Savoy Tivoli in North Beach.

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