Winter Wander: Melissa Arendt, Sarah Golden, Yelena Martynovskaya

Color Blocks

Sarah Golden, “Color Blocks” 2019, 40×40 in, mixed media on canvas

Beatnik Studios is pleased to announce, Winter Wander, a group exhibition featuring the work of Sacramento artists Melissa Arendt, Sarah Golden and Yelena Martynovskaya. Winter Wander opens Friday, December 6, 2019 and will remain on display through February 7, 2020. There will be an artist reception on First Friday, December 6th, 6pm – 9pm and a closing party on First Friday, February 7, 6pm – 9pm. 

 Continuing with the gallery’s seasonal programming, Winter Wander seeks to connect viewers with the somber and contemplative nature of a winter landscape where the cold climate slows everything down and opens one up for stillness and contemplation. The work in this show has a cool and tranquil palette with bursts of rich color and texture. Winter Wander invites the viewer to get lost in open plains of paint and find stillness through their abstractions.

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Melissa Arendt combines disparate visual elements to create something wholly new. The artist’s Cluster and Specimen series of works assemble a variety of elements including flora, fauna, abstracted patterns and appropriated imagery from culture and media that nods to Robert Rauschenberg ‘s “combines” work of the 1950’s. These fragmented records of life reflect the joy, beauty and even absurdity of the world we occupy. Arendt studied graphic design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has been written about in Art Business,, Sacramento Magazine and SFAQ.  She is the cover story of Submerge Magazine’s December issue. 

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Sarah Golden’s love of a simple and clean aesthetic and Scandinavian design are brought to life in her abstract paintings. The freedom and intuitive workflow of abstract painting drives her serene and contemplative canvases that bring together cool and warm tones in an effortless manner. Golden’s multidisciplinary practice includes abstract and botanical painting on canvas, block printing and fabric design. For Winter Wander, the artist has created small and large scale paintings on canvas. Golden is self taught and has been featured in Uppercase Magazine, Little U, Designlovefest, Design*Sponge, Decor8, Nylon Magazine, Frankie Magazine.

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Yelena Martynovskaya’s abstract paintings combine vast plains of isolated tranquility with tiny splashes of bright colors and charming details. Most often using acrylic and acrylic polymer on wood, the artist’s compositions juxtapose large and small color fields that are dominated by a cool palette and interrupted by bright pops of color that delight the eye. Martynovskaya received her BA and MA in Studio Art from California State University, Sacramento and has exhibited at Gallery 1075, WAL Public Market Gallery and Beatnik Studios.

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ABSORBED: Summer Edition

The quarterly event called Absorbed is our way to share the artistic energy which has been thoroughly soaked into the bones of our space. Each season we spend 3 months passionately curating artwork which exemplifies the energy of the spring, summer, winter or fall.

Absorbed features creative food, drink, live music, dancing, floral arts and installation works

Beatnik Studios has launch our Absorbed reception, which is the culminating event of our summer art show “Desert Songs.”

Friday, August 2nd, 7pm-10pm

Along with the amazing art by Felicia Gabaldon, Erica Avila, and Joshua Tremain, “Absorbed” will feature amazing food, drinks and performances.

Food: Chef Nicolai Lipscomb

Drinks: Booch Craft, The Jungle Bird

Dance: Capital Dance Project

Music: Jon Bafus, Ross Hammond, John Raskin, Vox Musica



Studio Visit: Felicia Gabaldon

We visited Felicia at her light-filled studio at the Faultline Artspace in Oakland and were able to talk with her about her beautiful work.

Gabaldon grew up in the southwest immersed in a confluence of cultural influences. Through her art she represents her Choctaw, Chickasaw, Spanish, and Mexican heritage. There is a spiritual reverence toward nature, women, and the cycles of life that is present in Gabaldon’s work. Her paintings are a meditation on her own identity rendered in bright, velvety gouache. She combines the raw wood texture of the panels she paints on with smooth paint application, resulting in work that is rich in both color and symbolism.

For Gabaldon, it is important to represent herself as an indigenous person as well as Mexican and Spanish.  She blends elements of folklore with Catholic iconography, symbolically rendering nature and the human experience. In her journey as an artist, Gabaldon has experimented with different styles of art, and describes experimentation as a way for her to get to the essence of what kind of art she feels most connected to creating.

There is an a striking authenticity in Gabaldon’s work, and we are excited to be showing her alongside Joshua Tremain and Erica Avila in “Desert Songs” opening June 7th.

Follow Felicia on Instagram:

Words: Helena Zittel

Photography: Lumi Photography







Studio Visit: Erica Avila

Avila’s work is full of color and texture and we are excited to show her work in our summer exhibition “Desert Songs”.

Avila works in medical laboratory science, and started painting out of the desire to pursue a different kind of thinking. For Avila, creating art is a vulnerable act of empowerment. In painting she not only empowers herself, but hopes to empower others to do what they love and defy expectations.

Avila cites her grandmother, a watercolor artist as one of her first artistic inspirations, but did not really do anything creative until her daughter was born. In the wake of the 2016 election Avila began painting as a way to do something meaningful to her, as well as be an example to her daughter of what it looks like for a woman to take control of what she wants.

Avila’s grandparents were immigrants from Mexico, and her father was the first to go to college in her family. Avila grew up understanding the importance and privilege of education, and the sacrifice that immigrants make to give their families a better life. Avila took her studies seriously, and pursued science because of her interest in cancer research and desire to excel and not take her education for granted. Though Avila enjoys science, she always has felt that there was something beyond her career that enriches her soul.

She began doing origami and adult coloring books as a way to connect with her creativity, but ultimately settled on acrylic painting with a palate knife as her main medium. Acrylic dries rapidly, which allows Avila to paint quickly and decisively. She carries her scientific efficiency into her art practice, and her palate knife movements are efficient and strong, but still graceful. The colors Avila chooses are thoughtfully laid out as swatches before she begins painting. Though she maps out her color scheme, Avila finds that she creates her best work when she doesn’t have a plan, allowing forms to bloom onto the canvas organically.

Follow her on Instagram @ericaavilaart

Don’t miss Erica Avila, Felicia Gabaldon, and Joshua Tremain in “Desert Songs” opening  Friday, June 7th at Beatnik Studios!


Photography by LUMI

Written by Helena Zittel

Studio Visit: Joshua Tremain

Screen Shot 2019-05-18 at 8.25.09 PM

Beatnik’s Summer Show “Desert Songs” will open June 7th 6-9pm and features the art of 3 artists: Joshua Tremain, Felicia Gabaldon and Erica Avila.

Tremain’s paintings for “Desert Songs” demonstrate that there are more than just muted tones in the desert, but bright, vivid color.

Tremain’s Interest in art began when he was around 15. He grew up in the suburbs in a place that was pretty devoid of culture, and he and a small group of friends were interested in hip hop, and graffiti. As a teenager the degeneracy of graffiti was appealing to Tremain, and Graffiti became a doorway to self-expression and connection with other artists.

The qualities of graffiti are something that Tremain has consistently drawn upon as an artist. The geometric shapes and colors he uses in his compositions are a distillation of the basic forms he is most attracted to in graffiti lettering.

Screen Shot 2019-05-18 at 8.24.21 PMIn the same way that Tremain deconstructs the shapes and colors of graffiti, he simplifies landscapes to their graphic and colorful essence.

Tremain builds and fills in layers of paint always starting from the lower right corner of the canvas and states that using spray paint lends itself really well to people with little patience. With spray paint the results are quick, and Tremain can keep moving and adding to his canvases without having to wait.

Tremain was conscious to include landscapes that are not just inspired by the American desert, but the sand dunes of Namibia. In his landscapes there is a sharp contrast between crisp lines and wispy clouds. This contrast is evocative of the shifting  landscape of the desert. For Tremain, making art is a way for him to retain balance in his life, and the interlocking shapes he uses are a reflection of this.


Joshua Tremain and Felicia Gabaldon have contributed to a playlist titled “Desert Songs” that goes along with the show. It is a collection of songs that call to mind varied landscape and wide open sky of the desert.

Spotify Playlist:

Photos: Wes Davis

Writing: Helena Zittel


May 3rd Reception Featuring Taylor Anne Co.

@easttphotoI first met Taylor Camarena of Taylor Anne Co. Florals working on a photo shoot at Beatnik over the summer, and knew that I wanted to have her back at Beatnik again in the future.

Taylor will be a part of our May 3rd Reception, which is the culmination of our show “Florescence: a state or period of Flourishing.” Talking more with Taylor, this show’s theme is perfect for her because she too is entering into a season of blooming and flourishing. Taylor started doing floral design out of a season of hardship and healing. Her desire was to get away from a job that was unfulfilling and do something that inspired her.

Taylor believes that every human is created to create, and this call to creativity has allowed her to make pieces that are intentional and serve as a personal representation of herself. Taylor’s work in floral design has a deep authenticity about it, and the love that she has for her work is evident in everything that she creates.

When asked what her favorite flower is, Taylor responded with,“the calla lily,” which signifies rebirth; a great image to carry forward as we transition into the sunny days of summer.

Taylor will be creating floral arrangements that harmonize with the art of “Florescence” and will be on sale for purchase on the night of the reception.



Instagram: @tayloranneco


Event Link: “Absorbed” May 3rd


Blog post by Helena Zittel

Dance of Enlightenment

Here are some beautiful photos from our April 5th opening “Dance of Enlightenment” by Zahra Ammar and Sunya Whitelight.

These two artists are a powerhouse team that were an absolute delight to work with.

The following prose written by the artists encapsulates their vision for their installation:

We gravitate towards light. Whether to seek comfort, to seek meaning, or to lose ourselves into something more than us.

This visual choreography of light and shadow is a representation of the fleeting dance we waltz. 

Sometimes out of tune. 

Sometimes tumbling down. 

Sometimes getting a step right. 

Our aim is to look into the depth of shadows to engage with the wisdom that light holds within. 

The darkness is essential. 

It holds the key to balance, structure and harmony. Without one, the other can not exist.

Our aim with this installation is to ignite wonder. We hope that stepping into this space, we inspire possibilities.

“Florescence: a State or Period of Flourishing” February 1st

The title “Florescence” (not to be confused with fluorescent) is a botanical term meaning “a state or period of flourishing”. We felt this title was apt for the coming Spring as well as the first show at Beatnik in the new year. “Florescence” comes from the Latin word for blooming, and we are excited to present this show as the first of 2019 and a period of growth and renewal at Beatnik.

The artists we have chosen exemplify different aspects of the “florescence,” each creating forms that seem to flower and expand. Zahra Ammar, in paper, Jeff Mayry in oil, and Irubiel Moreno in layers of pattern and symbolism.

Spring is a time of growth and flourishing and “Florescence” embodies that.

Zahra Ammar


Inspiration is found everywhere, but for Ammar everything looks better in paper. Through her striking use of color and keen tactile sense Ammar constructs captivating paper worlds which we are excited to have a part of our Spring show at Beatnik.

Ammar began quilling 5-6 years ago as a hobby she started with her sister, and for her it has developed into something far beyond the realm of a crafting. Ammar is passionate about using the traditional technique of quilling to create fine art. Each design is constructed precisely. The elaborate shapes are a result of beautiful geometries that are at once mathematical and organic.

Ammar draws inspiration from the complex geometries of the middle east, and is constantly learning new geometric constructions. She has a number of tools that she uses to execute exact cuts, and create her beautiful designs. The placement of the paper strips creates intricate forms, utilizing negative space and the play of light and shadow on the paper.


Jeff Mayry


When asked what his inspiration was for his work Jeff Mayry said “I don’t know, boredom? A lack of hobbies?”

His paintings are anything but boring, and reflect his sensibility for color, texture and depth. Mayry’s works are done primarily in oil, but he will often manipulate the texture of the dried paint through sanding it down and then layering more color over the top.

His most recent group of paintings contain abstract hints of organic forms rendered with a mix of colors across a large canvas.

When asked about his use of color, Mayry described how when working in a small garage studio there is limited space, so he will only have about 8 tubes of paint out at a time and as he’s painting he forgets to switch colors.

The mix of organic shapes are layered and constrained within a kind of grid. There are parts of the painting where the bright mix of colors become dark, giving an invitation into the complex inner world of the artist.



Irubiel Moreno


We were unable to schedule an official site visit with Irubiel, but below you can read his eloquent description of the significance of his artwork:

My artwork for the past several years has used revealing archetypes of history, that I believe have a crystal clear impact on our contemporary psyche today. In the current postmodern climate where many believe history has no relevance or truth, I find myself returning to the lessons of the brutal twentieth century. Continually revisiting those aspects that are often hidden or misrepresented in the “formal” recordings for posterity.

In my varied and mixed media approaches to making art; installations; public, and digital projects, the context of the work has what I consider an interactive communion with the observer. I recently started to document my creative process, with some memories dating back to being a child. I was confronted with a picture that seemed to emerge from practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones. To be concise with this concept I’ve categorized three ideas that I have grappled with.

  1. One’s own creative process can evolve and change form over time without losing it’s ethos.
  2. Honesty, diligence, and pain appear to be a prerequisite to discovering true axioms.
  3. People don’t have ideas, ideas have people.

In his book ‘Maps of Meaning’ Jordan B. Peterson points to an echoing universal truth. The world he says according to mythology is a “forum for action” between the known and the unknown – or the explored and the unexplored territory. He believes that the space between chaos and order is what holds meaning to life and can transcend our vulnerability as finite creatures.  

Carl Jung’s idea appears to be that the subconscious mind is equal to importance to the conscious mind, and that cognitive harmony requires integrating these two modes into a unified mental whole. This I have tried to do with my paintings.

“Somewhere there was once a Flower, a Stone, a Crystal, a Queen, a King, a Palace, a Lover and his Beloved, and this was long ago, on an Island somewhere in the ocean 5,000 years ago. . . . Such is Love, the Mystic Flower of the Soul. This is the Center, the Self.”

  • Carl Jung

Come to Beatnik Friday, February 1st  6-9pm for our opening reception!


1.17.19 Helena Zittel




“Voice” featuring Ginger Thompson and Eric Stevens

The title of this show is “Voice,” and explores the significance of “Voice” to each of the artists. For Eric Stevens, his woodworking and tree prints give voice to the trees that he uses as well as allows him to claim his identity as an artist and maker. Ginger Thompson’s paintings are a way to give voice to her feelings and allow them to speak across the canvas.

Ginger Thompson is a self-taught artist who describes art-making as the best channel to focus her emotions. The colors featured in her work are saturated, communicating a range of intense feelings. There is a kind of duality that Thompson explores through color. A dark red could represent passion as much as it might represent anger. Blue is simultaneously meditative and melancholy. When she paints she constantly changes the orientation of the canvas, allowing the colors and their placement to reflect what she is feeling.

The theme of shapes in her work is significant to moments in Thompson’s life. The squares represent a past relationship that felt boxed, and the circles are “the one shape that you can’t control,” says Thompson.

Thompson works in acrylics because she likes the way that they are workable and buildable, and are able to be used quickly and intensely, functioning like emotions themselves.

Eric Stevens’ art tells the story of persistence and patience. Time is an essential element in both Stevens’ prints and carvings. Stumps from trees that have stood for years need time to dry before they can be used to make prints. Scraps of wood from past projects lie abandoned in a wood shop before they are discovered by Stevens and carved into sculpture. Stevens works with his medium as a kind of partner, carving along the whorls of the wood to create a pattern that is tactile and beautiful, paying the trees their due respect.

Though making a print of a stump is a relatively straightforward process, the imprint of the tree has depth and complexity that is completely unique. The stump he uses to make prints will age and change shape over time, so each edition he prints is different.

There is much to learn from a tree, and Stevens’ work captures that. Talking with Stevens about his art includes stories of the lives of the trees he’s salvaged wood from. A juniper planted near a friend’s house, the two grown together. Trees felled for safety reasons, trees cut down by Pg&e, trees fallen naturally.  His art is heavily connected with the seasons of his life, and the lives of the trees.

“Voice” Opening Reception will be 6-9pm on Friday, October 5th

UC Davis 1st year MFA show returns to Beatnik

Art is a universal language that has the ability to communicate with people in all different walks of life. Working with academic artists is always a good reminder that creative expression has this unique and powerful transcendent quality. There is an immeasurable value to experiencing artwork which can bring deep meaning and new ideas to the human psyche. This is a value worthy of deep thought and community support. After all, our community is only as beautiful as our ideas allow it to be.

The graduate students from the UC Davis Masters of Fine Arts program are getting ready to open “Field Notes” this Friday, May 5th at Beatnik. Come by the opening reception and join dive into the creative exploration of these fantastic explorers.
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