Los Angeles’s Pancake and Booze Art Show made its way to San Francisco’s 111 Minna Gallery this past weekend, attracting lines that wrapped around the block and filling the venue to capacity. With 100 underground Bay Area artists lining the walls of the space and the promise of unlimited pancakes and booze, the wait was expected. Visitors could explore a labyrinth of local Bay Area artists, and could do so while slightly drunk and filled with pancakes. Really, what could be better?
The “booze” in the title proved accurate: Craft beers and cocktails flowed plentifully. To call the pancakes “unlimited,” however, may have be a bit misleading. With a thirty-minute cue and only one pancake served per lap, the visitors were unlikely to return for their expected share. Though that’s not to say that the molten chocolate, banana-laden delicacies were not worth the wait.
After they ate their syrupy stacks, visitors with beers in hand, perused the local collections. There was a hardly a limit to the mediums or styles of the artwork. Acrylic paintings lined the walls aside metallic photographs, screen prints, collages and even intricate paper cutouts.
Julia Cone, an artist based out of San Francisco, creates hand-cut, three-dimensional paper narrative illustrations that tell of the people who surround her in daily life. One of her most striking pieces called “Muni Crowd” depicts an intricate, crowded Muni bus. Commuters in this Muni bus stand as an idyllic sample of Cone’s community—one man wears a Giants hat while another brings his bike along for the ride. Within her creation, there is a mix of all demographics, an accurate depiction of what the typical ride looks like in the city today. Cone continued this intricacy in her series of multicolored, playful bicycle constructions. The wheel spokes alone looked like they could not have possibly been crafted from paper, yet she assured viewers that paper was the sole medium.
Unlike Julia Cone, Doug Rhodes depicts a twisted version of San Francisco reality. Cityscapes are submerged in water and houses are overtaken by shrubbery. In one of his most notable works, “The Last Garibaldi”, Rhodes uses acrylic paint to show a woman lounging in an inner tube as she floats by the sunken buildings of San Francisco’s financial district. Bubbling below her are sharks and what Rhodes intends to be the focal point of the piece: the confrontation of a shark and a miniscule, orange Garibaldi. His other paintings are surreal and often include images of eyes and distorted realities.
Michelle Mongan continues with an abstract style in her charcoal and pastel nude sketches. Her figures are twisted and fall in undefined lines. Although Mongan bases the works on live models, many of them remain incomplete in form. Some lack a head while others have limbs that fade into nothingness. The first arresting drawing is adam’s apple, as it contains one of the only touches of color in the collection. She plays on the typically male associated term of “Adam’s Apple” in presenting a shapely, woman’s figure wielding an enticing apple that likely represents the fall of man to sin. Mongan also showcased “Double Crossed,” an image of a woman with crossed limbs, built of delicate charcoal lines.
With the acceptance of all mediums and talent levels, the Pancake and Booze Art Show provides a platform for the artistic community of the Bay Area to showcase their work, as well as a place for the audience to engage with local talents. Visitors could be discussing the art without realizing that the artists stood beside him or her, ultimately providing a means to start conversation between artist and consumer.