Inspiration is a kind of magic. In the section A Magic Hovers (an excerpt taken from Katie Shapiro’s statement about Big Sur, California), the artists find their muse in the environment that envelops. In the process of documenting, discovering, reworking, or retelling that experience, these artists translate it into something new and distinctive—creating their own kind of magic.

Andrew Arkell

Andrew’s paintings are part of an ongoing series that has taken shape over the last few years, with the goal to study shadow, its form, and its relationship to architectural objects and structures. Many of the subjects serving as the source material are rather ordinary and utilitarian, often passed by those living among them, yet they are seen anew when the shadow-play is filtered through abstraction.

The distillation of each image into moments of light and shadow not only allows for the celebration of each object and structure, but also facilitates the appreciation of the many intricacies that cause the light to move in unexpected ways.

Andrew is an architect, and painter, living and working in Chicago. His watercolor paintings are part of an ongoing series aiming to study shadow, its form, and its relationship to architectural objects and structures. You can find his work on display at several art shows in and around the city.


Beryl Brenner

When I was young my teachers taught me about America. They taught me about the Revolution, the US wars, the Constitution, the Civil Rights Movement, the government as well as a variety of other historical topics. They taught me about the great American industries and the variety of cultural expressions that exist within the country. 

Eventually, I went to work for the Army and I was director of an arts and crafts center. This job afforded me the opportunity to be exposed to soldiers from all over the country. 

It was then and there that I resolved to visit all of the 50 states as well as Washington, DC. I accomplished my goal a number of years ago. Of course, because I am a professionally trained visual artist, my sensual reactions to what I was seeing were exploding. 

My primary media is fused glass and I cut up glass which melts into other pieces of cut up glass. I decided to interpret each state in glass. I love the individuality of glass as a material to work with so conceptually this synchronizes with the idea that not only is America a particularly individualist country but it is composed of the states that each have their own specific identity. What brings it all together is the land and the history. I thought that the concept works best when the states are connected to a map of the United States.

Beryl Brenner is a professionally trained artist from Brooklyn, NY.  Throughout her career she worked with a wide variety of materials and techniques. Her art has been shown in numerous American museums and galleries throughout the USA. After 49 years of working with glass, she continues to explore new techniques and new concepts for her art glass pieces. Her career as an artist mirrored the current period in which contemporary art glass began to emerge as an important international media with which artists could express themselves in a new way.


Caroline Parks

My whole life has mostly been spent in NYC wandering streets and neighborhoods over decades. The garment district, lower east side, Bowery, Chinatown, etc. Changes are continuous,  old industry areas changing. I started a photo series, Places and Spaces which chronicles my observations. I miss graffiti.

Caroline Parks born in Brooklyn NY, currently lives and works in Jersey City NJ. A multi-media artist working in sculpture/installation, photography, performance and video; her work examines multiple points of view in architectural and structural formations as artifacts of civilization. Using various media and materials, her projects reveal the intricacies of human pathways.


Doris Morgan Rueda

I am a historian by training, and an artist by experimentation. Photography began as a tool to contrast the physical remnants of the carceral spaces and state institutions I study in my work to their complicated histories. However, as I continued exploring photography as a method, I recognized it had an equally powerful ability to explore ongoing themes of race, inequality, youth and childhood, language, and the carceral state, separate from the traditional historian form of communication. 

I’ve submitted photographs from recent trips in and around California and Nevada. They feature places and spaces where past and present, the natural world and the man made world, found some form of coexistence. Yermo, where a nostalgic vision of the 1950s lives in a color time capsule built in the 1980s next to the highway taking thousands of Californians to Las Vegas. Goldwell, where contemporary Nevada artists have created an open air sculpture park that sits beside a deteriorated ghost town. And Silicon Valley, where Stanford’s Satellite Dish sits atop the tribal lands of the Muwekma Ohlone where  students successfully petitioned the campus to remove the offensive “Indian” mascot. Today The Dish sits as a popular hiking spot inviting photos and reviews on AllTrails. 

These photographs capture the varied cycles of boom and bust, reinvention and re-imagination. And they represent the complex histories and layered legacies of Americana.

Doris Morgan Rueda is a historian and artist currently living in Stanford, California. As an artist she experiments with photography, modeling, and painting. As a historian she studies the history of youth and law. She takes inspiration from courtroom photography and pulp fiction, as well as the experiences and consciousness of incarcerated youth.


Katie Shapiro

“It was here in Big Sur that I first learned to say ‘amen.’”

— Henry Miller

Located in California’s Central Coast, Big Sur has long been a place of escape, retreat and renewal. As an artist, it has been all of those things for me. A magic hovers amongst the raised-up cliffs that make up its rugged topography. Extending for roughly 26 miles, Big Sur is a region of organic flowing coastline that no boundaries can clearly define. Perhaps this is what makes it feel so free.  Big Sur has long been a magnet for artists and dreamers alike. Driving between this meeting of land and sea yields a profound quiet of the mind. These feelings are unique to this location. Simply being in this place is a meditation.  Over the years I have returned to Big Sur as a place for retreat, renewal, and inspiration. This series of photographs explore different approaches to the landscape. They speak to the place as a changing topography over time, and a space that emits a palpable energy.

Born in 1983, Katie Shapiro received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine and a BFA in Photography from CalArts. Her practice is centered on the ineffable, and visualizing things that cannot be seen. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, The Armory Center, Pasadena, Christopher Grimes, Santa Monica, Joan, Los Angeles and Aperture Gallery, New York. Shapiro lives and works in Los Angeles.