Pieces of the Excelsior is inspired by the vibrant neighborhood of the Excelsior. When J. Astra Brinkmann settled in the Excelsior neighborhood, it was evident to her that the neighborhood felt unexplored and could become a great project filled with hidden gems. Encouraged by a friend, she began documenting her viewpoint of the neighborhood. Her photographs highlight the artist’s rare ability in finding unique ways to look at familiar settings and objects. Equipped with her Mamiya C33, Brinkmann is able to portray alternative sides of the Excelsior. Her images feature both a quietness that is surprising in such a lively neighborhood and the potential for electric change. Whether it is a suddenly empty view of Mission Street, or a friendly neighborhood cat taking a stroll, her careful compositions allow the viewer to witness the everyday in a new light and share in the delight of the artist’s love for her neighborhood.
In this audio track the artist tells you more about her work & this series:
What the artist most loves about the Excelsior is that there is always something happening there. It is this constant change and fluidity of life that motivates her and propels her to continue exploring the neighborhood.
About the Artist
J. Astra Brinkmann is a photographer who prefers to work with film cameras in her efforts to document or create the world around her. Born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia, she moved to San Francisco in 2008 to pursue illustration. Her interests turned towards photography shortly after moving when she acquired a Polaroid One Step, a Holga 120N and a Canon AE1. She views photography as a means of therapy but also as a game; it helps her understand her surroundings as balances of color, shape and time. Always armed with a camera when she leaves the house, she looks for things that are out of the ordinary.
Besides documenting her neighborhood, she is concurrently working on at least two other portrait-based bodies of work. “People With Cats” centers on capturing the bonds between humans and their pets, while “ghostgirl” is a double-exposure ode to Francesca Woodman’s black and white photographs of women.
For more about Brinkmann’s work and contact information, click here.
About The Ramp Gallery
The Ramp Gallery, a community curated space in the SOMArts lobby, accepts exhibition proposals on a continual basis. To view submission information as well as past exhibitions, please visit The Ramp Gallery page of our website here. To purchase work on display or for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit The Ramp Gallery any time SOMArts Cultural Center is open.
Photos courtesy of J. Astra Brinkmann.