Jesse Wiedel grew up in Redding and received his degree in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. Jesse moved to Eureka in 1991 and quickly made the scenes of life in Eureka the subject of his art. “I fell in love with the weirdness of the town right away. A lot of people are focused on the beauty of the area and I love that too, but I am more interested in the character of the place.” Jesse said. Wiedel’s “Celebration Day” includes scenes from the sad aftermath of an End of Days celebration, depicting revelers “left hung over in ruined psychedelic landscapes, bereft of heavenly salvation.” Wiedel’s paintings ask the viewer to look at a side of life in Eureka from which most divert their gaze. His subjects are familiar to Eureka residents, although likely more intimate.“I have always gravitated toward old bars and motels,” Jesse explains. “Most of the places I gravitate toward are abandoned and declining and I try to interpret what happened there and what kind of feeling you get from the place. If you stand around in Eureka for any amount of time, you will see a scene that could be in one of my paintings. I am combining fantasy with reality. I’m trying to make real life stuff seem more like a celebration, but it’s also sort of scary and out of control.”
Jesse says that his paintings “aim to elicit an uneasy sensation that our own reality is not too dissimilar from these disturbing fictional worlds.” “When I see these scenes,” Jesse states, “I feel a sense of mystery and try to incorporate a cosmic feeling into the paintings.”
Seana Burden has been making art ever since her time growing up in Oakland and Santa Cruz County. Seana came to Humboldt State in 2004 where she received an art degree.
For her Black Faun Gallery show, Seana’s dystopian paintings are set in “Boobopolis” a city in the not too distant future where the human experience has been distilled down to an obsession with a narrowly defined and largely unattainable version of feminine beauty. The Boobopolis church preaches the objectification of women and the town is overseen by the fashion police. “They look like women who dress as sexy cops on halloween.” Seana explains typical infractions in Boobopolis, “Women could get arrested for having too many wrinkles or for being overweight. Men are less vulnerable to arrest, but the Boobopolis Ministry of Health targets men as customers for Rogaine, penis enlargers and steroids.”
Seana’s inspiration comes from childhood experiences noticing women in the media who looked like Barbie dolls and were presented as the dominant beauty standard, to the current experiences of her and her friends. “A friend in her early 30’s visited a dermatologist who recommended that she use botox for the lines on her face. She ended up as a character in one of the pieces at a kiosk like the ones in the mall where people try to make you feel insecure about the way you look. It has a billboard that says ‘30 Is The New 60.’”
A standout feature of Seana’s work is her use of glitter. “I started using glitter in high school because it was available to me,” Seana explained. “I would use traditional mediums with a touch of glitter to add or enhance. I had an assignment to make a storybook, so I did a modern fairytale with a princess. How can you have a princess without glitter? I started using glitter then and eventually became known as a ‘glitter girl.’ In a lot of my artwork, I feel that there is always room for glitter. In some artwork glitter could be fairy dust. Someone else may read it, in this work in particular, as a symbol of excess and decadence.”