galleryThree: 66-6th Street, the Number of the Beast.

Kevin E. Taylor at "galleryThree" a new art space owned and operated by The Shooting
Gallery, opening reception Friday - September 7th, 2007, 7pm - 10pm, showing through October 4, 2007, 66 6th St. San Francisco CA 94109, 415.724.2140
By appointment only for a few months so please call to make an appointment before coming by.

This block of Sixth Street is not for the faint of heart. It’s a dense block of small businesses that cater to the SRO (Single Room Occupancy) Hotel residents. Barber shops, pawn shops, bodegas, and one-dollar-sign ethnic eateries are the majority. But Justin Giarla’s third art gallery, galleryThree, is the latest culture pioneer in this neighborhood.

The envelope-pushing Luggage Store Gallery came first (1007 Market at 6th) then Cal Modern (1035 Market). And now the fashionistas are getting into the mix. Reported in the Chronicle last month, Yetunde Schuhmann, first president of the San Francisco Innovative Design Council, is waging a campaign to make this block of Sixth a fashion design incubator both because of the low rents and because this neighborhood could use an infusion of culture and youth. Now galleryThree opens its doors for the first time this Friday at 66 - 6th St.

Justin’s other two locations, Shooting Gallery and White Walls (co-owned by Andres Guerrero) on Larkin between O’Farrell and Geary, are in an equally gritty neighborhood, ameliorated only by child-friendly Sergeant John Macaulay Mini Park on the corner (named after the San Francisco police officer who was killed in the adjacent Myrtle alley while on duty in 1992).

The Tenderloin is not a deterrent to Justin’s customers, drawn by Justin's distinctive eye. The influences on Justin’s taste in art run the gamut from skateboard culture, punk and rockabilly, tattoos, erotica, anime and Outsider Art. Justin’s business card sums it up: “Kick ass art for kick ass people.”

Justin’s path to the business of art is atypical, to say the least. When asked to fill in the blanks of his resume before he opened his first space in 2003, he proves his authentic appreciation of urban art. “I managed night clubs here in SF for years like 1015 Folsom, Sound Factory & Townsend. I grew up in Marin & SF, barely graduated high school, didn't go to college.”

Justin is opening a third location because he thinks there still aren’t enough venues for the kinds of artists that he loves. He feels it is his responsibility to provide another showcase for this talent that isn’t represented by mainstream galleries. The difference between this new space and the other two is that space will specialize in the “big break.” He’ll use this space as a showcase to feature artists who have never before had a gallery show.

Why choose another tough block? “I chose 6th St. because it’s ready for a big change. I like moving into gritty or edgy neighborhoods so that I may not only see the changes for myself but so I can help make the change happen. Bring something beautiful to a part of SF that needs it. Give people a reason to be proud of their street.” He means it. Justin also serves on the Hospitality House Art Auction committee where he gives back to the Tenderloin community that houses his galleries.

Taylor, Kevin E.: galleryThree Inaugural Show Not for the Faint of Heart

Kevin E Taylor at "galleryThree" a new art space owned and operated by The Shooting Gallery, opening reception Friday, September 7th, 2007, 7pm - 10pm, showing through October 4, 2007, 66 6th St. San Francisco CA 94109, 415.724.2140, By appointment only for a few months so please call to make an appointment before coming by.

As 666 (the street address of Justin Giarla’s brand new galleryThree) is the symbolic “Number of the Beast,” it is fitting that Kevin Earl Taylor’s work is featured in the inaugural show. In Kevin’s work there is a recurring theme of nightmarish anthropomorphic animals. These futuristic creatures are Kevin’s premonition of how the species will evolve, when the lines between man and beast have blurred irrevocably. The macabre portraits beg for backstory but Kevin won’t supply it. These are the creatures from the dreams you can’t quite remember.

Oil on wood, oil on masonite and works on paper are all intricately rendered with virtuosic, if wince-inducing, draftsmanship.

There is also a theme of forlorn figures sometimes violently dismembered but bandaged lovingly. The artist finds traditional figure drawing boring and hates to draw clothes. Like 6th Street, this work is for people with strong character.

Justin Giarla, owner of galleryThree, describes Kevin’s work as “extremely dark but fresh and really quite free and expressive. I think he’s just around the corner from doing some amazing things.”

Kevin’s story is noteworthy because he arrived in San Francisco just a little over one year ago and has made amazing in-roads. He debuted in the project space at Swarm, then on to Gallery AD in San Jose, A Bitchin’ Space in Sacto, bowed at the Shooting Gallery in a one night show, participated in Noisepop, recently Madrone Lounge, plus he’s found time to curate gallery shows in Sacramento and Atlanta. In all, ten different exhibitions of his work since arriving in the Bay Area in April ‘06.

He attributes his tenacious track record to his experience in hometown Charleston, S.C. When he graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. Illustration in 1994, there weren’t any galleries who would even consider showing the art of skateboarding and punk rock culture. Over the years he learned to market himself and not to take no for an answer. In the beginning when he was really hungry he resorted to posting his art on plywood boards in public spaces, anything to show his work. Over the years he became more comfortable with promoting himself and became “a big fish in a small pond.”

About the time of his 33rd birthday he decided it was time for a change of scenery and chose San Francisco, the home of Thrasher Magazine, where he knew there was a larger audience for his kind of work. He also looked forward to a larger community of artists making art in a similar style. A few years earlier he'd tried San Diego because his good friend, Shepard Fairey, was living there (he’s now in LA). A noted artist/graphic designer/illustrator, Shephard is most known for the “Obey GiantMalcolm Gladwellesque phenomenon.

San Diego wasn’t the right fit but San Francisco is.