of the Month
As Fall approaches, we head into this new season focusing on recognizing visual artists in the Bay Area. We celebrate Becca Musser as September's Artist of the Month. As a Bay Area Native, Musser brings her sense of "home" into every painting as she captures the beloved and quirky architecture of San Francisco. Focusing on using water colors, her prints include well-known residential areas. Musser says, "watercolors are one of the least forgiving mediums I've ever worked with.You have to paint with intent when using them and I like the challenge this poses to me." As a natural talent in painting, Musser finds inspiration in capturing the best sides of her surroundings as she goes through life- harnessing the peculiar yet beautiful aspects of a subject, whether that be the curvature of a city street, the stillness of a hundred year old home in Bernal Heights, or even the innocent spirit of a puppy!
The simplistic and sentimental tone to Musser's art holds much to be admired, and speaks volumes to her demeanor not only as a person, but an artist. Her outgoing, bold yet modest attitude truly does emulate the tone of her pieces- capturing a viewpoint from wherever one is, and capturing the beauty in even the most unassuming things. As Musser's painting portfolio grew, she landed on the named Studio Vantage to continue to share her art. "Studio Vantage is about seeing San Francisco through my vantage and the magic in the ordinary," Musser says with a smile. Finding the magic in the ordinary may be hard for some, but for Musser it comes naturally, and channeling this wonderful attribute of hers will continue to inspire the rest of us through her art. We sat down with Musser to talk more about her artwork thus far..
Where do you base your artwork from?
"I work in San Francisco and have been really inspired by my neighborhood of Bernal Heights. I'm an artist! That feels sort of crazy to say. I've considered art mostly as a creative outlet for me, just something I sort of just do as part of being me. This past year I made the decision to pursue selling my art. So yes, I am an artist."
What is unique about working as an artist in the SF Bay Area?
"It's great to be surrounded by other creative people. Especially a lot of other women makers. I get to see a lot of other women making a killer business from creating and that's very inspiring."
What inspires your art and creative process?
"Ever since I was little I really enjoyed making art. I grew up with awesome parents who really let me explore my creativity. Almost every weekend my Dad would take me to the local hobby shop (shout out to J&M Hobby House in San Carlos). The store is divided into two sections; one for crafting and one for hobbies like RC cars and modeling like tanks and planes. While my Dad got his supplies on the 'boring side' aka model airplane side, my creativity would be set loose on the craft side, getting a chance to try watercolors, acrylic, yarns, charcoal, pastels glitters, clays, wood beads, and everything else.
How did you become interested in the current work you do?
"After moving to the Bernal Heights in late 2017, I immediately adored the quaint and quirky homes of this San Francisco neighborhood. I would spend hours just walking around taking photos. Certain spaces in Bernal Heights just draw you in. It's like there are these nooks where all the comings and goings from the everyday culminate in a vortex of energy. This energy is what inspired me to paint The Bend on Mullen. After the next few months, this turned into a collection of 5 house portraits, what I call The Bernal Sights series. I then had the crazy idea to make prints and create Studio Vantage-as if the stuff about energy wasn't crazy enough!"
What formal or informal education helped you reach your goals?
"Throughout my life I've taken various art classes. Some during high school while others during summer. These classes gave me the foundation, like how to perspective which has been particularly useful when drawing street scenes."
Any advice to young artists?
"Feel confident about your worth as an artist. Pricing art-or any creative outlet for that matter-can feel tricky. And especially when you are first starting out, friends may be your first customers and it can be hard/awkward to give them the price. That's not to say don't give discounts to friends, but I urge you to feel good about your work. Do your research and understand your market. If you are serious about selling your art, you need to treat it like a business! Spend time creating a business plan. This will help you feel confident about what your time and talent is worth."