Memories of past studio spaces ーParadise drive and the prison on the opposite shore
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
There is another studio in the past that is especially memorable. It’s the one I had when I was a graduate student in San Francisco. It was located north of the city in a majestic seaside area. Even the drive out there was spectacular: crossing the Golden Gate bridge and cruising along the scenic shore on Paradise drive that leads to the facility. The studio was an old wooden army barrack that had lowered its guard down and had aged gracefully. It was spacious, and the entire third floor was shared between the students. Time spent there was fulfilling. Whenever I needed to step away from work, I would visit other artists or take a walk around the studio and enjoy the view of the bay. In the distance there were white buildings that were rather distinct. Ironically there stood a maximum-security prison*. Sometimes I would look in the ocean to see if anyone was swimming for shore. I found it somewhat poetic that only this blurry entity called water existed between the prison and the studio. Although I stood on the side that was “paradise,” the prison reminded me that it was just a name of the road and nothing more.
*I read that the history of prisons in California started during the Gold Rush