How Quirky is Berkeley? Conny Bleul’s non-public art

Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey

You probably know at least some of Conny Bleul’s public art.

You probably have seen the folk art in front of her home on Marin, just below Colusa, and you may have seen her murals at the Berkeley Marina.  Berkeleyside published a story I wrote about her public art in 2014.

Here I will show you some of her non-public art.

1748 Marin Avenue. Photo: John Storey
1748 Marin Ave. Photo: John Storey

 

Conny Bleul. Photo: John Storey
Conny Bleul. Photo: John Storey

Bleul is a self-taught artist. As a refresher,  she is a well-known and highly respected birth doula, giving assistance and advice to a new or expectant mother, a world-class swimmer who swam on the German National Team and the 1984 German Olympic Team (injured so did not compete), who swam in Berkeley on the Aquatic Masters team, who has a PhD in philosophy, who has worked as teacher for going on 30 years, and has a degree in museum studies from USF.


Conny Bleul paintings. Photo: John Storey
Conny Bleul paintings. Photo: John Storey

Her paintings defy pigeon-holing. No one style holds her for long. My favorite of her work – and the quirkiest  – is her painted furniture.  She finds dressers and chests and chairs on the street or for sale for a few dollars, fixes them up – and then paints them.

Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey

The was inspired by “Self-Portrait in a Green Bugatti”  by Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980).

Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey

Bleul paints murals, which we have seen at the Marina and now see indoors:

Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey

And she paints rocks:

Photo: John Storey
Photo: John Storey

Bleul is what is good about our dear old Berkeley, the Berkeley where a woman like Bleul would come for a few months and stay for decades, bringing her art and creativity and zest for life here. That is the Berkeley I love.


If you are interested in seeing any of her work, you can contact Conny at Conny.Bleul@gmail.com.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.

For a fuller version of this post, see Quirky Berkeley.

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