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Articles by Tom

Page 4
  • How quirky is Berkeley? DIY quirk on Peralta Avenue

    I often feature quirky yards with high production values — collectors or professional sculptors or painters who are gifting their art to the street. They are fine and good, but there are other types of quirk. Quirk is not one-size fits all. There are the high-produced examples, and then there are the DIY front yards, such as this one. (more…)

  • How Quirky is Berkeley? Art Ratner’s miniature buildings

    Art Ratner has been fixing Japanese cars in Berkeley for more than 30 years. His energy, intelligence and humor make him liked. The best-in-the-Bay work done by his shop, Art’s Automotive on San Pablo between Russell and Oregon, make him sought-after. Many know him, but not many know of his staggering collection of miniature souvenir buildings.

  • How Quirky is Berkeley? Magic (sculpture) garden on Heinz

    In the 1980s and 1990s, 729 Heinz Ave. was home to Magic Gardens, a wonderful and, yes, magical nursery. It is long gone now, and after some years of farrow fields, the Magic Gardens space is once again a fertile garden, now housing a changing cast of sculpture. The Artworks Foundry is there. It is one of the nation’s leading foundries for the production and restoration of bronze sculptures, reliefs and monuments. (more…)

  • How Quirky is Berkeley? Darwin the Retriever Cat

    The Museum of Modern Art defines the French term objet trouvé (found object) as art created from undisguised, sometimes modified, objects or products that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function.

  • How Quirky is Berkeley? Avi Black’s Berkri-la on Ordway

    There are hints of Bali on the southwest corner of Ordway and Gilman. These statues depict musicians you’d see in a baleganjur ensemble featuring a team of interlocking cymbals and drums, an inseparable part of life and death in Bali. Its traditional purpose is to accompany funeral processions. (more…)

  • How Quirky is Berkeley? Kingman Hall’s quirky murals

    I went to Kingman Co-Op at 1730 La Loma Ave. on graduation weekend to photograph the front door for a post-in-progress about painted doors. On the way to the door, I found this wonderful toad mural on the garage door.

  • How Quirky is Berkeley? Mermaids!

    We find depictions of mermaids (no mermen!) in our yards, porches, sidewalks and restaurants. Our species’ fascination with aquatic humanoids dates back thousands of years, unabated if less literal today.  In Berkeley, we come by our fascination honestly. (more…)

  • Quirky Berkeley: Melissa Mork’s sheetmetal origami

    Melissa Mork is the fourth generation of the Mork family to work in the sheet-metal business started by her great grandfather, Walter Mork, a patriarch of Berkeley’s early 20th-century Finnish community. She grew up around the shop. Her father taught her about sheet metal, theory and skills.  And then she took it away from HVAC and functional fabrication into art. (more…)