10 Updates
Silicon Valley's Secret Subculture, Not So Secret Anymore
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Silicon Valley's Secret Subculture, Not So Secret Anymore

Apr 15 2014, 6:34am CDT | by

Silicon Valley has many strengths, but a classic complaint is that the region has no artistic culture.  People moan that it lacks the funky, artsy vibe for which San Francisco is famous.  Given that...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

14 weeks ago

Silicon Valley's Secret Subculture, Not So Secret Anymore

Apr 15 2014, 6:34am CDT | by

Silicon Valley has many strengths, but a classic complaint is that the region has no artistic culture.  People moan that it lacks the funky, artsy vibe for which San Francisco is famous.  Given that innovation and entrepreneurship thrive in a culture of diversity, eclecticism, and creativity, then why has the Valley lacked a complementary edgy art, music, and literary scene?  That question has been fair game to ask in the past.  In recent years, however, things have changed noticeably.  An emerging subculture movement in San Jose has burst into visibility.  San Jose, some might say, is like the new San Francisco.

At the vanguard of this movement is an art gallery named Anno Domini.  They run a monthly street festival in downtown San Jose called South FIRST FRIDAYS .  They also organize a massive annual event, the SubZERO Festival , which drew 15,000 people to the streets last June.  If you talk with local artists, they praise Cherri Lakey and Brian Eder, the founders of Anno Domini, for nurturing the growth of the region’s creative ecosystem.

Recently, my firm worked with Anno Domini to produce San Jose’s official welcome celebration for Global Innovation Week .  The event – “Art of Innovation “ – was sponsored by the City of San Jose and featured dozens of local artists, including aerial acrobats, homemade guitar players, performance artists, real-time poets, eclectic painters, a laptop orchestra, and digital media artists, among many others.

I asked Cherri and Brian about their gallery, and their entrepreneurial efforts at nurturing a creative arts scene in San Jose and the rest of Silicon Valley.  Here are the stories and insights they shared.

Victor Hwang:  Silicon Valley was not the easiest place to launch a startup avant-garde art gallery.  Why did you build Anno Domini the way you did?

Anno Domini:  In the mid-nineties, we were driving back and forth to San Francisco daily from our home – a 1200-square foot warehouse space we rented above a welding shop – in Mountain View.  The internet as we know it was creeping in. And out on the streets, a visual revolution was underway.  Street art was emerging and attempting to claim some independence from the confines of graffiti.

This was the impetus. When the time came to choose where we would start Anno Domini, we looked to San Francisco, and then back at San Jose. San Francisco would have been an easier beginning for us; the culture was more like an incubator. San Jose, on the other hand, had a policy of zero tolerance out on the streets, and culturally it was stifled. To us at that time, it looked like the perfect place to effect Change.

Hwang:   The South FIRST FRIDAYS event has become a staple of the region’s creative ecosystem.  How does something like that begin?  

Anno Domini:  At the tail end of 2005, the opportunity arose for us to take over a space that was our city’s first art theater, formerly known as the Camero One. Our new address was on South 1st Street. We held our openings on the first Friday of every month since our early days. We just did it to help folks remember to come out without having to see a poster, or receive something in the mail or by email at the time.

So it’s January 2006, we’re all moved in to our new space, and our next opening is in February on the first Friday. We know our people are coming out to Anno Domini, and we’re well aware that culture doesn’t thrive in a vacuum. So we sent out an email to the art organizations on our street at that time, shared with them that we were launching South FIRST FRIDAYS, and if you would like to join us you needed to stay open late, 7–11pm, be free and open to the public, and help get the word out. There were four participating venues when we launched that first event. It wasn’t much to brag about, but it was a start.

Hwang: What motivates you to keep doing the hard work you do?

Anno Domini:  You have to understand that we didn’t have the luxury of most big cities with a thriving art scene. There were so many artists with little to no opportunities to exhibit here. That was responsible for a constant exodus of young creatives for years. This definitely was and continues to be a motivating factor for us. Something had to be done. We started reaching out to local businesses with empty wall space and asked them if we could help curate their walls in exchange for promoting them during the art walk. It gave us more to work with, and we’ve been able to create more opportunities for local artists, as well as show the impact of art and culture in the local economy.

Hwang:  Where does the local artistic community gets its energy come from?  

Anno Domini:  San Jose artists, by necessity, are incredibly determined.  When you meet a truly talented artist in San Jose that has lived here for any amount of time, what you come to recognize is their relentless nature. It’s not lost on any of us living here and working in the arts that there might be an easier path somewhere else. However, living somewhere where things are easier doesn’t guarantee that your work will be any more profound. In fact, it often leads to insipid content.

Our city is very spread out geographically so getting together with other creatives on a regular basis often takes extra effort. In addition to that challenge, the vast majority must work incredibly hard at day jobs to make ends meet, plus they’re going to school, raising a family, etc. and doing their art on top of all that because it’s their calling./>/>

Hwang: How does being close to San Francisco and being in Silicon Valley affect the San Jose creative community?

Anno Domini:  San Francisco is very supportive of artists and values them and their work, whereas San Jose seems very focused on the tech industry and all the infrastructure that must support luring, maintaining, and benefitting these companies.  But the arts still seem to be viewed as “a nice thing to have.”  Although this is not an ideal foundation for artists, it does sometimes serve a purpose in that San Jose artists create works that are true and authentic to themselves… not swayed by art market trends because there are very few commercial galleries to appeal to anyway. Another byproduct is that they are very kind and supportive of each other, but hold each other to a higher standard in their art practice.  They aren’t afraid to work hard to make things happen for the entire arts community.

Hwang:  You have identified and showcased some of the biggest names in street art – David Choe and Shepard Fairey, for example – many years before they were known to others.  How do you identify great artwork for your gallery?

Anno Domini:  An ever elusive answer but….”we know it when we see it” is the most accurate response. There are many factors, but first and foremost is the initial impact it has on us when we first come across it.  Beyond the visceral, we think about the artist’s message and intention, their contribution to moving our culture forward and, potentially, to art history itself.

Hwang:  Over the past decade, street art has become popular and mainstream. What do you think about that change, and how has it affected you?

Anno Domini:  The biggest change is that we have fewer heated debates with art industry people as to whether or not “street art” is “real art” but other than that we are unchanged. We expected there to be a point when an artist goes from “street artist” to just “artist” in their career. But the activism, the intention to put an inspired image out there, at risk of being fined or jailed, has always been, and will always be, and that’s the part we still see and want to share with people in our gallery. There are more people thinking art on the street is a shortcut marketing tactic, but the artists we look for are the ones that are doing it because of the change they want to see in the world, not because they just want to advertise their new exhibit down the block.

Victor W. Hwang is CEO of T2 Venture Creation , a Silicon Valley venture firm.

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was to ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Melbourne Rising Media Launch
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken int ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewa ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussei ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern stat ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datu ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving a ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Schem ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) t ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Earth missed solar catastrophe just a year back: NASA
Washington, July 25 (IANS) Just a year ago, on July 23, the Earth missed being hit by a giant solar flare from the most powerful storm on the sun in over 150 years, NASA has said in a sensational revelation.
 
 
McDonald's Japan withdraws chicken products of Chinese origin
Tokyo, July 25 (IANS/EFE) The Japanese subsidiary of McDonald's Friday announced the withdrawal of all its chicken products sourced from China, following the expired meat scandal that led to the closure of Chinese meat processing firm Husi.
 
 
Common pesticide puts three generations at health risk
Washington, July 25 (IANS) If your ancestors were exposed to a common pesticide - widely used the world over during the 1970s as a safer replacement for DDT and still in use in many countries - this may lead to adult onset of kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity in future generations.
 
 
Watch videos on any surface with smartphone projector
London, July 25 (IANS) Love watching videos on your smartphone? Now share them with friends via "Smart Phone Projector".
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Video: Don’t be fooled by this extremely detailed iPhone 6 clone running Android
The iPhone 6 isn’t even out yet and it already has a few clones that mimic its appearance and software very well, with 9to5Google having found a new video hands-on demo of one such device. While the clone is based on...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Shuttler Sai Praneeth loses in Russia
Vladivostok, July 25 (IANS) The Indian challenge at the $50,000 Russian Open Grand Prix came to an end after shuttler B. Sai Praneeth lost his men's singles quarter-final match here Friday. The sixth seeded Indian...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Apple Planning to Avoid Competition between the Two Models of iPhone 6
Apple is looking to set up a unique strategy to boost the upcoming iPhone 6 sales, as a new report claims that the company is organizing a plan of preventing competition between the two new variants.According to Mac...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Indian-origin woman admits to killing son in Scotland
London, July 25 (IANS) An Indian-origin woman Friday admitted to punching her three-year-old son to death at their home in Edinburgh, Scotland, in January. Rosdeep Adekoya, 35, admitted to assaulting and killing her...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Earth missed solar catastrophe just a year back: NASA
Washington, July 25 (IANS) Just a year ago, on July 23, the Earth missed being hit by a giant solar flare from the most powerful storm on the sun in over 150 years, NASA has said in a sensational revelation. "If it...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
CWG: Sunibala to vie for 70kg judo bronze
Glasgow, July 25 (IANS) Sunibala Huirdom of India will fight for a 2014 Commonwealth bronze medal in the women's -70kg judo event after beating Canadian Monika Burgess in the Repechage contest. However, Garima...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Three killed in Thailand car bomb explosion
Bangkok, July 25 (IANS) At least three people were killed and 40 injured Friday when a car bomb exploded in Thailand's Yala province. The bomb blast occurred at Betong district of the province at around 4.40 p.m., the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Nepal is high priority for India: Sushma
Kathmandu, July 25 (IANS) Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived here Friday, saying the new Narendra Modi government held relations with Nepal in "high priority". "The new government in India has put...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Indian hockey team win CWG opener
Glasgow, July 25 (IANS) The Indian men's hockey team Friday began their Commonwealth Games campaign with a facile 3-1 win over lowly Wales in a Pool A tie at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre here. In what was a lazy...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
CWG: Malaika shoots silver for India
Glasgow, July 25 (IANS) India's first medal from the shooting ranges in the 2014 Commonwealth Games came from 16-year-old Malaika Goel, who shot down a silver in the women's 10m air pistol event, while her role model...
Read more on Sport Balla