Josefa Vaughan’s Being In Turbulent Times

Being in Turbulent Times
Solo Art Exhibition by Josefa Vaughan
April 1-30, 2017

Closing Reception
Saturday April 29, 5 p.m.-7p.m
Artist Talk 6 p.m.

Poetry by Yuyutsu Sharma, beloved Poet from Nepal at 7p.m.

Artist Talk at 6:30 p.m. and Free Public Wine & Cheese Reception 5-8 p.m. Saturday, April 8, 2017

Drawing and painting the nude model with fellow artists helped me in my teens to connect with something timeless and human in a rapidly changing world. People interested me. In 1989, I moved from referencing nature to exploring culture. My collaborative conceptual art projects developed from the doodles and anecdotes I collected from people I encountered in diverse walks of life. Ultimately, this approach to art-making evolved into ArtSeed, a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect gifted artists with vulnerable communities through classical and cutting-edge fine arts projects. I’ve enjoyed teaching artistic anatomy to ArtSeed children in these 17 years since its founding. Forty-five years later, I felt the need to reclaim for myself the peace I found in that practice long ago. Sales from this exhibition will benefit two arts education nonprofits: ArtSeed and Think Round.

Think Round Fine Arts, 2140 Bush Street #1-B, (btwn Fillmore & Webster Streets) San Francisco, CA 94115 Gallery hours from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For additional times by appointment call: (415) 771-2198 or email: and visit or

Call Josefa at: 415-656-9849. Read the article from Women Eco Artists Dialog about Josefa’s formation of ArtSeed.

Josefa Vaughan Artist Statement

“You can, as an artist, try to say something big about life; or be content to make the stuff in your hands come to life. And this humbler task is the greater, for all else merely follows.”
– Leo Steinberg (ArtSeed Founding Advisor) from Other Criteria

It has never seemed quite fair to me that artists are expected to write about their work, while writers are never expected to draw. This more primary form of self-expression is precisely what I, as an artist, have asked others to do, writers among them. Portraiture, which was my earliest interest in art, attracted me as a way to make something tangible out of my daily human interactions.

In 1989 my earlier figurative fantasies were transformed, conversely, by the fantastic figurings (storyboards, a drawing format used in TV production planning) that I collected from seniors and children in contrasting socio-economic regions of the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Houston. For ten years I practiced an about-face to portraiture and the artist’s conventional role by asking everyone I met to be my iconographer.

Solicited marks, and remarks, helped me to look deep outside myself in an attempt to step back in my quest for greater self-awareness and understanding of the world. Developing this archive of storyboards stimulated new friendships, which turned into collaborative artmaking and teaching. And this is how the nonprofit organization, ArtSeed, began.

In 2003 I did an ArtSeed benefit exhibition, Songlines for Seibert’s Pipes, at The Lab, an alternative space in San Francisco. This was the result of my winning a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist grant. I proposed creating “continuation work” (art surrendered to a second artist for its completion) from my earlier life drawings. In this era of intellectual property law and copyright infringement suits, it is difficult to imagine such an arrangement. However, the practice of “successive input” occurred often in medieval Europe and was given a new twist in Robert Rauschenberg’s 1953 Erased de Kooning Drawing. I also asked other artists to give me their “abandoned meanders” to work on.

There are things that an artist brings into the artmaking process in order for a piece to come fully alive. For me, an artwork is not mature until the process includes something risky and interactive. As a point of departure, and to commemorate my pipe organ-builder grandfather Seibert, participants were asked to reference sounds or pipe-organs’ tubelike shapes. Pipes, simple acoustical chambers, and the most easily drawn illusionistic image, signify communication (as in pipelines) and fantastic ideas – or “pipe dreams.”

Female piety of the thirteenth century was founded on “vicarious communion,” that is, the notion that one person could receive communion for another. Today the viewer who encounters my figure studies becomes a vicarious, if not an actual, participant in the communion I shared with the diverse models who’ve sat for me, and the diverse folks who originally gave me storyboards, or who “continued” my art, or, who let me draw in theirs. Many of their stories have been imbedded in collaborative ArtSeed projects over the years. I believe that the urge to connect with others and to reconcile seemingly opposite points of view is, ultimately, what makes the stuff in your hands come to life. – Josefa Vaughan

Josefa Vaughan’s art education began in Houston, at the age of eleven, when she received free private art instruction from a benefactor of her large working-class family. Her continued self-directed studies as a largely unsupervised teenager lead her to auditing art classes at the University of Texas at Austin. Later, as an unmarried but co-parenting mom, she received various scholarships, including Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts Glassell School, The Art League and the Houston Community College. Since then, she has exhibited her art in numerous venues locally, nationally, and in Paris, and she has received both private and public commissions. She has curated and organized exhibitions of other artists’ work and has served as a board member for numerous arts organizations.

Vaughan was a resident artist at Centrum in Port Townsend, Washington, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program in Woodside CA, the de Young Museum Artist Studio in San Francisco, and was an affiliate artist at Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin County, California. She has lectured at the San Francisco Art Institute, University of California at Davis, San Jose State, and Stanford Universities. She has taught art through the Texas Institute for Arts in Education and in San Francisco at Synergy School, Chinese American International School, San Francisco Arts Education Project, Hills Project, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Studio One in Oakland, and the Oakland Museum of California. She has received two San Francisco Arts Commission awards. Vaughan is founder of ArtSeed, a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization founded in the year 2000 to bring diverse communities together to support the young or disadvantaged in reaching their full potential.

ArtSeed’s mission is to connect the most resourceful and gifted with the youngest or most vulnerable citizens of the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond through projects that explore links between classical and cutting-edge fine arts disciplines. ArtSeed brings artists together with children, elders, or others living with financial or other challenges to engage in year-round innovative and interdisciplinary fine arts instruction, collaborative, socially engaged projects, and long-term artist/youth apprenticeships. These activities culminate in ArtSeed’s annual fine arts summer intensive, exhibition and other community events.

Our vision is of a place where everyone has a chance to fulfill their own potential to make a positive difference in the lives of those around them by inspiring academic and professional achievement, creative self-betterment and an ever-expanding sense of stewardship for a kinder, healthier world.