If you've driven through Sonoma County recently, you may have noticed how at every corner old meets new. Historic brick-and-mortar bistros sit next to chic, trendy restaurants, contemporary businesses manufacture next door to defunct, condemned warehouses along stretches of barren railroad tracks.
Perhaps you've even managed to see the "Hoodhenge" ruins at SSU art professor Carlos de Villasante's home on the corner of Bodega Ave. and Baker Street in Petaluma.
Scattered around in a rough circle in a vacant lot next to his home lay de Villasante's elaborately decorated car hoods. With vibrant colors and delicately contouring lines, reds melt into blues and rust covers it all.
Suffering from the elements, the hoods gather and ascend past urban art to the new plateau of urban ruins, a depiction of times past still visible in present day times, something de Villasante knows well.
It began this summer when he moved the contents of his large Sebastopol studio into storage and revisited all of the car hood paintings he had created over the past years. "I put one hood in my yard and was happy with the way it engaged the exterior space and passers by," he said. "It seemed funny that I live on Bodega Avenue, which in Spanish means warehouse, yet I was storing my art elsewhere."
De Villasante's artwork has always dealt with re-creating the "feeling of discovering pyramids or finding artifacts on the ground, that hopeful imagining that one is on the verge of uncovering something that still has meaning."
Visible to the community of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who travel by the Petaluma intersection, the exhibit helps de Villasante share his work with "a broader community than just gallery connoisseurs." He has created public murals on the East Coast and just completed one for the Sonoma County Museum.
"Petaluma is now my new home and as there are way too many people to invite to dinner, "Hoodhenge" is my gesture of appreciation to the community," he says.
"I love watering my plants or sitting on my porch while someone "discovers" my contemporary archeological site, as they decide what it is doing there or decoding what it means."
De Villasante has been an associate art professor at SSU since 2009. He teaches drawing, painting and design. His work can be viewed at: http://www.carlosdevillasante.com.
For more on this exhibit, see the Press Democrat article at:
ABOVE, Art Professor Carlos de Villasante with his "Hoodhenge" exhibit at the corner of Baker Street and Bodega Avenue in Petaluma.