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Russ Osterweil

Oakland, CA


Artistic Disciplines:
Visual Art

Artist Statement:


I live and work in the neighborhood in Oakland, CA referred to as "Jingletown,"  surrounded by artists and industry, old homes and factories, working-class families and more recently, with the advent of rapid and considerable development, the upwardly mobile.  A cement factory across the street chugs above my neighbor's small verdant backyard.  I always appreciated the character and olio of this environment, the quirky aesthetic juxtaposition.  But, it was when the real estate development began its surge that I decided to photograph my environment in earnest, before it forever disappears.  Thus, in addition to my other personal work, I have become a documentarian of this oasis.


Meanwhile, our community coalesced in response to the real estate development.  In order to assure that we have a voice in the future of our neighborhood and its development, a grassroots organization was formed – The Jungletown Arts and Business Community (JABC). JABC puts on group shows, runs the annual Holiday Art Walk, the Jingletown Summer Art Fair, and participates in East Bay Open Studios. We also produce a quarterly print newsletter and seek to support our local artists, musicians and businesses.  We have organized several community art projects, including wall mosaics and street paintings in the intersections. Several community artists, along with other residents of the community, are currently working on a project to cover with art a 20’ x 100’ wall that has historically been tagged and otherwise blighted.  Upon completion of the artwork we will also plant a garden of California native plants for all to appreciate.


For more information about JABC, visit http://jingletown.org/


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