Categories: Arts Visual Arts

Famed ‘Cakeland’ display comes back to the Bay

Eclectic Bay Area artist Scott Hove is bringing his “Cake Chamber” back home.

The piece is part of “The Cakeland Fête Noir,” an impressive installation of large-scale, faux-cake sculptures and new paintings opening at Heron Arts in San Francisco with a reception on Saturday.

It’s the San Francisco native’s first show in the Bay Area since 2014. The artist, who became famous for his “Cakeland” display in a $1,500-per-month North Oakland storefront he occupied for eight years, moved to Southern California (rather than try to find another space) when the building was being renovated.

As in many of his works, “The Cakeland Fête Noir” is light and dark at the same time. The pieces, which are elegantly and intricately “frosted” in pink and look delicious, also include sinister objects such as bones, fangs and things Hove says are “not very cake-like.”

There’s nothing out of the ordinary in his materials, however. Hove combines found objects with store-bought items “you can get at the hardware store or the craft store” to create his installations. He says, “It’s just [a matter of] what I do with those things”

Viewers have strong responses. Hove says, “All the saturated colors have a really strong emotional pull inherent in cake decorating that really attracts people. They’re drawn to … what cake represents.”

After the initial attraction, they notice the darker spaces and get hooked by “an emotional counterpoint,” Hove says.

Despite what Hove calls his “Northern California prejudices,” he’s found the art community in Los Angeles to be open and welcoming. And artists there are less stressed than artists here. He says, “Being an artist in the Bay Area is like being in a life raft. In L,A, being an artist is like being on a ship.”

Still, he considers himself a San Francisco artist, inspired by the city’s unique architecture.

“Every time I see a perfect Victorian, that directly affects my work,” he says.

And although Hove is concerned about Bay Area artists being displaced due to rising rents and reduced DIY spaces, he has one suggestion that will help keep them local: He says, “Buy more art.”

The Cakeland Fête Noir
Where: Heron Arts, 7 Heron St., S.F.
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 14, noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 21, Jan. 28 and Feb. 4; 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 22, and by appointment (email through Feb. 7
Admission: Free

Leslie Katz

San Francisco Examiner’s arts and entertainment editor Leslie Katz has been assigning, editing and/or writing news stories about the Bay Area’s rich cultural scene since 1997. Reach her at (415) 359-2727 or

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