All-access art in The City

Aubrey Rhodes has always drawn. She was the kid at the diner drawing on the place mat. Art — a subject on par with recess — was play, not work. 

Rhodes, who’s participating this weekend in San Francisco Open Studios — a free, monthlong event in which more than 600 artists open their doors to the public — admits her “art story” doesn’t have a concrete beginning, middle and end. She simply recalls moments when she realized art was an entity that had power.

For instance, in kindergarten she was sent home with a note attached to a drawing of a naked, overweight lady she had done in class.

“I knew it wasn’t appropriate, but I did it anyway,” says Rhodes, who grew up in Modesto and moved to San Francisco in 2001. “That’s why I did it, actually. I wanted to see what would happen. I had no idea that some little drawing I did in kindergarten of some rotund, naked woman would cause such a flurry.”

This year marks Rhodes’ first time with Open Studios.

The citywide event, which spans four weekends across four sections of San Francisco, gets under way Saturday when artists showcasing photography, printmaking, jewelry and dinnerware, to name a few, open up shop in the Bernal Heights, Castro, Duboce, Eureka Valley, Glen Park, Mission, Noe Valley and Portola neighborhoods.

Rhodes calls The City’s art scene accessible, but says it takes a lot of footwork, time and effort for people to establish their work.

“What I love most are the different personalities that all the private galleries and artist-run initiatives create for themselves,” she says. “There’s something different championed at every venue. The diversity is gluttonous and the skills are crazy.”

Rhodes — whose studio is at 1890 Bryant St., a site housing a few dozen artists — is showing paintings inspired by contemporary images and current events. Using familiar images, including newspaper headlines, the paintings are collages representing a social subconscious.

“We’ll just have to see how it all shakes out after weekend one,” she says. “I think I’m just pretty fortunate to be a young, active artist in one of the most important creative cities in the world, making art with some of the best artists of my time. These are the days I hope to tell my grandchildren about.”

If you go

San Francisco Open Studios

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays; closes Nov. 1

Admission: Free

Contact: www.artspan.org

Dates and locations

Saturday-Sunday: Bernal Heights, Castro, Duboce, Eureka Valley, Glen Park, Mission, Noe Valley, Portola

Oct. 17-18: Buena Vista, Diamond Heights, Fort Mason, Haight, Hayes Valley, Marina, Mount Davidson, Pacific Heights, Richmond, Sunset, Ocean Beach, Twin Peaks, West Portal

Oct. 24-25: Financial District, North Beach, Potrero Hill, Russian Hill, SoMa, Tenderloin, Bayview, Excelsior

Oct. 31-Nov. 1: Hunters Point Shipyard

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