When they first moved to San Francisco, local artists Annie Galvin and Eric Rewitzer got their start selling art out of their garage. Now the couple makes their art (and teaches others how to do the same) out of their very own 3 Fish Studios, a small, homey collaborative art space in Dogpatch. Much of Galvin and Rewitzer’s art is San Fran-centric—both artists hone in on well-known local landmarks and recreate them into unique, often quirky, art pieces. Because the two agree: there is nothing like San Francisco.
We caught up with the artist pair to talk about the studio, the art, and what inspires them.
oSF: When was the first time each of you really considered yourself to be an artist?
Annie Galvin: I have always drawn and painted. What I doodle when I am on the phone is generally pretty girls, and that has been the case my whole life.
Eric Rewitzer: I have been making things and doing stuff since I can remember.
oSF: Annie, the name 3 Fish Studios comes from your family’s coat of arms. How did you know your family’s coat of arms in the first place?
AG: Most families in Ireland have their family coat of arms hanging in the house, usually displayed in a diptych with the mom’s maiden name. We had one in our house so I have always been familiar with it.
oSF: It is so cool that part of 3 Fish Studios is teaching others how to become artists at your incredibly popular printmaking classes. What do you like about teaching?
ER: I love it because [my students] always come in really anxious saying “I can’t draw. I can’t draw.” I walk through the process and at the end of the day they’re drinking beers, pulling prints and having a blast. I love the classes.
oSF: Much of your art is inspired by the city. What about San Francisco makes it so inspirational?
AG: I moved here from Ireland in 1989, and two weeks later the earthquake happened. Despite this rocky start, I fell for the city and have lived in the Bay Area ever since. I love the coffee, the weather, the neighborhoods, the acceptance, and the creative energy here.
ER: It’s just such an amazing melting pot of different cultures and all of this diversity. It’s a very, very inspiring place to be. Our little icons are kind of like our love letters back to San Francisco. We absolutely love it here. It’s kind of fun to take local icons or landmarks—things that the locals can appreciate—and turn them into little objects that they can enjoy at home.
oSF: One series that sticks out in our mind is Annie’s Bears. Where did you get the inspiration for your Bears collection?
AG: First, I did several pictures of a bear and a little girl embracing in the woods. I liked the untold story. Is it a secret rendezvous? Are they friends who are parting? Or does it just look like an embrace but the bear is in fact going to eat her?
Then I fell in love with the bears and stopped including the little girl. They are sweet and pensive, but no matter how friendly they look, I never fail to give them fearsome claws. I like to paint the bears in wrestling masks because it adds to their odd and beautiful story.
oSF: Eric, we’re in love with your robot print collection because each one is so unique. Where do these robot ideas come from?
ER: The robots. Man, those things really struck a vein. I got a robot from an artist friend of mine when I turned 40, for no apparent reason. He just gave me this small box, and there was a tin robot inside of it. And I thought it was super cool! It was the kind of toy I wanted to have when I was a kid but could never really afford. That robot was awesome. And then a couple more started showing up. (I think my wife saw how I was really enjoying them and got me a couple more).
oSF: You guys were just at the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair. How did it go? Any other upcoming events that we should look out for?
ER: The Renegade Craft Fair is always great for us. That’s really raised a lot of awareness about what we do.
oSF: What are a few of your favorite places outside of the city?
AG: Russian River, Big Sur and Yosemite. We love having beautiful places just a few hours away.
ER: We live two blocks from Ocean Beach. Part of my morning routine is to take a little run along the beach and that kind of sets the tone for the day. You can just escape the city any time you want in our neighborhood.
Photo credits: Chris Orwig and Jacqueline Jaszka