Point Richmond has a strong and growing community of artists living here. While there are several noted photographers in town, Hugh Shurley’s work is really very unique. In a world where the digitally mastered image is taking over, Hugh’s work is painstakingly and passionately done in a manual tradition. As Hugh says, he’s more of a photo-collagist than “just” a photographer. Instead of digital layers, Hugh physically layers from 4-8 images printed on Plexiglas on top of each other with bits of ephemera in-between. Looking at a digital scan of one of these pieces of art is impressive; however, the physical pieces hold a more profound experience that could never be duplicated digitally.
Hugh’s work is quite special to witness firsthand, and Hugh himself is also an inspiration. His mantra could likely be summed up with: if you’re not creating art, you’re not living and if you’re only living to make a living then you aren’t living at all. It was those words of wisdom he shared with me during a New Year’s Day breakfast that got me going with the Stories from The Point project. Thanks, Hugh!
He and his partner Isidro are also responsible for starting one our neighborhood’s most cherished block parties. Once a year we all get together for a potluck and live music that now attracts around 150-200 people. My wife and I had been to it before moving here and it was definitely one of the selling points. In regards to the annual block party Hugh shares, “I really get the feeling that when we first moved here everyone kind of stuck to themselves. And it didn’t take much to get people out and to relate to each other.”
What has developed is a much stronger cohesion amongst neighbors and a real sense of community. “I see how, given the opportunity, most people want to be part of community. And when people come together in a community, they may not all agree politically or any other wise, but if you can find some common thing that you can all share; it just makes your life richer,” says Hugh.
Give this episode of Stories from The Point a listen and please leave your comments. Headphones are encouraged. Also, be sure to check out Hugh’s artwork when you get a chance…even if it just means stopping by his web site.
Hugh Shurley’s web site:
Music heard in this episode:
- Luciano Pavoratti “Ave Maria” (buy the mp3 single)