Inside the Instagram-Worthy House of SF Artist Heather Day
Heather Day's art comes together in an organic way. She works on an average of 20 paintings at once, ranging from large-scale canvases to small paper drawings. Her tools and tactics ebb and flow, navigating through thoughts, moods, and phases through paint, pastels, charcoal, spray paint, and graphite.
"A lot of my work is poured with a bucket and manipulated with a rag or squeegee," says Day, who lives in a three-story live/work loft in Dogpatch. "The brushes, markers and pencils I use help bring intention to the large washes of color. A huge part of my process involves physical strength. I'll pick up the canvas and let gravity push the water around. I'm walking and stretching and pouring. Paint and water get everywhere, and clean up requires a mop and rag. It's all an experiment in manipulation."
Day credits the fluidity in her work to her travels, moving from place to place while growing up (her mother was in the Marine Corps). Though she still bounces around for inspiration and work, the Hawaii-born expressionist painter now lives permanently in SF in a space that maintains as much charisma as her art.
When looking at Day's art, it can appear random—just a cluster of colors and shapes pieced together, but when you take a closer look and allow yourself to absorb the composition, each form, stroke, and jagged line serves a purpose, and it all falls together effortlessly.
Her home is put together in the same way. Each object in the space—from the gorgeous broom and dustpan by Hannah Quinn to her grandfather's painting—is storied. Walking through the home, one can't help but think of Marie Kondo's concept of everything in your home bringing you a sense of joy. Even though Day's digs exemplify small-space minimalism with tons of character, she admits that she struggles with interior design.
"Honestly, I find decorating quite challenging and would rather defer to the professionals for tips. For me, paying close attention to the layers and shapes of my home was key. Painting is the same way; it's best to challenge the formulas you create."
Currently, Day is working with Oakland's Athen B. Gallery on a solo show this fall, as well as fine-dining concept called Studio Table that unites art and cuisine right there in her living room. Once a month, 14 guests are personally invited to come together in the live/work studio space for a five-course dinner prepared by chef Ben Roche. Each dinner is centered on a different, thought-provoking theme and challenges the expectations of social gatherings.
"It began as a way to lessen the high costs of living and working as an artist in San Francisco, but then quickly evolved into a much larger project with the goal of bringing people together to share ideas."
Day's entire loft is designed so everything can be moved around easily to create more space for what she is focused on in the moment. Her studio takes up the bulk of her first floor space, which also functions as her living room when she's not painting.
"There's an abundance of light here, and designing my home was really simple because the space itself is really stunning," says Day. //
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Photos by Matt O'Brien.