Featured in Marin Living Magazine

Five Unique Artists That Are at the Top of Their Game

From Creative Director and Co-Founder of Marin Living Magazine Casey Gillespie:
I AM GOING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING and it’s pretty weird: I have a crush on a building. Is that even possible? Long before I moved to Marin, I was, like many others, obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. But while driving through the arches every week on my way to the farmers market, my feelings for the structure have intensified. I can’t decide if it is the pink stucco walls, blue roof and brilliant use of light, or the fact that Wright was 90 years old (!) when he conceived it all. This was not only his largest public commission, it was also the last building he designed before his death, and that too plays a huge part in my obsession.

The small details and quietly grand nature of the building give it a personality of its own. And it was this intoxicating Wes-Anderson-meets-Walt-Disney vibe that inspired our Creative Class feature this month. We gathered some of the most interesting and talented Bay Area artists we could find and asked them to come and play with us. And much to my delight, they were game. This includes one my favorite people to collaborate with, our incredibly creative and passionate photographer, Justin Buell. We all relished the opportunity to get together (in person!) and create something; the very activity we have all ached for over the last year. I am so inspired by how they excel at their chosen crafts and their intelligence and dedication to creative pursuits, and I am sure you will be, too.

Jeffrey Levin

Goldsmith and Jewelry Designer, Co-founder of Poet and/the Bench

“Being an artist is a calling,” says Jeffrey Levin. A Cape Town, South Africa, native, he was born into a family of jewelers. “I have immense respect for the foundations, iconic designs and simplicity. I embrace a more European style, which translates to the clean lines you’ll see in my work as well as an approach of making perfectly imperfect tactile pieces,” he says. While Levin has been in the U.S. for three decades, he admits that life in Cape Town — the images of the colorful houses of the Bo-Kaap in Cape Town’s Malay Quarter; the coming-of-age celebrations by the Ndebele tribes and the graphic markings that women painted on their homes; the music scene; and the influence of European culture on fashion — will always be in his bones.

Along with his wife, Bonnie Powers, Levin opened Mill Valley’s Poet and/the Bench in 2015 with the idea of combining his custom jewelry atelier with a platform for emerging and independent designers and artists. He is quick to add that “in the 1940s activist Edna Foster bought what is now the complex where our shop is located with the intention of building an artists’ community. It feels good to be carrying on that tradition.”

Levin and Powers are creating a local tradition of their own. “Urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs wrote, ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.’ This rings true for us. We will continue to locate new artists from diverse backgrounds and celebrate the voices that society doesn’t often shine a light on,” he says.

Jeffrey Levin photo by Justin Buell for Marin Living Magazine
Jeffrey Levin (photo by Justin Buell)

Read about all of the artists featured in the May Creative Class issue of Marin Living Magazine.