Who are the Exquisite Gardeners and why do they build?
The Exquisite Gardeners are a team of curious, hardworking people from all walks of life who cooperate to create transformative art installations from everyday materials.
Joe Brubaker is the founder of The Exquisite Gardeners. He is a lifelong artist and supreme packrat who was first inspired back in the 60's by Simon Rodia's Watts Towers, a short trip from where he grew up in Paramount, California. Joe earned an MFA from UCLA and has been an arts educator and exhibiting artist for many years.
Will Brubaker, Joe's son, cooks gourmet meals for the Gardeners and has recently been collaborating with his Dad in art works shown in Northern and Southern California. Will has a unique sensibility for detail and nuance.
Michael Cullen is an internationally respected fine art woodworker and sculptor who brings creativity, discipline, and deep knowledge of how materials work to the projects.
Mitch Shandley is a master stonemason and makes the best coffee in the group, in addition to being the earliest riser. Watching Mitch stack a dry stone wall is like watching Ry Cooder play guitar. Mitch brings calm and common sense to our collective.
Jeff Hvid is known as the Thoreau of Marin County, California, and is an avid mycologist, birder, and environmental advocate. Jeff has an artist's eye for the treasures to be found in the forgotten byways of Northern California.
Brice Hoffman is a former long haul truck driver and can converse on most any subject with a degree of insight, he commands the highway when we hit the road and can lift very heavy objects, which comes in handy.
Tim Weldon is a nationally known gallery artist, and due to his many life experiences, including years as a roadie and tech guy for a famous Rocker, and growing up as a hoofer on Broadway, has the best stories of anyone, anywhere.
Don Guthrie is a former beatnik, then meditating hippie, then bike messenger dude, now talented artist, visionary, and deep philosophical wellspring for our band of assemblers.
Ralph Guthrie is a talented artist, educator, and deep connoisseur of the real Los Angeles.Ralph recently had a starring role in the film festival hit " The Sign Painter Movie".Ralph is one of the most dedicated and selfless people you will ever meet, and he is a world class curmudgeon to boot.That is an unbeatable combination.
Sam Dantone of Oregon is a multi-threat artist: Graphic designer, painter, drawer, sculptor. Sam is as dedicated a liver of the artist' life as one will ever meet. Sam brings creativity and thoughtfulness to every project, and is a force to be reckoned with...we are lucky to have him on our team.
Elia Vargas is a multi-talented video, multimedia artist and philosophical visionary who leads the Gardeners into mysterious fields and valleys.
Holden Crane, another young Gardener, is a professional wooden boat builder and sculptor who brings hard work, ferocious intensity, and beautiful craftsmanship to our assemblages.
Michele Vasquez is a former graffiti artist in Los Angeles, now into graphic design, and a lover of detail and nuance. She brings an eye for the tone and texture that many of us miss.
'Lexi Boeger is an artist, author or spinner who's fiber work focuses on blurring the line between art and craft in the field of hand-spinning. She has forged a new genre of yarn-making that introduces the creative process to traditional methods, and turns them on their ear. Author of three definitive books on the topic, Boeger teaches both nationally and abroad. By using her hand-spun yarn as both medium and finished art work, Boeger seeks to gain recognition for yarn as an artform in and of itself.
Beth Mullins is our resident Scientist/Artist. She grew up on the East Coast, where she followed her love of biology into graduate work at UPENN, studying cell architecture. Postdoctoral work at UCSF continued focus on internal cell activity. Restless Beth then moved to landscape design and received her MS in Landscape Architecture, an art she pursues professionally, along with her sculpture projects, (see MullyArt) which make extensive use of organic forms, found objects, and a variety of textures...Beth's art is truly original and endlessly intriguing.
Benva St.Morris is our resident Canadian,and wears a Sari better than anyone in the group. She is a surfer, traveler, and free spirit who has had a lifelong relationship with textile arts and weaving. She and 'lexi Boeger collaborated in Carlsbad on an amazing spider web. It was magical. BenVa is magical too and provides the Gardeners with a loving vibe at all times, regardless of our personal stress levels.
Camille Esposito is a born and bred creative who infuses a personal "Camille" touch into everything she encounters. Camille worked as a set and event designer for many years, and is currently making art for art's sake. We Gardeners love the artful paths that Camille wanders on.
Guy Mayenobe is an Artistes Francais who brings technical wizardry and humor into our troupe. Modest and immensely talented, Guy has introduced a new level of art and complexity to our group.
Deepa Jayanth is a deep presence and talented observer who is a valued member of our team. A PHD in economics, she brings passion and curiosity ( and very strong work ethic !) to the gorgeous drawn and painted observations of our process.We look forward to her next contributions, from rich memory or astute observation. Deepa has traveled long and far to meet herself in that amazing mirror of recognition and discovery.How fortunate the Gardeners are to meet her in that place.
Merryll Saylan is a pioneer of contemporary wood turning and color within the medium. She is internationally recognized as a master of the art and wears the mantle of acclaim with humor and dignity. She weathers the storm of Exquisite Garden chaos and deftly adds her touch, either with hand or words. Merryll's list of recognition and accomplishments would cover this website. We honor the fact that Merryll wants to mix it up with the Gardeners.
Tim Karjalainen is a talented artist educated at UC Davis and holds a degree in Art Studio. He is currently working with Joe in his studio on many projects, including Exquisite Garden installations.
Kimberly McNeelan makes sculptural furniture , teaches, writes for WOODWORKER'S JOURNAL, and is an MFA candidate at Herron School of Art. They say - when you need something done ask a busy person, so we often ask Kim and she gets us all thinking and working. Kim is a veteran Exquisite Gardener, and has contributed greatly to our work over the past years.
Suhas Bhujbal is a highly respected painter who shows in the U.S. and abroad. His modesty prevents him from disclosing the many awards and honors he has received for his prodigious talent. However, the Exquisite Gardeners can brag for him. He is a hardworking and valued member of our collective.