The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Silicon Valley Open Studios paints community connections

Sophia Fu
Christine Ong-Dijcks, a local artist participating in Silicon Valley Open Studios, explains her piece “Joy” to a visitor. “I copied from a photograph because I wanted to make sure I got the proportions and the shadow right, but all the colors are my creation to get this feeling of joy,” Ong-Dijcks said.

As visitors wound through rows of artworks ranging from metal sculptures to vibrant oil paintings to intricately carved wood art, artists displayed their creative processes and objectives during a Silicon Valley Open Studios (SVOS) event in Redwood City.

SVOS showcases local artists’ art, offering the public a free opportunity to discover their diverse backgrounds and talents, fostering connections and collaboration within communities. This year, SVOS featured 375 artists at 126 San Francisco Bay Area sites during the first three weekends of May.  The Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation (RWCPAF) hosted a Redwood City event, spotlighting 14 local artists. 

“I like that you can interact with the artist and get to know their background and art more. It’s an interesting process and there’s such variety and different backgrounds that you can learn about and admire. I’m also not an artist myself, so I have a great appreciation for people who have this creativity and talent,” said Kristi Ridgway, a Belmont resident.

From photo to canvas

Filipino-Chinese artist Christine Ong-Dijcks joined the event for the first time this year. As a child, she wanted to attend art school. However, she opted for interior design after her parents discouraged her from pursuing art. 

Visitors look at the left and right versions of Christine Ong-Dijcks’s “Just Sheep,” a lighthearted painting where the sheep in the foreground stares at the viewer. (Sophia Fu)

Years later, volunteering for her daughter’s school art projects rekindled her memories of doodling and competing in art contests. When her daughter entered middle school, Ong-Dijcks reimmersed herself into what she loved—painting.

“I love working with oil. So all my work is mostly oil on canvas,” Ong-Dijcks said.

She uses photographs and memories from her travels and daily life as inspiration, altering colors and adding elements of her imagination to create a romantic or humorous effect. 

“I like themes that make people laugh or add humor or sarcasm. I want to inspire others and make them happy when they look at my works,” Ong-Dijcks said. “I want to spread more positive energy.”

Art meets technology

Belinda Carr, another local artist, specializes in creating digital art. Her journey began when she transitioned from teaching to working at a high-tech company.

Belinda Carr, a local artist, talks to visitors about her use of color in “A Whisper to the Bee.” (Sophia Fu)

“During that time, I was very intrigued by not only art but the advances being made in the world of digital art and what computers could do with it,” Carr said.

Her interest spurred her to take art classes at a local community college. Along with continuing her passion for photography and digital art, she learned to use applications like Photoshop and Corel Painter.

“These were originally two individual streams I worked on—photography and digital painting. And then as the technology progressed, the two fields merged, so now I can take my photographs, pull them into Corel Painter, and digitally paint them,” Carr said.

In addition to using various software tools to create a striking and more painterly effect on photos, Carr digitally paints abstract art without any photograph as its origin.

Carr aims to keep her art innovative by constantly educating herself and growing through using new tools. 

“Education and growth will always be on my path: understanding what I do that speaks to people and doing more of that,” Carr said.

Carving awareness

Gadget started his journey when he got interested in sculpture in high school and minored in art in college. His work, primarily layered wood art and sculpture, incorporates his experiences and concerns about Redwood City and the Bay Area.

Gadget, an artist, assembles wood layers together. “I got to talk to a lot of people about how I fit all the parts for my pendants into my larger pieces. So, I cut them all at the same time, and I don’t waste any parts,” Gadget said. (Sophia Fu)

“Most of the art that I’m making are things that I’ve imagined or based on experiences that I have, or hyper-local concerns that I have for Redwood City, the Bay Area, and the world,” Gadget said.

For instance, he observed how people passed by the Fox Theatre, a historical building in Redwood City, and ignored its architecture. This observation inspired his layered wood art piece “Look at Me.”

“It’s about the building trying to get people to look at its architecture. The theater is fanned out like it’s waving at you, trying to get your attention. At the bottom of the piece, there’s a person looking down at his cell phone,” Gadget said.

Gadget enjoys the process of digital designing, staining, laser cutting, and gluing to produce a finished art piece.

“I’ve been having a blast as an artist. I’m loving every minute of it,” Gadget said. “Every day I’m making something, and it feels good.”

Building collaboration and connection

SVOS provides more than just an opportunity for artists to display their craft. Artists also collaborate with other artists and connect with the community.

“It’s great for all of us artists to get together. A couple of us will be working together on some things in the future,” Gadget said. “We also get to talk about our different kinds of art. It’s really interesting to see what other people in the community are doing and what messages and stories they’re bringing.”

Meanwhile, one of Carr’s goals is to learn encaustic wax, a form of painting that uses melted wax. At the Redwood City event, she met with another artist who knew the new technique she wanted to learn.

“I spent time with her and we talked about getting together and figuring out how I could learn how to do this process,” Carr said.

When you can show it to your community and someone sees it and connects with it, you connect with that individual; as people, you connect.

— Belinda Carr

In addition to camaraderie among artists, SVOS builds connections between artists and the wider community.

“Sometimes when I paint, I feel like I’m always enclosed by myself in my mind and my space, and then after I’m out of it, I’m ready to interact,” Ong-Dijcks said. “So this open studio is a great experience because you get to meet people, hear what they feel or what they take from your art.”

Overall, the event connects artists, viewers, and the larger community. As a result, artists can use their creativity to spread impactful messages in a unique way. 

“We’re very passionate about what we do, and every artist loves to show what they got,” Carr said. “And then, when you can show it to your community and someone sees it and connects with it, you connect with that individual; as people, you connect.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
About the Contributor
Sophia Fu
Sophia Fu, Staff Writer
Sophia Fu (Class of 2026) is thrilled to cover local news for Scot Scoop this year. She hopes to explore the impacts of events in greater depth and connect with people along the way. Outside of reporting, she plays the violin in Carlmont's Symphony Orchestra, performs for senior citizens as a member of the Music Box Quartet, reads stories ranging from scientific innovations to mysteries, and plays tennis.

Comments (0)

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments that are deemed appropriate and relevant will be published.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *