wilbanks studio is located within the california central coast midway between los angles and san francisco. the region has garnered a growing awareness around the globe for the exceptional quality of its rhone wines, almonds, walnuts and olive oil in part because it enjoys an overall similarity of weather to the tuscany region of italy. the historically rich agricultural heritage holds tenaciously to its rural community roots. there is both a visceral connection and appreciation for these natural lands. it is as wonderful a place for artists to congregate as it is to call home. the good fortune of living here is appreciated by those who do so every single day. the background photo displays the inspirational natural beauty that draws so many to break existing ties and move to the area. this is the halfway point of an out-and-back bike ride from town via peachy canyon road and its intersection with vineyard drive.
the studio is home to two artists. partners in life who became partners in wilbanks inc., an award winning advertising/marketing consultancy active in arizona for over 3 decades. stephanie wilbanks concentrates in kilnformed art glass inspired by her lifelong love of music, rhythm, pattern and texture. stephanie’s work has garnered recognition and awards throughout the central coast and points beyond. ken wilbanks works with baltic birch plywood, the rather humble material commonly used for high-end cabinet interiors. he laminates multiple layers to achieve substantial thickness and shapes it by carving and sanding. the abstract curvilinear sculptures wrought from man made materials echo the organic contours and patterns commonly found in nature. wave forms and hue are provided by the plywood’s layers and dyed laminates featuring vivid colorways.
while still working in the hectic environment of marketing and advertising, stephanie, longing for a reconnection to the fine arts, began to take classes in kiln formed glass. classes turned into more classes followed by expos, seminars and exhibitions. she began absorbing the technical craft of fusing glass with all of its requisite restrictions while acquiring an extensive inventory of inspiringly beautiful glass. kiln glass is cut cold on a table, then heated and slowly cooled in a kiln for several hours to a full day. the glasses soften, fuse together and assume the shape of whatever surface they're resting upon or within, such as a flat kiln shelf, curved mold or casting mold. many designs require two or more sessions in the kiln to obtain the final desired effects, making each a unique piece of art. the art aspect has been realized through countless hours of studio time. as an undergraduate voice major, her background in music has provided her with a keen sense of rhythm and pattern and tone which is reflected in her work. her fine art pieces show brilliant color, texture and pattern when backlit. every day in the studio brings a new opportunity to explore new ideas in an endlessly interesting journey.
earlier this year stephanie was interviewed by one of the central coast’s most popular NPR shows broadcast on ksby “ears on art” with artists/interviewers crissa hewitt and steven deluque in her studio. click the button below to hear the segment.
after spending many decades in hot pursuit of results building the images and brands of his clients in advertising — ken felt it was a perfect time for a new challenge. or should that be an old challenge? as sculpture was an important emphasis in undergraduate school while majoring in advertising design — it was never completely left behind, but it definitely was placed on a shelf. at last, the interest grew beyond the restraint to subdue it and happily for ken sculpture is now a full time privilege. he draws his influence from the creators of the built environment (a later concentration of the advertising consultancy) and the organic shapes that occur in nature. ken works exclusively with wood. not the refined and rare woods that have become so precious in recent years but humble ordinary plywood used in cabinet construction. sometimes he combines it with dyed laminates introducing vivid color to the process. he remarked "the sheer joy of taking a grinder to laminated plywood to explore the hidden contours has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. what is revealed is frequently quite surprising. the key element to ending up with something lasting is simply learning when to stop.”
stephanie’s work is perpetually on display in the up front gallery at studios on the park in paso robles, california. a selection of contemporary pieces rotate through the gallery changing seasonally. some of her current work on exhibition can be seen seven days a week beginning at noon. the address is 1130 pine street, paso robles, california. click below to learn more.studios on the park upfront gallery website
stephanie had two pieces selected for the morro bay art center “on and off the wall” juried exhibition through july 30th. ken has one piece that was accepted. the exhibition is thanks to the efforts of the painters group, central coast sculptors group and san luis obispo museum of art. for details on art center morro bay, upcoming shows and gallery hours click the button below.art center morro bay website
four of ken’s works and a sculpture by stephanie were accepted for the multiple "phantom project” gallery exhibitions in downtown san luis obispo, california. the shows ran through the end of november. the new show, printmakers, is open on thursday-saturday 1-9 pm. the address is 959 higuera street. phantom is is a short term opportunity to see the show. do come!play phantom videocentral coast sculptors website
themed, juried shows are offered on a continuing basis through the paso robles art association. stephanie is an active member of the group. the current show’s theme is “american spirit” which runs throughout july. august will feature “extremes” and run throughout the end of the month. for more information on the p.r.a.a. and their many events click the button below.paso robles art association website
this unique annual event showcases hand made art and crafts from a wide variety of california central coast artists. stephanie is fortunate to have a display table with a variety of new work in the show. the exhibit is currently in the atrium gallery. sales benefit studios on the park’s nonprofit open studio educational outreach programming. the studios provides important art educational opportunities for children to pursue their creative ambitions through art education and exhibitions of their work. the photo on the left is “lavender edges."handcrafted for the holidays web page