Stephen C. Wagner

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(415) 518-6485

Neighborhood: SOMA
Arc Studios & Gallery

Stephen C. Wagner’s mixed media works on paper show a keen eye for composition and texture. The papers used in the pieces consist of a variety of utilitarian and found papers, including maps, blueprints, book pages, foreign newspapers, and discarded fliers and signs. Original and appropriated photographs and words are often printed on the found papers to interject subject matter. The pieces are usually set on black backgrounds for contrast and consist of arrangements based on related sets of axis to each element. Thus, there is structure to the composition and design.
The guardians of humankind have given up on us as we have gone past the brink in damaging our environment and have turned our backs on our fellow man. They lament our actions as they watch over the planet. In the "Lamentations of the Guardians" series, the Earth is depicted in it's twilight hours to reflect the twilight of man's reign over the planet. Circle motifs are used throughout these collages to symbolize the circle of life. Practice shooting targets are often featured, as we have become the target of the dysfunctional world that we have created ourselves. These collages are mounted in thrift shop frames reminiscent of church windows and altars where angels and guardians are often incorporated.


Stephen C. Wagner has studied art since the age of six, including workshops at the Witte Museum, Trinity University, and private study, all in San Antonio, TX. During his early years, Stephen showed his works in many venues, including juried shows, art fairs, coffeehouses, and galleries. He obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Arlington in painting and graphic communication. Stephen has exhibited and sold his artwork in galleries in London, Chicago, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Laguna Beach, San Diego, Seattle, New Orleans, Palm Springs, and Kauai. His artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Riverside Art Museum and the Museum of the Living Artist, and in the corporate collections of Johnson & Johnson and Kaiser Permanente. His artwork has been featured in the film "Antwone Fisher" directed by Denzel Washington, and was featured on the set of the Bravo TV show "Boy Meets Boy."


I started attending ArtSpan’s SF Open Studio while living in Chicago in the 1990’s, planning my trips to San Francisco each year around the open studios schedule to get in two weekends of visiting artist studios. After moving to San Francisco in 2006, I found that I lived across the street from the ArtSpan offices. I walked in one day to offer to my time to volunteer, as I knew no one in the City nor had a full-time job. I ended up working every event for the next couple years, helping set-up for programs, working the check-in tables, hanging art for the annual gala auction exhibitions and Art Launch open studios exhibitions, monitoring the silent auctions, etc. For this I was surprised with the first ArtSpan Volunteer of the Year Award in 2008. I have also participated with the ArtSpan Open Studios Planning Committee. Through ArtSpan, I have met a multitude of artist who have become my friends and comrades, which laid the foundation for my life in San Francisco.

In 2010, along with Michael Yochum and Priscilla Otani, I opened Arc Studios and Gallery on Folsom Street in SOMA as an 8,000 square foot mixed use art center with ten artist studios, an art gallery, art organization offices, and coffee shop. We designed the building with ArtSpan open studios in mind, making sure the hallways were wide enough to accommodate a large number of visitors, finishing off the walls with moulding for professional look, creating quality signage, etc. Arc hosts regular art exhibition openings when the building’s artists open their studios to the public. Arc has participated in ArtSpan’s SF Open Studios for the last 10 years and has hosted various ArtSpan special events. Many Arc artists have volunteered and served on ArtSpan committees over the years.

I also run the San Francisco Artist Network that offers professional development programs for Bay Area artists, including workshops, lectures, portfolio reviews, and one-on-one consultations. The San Francisco Artist Network strives to support the making of quality art in all media, to connect artists with potential exhibition opportunities and increased income, and heighten awareness and understanding of the visual arts, through education, outreach, and service to visual artists. I have presented many professional development workshops for ArtSpan, sharing my expertise and knowledge with members to improve their open studios experience.