Stephen C. Wagner

stephenwagner's picture
Neighborhood: SOMA
Group Affiliation: Arc Studios & Gallery
SFOS Details:
Weekend 3 (Central): Nov. 5-6
Arc Studios & Gallery
1246 Folsom Street
San Francisco, 94601

Stephen C. Wagner’s mixed media works on paper show a keen eye for composition and texture. These pieces are created from of a variety of utilitarian & found papers, and consist of arrangements based on related sets of axis to each element. Thus, there is structure to the composition and design.

The advent of collage signaled a radical shift in art, in its conception, perception, process, & the end product. Collage expanded the language of art, allowing for greater diversity and an increased range of expression. Using found, fragmented, and discarded materials, mixed media collage artists work in improvisation and informality, often treating materials equally & reusing them regardless of their original purpose or origin. Art made of repurposed items gives the uneventful, the commonplace, & the ordinary a magic of their own.

Emphasizing concept & process over end-product, collage has brought the incongruous into meaningful alliance with the ordinary. The original identity of the object and it’s history is layered with new meanings in association with other elements in the artwork’s metamorphosis into a new entity. Collage is a medium that incorporates fragments and deals with opposing tensions, broken images, hidden desires, & collective myths.

Historically, collage tends to re-emerge in times of trauma and social change. Ideally suited to capture the speed, time, and pace of the modern urban experience, collage records our civilization, capturing the topical, the transitory, the absurd, the humane and the inhumane. Collage can use disparate images to communicate the unease, displacement, and anger peculiar to our times and often depicts our age of crumbling symbols and broken icons. Collage reflects the contemporary world full of excessive imagery and the cultural market of today as a global flea market; the Dollar Store, eBay, the dumpster, and the next Google image search.

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.