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Going into any garage is like going into the bowels of a house–you never know what you’re going to find. And there’s no doubt that some odd stuff is lying behind the closed doors of many San Francisco garages.

But what’s behind Ross Sheehan’s garage door is arguably the oddest.

“People have walked by and said, Wow I never knew this existed on my block. They feel like they’re in some kind of cave,” says Sheehan whose garage has revolutionized the term man-cave with his 9-foot tall floor-to-ceiling copper stalactite.

Sheehan’s art studio/garage also houses a 6-foot tall copper dinosaur and a 6-foot wide copper ram skull wall installation. A total of 30 metal sculptures live in the copper cave.

“They’re built from things I’ve experience in nature. Lately its been the hills of Montara, wild succulents, rocks, windblown plant life, and other gnarled formations,” explains Sheehan. “Some people say they’re robotic or mechanic looking.”

Once Sheehan has finished constructing the sculptures, he leaves them outdoors until they’ve reached the patina he’s looking for because copper oxidizes if exposed to enough natural elements. The sculptures go out shiny and they come back rusty brown with blues and greens. He says that can take 2 weeks to 2 years.

“Its always a surprise to me when I go out and check them. Sometimes they’re not at all what I thought they would look like,” says Sheehan who is usually working on 2 or 3 sculptures at once.

The 30 sculptures have taken 3 years to complete, and Sheehan says many of them he created while working in an entirely outdoor studio space. He admits he prefers his latest unsuspecting retreat in Sunset.

“There’s sometimes a phobia of a garage. Its forgotten space. For me, it’s the ultimate workspace,” says Sheehan. “I can just go there and get away from anything.”

Sheehan’s copper and found-metal sculptures are on show as part of ArtSpan’s Open Studios during Saturday October 23rd and Sunday October 24th in Sheehan’s garage from 11am-6pm, located at 2550 30th Avenue @ Vicente Street. Please visit http://artspan.org/bio/ross-i-sheehan or http://www.sheehanfineart.com for more details.

Click here to see more photos.

Yesterday marked one of the best homegrown events around.  The annual Petaluma Whiskerino drew people from all over who came to flash their stache and show their grow while onlookers ate chocolate mustaches.

Its no doubt the contest for the best facial fur got a little hairy, but Tiffany Renee tweets “Jack Passion swept the competition.”

Passion is a long-time beard beauty and acclaimed world beard champion. He is also author of The Facial Hair Handbook which teaches men how to grow and groom facial hair.

One look at this man’s flowing red mane and its apparent beard building is in his blood.

Photo from Passion’s Twitter page

This Friday kicks off probably the most moving event of the year, not just because it is wacky, colorful, and hysterical, but because it’s literally on wheels. The ArtCar Fest 2010 will fire up in Berkeley on Friday and roadtrip its way to Sacramento by that afternoon. The fun lasts through Sunday in Sacramento.

I caught up with Costas Schuler A.K.A “The Pen Guy” who created the Mercedes Pens and says riding an art car is a lifestyle.

“This car is an excuse to have a conversation—it’s a context for community,” explains Schuler who says he met 4 people yesterday just at the gas station.

“For me, its an everyday thing. Once you have an art car, you can never drive a regular car again. Where’s the party?” says Schuler who attended his first ArtCar Fest in 2005 with barely any pens glued to it–his car now holds over 10,000 pens.

Check out this video I created on the Mercedes Pens last year:

For the past 20 years the San Francisco Dump has quite literally been trying not to let the trash go to waste.  The Dump has hosted 80 artists to date who have spent their residencies turning trash into treasure by scouring the wasteland to create art made entirely from trash.

The resulting work includes everything from bottle cap trashion fashion to tricycle table hybrids.  But perhaps the most shocking art is the art you would never guess spawned from a dumpster dive.

“Its really evolved what people initially thought of as recycled art,” says curator Sharon Spain.

The show holds artwork created throughout the last 20 years.

“It’s the only program of its kind in the country,” says Spain.  “The idea behind the program is more important today than it was 20 years ago.”

You can check out the exhibit Art at the Dump: Twenty Years of the Artist in Residence Program at Recology at Intersection 5M located at 925 Mission Street @ 5th Street in San Francisco.  The exhibit is open 12PM-6PM daily through Sept. 25th. Visit http://sunsetscavenger.com/AIR/ for more info.

Above is a video I produced last year on the Artist-in-Residency program, and below are some photos from the current exhibit.

You name it they’ve done it to Barbie this year at the Altered Barbie exhibit in San Francisco.  She’s been iced, melted, de-limbed, crucified, and decapitated in the name of art.

Co-Founder Julie Anderson says what makes Barbie interesting is she has so many conflicting connotations.  She’s beautiful and wealthy– owns fancy cars and clothes.  But on the flip side, she’s associated with anorexia and greed.  She’s an impossible ideal.

“When you start altering her she becomes a little more real,” says Anderson who started the month-long exhibit in 2002 and calls this year’s show sophisticated and subdued.

“She’s probably the first icon in history that its okay to play with her and alter her and really identify with her.  She can be kinky, sexy, innocent–she can become some of the desires or hidden aspects of your own personality,” says Anderson.

The exhibit runs through October 1st at 50 Shotwell Street and 11 Grove Street. Tonight’s Artists Reception at the Shotwell location will have live Barbie and Ken, poetry, comedy, and films from 5-11 pm.