Music Monday: Sam Smith

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British R&B crooner Sam Smith first stole my heart on Disclosure's infectious track "Latch," offering party-goers one of the most dance-worthy, sing-along choruses on the planet. Over the past few months, he's continued to woo me with his solo tracks and acoustic covers, which you can find on Soundcloud and YouTube. Not sure when we'll hear a full album from Smith, but enjoy these tasty tracks in the meantime. Happy listening!

Fresh & Local: 3 Fish Studios (and a print giveaway!)

There is no sweeter ode to California than 3 Fish Studios' familiar furry friend: a peaceful, little bear clinging tightly to a bite-sized California. Upon moving to San Francisco, I made it my mission to find the story and meet the artist(s) behind the bear that so accurately depicts my love for this great state. 

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Enter 3 Fish Studios, a bright and airy artist's haven tucked along the shores of San Francisco's Outer Sunset neighborhood. Founded by husband/wife, printmaker/painter duo Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin, 3 Fish Studios both embodies and celebrates the qualities that make California so wonderful, from its relaxed charm to its vibrant, welcoming spirit. 

Walking in on a Sunday afternoon, we found Annie painting the finishing touches on one of her 49 Mile Scenic Drive pieces to the sounds of Death Cab for Cutie and José Gonzáles playing softly in the background. Eric greeted us with a huge smile, excited to show us the linocut he'd spent the afternoon carving. After offering us a beer, Eric and Annie gave us a tour of the studio, a printmaking demo (we ended up taking home this incredible Golden Gate bridge print), and shared more of their story with us. As it turns out, Annie and Eric are up to a whole lot more than the California bear prints--and are even cooler than I imagined! 

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PRINT GIVEAWAY

Eric and Annie were kind enough to gift one of their famous California bear prints to a lucky GSG reader. In the comment section below, leave a one-sentence comment sharing your favorite place in California and why. The reader with our favorite comment will win this 8x10 "I Love You California" bear print, the original for which Annie had just finished painting when we first stopped in. Share this opportunity with your friends and don't miss out on a chance to make this little bear yours!

A Cal Golden Bear herself, Annie is the resident painter at 3 Fish. I was surprised to learn that all of Annie's prints begin as original paintings, from which she later creates high-resolution prints for resale. In addition to the California bear series, Annie also commemorates the ubiquitous 49 Mile Scenic Ride sign and pays homage to their Outer Sunset location through her paintings. As it turns out, Annie and Eric are both California transplants. Though Annie was born and raised in Ireland and Eric grew up in Western Michigan, they both think of San Francisco as their home and one of their biggest inspirations.

A Cal Golden Bear herself, Annie is the resident painter at 3 Fish. I was surprised to learn that all of Annie's prints begin as original paintings, from which she later creates high-resolution prints for resale. In addition to the California bear series, Annie also commemorates the ubiquitous 49 Mile Scenic Ride sign and pays homage to their Outer Sunset location through her paintings. As it turns out, Annie and Eric are both California transplants. Though Annie was born and raised in Ireland and Eric grew up in Western Michigan, they both think of San Francisco as their home and one of their biggest inspirations.

Fun fact: The beloved bear in Annie's California bear series was inspired by an image she spotted on a 1913 sheet music cover for the song "I Love You California." Though the bear remains loyal to California, you can occasionally spot him loving on other states (and  abroad cities), too. 

Fun fact: The beloved bear in Annie's California bear series was inspired by an image she spotted on a 1913 sheet music cover for the song "I Love You California." Though the bear remains loyal to California, you can occasionally spot him loving on other states (and  abroad cities), too. 

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Eric is the resident printmaker at 3 Fish. Eric's prints begin as "cartoons," or sketches of images, which eventually get transferred over to a linoleum sheet using graphite tracing paper. Eric meticulously carves out his sketches with a sharp tool, creating what appears to be a large, flexible stamp (more accurately referred to as a linocut). He coats the linocut with ink, lines it up on a sheet of paper (or vintage map or whatever beautiful thing he uses as his background), and cranks it through a large etching press, sometimes incorporating different colors of ink with each pass through the press. The result is a one-of-a-kind print with a level of detail and depth that can only be described as astounding.

Eric is the resident printmaker at 3 Fish. Eric's prints begin as "cartoons," or sketches of images, which eventually get transferred over to a linoleum sheet using graphite tracing paper. Eric meticulously carves out his sketches with a sharp tool, creating what appears to be a large, flexible stamp (more accurately referred to as a linocut). He coats the linocut with ink, lines it up on a sheet of paper (or vintage map or whatever beautiful thing he uses as his background), and cranks it through a large etching press, sometimes incorporating different colors of ink with each pass through the press. The result is a one-of-a-kind print with a level of detail and depth that can only be described as astounding.

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In addition to celebrating California landmarks and milestones through his prints, Eric also creates more quirky prints that showcase his infectiously fun spirit. When we last stopped in, Eric had just finished creating a 3 ft. x 3 ft. print featuring King Gidorrah, Godzilla's vicious counterpart, which he created for the Roadworks Steamroller Printmaking Festival in Potrero Hill (check out a video of the bizarre process here). From post-modern chairs to robots to one of the most beautiful depictions of Yosemite Valley I've ever seen, Eric's prints have an uncanny ability to transport you to a happy, inspired place in just seconds.

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We hung out with Annie and Eric until they closed up shop, and we probably could've stayed all night if they'd let us (they're so nice, perhaps they would've). Be sure to stop by 3 Fish Studios as soon as you can and do clear you calendar when you go--you won't want to leave. 

Music Monday: Janelle Monáe's "The Electric Lady"

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Janelle Monáe is one of my favorite ladies in the game right now.  I've been a fan of her unapologetic female swagger since she came on the scene in 2007, and over time, she appears to have only gotten better and cooler. Where songs on her last album, "The ArchAndroid," lacked sticking power, "The Electric Lady" offers funky, R&B sounds that simply won't quit. When I'm able to listen to music, I'm listening to this album. When I can't, I'm singing it in my head. Featuring fierce collaborations with Erykah Badu, Prince, Miguel, and Solange and an overall magnetic sound, consider "The Electric Lady" your go-to soundtrack for work and play. Check out my favorites below and be sure to listen to "The Electric Lady" in its entirety.