Living the artistic life

Live/work spaces always look romantic to me.   Just the name conjures up so many old movies where people turned industrial space into very cool living quarters.  We’d all (not all?  Most?  Some?  Maybe just me?) like to live in an atelier, creating great works of art while enjoying the superheated intellectual life of the urban artist.  Sunday, Gail and I got to see the San Francisco version of that life.

We went to a party at the live/work space of Zannah Noe, in an area near Potrero Hill known colloquially as Dogpatch, at roughly 20th Ave and Tennessee.  Zannah is a painter, as well as a professional cook, who splits her time between the City, Santa Fe, NM and the East Coast.  She’s also gorgeous, but that’s just a side benefit.

Zannah in the loft area, where she sleeps surrounded by art.

Looking out from the loft across the living space to the 2nd loft she just built.


The entire space isn’t very large, which is why she built the second loft space.  It works well for an oil painter, who doesn’t need a particularly large studio.

Looking down on the living area.

Lofts tend to have small efficiency kitchens. Artists tend to decorate them well.

Zannah and Gail leaning over the loft railing. Mike on the stairs.

Steep stairs save space.

The studio, and a commission she is working on.

Everyone needs a computer center.


It was pouring rain, and the dog had to go out.  Strangely, this dog doesn’t like rain, so they bundle him up in a rain coat and a sweater for his very long neck.

 Diesel the rescue greyhound dressed for the rain. Having a dog seems to be a prerequisite to being an artist.


We were there for a party–Zannah is leaving for 2 months in Santa Fe, and then a protracted road trip on the East Coast, and wanted to say goodbye to all her friends.  People kept arriving, carrying food and kids and dogs.  A work crew was mounting a box atop Zannah’s van (a 1983 relic named “Foxy Brown”) so that more stuff could be crammed in.  Music was playing. There was no football game, because there was  no television. The hallway outside was stacked with items to be discarded unless somebody wanted them–Art in America magazines, an old computer, a DVD player.

There is a myth that artists sit around and discuss philosophy and the meaning of art and life.  Ain’t so.  Artists discuss galleries and contracts and the methods and materials of their art.   They talk about the best schools for their kids and where real estate at prices are going. They don’t have to argue politics, since they are almost uniformly of the very liberal persuasion, but then this is in San Francisco so that’s no surprise.

Gail and I agree that it would be lovely to have such a place as a pied à terre, to spend weekends in the City visiting galleries and museums and theater.  It just wouldn’t be $600,000  (or more) worth of lovely.  But it sure was a great way to spend the afternoon.


2 thoughts on “Living the artistic life

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