Long before our 8th anniversary in 1995 we each had begun our individual art careers. Michael drew cartoon images of Popeye and Donald Duck when he was 5, graduating to WWII images of tanks and soldiers in battle during the long nights before TV. Then a pause before entering the art department at UCLA in 1959, studying painting with Sam Amato, William Brice, Jan Stussy and Paul Wonner, as well as Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff in summer classes. Heady stuff and he stuck around until 1962 working on a Masters of Fine Arts degree (dropping out just before completing to become an interior designer in LA).
Ricia drew and painted from a very young age, starting with paint by number and wood burning kits. There were various classes along the way, in school and with private instructors. She simultaneously studied design, using her own houses as well as clients and friends' for her interest in interior design. She moved to Mendocino, CA in 1975 mainly because it was (and still is) an art community and her devotion to the arts became a full time commitment. She studied at the College of the Redwoods as well as the Mendocino Art Center, developing an abstract sensibility in painting, drawing, collage and printmaking, while also restoring a large Victorian house. Michael left Los Angeles in 1965 to pursue a Masters in Architecture at Cal Berkely where he taught architectural drawing and design as a teaching assistant. He graduated in 1969 and soon after moved to Mendocino to practice building design and construction.
We met in1985 when he came to buy her house, which she had remodeled and decorated. The house came off the market, we married, and that began a collaboration in the field of architecture and interior design that has paralleled our art career to this day, with projects from Los Angeles to San Francisco and of course the Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
But the most exciting part was yet to come. On the previously mentioned 8th anniversary Ricia wanted to spend the day making art together. Michael thought that meant quietly drawing side by side, but Ricia wanted to work on a piece together. It was so magical and fulfilling that since that day we have worked almost exclusively in collaboration, working on the same canvas at the same time. We work in mixed media with a base of acrylic paint, often adding collage materials, particularly recycled cardboard and found objects, finding beauty in the discarded. These materials, plus metal, mirror, old painting tools, etc.find their way into an occasional sculpture as well.
In 1999 we were founding members of Partners Gallery in Little River, CA where we exhibited exclusively for a number of years, subsequently branching out to other galleries in Northern California.
1969 University of California at Berkeley, Masters of Architecture
1963 UCLA, Masters work, Painting
1962 UCLA, BFA
1976 - 1998 Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA
1976 - 1986 College of the Redwoods, Fort Bragg, CA
1960 - 1971 Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA
COLLABORATIVE PAINTING EXHIBITIONS
2014 Eco-Arts Sculpture Walk, Middletown, CA
2013 Eco-Arts Sculpture Walk, Middletown, CA
2013 Glendeven Gallery, Little River, CA - solo show
2012 Eco-Arts Sculpture Walk, Middletown, CA
2011 Partners Gallery, Fort Bragg, CA - two man show "Conversations in Color"
2010 Winesong artist of the year, Fort Bragg CA
2010 Kevin Milligan Gallery, Danville, CA - Juried show
2009 Partners Gallery, Fort Bragg, CA - group show
2006 Partners Gallery, Little River, CA - solo show, "Art in Rather Difficult Times"
2004 Partners Gallery, Little River, CA - solo show, "The Two Lane Life"
2003 Partners Gallery, Little River, CA - solo show, "Beginnings"
2002 Partners Gallery, Little River, CA - solo show, "Sept 2002 - One Year Later"
2001 Partners Gallery, Little River, CA - solo show, "Double Vision"
2000 Partners Gallery, Little River, CA - solo show, "Conversations"
2000 Moosse Cafe, Mendocino, CA - group show
1999 Partners Gallery, Little River, CA - group show
1998 Boonville Hotel, Boonville, CA - solo show
1997 Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA - Nat'l Juried Show, "Lifelines"
1996 Boonville Hotel, Boonville, CA - solo show
1995 Winesong, invitational exhibition/auction
1995 Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA - Nat'l Juried Show, "Lifelines"
1995 Props, Fort Bragg, CA - solo show "Collaborative Paintings"
1995 Crown Hall, Mendocino, CA - Artists for AIDS/ACCESS show>
Soda Creek Press, Ukiah, CA
Matanzas Creek Winery, Santa Rosa, CA
Boonville Hotel, Boonville, CA
Scharffenberger Winery, Philo, CA
Dark Horse Winery, Talmadge, CA
Di Rosa Collection, Napa, CA
Fedele and Linda Bauccio
Bill and Sandra McIver
Mike and Mary Schuh
Dr Ken and Jill Roost
Jeff & Karen Bertleson
RELATED ART ACTIVITIES
2005 Set Design for "Henceforward", Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA
1999 Founding members, Partners Gallery, Little River, CA
1998 Set Design for "Death of a Maiden", Mendocino Art Center
1993 Taught Monoprint class, Mendocino Art Center
1993 Set Design for "Speed the Plow", Mendocino Art Center
1987 to now Collaborate as Architect & Interior Designer
Sept 2013 Real Estate Magazine cover story “Colloquies ‘ the extraordinary collaborative art of Ricia Araiza and Michael Leventhal.
Spring 2008 Mendocino Arts Magazine “At Home With Michael Leventhal & Ricia Araiza”
July 1996 OutLook Magazine “The Collaborative Art of Ricia Araiza & Michael Leventhal”