Portrait of Lisa Marasso by Shaun Burner.
Portrait of Lisa Marasso by Shaun Burner.

The mutual support and camaraderie between Sacramento’s artists sets its art community apart from many other urban centers. This camaraderie is celebrated in the fifth iteration of the Sacramento-based group exhibition, If You Do Me, I’ll Do You, currently on view at the Warehouse Artists Lofts Public Market. The premise of this exhibit is collaborative, playful, and a bit challenging: each participating artist was required to randomly select another participating artist to get to know better, and ultimately, depict in a personalized portrait.

The curator of IYDMIDY, Trisha Rhomberg, loves the way this exhibit inspires new relationships within the local art community. “People assume we all know each other, but we don’t,” she says, “My hope has been to spark some new friendships between artists and strengthen the community.” By requiring participating artists to spend quality time together before creating each other’s portraits, this exhibit has not only created new relationships within the community, it has also resulted in a diverse range of artworks, which explore the way artists perceive and gain inspiration from their peers.

While all of the portraits in the exhibit depict likenesses of the subjects, many of the portraits also represent aspects of the subject’s personality or references to their work. Sacramento-based figurative artist, Bekah Wilson, describes the distinct challenges of creating an intimate portrait of a fellow artist. “The challenge of creating a work of art that is not only true to who you are as an artist, but true to the artist you are trying to capture, is difficult in the most interesting and exciting ways,” says Wilson, “It’s like you’re trying to create a visual baby from the two of your personalities, and that baby could be a handsome representation of both parents or a horrendous Frankenstein of a thing.” Manual Fernando Rios’s portrait of Wilson, which presents her as a heroine in a B horror movie poster, combines Wilson’s love of astrology and horror films with Rios’s signature collage sensibility of juxtaposing representational forms with abstract forms and patterns.

Manuel Fernando Rios _Killer Pisces_
‘Killer Pisces’ by Manuel Fernando Rios

While Rios’s portrait of Wilson was inspired by her personality, Waylon Horner’s portrait of Jose DiGregorio, No Way Jose, contains references to DiGregorio’s artwork. Horner illustrated DiGregorio’s well-known geometric forms and prismatic backgrounds, while incorporating the artist’s visage into his own whimsical, cartoon-like environment.

Jose DiGregorio with Waylon Horner's 'No Way Jose.'
Jose DiGregorio with Waylon Horner’s ‘No Way Jose.’

While If You Do Me, I’ll Do You may be appreciated by art lovers far and wide, this exhibit may be especially enjoyable for those within the Sacramento community. Rhomberg emphasizes the unique appeal of this exhibit to local art collectors; “This is a great opportunity to get two-for-one, as the subject and the artist are equally as desirable.” IYDMIDY was originally conceived by Mike Rafter, Olivia Coelho, Tim Tinker and Tony King at the Fool’s Foundation in 2003. It has since been presented at Bows and Arrows and WAL Public Market.

If You Do Me, I’ll Do You is currently on view at the Warehouse Artists Lofts Public Market from August 5 – September 28 at 1104 R Street in Sacramento. For more information, visit shopoldgold.com.
Words: Justina Martino. Photos: Justina Martino and Mark Badovinac.

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