If I had to name one person from whom I learned the most, it would have to be … Sandra.  She was a teacher, but also one of the few in our circle who made her living almost wholly from her art.  While she frequently joined my coterie of friends, particularly Bill and Ken, on photo shoots and gallery haunts and discussions late into the night and almost always had a camera at hand, that tool was only a beginning point for most of her work.  With a work ethic unmatched by anyone I had ever observed, Sandra produced paintings, graphic pasteup designs, fabric pieces, silkscreen, weavings, book design, sculpture, wood working, and on and on.  Always searching for new materials and new techniques, she would even talk her way into teaching assignments and positions to allow her to learn a new medium or tool or discipline, working feverishly to stay ahead of her students as they learned together.

Sandra seemed to work in her studio for about two weeks a month, then devoted the next two weeks to shopping her portfolio, visiting art directors and just plain hustling work.  And teaching in the evenings.   If I recall correctly, her most lucrative work came from designing record album covers (and through her I met some recording industry art directors and photographers).  Sandra was very much connected to what we thought of as the West Coast photography and art scene — think Todd Walker, Leland Rice, Robert Heinecken, Jerry McMillan, et. al.   And of course, Edmund Teske, about whom I write elsewhere.  She used to let me use her darkroom when mine was unavailable or inappropriate, and was always constructively judgmental and supportive.  And I will never forget the first time I stepped inside her small studio and saw on a bulletin board next to the door a postcard to her from Robert Frank.

As an aside, it was always a special pleasure to receive mail, regular postal mail in those days, from Sandra (especially when I was in my frequent Government assignment travel mode).  She was one of those people who adorned her envelopes and packages with her own drawings, symbols, verbiage, whatever.  She often would affix a photograph to the backside of an envelope or even on the front, providing the postal people with a delightful  visual representation of the addressee.  These containers were wonderful pieces of art in themselves.  She often used this methodology to grab the attention of creative directors and others who were receiving her mailed portfolios or solicitations.  I know of at least one Hollywood art director who finally invited her for an interview and presentation after she sent a daily succession of art-enscribed enveloped messages.  The pre-social media days …

A few photos from around 1972-73:


April 1972