In Ari Bird’s World, Oddly Satisfying Everyday Objects Become Oversized Art

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

Artist crouches and smiles inside a giant ziploc baggie installation. text overlay reads: "Ari Bird, featured artist of the week"
Installation of Ari Bird's solo show 'BAGGIES' at Crisis Club Gallery in 2022. (Photo by Lise Silva)

Imagine your everyday household objects: an abandoned crusty tube sock, a single earring, the bread clip that holds a bag together. For Oakland and San Diego-based visual artist Ari Bird, these banal items are the inspiration for the creation of large gradient paintings, sculptures and installations.

Throughout her life, Bird has accumulated, made and organized objects as an evolution of self-expression. “I started drawing, learned printmaking/bookbinding/zine making, shifted to painting, which led to sculptures,” says the artist, “which eventually caused me to want to create ‘environments’ of all my objects.”

She’s inspired by objects that are oddly satisfying, like the wonky graphics on a fruit-packing box, the texture of the perfectly packaged dollar-store toy, or notes and doodles scrawled on a piece of paper by a kid and then abandoned. “My expression is tactile and somatic,” says the artist. “I tend to process my surroundings, emotions and behaviors in my body first. Before intellectualizing or visualizing things, I have the impulse to act or do.”

Image of giant white tube sock with shorter artist standing behind it
Ari Bird, 'Crusty Tube Sock,' 2022; fabric, dye. (Courtesy of the artist)

Bird also works as restoration painter at Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland, and she’s started fabricating props for music videos, fashion shoots and drag shows.

As for her artistic worldview? Bird channels Lebanese-Canadian designer, writer and activist Céline Vernon who says, “Everything you make returns to the earth as food or poison.”


“I think about this not only in terms of climate justice,” says Bird, “but also in terms of the many linking modes of oppression from macro to micro. By making objects that encourage myself and any viewer to question so-called norms, I hope to return more food rather than poison to the earth and my community.”

Ari Bird’s solo installation ‘BAGGIES’ is on view at Crisis Club Gallery in Oakland through early August. She’s also in a four-person show at Rolodex Gallery in Berkeley, on view through June 25. To see more work, visit her Instagram or her website.