d’Arci Bruno New Kid on the Block


     There are certain artists who are so integral to an art scene that it is difficult to imagine it without them. d’Arci Bruno is one of them. A painter and mixed-media artist, she is also the director of K Gallery at Rhythmix Cultural Works at 2513 Blanding Ave., oversees the center’s events and is the flamboyant co-host of RCW’s second Thursday bingo night. Hasn’t she always been here? In fact she moved to Alameda less than three years ago when she was hired by RCW artistic director Janet Koike, lured away from San Francisco where she had lived for nearly 30 years.
     Bruno is best known for paintings of subjects with huge, mismatched eyes and warped features, capturing irony, pain and awkwardness. She explains, “That’s kind of how I see the world. People with one eye big, one eye little. It’s because people have an inside and they have an outside, and you can’t always tell what’s inside by the outside. And sometimes it’s very different.”
     Although her style is recognizable, it is evolving. “I’m getting into more narrative, and more just purely enjoying the paint,” she says. “You start to really know your medium, and you start to know yourself, and you start to get into the poetry and the soul of who you are and what is coming out. And I think I’m starting to enter that phase, where I’m not trying to impress anyone. I’m just having sort of a love affair with my own brain and my medium.”
     Whether nervous or evasive, some of her subjects avoid eye contact, but most stare you down with a piercing gaze. Bruno is not sure why, but theorizes that it is because as a child she, “went to many, many new schools, moved a lot, was bounced around quite a bit. And when you’re the new kid, everyone’s looking at you … I think that’s how I
process that sort of terror over being the new kid. That whole brave thing that you have to do. ... It’s like jumping into a pool. You just close your eyes, you plug your nose, you stick your hand out, you smile, and you say, ‘Hi. My name’s d’Arci Bruno.’ ”

See the artist’s work at

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