ICE Gallery is back!

“I’m back, baby! I’m back!” – George Costanza


First of all I’d like to thank all of those that contributed financially and otherwise to help the new ICE Gallery become a reality. Sincerely, I appreciate it so much!


(In no particular order. You’re all important.)

Joan & Reuben Baron

Edith Baumann

Jack Brogan

Amanda Durbin

Christina Hendershaw

Harmony Murphy

Jeannie Armstrong

Liane Armstrong

Jenna Siman

Juan Villescas

Kinsee Morlan

Seth combs

Mathew Simms

Jon Hall

Pamela Putian

Paul Roberts

Bob Metheny

Nick O’dell

Philipp Scholz Ritterman

Sarah Trujillo

Robert Irwin

Jim Brown

Isabel Dutra

Jason Lane

Tom Driscoll

Joseph Huppert

Lee Lavy

Thomas DeMello


I hope I didn’t leave anyone out.


In early 2013 Jim Brown offered the recently evicted ICE Gallery a chance to continue in a new space. A few months later work began on a little 400 sq ft corner of Bread & Salt that would eventually end up taking a year to complete. If I had known how much time, physical work, and most of all, money that it would take to complete the new space I doubt I would’ve taken it on. Hell, I could’ve (should’ve?) spent all that effort and money on making my own work instead of a space to show other people (of course I’ll show there as well, but still). Hey, the opportunity for a cheap space was handed to me out of the blue. In a town as expensive as San Diego that’s a hard thing to pass up.


Anyway, if you want to see the build out progression in a ton of photos go HERE. If you don’t feel like going through all of that, here are some before and after highlights.

This was the space in June of 2013




Obviously the first thing to do was clean it up.



After the initial cleanup, the first major job was getting rid of that uneven concrete slab. It took 3 guys an entire day to break up and haul away 200 sq ft of concrete due to the slab being double thick. There was an additional slab underneath the top layer which was probably about 100 years old.



Then it was onto framing



Next was skinning the inside walls with plywood and then drywall. Having plywood behind the drywall is helpful for hanging heavy objects on the walls. No need to find studs.



I also added this message behind one of the walls before I sealed it up.


Jim Brown had all the windows at the front of the building re-glazed.



Half of the ceiling had to be ripped off due to water damage. That was probably the worst job out of everything. Decades old moldy plaster and dust raining down on me for 2 days. While I was up there I framed out that square hole you see below, which was previously used for an exhaust fan, in order to turn it into a skylight.



Ok, the big construction was done so it was time to mud the drywall. There was only two jobs that I paid someone else to do for me. First was the concrete, because you’re better off with pros for that job. The second was mudding and sanding the drywall which is probably one of the worst construction jobs ever. I was more than happy to pay someone to do it for me. That guy was in there for four days mudding a ceiling and 16′ walls, plus putting 3 layers of skim coat on 2 of the walls. (By the way, if you need a good contractor, this guy and his brothers are cheap, fast, and trustworthy. I’ve worked with them many times and they’re great. Let me know and I’ll put you in touch)



On to painting.



Of course there were a ton of other little things that i didn’t really document, but you get the idea. One thing that really transformed the space was adding the skylight. The roof is pitched facing north, so the frosted glass really lets a lot of light into the room.  It made a huge difference.



Oh, the last major addition was track lighting. Since the space will only be accessible for opening and closing receptions, most of the time the exhibitions will only be viewable from the front windows. So having the lights on all night for passers by to see in is imperative.



That pretty much brings us up to present day.



ice stitch 2


Again, if you want to see more shots of the transformation click HERE.

There’s still a few little things to do here and there but they’ll have to wait. What’s funny is that even after all that work, all I’m left with is an empty room. Time to fill it. There’s already some great artists lined up for the rest of the year. Much thanks to my old pal Thomas DeMello for all the help.










Bread & Salt Open House

Back in December of 2013 Bread & Salt, the new home of ICE Gallery, had an open house to show off all the hard work that had been done in the building over the past year. ICE had just barely finished putting up drywall and was in no shape to put on a proper exhibition. However, I decided there should at least be something within the newly demarcated corner space. The end result was a sort of found object installation which utilized the old rusted bread racks from the previous tenant of the building. It was only viewable for one night, so thank goodness my pal Philipp Scholz Rittermann got some great photos of it before all the paper was ripped off and the racks went away to a scrap metal grave.


“Paper and Steel”, 2013, steel bread racks, tracing paper, glassine, custom steel light fixture

More photos HERE


On another note, the new ICE Gallery will hopefully be having it’s first exhibition the beginning of July 2014 (fingers crossed).  Details coming soon.






Bread and Salt Exhibition Photos

In our last update we told about a new opportunity we’d been given.  Well, here are the photos that show the results of that opportunity.

Four artists, 40,000 square feet, four installations.

Michael James Armstrong












Thomas DeMello











Joseph Huppert













Lee Lavy













To view A LOT more FULL SIZE photos click below to go to Michael’s Flickr page:


ICE inside Bread & Salt


Ya know, just when it seems as though no one’s paying attention to you, along comes an opportunity out of the blue.  Two months ago none of us knew anything about Jim Brown and his architecture firm, Public, or his newly acquired huge project, Bread & Salt.  The latter being a 40,000 square foot building built in the early 20th century which was, until recently, a Weber bakery.  Jim had apparently been silently paying attention to ICE Gallery and, just when we were about to be evicted from our space in North Park, offered us a spot at Bread & Salt!  Wow, we’re so appreciative for the offer and the opportunity.  Our new space will be much smaller, but it has a lot of potential and we’re extremely excited to get to work on it.

bread & salt window

Not only were we offered a new space in a small corner of Bread & Salt, we were also given the opportunity to tackle the entire 40,000 sq ft building.  The building is more or less still in it’s raw Weber bakery state, minus most of the heavy machinery.  There’s a ton of work to do before the building is ready to be inhabited by it’s future art and design tenants.  Perfect!  That’s just the kind of space we hope for.  It’s the kind of thing we’ve been talking about for the last few years (“Wouldn’t it be great to be offered an interesting space where you’re able to create anything you want?”) and now we’ve been given a shot.

bread & salt oven

The four of us have staked out our individual spaces throughout the building and are in the process of installing what is shaping up to be a very solid and diverse exhibition.  We hope you’ll come join us and see it for yourself on Friday, February 8th, from 6-9.  This one is a big deal for us and we’re anxious to show you the work plus the unique building that we’ll soon be a part of.

Thanks Jim and Isabel!

PS – check out this nice write up for the show in San Diego CityBeat

Our last show: Tom Driscoll

Tom Driscoll opening

We couldn’t have been more pleased with our last show at ICE Gallery.  It was such a pleasure to work with our good friend Tom Driscoll, and he didn’t disappoint with his final results.  We gave Tom free reign to show any work he wanted and to do anything he saw fit with the space.   Initially he asked us what kind of show/work we wanted to see from him.  Our response was to tell him “it doesn’t matter what we want.  You just do the exact show that you want to see, and we’ll help you realize it”.

dirty wet gallery

The photo above is what the gallery looked like about 2 weeks before the opening.  The space had been a disaster for so many months, it felt good to get it all cleaned up and ready for install one last time.

2 foam sculptures

Tom’s idea for an “all foam show”, along with his decisions on how to show the work was just the kind of unique approach we love about Tom and his work.  Just about every piece was made specifically for the show and a couple pieces were made specifically with the space in mind.

Philipp shooting Toms work

We had the best turn out to date at the opening and everyone seemed to really enjoy the work.  In fact our good friend Philipp Scholz Rittermann was so excited by the show that he offered to shoot it for Tom.  The shots came out great!  Check them out full screen in the slideshow below.

Tom Driscoll Opening – ICE Gallery Closing

Tom Driscoll Ice Gallery

Local sculptor Tom Driscoll has supported ICE Gallery since the beginning and we are very excited to return the favor.  We are extremely proud and honored to have Tom’s work be a part of our last exhibition.  We hope you will attend.  Friday, December 7th, 6pm – 9pm.


Here are some examples of Tom’s work.

ICE is officially dead. One last hoorah!

Photo by Kinsee Morlan

The reason we never fixed the roof:
Once all of our donations were collected the next step was to contact the property management and talk to them about drafting a new lease agreement.  We wanted it in writing that if we spent the time and money to fix the roof that they wouldn’t raise our rent or evict us prematurely.  We never got the opportunity to talk to the property manager.  He dodged us for weeks.  Weeks turned into months.  We had been trying since spring to get a hold of the guy.  We just recently gave up.

What killed ICE?  What now?:
We got information a couple weeks ago that a local architect was buying the property, the whole block in fact, and had plans to demolish the building in order to build new housing and shopping.  We found this out not from the owner of our building but through mutual friends of the architect.  We still had yet to hear from the owner.  Through yet another friend who used to work for the architect we found out that the plans for demo weren’t going to be implemented for at least a few months.  So we scrapped all plans to fix the building (obviously) and decided we’d temporarily patch the roof and try to have at least a couple more shows before it all ended.   We finally heard from the owner this week.  Our eviction notice came via their lawyers.  We have to be out by January 1st.

The good news:
As far as ICE goes, well, it’s dead.  If there’s no old ice factory then what’s the point in calling it ICE Gallery?  However, the ICE gang has been offered a new space in a very interesting art and design building that will open next year.  We’re so excited!  So plan on seeing more activity from us in the months to come.  We’ll keep you in the loop as more details are solidified.   In addition, we’re planning on having one more opening before January 1st.  We’re very happy that our good friend Tom Driscoll is planning on doing a site specific installation before fate deals it’s final blow.

Barring any further unforeseen circumstances, the opening for Tom Driscoll’s show will be Friday December 7th – details to come.  We can’t wait to see what Tom comes up with!

We are so very grateful to everyone that came out to the openings and to all who showed interest in what we do.

A special thanks to those who donated to the “Save ICE Gallery” fund earlier this year:

Philipp Scholz Ritterman, Pamela Putian, Edith Baumann, Joan & Reuben Baron, Amanda Durbin, Mathew Simms, Harmony Murphy, Naomi Tarle, Marissa Feliciano, DJ Mane One, Jenna Jacobs, Juan Villescas, Paul Roberts, Kinsee Morlan, Ben Strauss-Malcolm, Christina Hendershaw, Therese James Chung, Jeannie Armstrong, Sarah Trujillo-Porter, Alex Calderon, Jon Hall, Seth Combs, Mara De Luca

If we somehow forgot your name (we hope not!), let us know.


Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere.  We’ve got big plans for 2013. ;)

New work by Joseph Huppert at Quint Gallery

One of the ICE gang, Joseph Huppert, will have new work in a group show at Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla.  Opening Reception is Saturday, June 2nd, from 6pm – 8pm.  If you can’t make it to the opening, the show will be up until July 14th.


We’d show you a picture of his elegant cut-drawings, but the work is nearly impossible to capture in photographs.  Just come and see them yourself, It’s worth it.

So, what the hell is going on with ICE?

Well, we’re still gearing up to replace the roof but it’s been a slow process.  Our fundraiser late last year was just short of being a failure.  However, thanks to 23 very gracious individuals, we did obtain about $2700 which we are still sitting on.  The next step is to find a roofer/contractor who can give us some free step by step advice on how to do the job ourselves (anybody know one?).  We don’t even know if it’s going to be possible with only $3000, but what other choice is there?  Such is life.  We’re still going to try our hardest.

On a brighter note, when we do finally get ICE back on it’s feet (hopefully by the fall) one of our first orders of business will be to have an exhibition with local artist Tom Driscoll.

In the past, ICE has been solely at the disposal of the 4 guys involved (and we’re still not going to be taking submissions or anything like that) – but when our buddy Tom Driscoll invited us to see his studio, we were all so impressed that we knew we wanted to show his work (he also got extra points for being the only local artist to come to every opening at ICE, usually accompanied by another great San Diego artist, Richard Allen Morris).  Tom is a highly under appreciated artist that has been making art in San Diego for many years (he even used to have a studio right across the street from ICE!)  We know Tom will do something great with our space, but until that time please enjoy some photos we took during our visit to Toms studio (the slideshow can be viewed full screen):