Saturday, August 15, 2015

James and Brennan Hubbell “Together” – Sparks Gallery

by Melinda Resende
August 1 to September 22, 2015
Sparks Gallery530 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
(Between Island and Market)
More info:
Sonya Sparks
Sparks Gallery installation

When I heard about James Hubbell and his son, Brennan Hubbell, making an appearance at one of my favorite galleries, I was overjoyed! I could not wait for the evening at Sparks Gallery to meet both artists.  It is so rare to find one of the most established living artist in attendance for a reception.  To have two artists (father and son) is even more spectacular!

I have had a fascination with James Hubbell’s architecture and works of art since my college years in the Art Department at San Diego State. His works of art range from sculpted concrete to use of iron or metal, to beautiful stained glass, incredible wood carvings, vibrant mosaic, mesmerizing patterned brickwork and stone. 

James Hubbell is known for creating art and architecture from natural materials that provide not only shelter but inspiration and for those who want to live in peace with nature. Brennan also focuses on creating his art based on nature.

As I walked in through the entry way of the beautiful historic building that was recently newly restored with tender loving care, I said my greetings to the gracious young lady and director of the gallery, Sonya Sparks.  I wandered towards the left of the gallery where I was to find a nice size collection of both James and Brennan Hubbell’s work.

One of the things I love about these pieces is how each one creates whimsical formations.  I enjoy the combination of nature with the subtle sense of the Renaissance period. Maybe that is because of the use of forged iron on wood, granite and stone bases.  I also find there is a feeling of organic life being formed. Each piece has some sort of story to tell to me of peace, harmony and of enchantment.  They are all different but united in ways they are difficult to describe. I simply enjoy being surrounded by these beautiful unique works of art.   

Throughout the reception, James Hubbell was approached by a variety of kind and loving fans and collectors.  Finally, Hubbell senior was free and here was my chance! What a delightful man with whom to speak.  I was on cloud 9!  After a few minutes of conversing and taking a photo (photo came out too dark- drats!), I was able to find a moment with Brennan.  He was equally delightful and very interesting. He started creating art at a very young age and actually helped build Ilan-Lael which is the art and nature center (home to his parents Anne and James Hubbell and Hubbell Studios and the Ilan-Lael Foundation). 

I have had the pleasure of seeing James Hubbell’s architecture and sculpture within our own beautiful city.  Not only can one view Hubbell’s own intricately designed home in Santa Ysabel through special tours arranged by Ilan-Lael Foundation,  one can also find an incredibly large architectural sculpture at the foot of Shelter Island in Point Loma.  In addition, his art can be seen in schools, nature centers museums, monasteries and parks around the world.

To be able to have this very rare opportunity to see Hubbell father and son work at a local gallery is not something to miss. If you have a chance, please visit Sparks Gallery in the Gaslamp Quarters of downtown.  They are open Monday through Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

James Hubbell TWO IN ONE, Corian on Acrylic Base

James Hubbell DREAM LADDER, Forged Iron

James Hubbell APOLLO’S SONG, Forged Iron, Brass on Acrylic and Wood Base

Brennan Hubbell RAIN, Mixed Media

Brennan Hubbell ANABATIC WIND, Mixed Media
PS. To see work by both James and Brennan Hubbell as recipients of the SD Art Prize link to the Athenaeum exhibition for these artists. It is very satisfying to see Brennan Hubbell's work go from strength to strength as he takes on the mantle of his father's life long work.


  1. Beautifully written article about an amazing artist!

  2. Excellent article! A "must-see" at an awesome studio.

  3. its great to see these images. Brennan Hubbell's work is of particular interest to me and I would love to see more written about him and his approach to creating art!!