Meet The Neighbors: Needles & Pens

Author: Rachel Davis

Founded in 2003 by Andrew Martin Scott and Breezy Culbertson, Needles and Pens is a space that is dedicated to showcasing locally as well as internationally made artist’s books, self-published zines, magazines, handmade goods and visual artwork in a gallery setting. They give 50-60% of sales back to the original artist as a way to cultivate a new dialogue between the artistic community and the public.  They recently participated in the 2017 San Francisco Art Book Fair (7/22-24), which featured over 70 publishers, artists and booksellers. 

This creative hub has functioned as a launching off pad for many local artists such as: Auba Auerbach, Monica Canilao, Bill Daniel, Hamburger Eyes, Maria Forde, Jay Nelson, Mat O’Brien, Emily Prince, The Polaroid Kidd, Kyle Ranson, Sara Thustra, and many more…

Stars Above, Snakes Below: a book launch and exhibition by Mark DeLong

Stars Above, Snakes Below: a book launch and exhibition by Mark DeLong

The previous show, titled “Three Way Ticket,” is on View through July 31st. It features two international artists and one local artist based in SF. All artists work in different categories: figurative painting with traditional oil painting influence, figurative painting with illustrative influence and figurative painting with art brut influence.

In addition to showcasing artwork, merchandise and zines, they also function as a platform for other events such as readings by authors, musical performances, poetry readings and talks. They remain a crucial space in the San Francisco art scene for providing a creative outlet and space for many different types of expressions and dialogue. Although they reside in the mission district, Needles and Pens have collaborated and created relationships with other local arts organizations to host events such as Luggage Store Gallery, which in located on Market Street in the Tenderloin area.

They also have a sister store in Los Angeles called & Pens Press, which Scott started after running the SF space for 10 years. & Pens is a bookshop and publisher with an emphasis in art, design and small press publications. There are three different locations:  Eightfold Coffee on Sunset Blvd, Kaldi Coffee on Glendale Blvd and Unis on S. La Brea.

Initially Scott and his partner found the Mission storefront back in 2002 as a place to live and overtime decided to turn it into an art space.  Within a year they established a clear mission for the gallery and retail space. Over the last 14 years they’ve hosted over 100 exhibitions including several abroad in England and Sweden. This influx of creative exchange both locally and internationally is something that not only sets Needles and Pens apart, but is also a testament to their growth and progression.  

Scott and his partner Breezy Culbertson at original location on 14th street in 2003

Scott and his partner Breezy Culbertson at original location on 14th street in 2003

Prior to opening Needles and Pens, Scott worked as a graphic designer for the Chicago Reader and the SF Bay Guardian. He also worked as an editor for a punk magazine in 2000, skateboarded, made zines and went out to punk shows. His experiences heavily influenced him to create a space of cultural exchange.

What persists is not a shop of things to purchase, but rather a place to be inspired with a multitude of diverse and eclectic creations that capture an essence and momentum of the creative energy of this city and this time.

Their new show featuring Belgian painter/sculptor trio Atelier Pica Pica and SF based artist Henry Fey opens this Friday 7/28 from 7-10pm, curated by Pablo de Pinho, who runs Art SF Blog.

Find out more about shows and their shop :

on instagram @needlesandpens

or on their website

Noise Pop