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Building Strong Bonds Through Art at SFAI

Art connects us: It is the richest of human conversations, and the way ideas and emotions are made tangible and move from one head or heart to another. Art opens our eyes and challenges the status quo: It explores the edges, asks deep questions, and reveals what is possible. Art is the place where we make our future.

Sparks were flyin', and it's not just from the Welding Studio!

In the spirit of this year's Valentine’s Day, alumni shared their stories of finding love and meaningful connections in their lives during their studies at SFAI. From finding connections abroad to local parties and shared classes, our alumni have found strong and lasting connections. Here are some of their stories:


Kristín María Ingimarsdóttir (Stína Maja) + Jóhannes Eyfjörð (Jói)

When I came back to SFAI in 1986 after a semester on independent study, traveling around Europe with my dear friend Arngunnur Ýr, I ran into a new student from Iceland, Jóhannes Eyfjörð, called Jói. He had started at SFAI in the sculpture department while Arngunnur and I were away. We first met in the hall where the mailboxes and the pay-phones used to be, right in front of Studio 8. I could not resist this handsome guy and a few weeks later, on Valentine’s day party, we started going out. Within a year we got married and lived in San Francisco until 1994 when we moved back to Iceland. We are still married and have three wonderful kids.

In 2012 we spent the summer in San Francisco and of course, we took our kids to SFAI and showed them where we first ran into one another. So that Valentine’s day party was definitely a memorable party and the party is still going on.


Larry Andrews (BFA 1987) + Arngunnur Yr

When we got back to San Francisco we needed a place to live and convinced this nice guy on Green Street to rent to the two of us, although in his ad he had posted that he wanted only one, and emphatically so, ONE tenant and male… we promised that we would be most excellent tenants and besides we would hardly ever be home and he would not even notice that we were there. Well, things were about to change. When I got back to the Art Institute at the beginning of the spring semester of ‘86 my friends kept telling me about this handsome new guy from DC, stating that they are sure that “I am going to get him“. I remember thinking that was quite funny and wondering why, if they thought he was so cute why they didn’t go after him. But it turned out they were right after all. My first encounter with Larry was when we met in the photo lab where he was a monitor and he handed me the photo developing equipment I had requested. He reached out his hand and we realized we had the same golden nail polish on! So we figured this was meant to be. 

On Valentine’s Day, there was a big party at school and we had a pre-party in our new apartment. I had been to a thrift store and was wearing a 60’s nylon pantsuit extravaganza with a fake blonde wig down to my waist. And that’s how I went to the party and met Larry there. We had a wild and fun night, which ended with friends, including Stína and Jói, at the Stud. 34 years later we have two kids, Daria Sól, 26 and Dyami Rafn 23, who are amazing and wonderful, fluent in both languages and equally at home in both countries.


Conrad + Willis Meyers

Willis and I were both class of MFA 2008 in Sculpture. In our second year, we collaborated on a Diego Rivera Gallery exhibition (photo above) and sparks flew in the welding shop and beyond. By the time we graduated, both of us knew that we had found lifelong collaborators. 

In 2010, we found a derelict warehouse in West Oakland that we rented and eventually began to build out to fit the mutual vision of a sculpture shop and gallery. In the 9 years since Aggregate Space Gallery was founded, it has become a nationally recognized and Bay Area renown exhibition space in support of a diverse slate of installation and new media artists. In mid-2019, we were displaced from that space and set about finding a new home for our nonprofit. In February 2020 after months of satellite programming (including the Jefferson Pinder show at SFAI), we launched our first exhibition in the new Aggregate Space Gallery at 1255 26th St. in Oakland, 10 blocks from where we were founded. We are still working together on a daily basis and although now we spend more time planning fundraisers (like the huge gala for ASG on March 20th), then we spend making sculptures together, the wonderful collaboration is ongoing.


Share your story with the SFAI Alumni Facebook Group. We hope all of our alums had a Happy Valentines Day!

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