Definitional Painter Sophia Green. Photo by Mary Gow.

San Francisco Painter, Sophia Green. Photo by Mary Gow.

Her keen observations and agility with words were cultivated at an early age.

Sophia Green grew up in Massachusetts. Her parents had many friends who were writers, painters, and musicians. “In our household the arts were considered a legitimate career,” she said.

It was a close family friend and accomplished painter, Marilyn Powers, who gave her a formal introduction to creating Art. “One day she took me upstairs to her studio, set-up a small still life with a Mexican ceramic angel and instructed me to ‘paint what you see.’ I was nine years old. By the end of the afternoon I was hooked.”

To complete the lesson Powers handed her a book of Paul Cezanne’s paintings and said, “Study this and you will learn to see.” She still has the book.

When she was growing up, her father was an English professor at Boston University and read to her each evening before she went to bed. As soon as she learned to read she started to write.

“I wrote and illustrated an extensive series of storybooks detailing anything and everything going on around me from what I had for breakfast to the tugboats pulling ships through the harbor to my friend’s cat hunting imaginary giraffes. This love of words has never left me.”

Art by Sophia Green who's currently in a show at City Art Gallery. Photo by Mary Gow.

Art by Sophia Green who’s currently in a show at City Art Gallery. Photo by Mary Gow.

Green originally moved to San Francisco to work as a computer game artist and animator. Landing first in SOMA, she was soon forced to move and found a home in Bernal in 1996. She’s been here ever since.

After college she worked as a waitress and saved up enough tips to travel in Europe on the $1 per day plan. “While in Europe I got to see some amazing art and was especially floored by the humongous painting, The Raft of the Medusa by Eugene Delacroix.”

Though she felt awe and admiration for the European classics, “My psyche was more attuned to art movements of the 20th century, particularly Conceptualism,” said Green.

It seems a natural progression that words and their meanings have found their way into her visual work.

She’s working on “a very pragmatic approach using words (with their living, shifting, and malleable meanings), to probe and reflect upon shifting and variable social trends and concerns. It’s a continuation of a project I began last year and included a video installation and group of oil paintings titled, The Surveillance Series. The paintings draw on the current cultural environment of obsessive ‘watching’ and explore ideas of what relentless and pervasive observation means in our day to day lives,” she said.

She calls her current work “Definitional Painting.”

See more of her work at She’s in a group show that opens April 3 at City Art Gallery, 828 Valencia St. in San Francisco.