I didn’t set out to be an artist. I started making things and it brought me joy, and I saw that the things I made brought other people joy, too.
The modern world can be so full of uninspiring places meant for people to pass through quickly on their way to somewhere else. So much of the world is hurrying to this other time and place, but how often do we arrive there?
My purpose is to create something to slow down and enjoy, while life is happening. We are hardwired as humans to appreciate the beauty in living systems, in harmonic ratios, and in the form of things that function elegantly.
The world needs all forms of art. The kind I make is designed to inspire a feeling of being at home. That wherever someone is going and whatever else they have to do in a day, for a moment, they can feel they have fully arrived.
Cjay Roughgarden is an artist and architectural metal fabricator based out of Oakland CA. She works in steel, stainless, aluminum, brass and bronze. Incorporating elements of movement, fire and light, her work seeks to engage with the environment.
Her specialty is collaboration, and she works closely with clients, architects, stakeholders and other artists on site-specific static and interactive installations. As an artist, Cjay’s work is meant to be a relief from the tedium so much of the modern world has replicated everywhere.
Her belief is that art should be an integrated part of everyone’s life, and that the objects we see and interact with have a profound affect on our happiness, well being, and social experiences. Her work aims to be elegant, playful, and create a space for interaction.
Transplanted from the East Coast shortly after college in 2007, Cjay has been in the Bay Area for all of her artistic life. Having a mediocre career in the non-profit world for much of her early adulthood, she fell into the trades after volunteering on a large art project in 2015, and welding for the first time.
With this new inspiration, she dropped out of a graduate MBA program the day before it started, and soon after began working part time as a welder and fabricator. The process of gaining skills took an intense amount of time in apprenticeship and practice over the following years.
Now, with a shop in Richmond at Seaport Studios, she produces artworks and architectural installations of her own design as well as those by other artists and architects. Her business, Element 26 is equipped for medium scale art and architectural metal works, and she draws on a team of engineers, 3d modelers, finishers and skilled laborers as needed for each unique project, while still doing the majority of fabrication work herself.
She credits the Oakland artist community for their wild creativity and inspiration to redefine art outside of the confines of museums and galleries and into a place of direct physical experience.
She hopes to do more public artworks in the future to increase the accessibility of beauty to all people in a city, and to create landmark and destination experiences.