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billick sculpture huntington beach

donna billick dive in


Donna Billick, the "Rock Artist", also creates fabulous bronze and ceramic sculptures as seen in "Dive In" sculpture located at Huntington City Beach near Beach Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway across from the Hilton & Hyatt hotels. "In public art you're generally working with a project that is large enough in size and scale to engage more than one person." - Donna Billick


Donna Billick is a versatile California artist whose themes are often whimsical and fun. Accomplished in many artistic styles and media, this Davis, California-based creator has met commercial success as a public arts contractor whose commissioned works appear around the globe. Sites have included rail stations, libraries, courthouses, city halls and civic municipalities. Her vision is to create expressive surfaces in public places. There are over 600 of these sites around the world but in  California you may recognize her work at: Frank Ogawa Plaza, City Hall Oakland; Huntington Beach City Beach Lifeguard facilities; BART Millbrae Light-Rail Station; San Francisco Airport; Redding's Mayor's Plaza; Turlock Downtown Renovation; Sacramento's New Juvenile Justice Center; Sacramento Zoo, Carol Miller Justice Center and Meadowview Light-Rail Station. Additionally, her work has been shown in countless museum and gallery exhibitions.


Applying a keen interest and training (degree in Genetics) to the various media such as clay, ceramics and bronze, Billick has collaborated in a manner similar to Laguna Beach-based Wyland with public installations utilizing the talents of local students. Nature's Gallery, a UC Davis mosaic mural was featured in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., then transported back to its home where as a collaboration in the Art-Science Fusion Program at the university. Made of 148 ceramic tiles depicting plants and insects found in the Storer Garden in the UC Davis Arboretum, Entomology professor Diane Ullman and artist Donna Billick led the creative effort and paved the way for similar fusion projects that blend nature and science in meaningful ways.

In 2004 and 2005, Artist Donna Billick worked with Huntington Beach youth and local citizens on a commissioned public art project at the beach. The sculpture pictured above, Dive In, and mosaics at the City Beach in Huntington Beach were included in this art project.  Featured at Lifeguard Headquarters and Junior Lifeguard Headquarters, as well as the "Wave Plaza" in between, Junior Lifeguards were tasked to create mini-tile sculptures that could be placed in the walls and steps. The kids chose a variety of colors and shapes, including animals, people, surfers and even a Woodie car. One wall includes mermaid themes, Billick's designs. Ocean and beach scenes were incorporated into the walls and the steps, creating a happy, fun atmosphere.

In addition to her mural featuring mermaids and exotic sea creatures,  Billick says she installed more than 10,000 square feet of panels  created out of clay, using MAPEI  Kerabond/Keralastic mortar. She said she chose the MAPEI product because the mosaic must stand up both to the environmental conditions of the beach and public usage.

Donna Billick sees herself as a conduit for the primordial creative energy of artists who have chosen to work with the materials they could easily unearth: clay and stones. Drawing from a deep understanding of life on an experiential level and in practice, a "web of life" interconnectedness resonates in her life-size figures and terrazzo floors, walls and variety of works large and small.  Archetypal images and flora, fauna and rocks all serve to create and convey messages that dynamic life-forces unveil and evoke emotions of mystery, joy and celebration.

Billick's love of working directly with materials such as ceramics stems from the influence of her teacher and mentor, Beat/Funk ceramic artist Robert Arneson and the Northern California Figurative Movement. With a Master of Fine Arts degree from UC Davis, Billick has studied and worked with other renown sculptors throughout her career, including Manuel Nori, John Buck, Bob Brady, Tom Rippon, Richard Notkin and Deborah Butterfield.  She chose Davis as her home base partially for the arts environment cultivated in both performing arts and visual arts that pervade the city, and because of "incredible artifacts" she finds inspiration from in the Northern California landscape.

Criteria for selection artistic design and creativity and experience with public works projects for heavily-used areas of the beach with its sandy, weather-beaten environment requiring extra strength materials and applications.

Donna Billick accepted the commission to create tile mosaics and sculptures in partnership with Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards. They were assigned to create mini-tile sculptures that could be placed in the walls and steps. Youth in the Junior Lifeguard program chose a variety of shapes and colors including animals, people, surfers and even a woodie car. One wall was Donna's creation featuring a mermaid with an accompanying male version. It is but one example of Art in Public Places installations throughout the city of Huntington Beach. There are six mural and sculptural installations downtown and several others throughout the city. The project was began with Junior Lifeguards making clay pieces. Billick moved on site in June of 2004 to begin tile placement.

Selected Collections/Public Installations
Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA
Fountain B'Nai Israel, Sacramento, CA
Families First, Davis, CA
Oakland Forum, Oakland Arts Commission, Oakland, CA
Sean Duffey Memorial, UC Davis, Davis, CA
Gallery Installation, California State University Hayward, CA
Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento, CA
Mono Co. Arts Council, Mammoth Lakes, CA
UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA
Davis School Art Foundation, Central Park, Davis, CA
Sutter Davis Hospital, Davis, CA
Gibson Ranch, Walnut Creek, CA
Tile Mural, Calabuig, Spain
Lucky Stores, San Francisco, CA
Sutter Psychology Center, Sacramento, CA
Capitol Bank of Commerce, Sacramento, CA
Washington State Arts Commission, Walla Walla, WA
One City Center, Sacramento, CA

1977 - MFA, University of California, Davis
1974 - BFA, University of California, Davis

Carborundum Museum, New York, NY
Washington State Arts Commission, Walla Walla, WA

U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.
Tile Mural, Calabuig, Spain


California cities

Gallery Installation, California State University Hayward

Huntington City Beach, Huntington Beach

Lucky Stores, San Francisco
Richmond Art Center, Richmond
Gibson Ranch, Walnut Creek
Mono Co. Arts Council, Mammoth Lakes


Families First
Sean Duffey Memorial, UC Davis
Davis School Art Foundation, Central Park
Sutter Davis Hospital, Davis



Oakland Forum, Oakland Arts Commission
Oakland Museum
Frank Ogawa Plaza
Mills College



Fountain B'Nai Israel
Crocker Art Museum
Sacramento Zoo
UC Davis Medical Center
Sutter Psychology Center
Capitol Bank of Commerce
One City Center



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