In a thick Latin American accent, Irene Hernandez-Feiks explained the mission of her company "I represent artists who sell in Paris and I also represent the kids down the street who are just out of school and just as talented. I don't charge a penny and all event profits go straight to the artists. The idea is to create opportunity."
Irene (pronounced ear-renee) is the founder of Chillin' Productions, a company that represents over 5,000 artists in the Bay Area.
Aside from running her hugely successful non-profit, Irene Hernandez-Feiks is a mother, fashion designer and part-time art teacher who somehow manages to maintain her knock-out bohemian chicness that you will not find on the pages of Vogue magazine.
Not even French Vogue.
She floated into the room wearing a slouchy grey sweater, black liquid leggings, ankle boots and a big smile.
Her hair nearly touched her waist. She wore it parted into two thick braids, with a thin headband wrapped Pocahontas-style around her blunt-cut bangs.
Irene explained why she started Chillin' Productions over a decade ago, "As a young fashion designer in San Francisco, I found that there was no platform, no way to break into the business. If you didn't have money or personal connections, you didn't make it."
Her project started as a weekly mixer for local artists to get together and network at a friend's art gallery, 111 Minna.
In just a few weeks hundreds of people were showing up. The line wrapped around blocks of the city. People waited for hours to experience local art, music and fashion all under one roof.
Irene knew she had tapped into something special.
Last week, over two thousand people packed Mezzanine for Chillin' Production's most recent event.
Irene said that some paintings sold for 100 bucks, others went for over 50 grand.
On fashion she added, "Why spend 100 dollars at Macy's, when you can get better style and quality from a local designer? Then you're giving the money to them so that they can stay here in San Francisco and we can keep our local economy and our local fashion edginess alive ... that's what it's all about."
"People who support the local art scene come to the events and artists bring their friends and family so the crowd is not yuppie, it's not hipster, it's not hippie ... it's everyone. It's San Francisco."
Saturday June 13th Chillin' Productions is celebrating its 11th anniversary with 180 painters and photographers, 80 fashion designers, 12 djs, live painting and live video installation.
ALL LOCAL ARTISTS.
This is not one to miss.