PLASTIC MAN: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish

Pacifica Premiere, Friday, Oct 19


Sometimes an individual is compelled, in the face of daunting odds, to find his identity by making art and becoming an artist...


Jerry Barrish has served as Artistic Director for Sanchez Art Center since 2004, bringing to Pacifica a wealth of outstanding art exhibitions by well-known and emerging California artists. Now Sanchez Art Center is extremely proud to present the Pacifica premiere of an award-winning documentary film about his life and art. Directed by William Farley and produced by Janis Plotkin, the film explores how an artist develops, how the art world helps and hinders, how inspiration takes us on unexpected journeys, arriving at places heretofore unknown and yet as familiar as our own heartbeats—the story of an artful life.


Jerry Barrish grew up in a Jewish household where boxing and vague connections to the mob formed a cultural backdrop, lacking in exposure to art. Becoming a bail bondsman may have been a natural step, but in the upheaval of the radical 60s, Barrish responded to the need of the times and became the single bondsman to keep hundreds of young counterculture protestors from jail. ÒDonÕt perish in jail, call Barrish for bail!Ó


As his life expanded, his interest in art grew. Barrish studied filmmaking at SF Art Institute, and added sculpture to his skill set. Then one fateful December, while walking on the Pacifica State Beach at Linda Mar in front of his home, small bits of plastic on the shore drew his attention. In BarrishÕs hands and imagination, they became a multicolored mixed media Christmas tree, and his new art form was born.


The mixed media sculptures Barrish now produces are sweet, funny, evocative, and endearingly human. He creates human and animal figures, and scenarios set in cafes and music halls, capturing depths and nuances of our emotional lives that many of us have difficulty expressing so clearly.


The Oct 19 screening of Plastic Man is a fundraiser for Sanchez Art Center. Advance tickets are available at for $15 ($20 at door if available). The evening begins with a reception from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, where the Art Guild of PacificaÕs 60th Annual Members Show will be on display. The film will be shown in the Mildred Owen Concert Hall starting at 7:30 pm. A talk with Jerry Barrish and the filmÕs director William Farley and producer Janet Plotkin will wrap up the evening.


The film has been acclaimed by critics, including Academy Award-nominated director Philip Kaufman and Gerald Peary of The Arts Fuse. It has been shown in numerous film festivals across the country and internationally.  For us, it rightly celebrates one of our own.


Sanchez Art Center is located at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd in Pacifica, about a mile east of Highway 1. Regular gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1–5 pm, and by appointment. For information, visit or call 650.355.1894.