The Office of Arts and Culture is proud to present a retrospective of a great artist and leading figure in the Bay Area arts community, Boris Koodrin. Koodrin’s paintings are an exploration of beauty,  human consciousness, and the place where the two intersect. The exhibition Doors Ajar does just that: offers glimpses through Koodrin’s doors, passages he creates in every act of painting for others to walk through.

A self-educated artist, screen printer, and sand carver, Koodrin began painting as a child under the instruction of his grandmother. He was raised near San Francisco's storied Cliff House and  the withered Egyptian  mummies that stood guard inside the aging Sutro Museum of oddities. On certain nights the sound of roaring lions, howler monkeys and wailing peacocks from the nearby San Francisco Zoo would mingle with the wafting sound of barking sea lions, fog horns and the gut-wrenching laughter of Laughing Sal at San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach. The peculiar cacophony of sight and sound created a visual landscape within Boris that would someday demand expression.

The desire to get beyond the surface of things ultimately led Koodrin through a number of interesting studies from Eastern and Western mysticism to the skilled art of Apache tracking. For two years he served as the director of the Vision Youthz non-profit program at San Francisco's Log Cabin Ranch in La Honda where he helped design a program for incarcerated gang members that focused on nature, self-awareness, and rites of passage.

First Light

Koodrin studied Advertising Art at City College of San Francisco in the late sixties. He also worked as a freelance political cartoonist for Zenger's Magazine at S.F. State, took on  commissions as a portrait and landscape artist, and even dabbled in set design.

In 1975 he co-founded a commercial t-shirt company in the South of Market district in San Francisco. Today he still owns and operates The Image Company in San Bruno, CA. Having  worked as an artist and screen printer since 1971, he has developed a variety of technical skills from printing the multi-colored logo on the telephones used at the 1996 Democratic Convention,  to producing a sandblasted portrait on glass for one of Joe Montana's MVP awards. In 2005 he completed his first mural, a historical 40-foot mural commemorating 150 years of Jesuit education at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco. In 2008 he painted the five-piece mural on San Mateo Avenue in San Bruno entitled “A Dreamer’s Song” and continues to mural  his way along the San Francisco Peninsula.

Today Koodrin is busy painting canvases, murals, doors, and creating satellite dish art. His illustrated door collection is known as “Life Thinly Sliced” and can be seen at different venues  around San Francisco and the Peninsula and as far as LA. In 2009 Koodrin stepped into the position of Director of the Fine Arts Galleria at the San Mateo County Fair, and also served as the Curator for the San Mateo County Arts Commission from 2015 to 2021. 



Photo of Boris Koodrin
Doors Ajar: A Boris Koodrin Retrospective