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article imageOp-Ed: Intellectual property attorney has creative side as artist Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Nov 9, 2011 in Entertainment
San Francisco - Few legal associates knew that intellectual property attorney Richard Greenstone had an accomplished creative side. Over a hundred people showed up at a reception on November 3 showcasing his work in a solo exhibit.
"This is my second solo show in two years; mostly I have displayed my work as part of a group," he said. As this reporter arrived early that Thursday evening at the Bluxome Street office of McGuire Real Estate in San Francisco's South of Market area, Greenstone was helping set up. He took a few moments to talk before guests arrived.
"My parents gave me a camera when I was 13 and I fell in love with photography," he said. "It was a Kodak, instamatic but hey it was a starting point," said Greenstone. Once he demonstrated that he was serious about photography, his father loaned him his Leica 'rangefinder' camera. "It was one from the 1950s," said Greenstone. "It had the best lens, incomparable, a fine instrument."
His career as an attorney dealing with intellectual property did not deter him from his love of the art of photography. When asked which one of the 22 photographs on display was his favorite, Greenstone pointed to one of the few color photographs entitled ”49.99". The contrast of the bits of crushed newspaper ads against the stark pavement stand out amid the mostly black and white photographs.
There were several people who attended the reception that evening that liked “49.99”, one of whom was Pouneh Mortazavi, a law student at University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco and member of the Flaming Lotus Girls. She found the contrast in the photograph striking and unusual.
Because it was Greenstone's favorite "49.99" became the cover for the invitations to his reception. "I wish I could do this," said Gary Cohn, a friend and colleague. "Richard is very creative," said Cohn.
Ken Kuhn, a neighbor of Greenstone agreed, as he said, "Richard gets amazing textures, even with the black and white photos which I like more than the ones in color," said Kuhn. He and Greenstone have been neighbors for years in the Parkmead area of Walnut Creek.
"Richard also shares his talent by teaching and lecturing," said Kuhn. Greenstone has lectured at Golden Gate University among other places. "I am an intern working at his law firm on California Street," said Rachal Ranteesi. Like Mortazavi, she is a student at University of California Hastings Law School, San Francisco.
"My favorite photo is "49.99," she said. Ranteesi wants to go into intellectual property law after graduation. "I like the entertainment industry, recording artists, celebrities and all that," she said. "It will be interesting to see where it might take me," added Ranteesi.
Greenstone greeted everyone—long time friends, associates and strangers— who simply walked in the door to check out the exhibit and perhaps to get some of the delicious free food and wine. He went out of his way to make everyone, whether an old friend like Steven J. Sattler, or a new acquaintance like realtor Pamela Barnard Zaragoza, feel welcome and to join in the gradual gathering of over 130 people, walking in over the course of three hours from 5 to 8:00pm.
Prosciutto wrapped around fresh cut melon and garlic steamed shrimp on a stick were among the many tasty appetizers offered to guests, along with an array of wine.
"Melon served with Prosciutto is traditional, it balances the saltiness with a subtle sweet cool flavor," said Aldo Congi. He serves as both office manager for the Bluxome office and is one of the executive vice presidents of the long-time established family-owned real estate company in San Francisco. McGuire has been featuring the art works of local talent since spring of this year by making room for art installations on empty walls.
Marketing executive for McGuire Alex Buehlmann sees the opportunity to provide a venue for art installations as a perfect way to network and do community outreach at the same time. Many realtors like Zaragoza invited clients as well as other realtors. "It is a good opportunity to introduce people not only to an artist/photographer like Richard,” said McGuire realtor, Linda Quinn, “but it encourages us realtors to network and get better acquainted," she said.
Quinn invited Kathleen Thurmond, president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners of which Quinn is a member. "I am so happy to be here," said Thurmond. Taking in the local art scene is a chance for Thurmond to take in more of San Francisco. "It took me 30 years to get back to San Francisco," she said. "I always wanted to live here after a first visit back in the late 1970s, early '80s, but I had prior commitments in St. Louis that kept me from returning," she said. "So, attending a gathering like this helpful to me," said Thurmond.
The social and business circles that realtors and others like attorneys mingle with are often varied and can be surprisingly small in a place like San Francisco, which some see as just a "great big small town." "But because San Francisco is so popular and has such an approachable diversity, the world comes here, and that makes it special," said Thurmond.
Patrick Goggin, a fellow attorney and friend of Greenstone did not know that Greenstone had a creative side. "This is a surprise to me, said, Googin. "Yet, I am acquainted with artistically talented people," said Goggin. "My brother is an artist, he said as this then allowed Goggin the opportunity to ask Greenstone questions about his work. "I try to capture the quiet elegance of unregarded beauty such as in cityscapes and feature the unseen power of the present moment," said Greenstone.
Curtis and Teresa Matteson are long-time friends. They attended the reception flying into SFO airport from Oregon where they live. "See that one over there," said Curtis, pointing to the picture “The Big Apple”. "That one is one of Richard's few color photographs and I remember that from our college days at University of Oregon at Eugene," said Curtis. "I met Richard in 1974 on campus, and we have been friends ever since," he said.
Greenstone studied art history at U of O but insists that he is largely self-taught as a photographer, later taking one semester of study at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After Art Center he was a professional photographer and then attended law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
"That is where he and I and my wife, went to law school," said attorney Robert Eisele. "Richard is one of the most well-known in the field of intellectual property law," said Eisele who works at a law practice on Pine Street in the Financial District.
Mara Tuma, also a intellectual property legal professional, has worked with Greenstone and knows of the complexities. "Intellectual property law has become more elaborate in the past 10 years or so with the advancement of the Internet and digital technology," she said. "My area of expertise is trademark clearing," it all can get very complicated," she said.
Greenstone has authored over 20 articles on trademark and numerous essays on various aspects of trademark, copyright and entertainment law. He remains an active member of the California State Bar Association and is an elected member of the Los Angeles Copyright Society.
"Richard is very distinguished among entertainment lawyers," said fellow attorney and friend Lindsay Spiller of Spiller Law in San Francisco. Like Eisele, he too noted Greenstone's personable qualities. "He is really a good guy and very generous to help others," said Eisele.
Greenstone continues to reach out to law schools like Golden Gate University, UC Hastings as well as the Haas School of Business and the Academy of Art University, San Francisco not only in lectures but also career counseling.
Greenstone hopes that the exhibit will lead to more opportunities to feature his work and love of photography. To learn more about Richard Greenstone as well as his work both professionally and creatively, visit his page about the exhibit on FaceBook.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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