Francisco Pena - Co-Owner of Narrative Oak

Francisco,  a Seattle native with a background in interior design, is one of the owners of Narrative Oak in Jack London Square – a fun, eclectic store where you can buy mid-century modern and other one-of-a-kind treasures. 

Tell me about the store and what’s with the name “Narrative”?

“Sure, so the store is split up into 5 sections. Each section is curated in a different style. For example, I like the modern industrial look, and you can see that in the pieces that I present. All five of us curators go out into the world and hunt of our pieces, and each piece tells a story, hence the name “Narrative.”

Why did you decide to move to Oakland?

“I heard about the art scene, and the cool old industrial spaces to rent here. As an interior designer, the fit was perfect.”

Have you encountered any particularly interesting patrons, whose stories stick with you?

“Yes, there are a lot of creative people who own businesses here in Jack London Square, and they come into my shop. There is an architect who had some pieces by Frank Lloyd Wright. He let us show the pieces in our store. We’ve also had prop buyers and photographers come in to find unique textures for their sets.”

Do you host any activities here?

“Yes, we just had a jewelry truck show, and we are open late on First Fridays. We want to do more activities because we like to be active in the community.”

What do you do for fun?

“I like to listen to music. I curate music playlists that we play here in the store. I am always out hunting for pieces and I visit museums in the area to give me inspiration.”

What is your favorite museum to visit?

“Unfortunately, I haven’t been to the newly opened MOMA in the City yet, but I have recently gone to the Berkeley Art Museum. They had a Hippy Modernist Exhibit, that was really cool. The Oakland Museum of California is always fun.”

Do you have any hobbies other than collecting?

“I recently took up a painting class at Laney college. I find that my work is reflected in my paintings”