Taken To The Streets: Reno’s Thoughts on Reno Art

Last week I went to Food Truck Friday, which is an awesome place in Reno to get really good food, as well as be around a lot of local people. I took advantage of both of these things (I had a spicy tofu dish from the Kanji truck that was bomb), and I asked some of the people around me what they though of the Reno Art Scene. What I think is that it’s growing, and changing, and finally deciding which direction to take. Art has always been important in Reno, but now there is a community that is coming together and defining itself,  finally offering resources for striving artists. I think the scene offers hope, here’s what some Reno-ites think.

Due to some technical difficulties with my camera, I was only able to compile a few of the interviews from Food Truck Friday, so if you have a differing opinion, tell me about it!

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Desk Doodle 2: Dragons and Dames

It’s the end of my class; I’ve just gotten done wrapping my mind around the concept of language among animals, contemplating whether or not the Waggle Dance that bees do is fascinating or adorable, and whether it’s a safe idea to teach primates sign language (real life Planet of the Apes anyone?!). I’m thinking about finals, and my near move to Seattle, and whether I should wear a casual dress or a nice skirt to the awards banquet I’m attending for my induction into Kappa Tau Alpha Honor Society, when I look over and see it: Desk Doodle 2.

desk doodleI immediately (and embarrassingly) whip out my camera, thinking once again about how amazing it is that people find the time to create pieces of art in an hour and forty-five minute class. It is a simple piece, but I think it has a sense of charm. The mystery artist seems to have a degree of comfort with their craft, because the lines are bold and sure, and the only smudging is done to add feeling below the dragon. I wonder even now how this drawing could have expanded, had the spiritless student been given a bit more time (I’m picturing castles, unicorns–you know, medieval stuff).  So I pose the question once again:

Is this art?

 

Food For Your Mouth and Eyes: Food Truck Art

This last Friday was Food Truck Friday in Reno, which means most of the food trucks that have sprouted up in the area collect at City Center, downtown, and serve up their culinary best. The food is great, and there is usually a nice crowd, which makes for exciting people watching (and a shirt with a taco on it, that said “Let’s Taco ‘Bout It). Along with good food, the trucks also offer good eye candy—that is, they are covered with some really neat, custom designed art.

I think the fact that the food trucks also incorporate art shows how Reno is trying to kick-start its cultural pulse—blending a community event with good, fresh, local food and art, promoting creativity, and real interaction—it’s about a lot more than just killer waffles and bomb grilled cheese. My favorite is the Kenji truck, but that’s probably because it’s cover with Mario scenes and serves some tasty Korean fusion. I picked out just a few of the trucks that were there (ate at a few), and had my trusty photographer Russell snap a few cool shots of the art that can be found at Food Truck Friday.

I love getting together for Food Truck Friday. I love coming together with my friends, getting some tasty food, and just surrounding myself with the culture and people from the area. If you haven’t gone, go! It’s a great chance to get to know the Reno lifestyle, and it’s also a great place to feed your mouth and your eyes. What’s your favorite food truck in Reno?

Photos all by Russell Eck of REckedPhotography. He can be reached here:

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Artist Profile: Bryce Chisholm

Bryce Chisholm

I love street art; I love the colors, the raw nature of the subject and materials, and I love that its charm comes from the fact that it originated on the streets. Because of the fact that street art is associated with graffiti and tagging however, it has a fairly negative identification. To me this is a tragedy; an highly skilled, highly detailed art form, totally underrated because of misguided perceptions. It sounds like some over-dramatized movie plot, similar to The Soloist, but it really is sad that so many beautiful pieces are overlooked simply because they are done in spray paint and draw inspiration from the streets.

Bryce Chisholm

 

Which is why I’m glad there are people like Bryce Chisholm to change all of that. Bryce takes the skill and practice that it often used in artworks on the streets, and puts them to a canvas, blending the spontaneity of oil painted backgrounds, with the crispness of hand drawn stencils. What comes out in the end are intricate works of art–with small details, complementary colors, and great variety–that harness the badass personality of general graffiti, as well as the class of formal visual arts.

Each piece is unique, drawing on different subjects, and colors, and shapes, and I was so surprised to find out that we had something like this here in Reno–it’s times like these when I feel lucky to be from somewhere that’s cultural enough to take interest in things like art, but small enough that artists don’t have a complex when it comes to the public.

I couldn’t wait to pick yet another creative brain from big-little Reno, and as usual, Bryce did not disappoint. If you haven’t come across his work yet, it will be on display at Reno Art Works May 3 through the 31, and I highly encourage you to go check out his street art innovation.

Bryce

Lets start with the first question, why stencil?
I was going to UNR at the time, doing big oil painting with Michael Sarich. I started painting these things that were two, three colors that were basically stencils and I started wondering why I wasn’t just doing stencils. It started with small things and then expanded. I do brushwork and stuff too, it’s not just stencil.

Do you have schooling, or are you self-taught?
I went to UNR, I never really graduated. It was my minor, and Spanish. I’m self taught with the stencil part. It’s online, with banksy and whatever, but I didn’t know anyone that was doing it.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I did a series of kids, one is my daughter, so that was some of it. I did a bunch of native Americans, and a bunch of animals. I’m really into, obviously, females. I’ve sent prints to Germany, Canada, [etc], and pretty much every state in the US.

Have a favorite artist?
I would have to say maybe like C215, he is a stencil artist as well. He does a lot of street work. I went to Europe and saw a bunch of his stuff. I like Banksy, but I wouldn’t say I do things like him.

Dream job?
I would like to be doing this, of course. I did a Colin Kaepernick piece, and this guy called me to design for the NFL. If I could do what I’m doing, and work it with the NFL or MLB that would be great. I could pick my favorite athlete and design shirts and stuff. I want to go to New York and have a show, and San Francisco and have a show.

What do you aim to do with your painting, other than making money?
I guess I just try to like, portray street art in a beautiful way. Street art and graffiti get a bad name. If I could do murals on like graffiti covered walls and incorporate other graffiti into my work it would be really awesome. If I could just get people to see it as a beautiful artwork.

Bryce

Best experience painting?
I would have to say, doing the Nevada Fine Arts mural. I had wanted to paint with those guys for a long time. It brought together a bunch of really great artists, it was a big space and a really great learning experience. Learning that you can make a living doing what you want.

Worst experience?
Probably when you get commissions, and then don’t get paid. So you paint something for someone, spend a bunch of time and money, and then they tell you they don’t want it. I always get half up front now.

What do you find most rewarding about it?
Well I mean I love to do it, and have people see it. But it’s something that I have to do. The background are like a therapy to me, I mix colors, and paint. When you start cutting a piece, it looks like nothing, and then as you go on it comes together, that’s always rewarding, finishing.

What do you find most difficult?
Maybe people undervaluing it. Everybody wants something for nothing. That’s why I started making prints, it’s cheaper for other people.

How would you describe your style?
I’d say mine is a street art high graphic. I try to make my cuts nice and smooth. I just do it by my eye, not Photoshop like a lot of people do, so I get smooth lines.

Do you think your painting could change the world?
I wouldn’t say in any great way. If I can effect the people around me that like them–I have like 300 followers from Brazil, maybe I can change Brazil?

Do you want it to?
If it could make people see things in a different view or different light… Everyone is going to see something different and it could change the world that’s awesome. If it could change a few people that’s enough for me.

What other kinds of things do you do?
Well I have a kid, so that takes up a lot of time–gymnastics, swimming, etc. I pick up side jobs when I have to.

You’ve lived in Reno pretty much you’re whole life, what are the ups and downs, artistically and otherwise?
I would say as far as ups, there’s a good crowd, good people, positive outlooks, good artists. For the downs, it’s a lot of the same people over and over. There are places like Stremmel that can sell painting for like $20,000, but there aren’t a lot of big buyers, and if there are they only go there. A lot of people love it, they’re into it, they like it, but there’s no market.

Are you methodical and by the books, or impulsive and random?
I’m kind of random on what I work on and how I do it, but I definitely like my method. There’s no set schedule so a little bit of both. My backgrounds are random, I grab colors, do brushstrokes, I add stuff until I like it. There’s no method, just madness, it’s my therapy. I try not to think about it or worry about it too much.

Bryce was great to talk to; he’s a very friendly guy that shares a love of art and a desire to increase its appreciation. He has pieces up in the gallery, as well as on his Facebook page, Abc Art Attack, and as I said earlier I highly encourage you to go see it. Meeting an artist like this reminds me that the practice of art is changing, and what it comes down to is someone caring deeply about their craft. There is a lot of work and effort that goes into Bryce’s paintings (you don’t win RAW Reno Artist of the Year and Visual Art Blast Juror’s Choice for nothing)–my hope is that people really do begin to see the beauty he tries (and succeeds) to convey.

Gallery being set up at Reno Art Works

Gallery being set up at Reno Art Works

The Art of Art: Revealing Behind the Art Scenes

Everyone loves art; we all marvel over pretty paintings, and admire the beauty of a well-conducted photograph. But what’s behind all of that art? What happens when you peel back the paint, peek behind the ink, and paper, and look at the art as a process.  When you think about all of the dynamics that make art, it makes you start to question: What is art?

Lucky for me, I happen to find myself a part of this process quite often (in fact, I’m writing this in the car as a photo is being done right now). My significant other is local photographer Russell Eck, who specializes in long exposure night photography, and almost all the time I tag along with him as he’s creating his art. I know the ins-and-outs of what makes a nice photo, but I got to wondering; do you? It’s an interesting process that takes a lot more time and effort than people think, and I think it is an important part of art appreciation to understand just exactly what it takes.

Saturday night in Reno consisted of cabin fever-meets-warm weather spontaneity that had Russell grabbing for his camera and his trusty assistant: me. He thought up some ideas, called up a friend, and the three of us made a night of it. As I said earlier, Russell does long exposure night photography, so we ended up fending for ourselves down by the Truckee River in the dead of twilight—well, not actually, but we did come across some unruly teenagers in the process, and I did have to confront another photographer about snapping unannounced photos of us doing our work (and flashing a few statement fingers, since the woman never stopped).

The process goes something like this:

  1. Stakeout: it begins. This is one of the major places the artist comes in—they have a certain eye (generally a photographer’s eye, but I think this applies to all artists in a different sense), which is able to pick out interesting things that the rest of the world doesn’t see.
  2. Spot picked: set up. Lugging the equipment (i.e., camera bag, tripod, flash, flashlights, and knives because let’s face it, this is downtown Reno) to various places, which range from off the roadside in the city, to miles up a hiking trail in places most people never see. Then, after the hike, comes the actual setting up—the moving, adjusting, testing, snapping, adjusting again moments until the artist is happy—time taken for this step generally ranges.

russ3. The wait: exposure time. This is where the breadth of the process truly lies. Since it is night photography, the camera itself requires longer exposure for enough amounts of light to reach the sensors and make a nice photo. Also—as Russell has often done—there are photo processes such as startrails and long exposure water shots that require a lot of time, sometimes hours. This is when we wind up goofing off and having tons of fun though—an unusual luxury of an unfaltering assistant 😉

russ34. The follow-up: on a technicality. This is the stuff that people really don’t think about when looking at a photograph. This is the double exposure times, the editing in computers, and finally the uploading, printing and matting. This part isn’t as glorious as the others, but is equally as necessary and still takes a certain skill and practice.

russ4

I tag along for the first few parts, but generally I don’t see the finished product until we’re at home and Russell is pretty much done. I’ve learned about the different types of photography, the different works that go into it, and ultimately have a heightened appreciation for much of the work that I come across. Does it help knowing what goes into art? I’m not sure, but for me knowing the effort an artist puts into their reveals a sense of passion, and ignites in me ideas and motivation for my next creative project. The finished picture for the night turned out like this:

bridge

 

Find Russell here:

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Monday Night Mash-up: 5 Favorite Artists

Okay, so first and foremost–this list was surprisingly hard to make. Not because I struggled to find five artists worthy of deeming my favorite, but because I limited the number to just five. One of the beautiful things about art for me is that it has the ability to impact my life in a variety of ways, and the range of art only adds to the range of areas in my life it inspires and intrigues. Another things I love is the magnanimity of what falls under the umbrella term of ART. Each artist has a style, and a form, a medium and a message, and each one has come into my life at just the right time, filling in some gap in my world that needed a bit of creative filler. These artist draw materials that range from canvas to skin, with colors drawn from all ends of the spectrum. These are my fave five, which are yours?

1. Banksy. A very well known street artist out of Europe (let’s be honest, is there anyone who hasn’t heard of him?), who specializes in political works–generally stencil but sometimes free-form–that most often convey some kind of bold message. I think the style is passionate and raw, and comes from a daring, yet coy creator. I believe it is still a mystery as to his (or her?!) true identity–though speculations have recently been made.

To me Banksy is just highly visually appealing. The pieces are simple, and yet very masterfully created. I have The Girl With The Balloon, a very popular Banksy piece, tattooed on my forearms, as well as printed on large formatted canvas on my bedroom wall.

banksy

2. The French tattoo artist Xoil. It is my life goal to get a tattoo by this man. The works are unlike anything I’ve seen before–just beyond imagination. He mixes regular images with geometric shapes to create pictures that invoke feelings of wonderment, mixed with a slight feeling of being disturbed. The colors are mostly primary and black, the topics of interest usually something slightly circus-esque.

I stumbled across the work of Xoil while browsing tattoo websites on the internet, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I love the statement pieces he creates, and you can really feel a sense of personality–he obviously puts a lot of his own heart, soul, and ideas into his tattoos, which for me adds greatly to the feel.

xoil

3. This art is from a Japanese anime film called Five Centimeters Per Second.
The film is directed by Makoto Shinkai, but the art itself is done by various people. It is both animated and drawn-out art, which is what helps create the immense beauty. The color scheme is breath-taking, and the choice of scenery and natural content is unsurpassed. Honestly, the first time I watched this film (I have a tendency to latch on to anime films and watch them again and again), I was nearly moved to tears by the work of art.

5cm

4. Brian Viveros: female painter extraordinaire. Another artist I have been familiar with for many years, Viveros portrays women in very provocative ways, challenging gender stereotypes while at the same time highlighting others. His paintings are very similar, yet each of them holds its own certain charm. The women look tough yet coy, seductive yet intimidating to every degree.

I think the women are all very lovely, and the mixing of American memorabilia, tattoo art, and natural elements creates very impacting art to me. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be a badass woman with awesome plant-hair?

viveros

5. Minjae Lee: aka, my newest obsession. She is a young South Korean artist who mixes paint and illustration to create some of the most amazing pieces I have ever seen. The precision of her work pairs with the intense color-black and white mix to make insanely beautiful pieces. Always a portrait of a woman, always conveying some sad, or brooding, or mysterious emotion, always mixed with geometry, and color (and did I mention it was intense?!) What else can I say? This. Is. IT. 

lee

It is very important for an artist to be able to appreciate another artists work; in fact, I would argue that it is one of the greatest ways to gain inspiration and motivation. As I stated, there are so many other artists who could have made this list, but what’s important is that a little bit of the beauty that the world has to offer can be spread and appreciated, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Show I Must See at Reno Art Works

Image

This show at Reno Art Works looks fascinating! I missed the reception (it was last night and I was almost certain I had been hit by a bus, my sinuses hurt so much), but the display is up through the 30th, so I’ll be checking it out soon! Has anyone gone to see this yet? I would love opinions and feedback.