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!


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?


Art with Heart: Artists Respond to Boston Bombing

Generally speaking, Art Reno Today is about art in Reno, Nevada. Today however, as I watched the news reveal more and more information about the tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon, I began to wonder how other people were reacting, and more specifically, how artists were reacting. After all, it is well known that art is used as commemoration for painful events, as well as a form of catharsis for viewer and creator alike–I could only imagine the immense and arduous beauty that would arise from this event. Some of the greatest artists are those who are in the most pain, and in these moments what’s important to do is to look forward, learn, and appreciate the many gifts art has given.

I browsed the infinite Internet, and eventually came across the site, Boston Arts Marathon, which focuses on exactly what I was looking for: a place for people to creatively mourn and support the great tragedy. Essentially, a few art student at the Boston University got together and decided that creativity was the perfect way to support the Boston Marathon, and it definitely is; the group already had more than ten submission from various artists, which will eventually be collaborated into a memorial for next year’s marathon, or sold to raise funds for the families impacted.
Art never ceases to amaze.

The painting on the left was donated by Evan Gildersleeve, and the right was donated by Sharon Naor.

Both paintings shown were donated by Sharon Naor.

I picked out just a few of my favorites to show here, but I highly encourage you to check out the other submissions and appreciate these wonderful people’s support. Which ones are your favorite?

The piece on the left is from Alyssa Aviles. and the piece on the right is from Evan Gildersleeve.

The piece on the left is from Alyssa Aviles. and the piece on the right is from Evan Gildersleeve.

Like a phoenix born out of the ashes, so too has true beauty been born out of a tragedy. If I had more time on my hands, I would certainly create a commemorative image myself, but in the least, these works of art have inspired me to create my own artistic responses to movements that find most important, which if nothing else leaves me feeling hopeful. I have no doubt at all that this will be a successful movement because, as I’ve stated before, people love art, and relate to it for infinite reasons. All of the donated pieces tell me that people’s characters are hard to shatter, and that no matter what, creativity and strong love and belief will prevail.

Seen other inspirational artistic responses to tragedies or strong movements? Let me know about it!

Sneak Peek: A preview of my next Profile

Coming soon: A talk with artist Bryce Chisholm


At the beginning of this semester at UNR, I required an elective class and grappled with the decision of either creative writing, or painting. I love creative writing, and since Journalism is my emphasis choice, a writing class seemed, well, logical. Here’s where the stubbornness of the Morgan-psyche came in though. You see, I’ve taken creative writing courses before, and writing is something that comes fairly naturally to me. But painting was entirely new. In fact, the only time I had previously picked up a brush, I put it down immediately and began using my fingers (sounds like preschool, but it was actually last semester as a final project). So the Devil’s Advocate in me decided to go for the challenge, and push myself to try new things.

It has been nearly all of the semester, and I can honestly say I’m glad I chose the road less-travelled. Painting for me is frustrating and complex, yet invigorating and beautiful. It offers me an escape from the left brain for 5 hours a week, and exercises the neglected right brain for a strange sense of completion. I have no complaints (except for the fact that my perfectionist nature takes some details way too far), and in fact encourage people to go out and try the same thing.

My favorite (okay one of my favorite) parts about the class actually doesn’t have anything to do with the class itself though–technically. One of the best parts about going to class is that I get to walk through the Church Fine Arts infamous stairwell. Okay, maybe it’s not actually famous, but it should be, because there is some really nice art in there. Miscellaneous and well know people alike pass through the stairwell, pick up a can of spray paint or a colored pen (these items are left conveniently in the stairwell, in case a random moment of inspiration should come over a passerby), and just do art. I have seen some of the most fascinating and moving pieces within this stairwell, and one of the great things is that it always changes.

Art lives on fluidity. 

So, last Thursday night, in passing through the stairwell, I noticed a new piece and stopped briefly to admire. It was very well thought out and conducted, with bright, balanced colors and complementary content. It was a mix between freestyle spray paint and stenciling, and I truly loved it. I went on, not thinking about the piece much until (fate, or luck, or whatever should have it) the artist himself stumbled across my blog, and we marveled over the unlikely connection. I told him I treasured his work, and hoped I would soon be able to pick his brain to find out how he creates such lovely works of art.


Coming up soon I’ll be exploring the world of Bryce Chisholm and showcasing a wider variety of his work, so keep watching for the story to unfold!


This photo shows part of the stairwell, revealing just how full of art it really is. (Look at the kitty!)

This photo shows part of the stairwell, revealing just how full of art it really is. (Look at the kitty!)

Do It mYself: Decorating on a Budget

In just under two months I’ll be moving to Seattle (new food, new people, new ART!), and in light of that, I’ve been brainstorming on some home décor ideas. I currently have a theme started that centers around a grouping of Banksy canvas prints I have hanging, which inspire the rest of the room to follow a palate of essentially grey, black, and red. Now, if it were up to me—or should I say if it weren’t so up to my dwindling bank account—I would run out and order a few more street-art prints, maybe some ironic pillows from Urban Outfitters, and call it good; but, that’s not the case, and I’m stuck designing on a budget.

It sounds horrific at first (queue dramatic thriller music), but with the Internet, and an imagination that never really grew-up, I’ve become quite proficient in everything Do It Yourself. I love the movement—and I think Pinterest proves that it is definitely moving—I love what it stands for, and I love what it inspires people to do. You see, it’s not just the idea of having trendy-chic items in your home; it’s all about making them.

What I think this does (beyond just giving us freaking awesome looking houses), is remind people the value of hard work, dedication, and a final rewarding payoff. Technology has inspired in the world a sense of entitlement; an instant-gratification-generation of people who have forgotten the importance of the craft, of art. Even a simple home project (like the one I did today!) can exercise the artistic side of the brain and offer a creative outlet; all the while being a blast and giving a handmade, self-made product that you can be proud to show in your home. So why not? Go out and DIY!

As I said, the project I did was simple, cheap, but above all fun and rewarding. Allow me to introduce, the Tissue Paper Pom Pom. Now this is by no means a new craft (in fact, I did the same thing a few years ago in pink!), but it is always a favorite of mine, because these things look great when they are finished. A few tools, a few steps, and one super new décor item.

Photo: Flikr

The first thing you need is materials. You’ll need:

  1. Tissue paper, any color.
  2. Floral wire (as you can see my desperate lack of resources resulted in me using twisty-ties, it worked just the same).
  3. Scissors.


Step one: stack eight sheets of tissue paper, cut to size (I recommend downsizing; I left mine as-is and they were really big!). Make 1 1/2 in accordion folds hamburger-side, making sure to crease with each fold.


If your folds don’t line up perfectly, don’t worry! Mine were a bit uneven but at the end you can’t even tell. Make sure you are creasing well, because it adds to the charm later on.

Step two: take your floral wire (or in my case, produce ties), fold it in half, slip it over the paper to the center and twist.


Step three: cut the ends of the paper into either rounded, or pointed edges, depending on the look you desire. Mine are rounded, but I like pointy just the same.


Step four: this is the slightly challenging part (for me at least), but now separate the layers, pulling from the center one at a time. Just make sure to be gentle, because this stuff really tears!


Step five: fluff and finish; you’re all done! Now you can take some string, attach it to your wire, and hang your new custom decoration from anywhere!


These look great alone, but I like to make a few and hang them in groups, because it allows for variation and added color.

The whole project takes maybe twenty minutes, but what you get at the end is a lot more than just a new item; you gain a sense of satisfaction that can only be achieved through working with your hands, exploring your own talents and abilities, and coming out with the confidence of knowing that you are able to make something cute, artsy, and all your own.