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:

Facebook Twitter Flickr : Support local artists and check out Russell’s other work!

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

Monday Night Mash-up: Top 5 Reno Art Sites

When it comes to the art scene in Reno, the growth is surprisingly promising. When it comes to the resources to find and connect with the art scene however, the pickings are pretty slim. There are a few very valuable sites that I go to constantly when searching for upcoming events, artists, and community gatherings that are most important to me, and I think that in sharing these sites, I can hopefully help spread the word about the richness of the Reno art scene.

  1. RAW Artist Reno is my top, because it shows that the small city of Reno is worthy of being involved in some pretty big name things. RAW has over 78 locations worldwide, so it’s really exciting that Reno has the honor of being apart of that. The site includes information about art, music, fashion, film, hair/makeup, photography, and performing arts, all done locally here in Reno. They host shows that not only allow the artists to show off their work, but also to sell it, and network with other artists or enthusiasts from here and abroad.
  2. Art Spot Reno is a very interesting site I came across a while ago that has proven to be very useful to me. It is a website (and Android App!) that allows the user to search the Reno-Sparks area for art galleries, studios, museums, and much more, that encourages people to interact and add information. The site was set up in an effort to promote the art scene in Reno, hoping to spread the word and spark a new wave of activity in all forms. I’ve used it a lot to find big name galleries, as well as small galleries I hadn’t heard of before. Now I’m just waiting for the i Phone App; then I’ll be in business.
  3. Reno Art Works: this is an awesome resource when it comes to anything connected to Reno Art. There is a page for the number of local artists who participate and contribute–including some of their work and how to contact them–an event calendar that showcases all of the activities they are having in the community, and places to contact them, as well as buy the works of admired artists. It is a nice source for highlighting the local talent, but it is also a great place to get involved, as they offer rentable workshop space for anyone interested in becoming a part of their little family.   
  4. The City of Reno page actually has a surprising useful and interesting Arts and Culture page, which discusses things like ArtTown, resources for events and contributors, and updates about community meetings and events to update the city for the expansion of the arts. This is definitely a more useful hub for artists themselves, as it gives connections directly to the city and what it is doing to promote the growing scene.
  5. Lastly, but certainly not least, is the Art Museums and Galleries page on the Reno-Sparks Wiki page. This is a no fluff, info-only resource that gives the names and locations of a number of the local art hubs, as well as a map that provides for easy navigation. It is an easy to use site, and if you see any issues or mistakes, you yourself can just go in and change them, which again provides accuracy as well as participation within the community.

As I said earlier, there isn’t a lot in the way of information when it comes to Reno Art, but as these links (and this blog!) show, there are people out there who care to spread the word and participate in this lush art environment.

Have another link or resource? Show it to me! I’m always looking for more useful places to find out what’s going on in my community and how I can get involved; now you can help!

Indie Reno at the Wildflower Village

I’ve done it; I’ve stumbled across the gem nestled humbly amongst all of the dirt. I’ve discovered what I would consider to be one of Reno’s richest and liveliest art locations and it’s right in my backyard. Yes, just a few blocks down the street from my house is the fresh new gallery called Indie Reno. I understand that it may seem like a bit of an overstatement, but I am wholeheartedly sincere when I gush for this quaint gallery located on W. Fourth St. near McCarren.

New gallery opened in Reno featuring over 50 local artists!

New gallery opened in Reno featuring over 50 local artists!

Okay, so the location is a bit offbeat, and–unless your curiosity drives you to snoop a lot, like my own–the outside may be a bit confusing and off-putting, but what’s inside is pure, unique, gold. It is a locally owned and run, co-operative gallery, but instead of featuring one artist, this gallery has roughly 50. I’m serious when I say you can find just about everything in this place.

The rather interesting, yet rather inviting exterior of Indie Reno.

The rather interesting, yet rather inviting exterior of Indie Reno.

It’s true, a huge collective of local artists got together one day (maybe drank some coffee, smoked a few cigarettes–I’m sure it wasn’t so provocative, I just like to embellish in my mind) and decided that the days of hoofing it to craft fairs–lugging heavy displays and fragile art, living on street food, and the fleeting hope of a successful day–were finally over, and the days of a simple store front were here. They took a previously run gallery, revamped it, and Indie Reno was born.

Hand printed cards, posters, prints, and even furniture

Hand printed cards, posters, prints, and even furniture

Did I mention this place has everything? There are roughly ten rooms (it really depends on how you define room; some are just closets, or small sun-areas), each with different types of art, by different artists, with differing themes that range from local inspiration, to exotic, other-worldly flair. The displays change weekly, simply because it adds to the fluidity and realism that defines the place. Each month, a featured artist graces the front room with the collection of their work (right now it’s paintings by Lilly Reaves), and each month they have a gallery-opening party to celebrate–art, food, and great people, why wouldn’t you want to go? There are even art classes offered in the back room which include every kind of form; there’s more information and a calendar here!

Front room to the back shows the immense range of articles showcased at Indie Reno

Front room to the back shows the immense range of articles showcased at Indie Reno

I mentioned it earlier, but I think it’s important to state again that Indie Reno is a co-op; a collective group of artists who not only supply the work shown, but pitch in when they can to help organize and run the place. This gives it a personable, fun feel that couples well with the flow throughout. The artists are not charged a monthly fee either, but instead are charged a small percentage if–and only when–they are able to make a sale; this place is clearly geared with art at the core of its heart and mind. 

The children's room, offering handcrafted clothes, toys, and a bunch of other goodies, too!

The children’s room, offering handcrafted clothes, toys, and a bunch of other goodies, too!

Just about anyone can include their work in the Indie Reno collection (I didn’t see any rated works, but maybe that’s just because no one has asked?), all they have to do is find Shelly Jackson, who acts as the curator-coordinator-go-to-gal. It isn’t necessarily required that a contributor volunteers their time, which is nice for busy schedules, but it seems like they don’t have to twist any arms anyway–each time I’ve gone in there’s been a different person running it, greeting me with a smile, being enthusiastic and beyond helpful, seeming like they truly love what they do. Ah, now this is where art deserves to live.

I sincerely urge everyone to check out Indie Reno at least once (or once a week, since it changes that often) because this place is a true treasure. Even if you aren’t crazy about art, there’s all kinds of other eye goodies to feed your peepers with, so go in, peruse around a bit, and fall in love–just like I did.