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The Gypsy Village, subtitled "Artist Loft: Low Rise, Low Rent," was the bizarre brainchild of agitprop artists C.R. Vavrek and Pete Petrisko, a satirical stab at how the ongoing gentrification is displacing hardscrabble artists like themselves in favor of lofts and multimillion-dollar developments.
Consisting of four hovels, the hipster Hooverville boasted an art gallery, tarot reader, fire pit, sleeping quarters for Vavrek, and a boombox disco blasting music for those who came after dark. In addition to entertaining the hundreds who stopped by, the event reportedly raised the ire of one property owner who threatened to call in the cops and clear the lot. Vavrek and Petrisko managed to defuse the situation, and the derelict domiciles were allowed to remain. It's a good thing, too, since where else could you find grubby artists talking in faux Eastern European accents, à la Borat? Very nice!
With a studio on-campus and materials and tools provided by ASU, it may be the most convenient and economical art cough-up of these artists' careers. And with their fresh egos, the prices will be incredibly reasonable, making for a wise investment should you pick the right pony. Shows cycle during the last three months of the semester and are on display for only four days at a time making for a crazy rush to grab up some pieces by the next big artist.
A number of relatively unknown but appealing artists have cycled through the space, and with each salon appointment (not necessary you can also walk in off the street, just to look), you're sure to see something new. Recent displays included eye-popping color photography by Bob Estrin and stunning abstract works by California artist Jan Fogel. And take note: The salon's owner is constantly on the lookout for creative visual images that may work well on that blank living room wall you've been looking to fill. Not only is the art great, but purchases are guilt-free, with the artists receiving 100 percent of all sales.
Her paintings are dreamy polychromatics that shimmer like black magic, capturing a surrealistic netherland inhabited by funereal femmes fatales and... dead bugs? Yep. Bess' vocation may be art (she got her BFA in painting at ASU), but her avocation is science specifically, biology, botany, and natural history. We're betting she was one of those kids who poked and prodded at doodlebugs and trapped fireflies in mayo jars a surefire way to familiarize oneself with death at an early age. "I make paintings that feature biology or botany in almost a religious way," Bess says. "Often, the animals and insects and sometimes people in the paintings are dead, so people interpret that as morbid. But for me, it's more out of respect, like, 'Here's this thing that may be dead, but that doesn't make it any less fascinating to look at and learn about.'"
Teach us more, please! Or at least show us more: Bess shows often at Modified Arts on Roosevelt Row.
Only 27, the Phoenix native has traveled extensively: San Francisco, San Diego, Montreal, Mexico City, Hollywood. Each time, he leaves behind once-vacant walls filled with alluring, shapely women, jazz legends, cultural figures, and religious icons. The Mac's canvas is the world, and he's highly regarded both on the street, for his aerosol work, and in galleries, for his acrylic, pen and ink, and stained-glass efforts. He brings the aesthetic of the museum to the street and vice versa. He's the Goya of the ghetto.
Her name is Starflash, and she can be spotted whenever photorealist painter and illustrator Suzanne Falk ventures from her east Phoenix work/live studio to various downtown shindigs. From First Friday receptions and Modified Arts shows to the First Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts and the Willow House outdoor patio, Starflash solicits mad love from the close-knit arts community. Nightwolf best summed up our feelings about the lovable Flash in their dedication ode to the black-coated pooch, "Starflash/You're a dog/And we love you!"
Sponsored by Phoenix Parks and Recreation, classes offered at the Phoenix Center range from metal work to ceramics to glass, and wanna-be artists who favor unconventional expression (translation: don't know what they are doing but want to give something new a shot) are welcomed with open arms.
Most of the teachers work other gigs in their fields, such as Ingrid Donaldson, a real pro who toils at Hot Sands Glass. A few words of warning: 1) Taking the classes won't set you back too much, but the materials you'll need to purchase certainly may; 2) This art-making stuff is addictive, and the teachers are so engaging and enthusiastic that you're likely to find yourself returning semester after semester.
"TRADE AT MADE" started with a call to stop by on a Saturday night and bring along a mix tape meant for trading. Next, Dach hosted "TRADE AT MADE: FAVORITE BOOK." Both were big successes. So she did mugs, and later this fall, there will be a recipe exchange. Dach provides refreshments. Good times!