Galeria de los Muertos was certainly busy during First Friday this past weekend as hundreds of art walk patrons stopped by the Fifth Street gallery to survey the creepy, kooky, and Day of the Dead-inspired works of Tom Deadstuff, Tommy Pemberton, Maynard Breese, and other artists.
Sadly, it's the last time that a First Friday celebration will be held at the establishment, as Galeria de los Muertos will be closing at the end of December. Marco Turrubiartes, the local artist who runs GDLM, is heading to Southern California and is shutting down the gallery after more than a year of being part of the Fifth Street scene.
Turrubiartes says one of the major decisions in his moving to California was his desire to focus more on creating artwork instead of just exhibiting it.
"My goal has always been to move to L.A. and really pursue my artwork over there. It's a little bit of a bigger market for the kinds of art that I do. So it just kinda got to the time where I was focusing a lot of energy into the gallery and didn't have the time to create artwork. So I kinda had to rethink what I was doing with my life,"
He also cites a lack of manpower and money as factors contributing to Galeria de los Muertos, uh...demise.
"We never made enough to actually hire somebody on to really look after the space and I was the only one making things happen behind the scenes," he says. "We were looking at a few different plans and a few different people to help run things, but it just didn't feel like we could make it work to the standards we wanted it to be."
In addition to selling works by many of its resident artists via the gallery's website, he's hoping to come back to Phoenix for First Fridays and will hold shows and special events at nearby spaces run by friends, including the MissConstrued Boutique located across the street. GDLM will also continue to have a vendor booth at the monthly A.R.T.S. Market along Roosevelt Street.
"We're pursuing different business models. My plan is that I'll come back for First Fridays for special shows at MissConstrued and other places," Turrubiartes says. "Phoenix won't lose the art presence of myself or a lot of the other artists, we're just giving up that particular space."
In the meantime, Galeria de los Muertos will hold one final show in its current location when it hosts painter Jenny Fontana's "Something Wicked This Way Comes," which opens on December 16.