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A tangled tale that ends at the Tucson Artists Open Studio Tour

At last year’s STC conference (May 2012), I ran into Andrea Ames. We agreed to meet to catch up… but when I sat down, she handed me a pen, and pencil, and a square of thick paper. Turns out, she’s now a Certified Zentangle Instructor, and she was ready to instruct several of us. It was really fun – a form of structured doodling, really, that comes out in beautiful patterns. It was also really interesting to see how different each student’s art looked, even though we all followed the same instructions.

So I kept at it. And I learned more patterns, and made up some of my own, and kept creating more and more lovely little bits of art. Then Tucsonan David Aguirre decided to hold an art exhibit focusing on chickens. Pollo Del Pueblo 2012 was a non-juried event open to anyone, and I figured I could do chickens as well as any other shape, so I made a little trio of chickentangles. My goal was to get a photo of myself with my art up on a gallery wall. Because really, when an opportunity for chicken art lands at your door, you should always take advantage of it.

So my friend Dirk Arnold offered to drop the pieces off so they could be mounted by the opening. Then I showed up to get my photo:

Me and two of my chicken pieces

What I didn’t know until then was that Dirk had named the three peices (“Left Facing Chicken”, “Right Facing Chicken”, and “Two Chickens”) and then put a price tag on them. What neither of us knew until we showed up was that all three peices were sold as soon as the show opened!

So there I was, inspired by Andrea, encouraged by David, and enabled by Dirk, with literally hundreds of drawings beginning to become a storage problem.

For a number of years now, the artists in Tucson get together to host a massive open studio tour every spring. The idea is that the artists all open their studios on the same weekend, and people can visit, learn about the art, and maybe buy stuff direct from the artists.  So I decided to participate this year.  But two 8-hour days is a long time to sit around hoping someone shows up at your studio… so I was thrilled when local astro-photographer BG Boyd wanted to share my space for the weekend.  We signed up, promoted to our friends, and filled up the two front rooms at the monkey house with art.

BG Boyd and his photos
BG Boyd and his photos
A few of the smaller pieces
A few of the smaller pieces

It was a blast!  We had lots of friends and family come by to support us, and lots of visitors who just saw us in the studio tour promotional materials or just happened to be walking by.  I’m really looking forward to doing this again next year.



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