“People, Places + Pop” a Polaroid exhibit by Steve Hanson

Steve Hanson has bedecked the walls of Practical Art in fun and unique polaroids for his featured show, People, Places + Pop. Visit PA throughout the month of September to glimpse his creative genius on display, and take a polaroid for yourself!

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It’s an unfortunate truth that polaroid pictures are a dying pastime. The digital world has virtually extinguished the use of polaroid film– but it’s not because we’ve stopped taking pictures. In fact,  it
has been estimated that more photographs are taken each year than the entire history of analogue photography! We are constantly uploading them to our computers, phones, and social media sites, but we rarely print them and hold them in our hands. We are working to change that this month at Practical Art! As Steve says, “In many ways the Polaroid format offers us the best of both the old and the new, the nostalgia of having printed photographs and the instant gratification of getting a result right away. Polaroids allow us to capture that magical moment on the spot and get a touchable photo. Each Polaroid becomes a unique, one-of-a-kind physical photograph.”

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Truer words could not be said about Steve’ photos, currently hanging at Practical Art. His images are one-of-a-kind physical snapshots of memorable moments. They are life on display. Come by today to see his work and take part in the movement to bring back polaroid photos by snapping your own unique piece of art! We can’t wait to see you there!

Artist Reception:
Third Friday, September 16th, from 6-9
Exhibition:
September 1-30

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“Hare” works by Christy Puetz

“The rabbits mingled naturally. They did not talk for talking’s sake, in the artificial manner that human beings – and sometimes even their dogs and cats – do. But this did not mean that they were not communicating; merely that they were not communicating by talking.”

Richard Adams, Watership Down

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Rabbits. Rabbits will indeed communicate with you this month, if you come by Practical Art to view our latest show, “Hare.” Christy Puetz has out done herself with her whimsical and thought-provoking sculptures. Her rabbits will make you laugh, make you ask questions, make you frown, make you smile– her rabbits will make you feel.

Inspired by the rabbits of Watership Down, Christy has built her works using fiber art covered in combinations of tactile materials, like glass beads and repurposed or up-cycled items. The decorative outer layer represents a unique ‘skin,’ the pattern of which tells (or emphasizes) the story of the piece.  Christy explains her methods, saying, “I use absurdity, beauty, and humor to comment on issues in a way that makes difficult subjects more approachable– issues like how the history of disease has shaped the world, how humans affect animal habitat, and the mysteries of human behavior.”

To find out more about her art, we asked Christy to answer a few questions about the show. Here is what she had to say:

What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

I, first, envision the storyline for each piece and how the pose should look.  Then I create the pattern for forms, and hand construct them.  Last, I complete the glass bead embroidery (each bead is sewn on a few at a time).

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What inspired your work for the show?

I have wanted to do a show of all rabbits for a long time– their ears and symbolism intrigue me.  I was also inspired by the novel by Richard Adams, titled Watership Down, and the animate film by the same name.  I really wanted to capture particular emotions in both the pose and the bead pattern for each piece.

What is your favorite part about making art?

Making art is like mind yoga to me, it is an outlet for my energy.  I have so many ideas, the slow and repetitive process helps me to relax.  

Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

I have two:  Dandelion and Irma.  Dandelion was the first of the series, finishing this piece inspired me to do more.  Irma was inspired by a friend that continues to influence my life.

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If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

tactile, sentimental, symbolic, humorous, beautiful

 

Meet Christy’s rabbits throughout the month of August, here at Practical Art. Come by this Friday night, August 5th from 7:00-9:00 for a special artist’s reception, and meet Christy for yourself. We can’t wait to see you there!


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“Support: something that holds up structure” works by Molly Koehn

Beginning July 1st, Practical Art will feature the amazing work of local artist, Molly Koehn. Come by and explore the relationship between humans and nature in her show, “Support: something that holds up structure.” Attend our Artist’s reception on Friday, July 1st, from 7:00-9:00pm, and meet the artist herself!

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We asked Molly to give us some insider information about her pieces, and she was happy to give oblige:

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  1. What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

Many of my pieces use a process called eco-printing. It is a natural dye process that uses leaves to create a print on the fabric. The leaves are bundled up in fabric and steamed for an hour. The color from the leaves transfers to the fabric. I also use embroidery, weaving, and drawing.

  1. Is there a theme to your show? If so, what is it?

This work is looking at natural systems and the role humans play in those systems. These pieces are also looking at the idea of support. In these systems, is nature supporting us or are we supporting nature? And I definitely acknowledge that we are part of nature, but I think in general, humans separate themselves from nature.

  1. What inspired your work for the show?

Moving to the valley 2 years ago has been a huge inspiration. The greater metropolitan area is just so bizarre to me in how different it is from the desert surrounding. Arizona in general amazes me. Down here there’s cactus and shrubs everywhere, but up north it’s all pine trees and snow! I love the diversity of climates and vegetation. I see something new and interesting almost everyday. I could probably live here for the rest of my life and stay consistently amazed.  

  1. What is your favorite part about making art?

That’s a tough question. I love the general process of making—using my hands to create. I just love working hard and getting dirty.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

I’m partial to my maggot embroideries. There is something so satisfying about the play between something gross and beautiful at the same time.

  1. If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

Maggots, leaves, landscape, support, systems.  

  1. What other artists (any local?) inspire you?

I find a lot of inspiration from land artists, specifically Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt. I’m also the biggest Patricia Sannit fan in the world.

  1. What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist?

I’m awesome.

We can’t wait to see you at Practical Art on First Friday, and throughout the month of July!

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PRIDE a Photography Group Show

Practical Art is immensely excited to host this month’s featured wall show, Pride. The show will be up throughout the month of June and features youth inspired, and created, photography. Sponsored in partnership with one•n•ten and Valley Leadership, Class 37 (which I am a proud member!), this show highlights the power of self-expression. I invite you to join us for a special Artists’ reception on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 from 6-8pm.

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Over the last 3 months, through the collaboration of Valley Leadership and One-n-Ten– an organization empowering LGBTQ youth throughout the Valley– I have helped lead a group of youth in an exploration of photography. With the guidance of Valley Leadership participants, (Alex Sachs, Ben Cilek, Bobbi Lancaster, Chuck Coolidge, Koran Hardimon, Stacy Sullivan, and Tracy Guerra) and with the support of local professional photographers, Heather Kirchhofer and myself, these students participated in classes focused on developing the photographic techniques of focus, composition, lighting, and more. Using their newfound skills, these youths utilized their camera lenses to investigate, dissect, and ultimately construct a visual interpretation of Pride—a theme of their choosing. The photographs they have produced are raw, insightful, inspired, and completely student driven. Chloe Koebel related that, my favorite part so far has been the freedom to choose how you interpret the theme you are given. Everything is up to you, from the theme to the frames to the photos themselves!”

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I encourage you to Visit Practical Art throughout the month of June to view the works of these young artists. During the reception you will be able to meet the artists, mingle with representatives from Valley Leadership, One-n-Ten, and Practical Art, and enjoy delicious food from Paz Cantina’s Food Truck! It is sure to be an evening of great artwork, delicious edibles, and invigorating conversation. I can’t wait to see you there!

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Opening Reception:
Wednesday June 1st, from 6-8
Exhibition:
June 1-30

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“The Apple & The Tree” a Family Group Show

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree?” Well, this month Practical Art is putting this idiom to the test! How, you ask? This month’s show features a collaboration of works from a few of our favorite local artists and their children. Representing a wide variety of mediums and modalities, the work represented is thoughtful, inspiring, playful, and endearing.

We asked a few of these wonderful creatives to give us a little perspective about what it was like working with their family for this show.

Lori and Sydney (14) Fenn reflected on the similarities and differences of their artistic styles.

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“We both enjoy using color and looking at things from a different perspective. Lori’s paintings are more abstract, focusing on patterns, whereas Sydney’s photos are more nature oriented. However, we are both perfectionists when it comes to what we create.”

They each inspire the other to be more creative. As for Lori, “I’m inspired by Sydney’s humor, her timing is perfect and she has a way with turning an everyday comment into something comedic.”

Sydney is inspired by, “My mom’s creativity and ability to make a boring situation exciting…Her creativity allows all crazy ideas to become a reality and I find that very admirable.”

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Lilly (10) and Bella (9) Pearson appreciate being raised with and around art.

Lilly says that “[My parents] inspire me by raising me with art. I love art because it gives me so many ideas and I love creating things. My favorite part about making art is doodling and drawing, it helps me get ideas for my comic books.”

Bella states “They all help me by when they do their paintings it shows me some new ideas for my paintings. My favorite part about making art is that it lets me bring out my creative side. It is different working around my family but in a good way because I learn new things.”

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Their parents, Kristin and Emmett have purposely and poignantly raised their children around art. “We raise our kids around lots of art and they have been growing up around art studios, museums and galleries since they were young. We believe very much that the best way to support their artistic instincts is to give them space, time and materials to make work, and to support what they are doing. We avoid giving too much instruction or suggestions. Children have such a pure unfiltered way of approaching creativity and we just want to foster that above all else.” After seeing the great works created for this show, we couldn’t agree more!

So, how would these talented individuals describe their pieces for the show in three words or less?

Lori: colorful, complex
Sydney: perspective, perspective, perspective!
Bella: Sunny, beautiful, creative
Lilly: Crazy, fun, ridiculous

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Meet these artists, and the others represented in this month’s show this Friday, May 6, 2016 from 7:00-9:00pm. Their work will be up throughout the month of May, so that you can determine for yourself, does the apple fall far from the tree?

Reception for the artists:
First Friday May 6th, from 7-9
Exhibition:
May 1-31

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“We can all be free…” works by Lara Plecas

 

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When you explore the works of Lara Plecas, you may find it hard to believe that she is a self-taught painter, originally trained as a dancer. However, her expressive paintings seem to evoke a rhythm, perhaps connected with this history. This month Practical Art is excited to host her latest collection in the show, We Can All Be Free…” Her work will be displayed throughout April, with an artist’s reception held First Friday, April 1, 2016, from 7:00-9:00pm.

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Plecas’s inspirational works typically explore themes of place, and she explains in her blog that, “we have a deep and personal connection with the places where we visit and live, as well as the experiences that may have endured there.” The pieces for this show expand upon this subject by exploring place and its connection to freedom. It is a series inspired by an article from Wired entitled, “The Amazing Art on These Communist-Era Houses Was a Rebellion Back Then.” It is an editorial describing an artistic movement of freedom of expression during a time of “homogeneous, community-centric thinking.” 

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We asked Plecas to give us some additional insight about this month’s extraordinary show:

Q. How would you describe the theme of this particular show?

A. This series really explores freedom and the struggles we overcome to find peace of mind.

Q. If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

A. Minimal,  bauhaus, geometric, color, folkart

Q. What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

A. In all of the work in my show I used oil paint and encaustic medium to create the imagery. It was the first time however that I used powdered pigment when mixing my colors, it has so much more depth to the color.

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Q. Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

A. Yes, the tree piece is my favorite piece in this series. It symbolizes the displacement of my family when they left their homeland Lithuania during WWII.  They were displaced for five years until they immigrated to the U.S.

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   “Displaced/Relocation”, encaustic on panel

Q. What other artists (any local?) inspire you?

A. Agnes Martin, Bridget Riley, Betsy Eby

Q. What is your favorite part about making art?

A. I really enjoy the process of painting and watching my ideas evolve in the studio. It is a meditation, and it involves clearing your mind in order to let the flow happen.

To find out more about this historically inspired show, visit with Plecas at Practical Art, April 1, 2016, from 7:00-9:00pm. We can’t wait to see you there!

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“Entangled.” works by Andrew King

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If you own a Standard Wax candle, with its classic design and tantalizing scent, then you are familiar with the functional art of Andrew King. However, King’s artistic talents spread beyond these sensuous tapers, as evidenced by his upcoming show, Entangled. Running from Tuesday, March 1, 2016 through Thursday, March 31, 2016, Practical Art will be host to King’s series of emotionally charged pieces. His work “depicts the darkness of being trapped in a place of true unhappiness and using art to claw out.”

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To find out more about his raw art, we asked Andrew to answer a few questions about the show and the meaning behind his expressive pieces.

Q: What inspired your work for the show?

A: The show was inspired through a deep creative frustration in my life at the time, and needing to express and grow as an artist in a new way that was completely unique and personal to me.

Q: What is your favorite part about making art?

A: My favorite part about making art is that it’s the only thing in my life that makes time disappear / be completely irrelevant.

Q: Do you have a favorite piece in the show?

A: My favorite piece(s) are the largest ones. I love over-sized art that commands the attention of an entire room.

Q: If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

A: Ominous, raw and emotional

Q: What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

A: Canvas, wire, watercolor, chalk and oil pastel, spray paint

Q: Is there a theme to your show?

A: The theme is “Entangled”. “Entangled” is a manifestation of the fears, anger and anxiety caused by not living a truly creative life. Art, no matter the medium, is a materialization of emotions. A painting, sculpture, photograph or poem can move people in profound ways. This is because the work of art is not created from paint or clay or the click of a shutter; it’s created from layering feelings and thoughts and emotions and bringing them to physical form using an artist’s tools of choice.

Q: What other artists (any local?) inspire you? 

A: I have a deep appreciation for literally all kinds of art and the process behind original creations – it’s too hard to name a favorite because my ADD demands that I find greatness in everything.

Q: What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist?

A: I want people to know that I live my life for art and the process of creating and being true to myself in my work, in the space that I occupy and the creative outlets that I choose to pursue is the most important thing that makes me who I am.A King ColorTo find out more about Entangled” and meet Andrew for yourself, visit Practical Art next Friday, March 4, from 7:00pm-9:00pm for our Artist Reception. We can’t wait to see you there!

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