Art Focus Oklahoma, March/April 2009

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ArtOFocus k l a h o m a

Okl a ho m a V i s u al A r ts C o al i t i on

Vo l u m e 2 4 N o . 2

March/April 2009

Seeing Other People An exhibition of contemporary portraits explores artistic interpretation of subjects. p.17

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Art OFocus k l a h o m a

editor The magazine you hold in your hands is the result of the efforts of many. Although I serve as editor, I rely on the skills and input from a volunteer advisory committee, the eyes and ears of writers all over the state and the support of OVAC members and underwriters to make each issue come together.

Each issue begins as a list of many art events, exhibitions and artists in Oklahoma. It is often difficult for us to narrow down this list of potential story ideas to fit within these pages. To choose, we consider things like timeliness, diversity of styles and the interest of our readers. Although it’s challenging, we are pleased to have this problem as it is an indicator of the variety of art happening in our state. A recent grant from the Kirkpatrick Family Fund allowed us to add pages and full color throughout. We have also expanded the distribution of Art Focus Oklahoma, including mailing to many curators and galleries across the country. We welcome them as new readers and hope that they will enjoy the glimpse into the art of Oklahoma. Many of you have been reading this magazine for years and can recall its beginnings in 1988 as the OVAC member newsletter. It has evolved and transformed since to become the only magazine in the state highlighting Oklahoma’s art and artists.

Executive Director: Julia Kirt Editor: Kelsey Karper Art Director: Anne Richardson Art Focus Intern: Maria Glover Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight into and providing current information about the visual arts in Oklahoma. Mission: The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports visual artists living and working in Oklahoma and promotes public interest and understanding of the arts. OVAC welcomes article submissions related to artists and art in Oklahoma. Call or email the editor for guidelines. OVAC welcomes your comments. Letters addressed to Art Focus Oklahoma are considered for publication unless otherwise specified. Mail or email comments to the editor at the address above. Letters may be edited for clarity or space reasons. Anonymous letters will not be published. Please include a phone number. Art Focus Committee: Janice McCormick, Bixby; Don Emrick, Tulsa; Susan Grossman, Sue Clancy, Norman; Michael Hoffner, Stephen Kovash, and Sue Moss Sullivan, Oklahoma City.

Please enjoy your read. As always, we welcome your feedback and hope that you will keep us updated on your upcoming events and exhibitions.

OVAC Board of Directors 2008-2009: R.C. Morrison, Bixby; Richard Pearson, Rick Vermillion, Edmond; Jonathan Hils, Norman; Jennifer Barron, Susan Beaty, Stephen Kovash (President), Paul Mays, Suzanne Mitchell (Vice President), Carl Shortt, Suzanne Thomas, Elia Woods (Secretary), Oklahoma City; Joey Frisillo, Sand Springs; Anita Fields, Stillwater; Cathy Deuschle, Elizabeth Downing, Jean Ann Fausser (Treasurer), Kathy McRuiz, Sandy Sober, Tulsa; Eunkyung Jeong, Weatherford.

Kelsey Karper

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition is solely responsible for the contents of Art Focus Oklahoma. However, the views expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Board or OVAC staff.

I hope that you will also browse the online archive at It is an excellent resource for information about contemporary art in Oklahoma.

On the Cover JP Morrison, Bixby, Year of the Octopus, colored pencil, gouache and paper collage on board, 24”x18”


Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition P.O. Box 1946 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 ph: 405.232.6991 • e: visit our website at:

Member Agency of Allied Arts and member of the Americans for the Arts. © 2009, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. All rights reserved. View this issue online at


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4 Not Your Gramma’s Artist (unless your Gramma is totally awesome)

An interview with Oklahoma City artist Eric Humphries delves into the inspiration behind his large scale paintings of truly atrocious events.

9 Momentum Spotlight Awards

For OVAC’s Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still event, three young artists were selected for the Spotlight program, giving them money and several months of curatorial feedback for new projects.

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12 Transcend: Progressive Black Artist’s Vision Steps Outside the Box

An exhibition curated by Nathan Lee at Living Arts in Tulsa examines the identity of Black artists in the contemporary world.

14 VisionMakers: Spotlight On Oklahoma’s High Craft Artists

Oklahoma artists working in three-dimensional and high craft media are celebrated in VisionMakers 2009.

17 Seeing Other People

An exhibition of contemporary portraits curated by Jennifer Barron explores artistic interpretation of subjects.

19 Tulsa Art Studio Tour

The public is invited to take a peek into the lives of Tulsa artists by way of their studios.


20 To Conform – Not!

Fiber artist Kate Kline rebels against the norm in an exhibition at the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition gallery.

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21 TGAS Brings Art to the Urban Center of Tulsa

The Tulsa Girls Art School Project is empowering young girls to develop their vision and experience the world of art.

23 Have Art, Will Travel

A spring retreat offers a taste of artist-in-residence programs and opportunities to mingle with fellow artists.

business of art

25 Sales Tax and Whoopee Money


An explanation of sales tax for artists.

26 Ask a Creativity Coach

Are you hoarding stashes of art supplies and books? Maybe you’re not a pack rat, maybe you’re a raccoon.

at a glance

27 Craft in America: Expanding Traditions

An exhibition at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum examining the trends and traditions of craft work in America.

OVAC news

28 Round UP | New & Renewing Members


30 g a l l e r y g u i d e (pg 9) Grace Grothaus, a Momentum Spotlight Artist, in her Tulsa studio. (pg 20) Kate Kline, Tulsa, Orange Chairs, Fabric and Photographs, 24”x30” (pg 21) Matt Moffett helps two young girls explore art at the Tulsa Girls Art School. (pg 27) Craft in America at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.


Eric Humphries, Oklahoma City, Field of Chairs, Acrylic on Canvas, 48”x40”

Not Your Gramma’s Artist (unless your Gramma is totally awesome) by Romy Owens

The first time I met Eric Humphries was in 2006 at the OKC Festival of the Arts. I was amazed and impressed and surprised to discover that he is from the OKC metro area. Since that meeting, I am happy to call Eric “friend,” and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share a wee bit of his story through Art Focus. 4

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Eric Humphries, Oklahoma City, The Great Leap Northward, Acrylic on Canvas, 48”x40”

Eric makes large scale paintings that are based on truly atrocious events. Each piece of his art takes him on an emotional journey. For example, if he creates a painting about a child killed in the crossfire of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, he imagines how hurt he would be if it were his own child lying there, bleeding to death. That’s heavy. His paintings are laden with hidden details that tell a wellrounded story. A casual observer may dismiss Eric’s art as simple, but in reality, his work is well-researched, detailed, and quite complex. A single painting can take months to finish.

RO: Was there anyone during your youth or adolescence that you feel had a profound effect on your art or at least your decision to be an artist?

With that, enjoy this interview with Eric Humphries, Artistic Historian.

RO: How many years have you been an artist?

RO: So Eric, when it comes to art, you are a pretty serious-minded fellow with art that is as powerful and memorable as your handshake. Will you give me an inkling as to how you have become this way?

EH: I have been creating art in one form or another my entire life, from sculpting play dough dinosaurs in kindergarten and drawing tattoo flash art in my early teens, to painting works about long dead and forgotten people now. I am not happy without an artistic outlet.

EH: I know that life is short. My father died at 58. So if you want your life to mean something, you have to focus. As for the handshake, if it hurts, that means I am excited to see you.

EH: My aunt Rhonda, who painted landscapes very well, always made a big deal of my interest in art. She was probably the first person to make making art seem like a worthwhile pursuit. And there was also this hippie guy that lived next to my mom. He was painting this insanely large canvas detailing the history of the world in his garage. It was very cool but I never got to see it finished. But I really wanted to.

RO: How many years have you been a working artist?

EH: I have been painting atrocities-related artwork for 15 years, on and off, but only showing and selling them since late 2005. RO: How do you define atrocity? EH: Atrocity is one of those things you know when you see it. It’s not about a number of dead or cities laid to waste although that is often part of it. Atrocity is about intent. It’s the most extreme reckless disregard. It’s cruelty for no reason. It’s senseless murder. It’s bragging about all these things. It’s causing immense suffering and thinking it’s humorous. It’s subhuman. Atrocity is giving in to the part of us that is still animal. RO: How has your art changed since you started painting? EH: I think the biggest change I’ve made in painting has to be in the research and concept development phase of each work. I really have a much better grasp on what makes a good composition than even a few years ago. I know earlier what I want to achieve with each work and how to make it happen. I’m personally much more happy with the outcome. continued on page 6

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RO: The atrocities of history being an extremely specific subject matter, do you ever come across an historical event that you feel is too tragic for you to tackle? EH: Some events are very hard to handle but if I feel I can do something useful with them I will, even if I don’t want to. RO: Is there one atrocity that you have depicted that haunts you in a way that maybe some of the others don’t? By that I mean, not that any tragedy is worse than another, as they are all tragic, but just that I wonder if some weigh heavier on your mind? EH: I painted about the Manson Murders and felt pretty creeped out about that. Most of my canvases are about government oppression but these murders were very personal and senseless. I found myself feeling very bad for Roman Polanski. Losing your family like that would be worse than death. One other weird aspect of that project was that Manson based his ideas off the White Album by The Beatles, so for the two months I worked on that painting, that is all I listened to. Not just while painting, but all the time. Now after seeing it through that context, the album is forever ruined for me. They even wrote “piggies,” the title of one of my favorite songs on the album, on the walls in the victim’s blood. RO: In your lifetime could there ever come a point when you run out of atrocities to depict in your paintings? EH: Let’s hope. But sadly, I am sure I will never run out of material to paint about. I sometimes say to people to illustrate this point, “If I wanted to paint Nazi atrocities alone, I would have work for a lifetime.” RO: Ultimately, what do you hope to accomplish with your art? EH: I hope people will use my art to learn about the history of violence in the world and to further empathize with the true life victims of this violence. I also hope my art stands as a testament that you can do meaningful things with creativity. RO: If your paintings weren’t focused on these atrocities, what would you paint?


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EH: Before this, I painted all sorts of things. I painted nudes and landscapes, but I never felt as comfortable as an artist as I do right now. In painting atrocities, I found my voice as an artist and as a human. RO: Your pop style is highly recognizable. So, in relation to your style of presentation, how did you first decide to depict tragic events in such a playful style? EH: I was looking for a way to make these atrocities more approachable so that people wouldn’t immediately recoil in terror and this is what I came up with. I think people see them first as bright, energetic, pop artworks and then it sinks in that they have these deeper meanings. I mean, the first thing many people say to me when they see my paintings is “Fun stuff” and then they realize what they are really looking at. This duality is what holds people’s interest in the works. RO: Are you ever compared to Keith Haring in style? EH: I sometimes use Haring as an influence when asked, but in reality I only became interested in his work a few years ago, long after I developed my style. He and I were probably interested in the same kind of cartoonish images. But if you are comparing my work to his, I will not complain. I love Haring’s paintings especially those about South Africa and AIDS. RO: Before meeting you, I’d never met anyone in your other line of work. Will you please explain exactly what your day job is, and what you like and/or don’t like about what you do? EH: I have for more than 16 years worked at and managed the production end of Skulls Unlimited International. The job entails cleaning and articulating human and animal skulls and skeletons. I really like the educational and artistic aspects of the job. I could do without its unavoidable messiness. RO: How do you manage two careers and family life? EH: It’s tough to juggle all of my obligations. Fortunately I have enough freedom at work that if I need an hour or two here and there for

art openings it’s no big deal. RO: Are you Oklahoma born? EH: Yes, I was born and raised in rural Norman, Oklahoma on 20 acres complete with cows and pigs. RO: Where did you go to school? EH: I have no formal training as an artist. RO: Where is the coolest place you’ve ever visited? EH: New York City is the coolest place I’ve visited. Some places I would like to visit are the slave houses on Goree Island, the Killing Fields in Cambodia and Auschwitz. RO: If you and your family could live anywhere, where do you think you would be happiest? EH: I think my family and I would be happiest living in the country in my old elementary school. Unfortunately, someone beat me to it and they are currently turning it into a flea market. RO: What is the enduring legacy you would like to leave behind as a father? husband? artist? human? EH: I would like for my family to be proud of me as an artist and to be remembered as a person who loved making art and cared a great deal about it’s impact on the world. RO: What is your favorite way to pass time? EH: I like to take my family to new places. It’s great to see the look on my son’s face when he sees something new and exciting, like a dinosaur skeleton or a beautiful piece of sculpture. RO: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to art? EH: My biggest pet peeve about art is when an artist’s back story becomes more important than the art he produces. RO: What are your escapist activities? EH: My favorite non art related hobby is learning about human evolution. I have some

Eric Humphries, Oklahoma City, Heaven, Hell and the Earth, Acrylic on Canvas, 48”x40” Eric Humphries, Oklahoma City, Demons and Deities, Acrylic on Canvas, 48”x40”

70 actual casts of early man finds. I am fascinated with them and the story they tell. RO: Would you mind sharing your influences/inspirations in art? EH: Fernando Botero, Diego Rivera and Keith Haring are very important influences of mine and I am currently very into the Harlem Renaissance painter William H. Johnson. I love the simplicity of his work and the social commentary he made. Skip Hill, a local artist, is also someone whose work I have liked for several years. RO: In music? EH: Music is the real story. I seek out and listen to music everyday. My idea of social commitment started with music. It was the ‘80s punk rock scene, with it’s emphasis on social justice and political leanings, that made me who I am today. Bands like the Dead Kennedys, who took their song ideas from the nightly news, showed that creativity could be used for more than passive entertainment. You could actively influence people with art. Currently, I am playing catch up, listening to the early biographical songs of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley’s “Survival” album, and the Bad Brains. RO: In politics? EH: All I have to say about politics is “Yes we did“. RO: In pop culture? EH: I am much more interested in unpopular culture. RO: In literature? EH: All the books I like are biographical and or about atrocities or human evolution. I will say that I would have loved to see Allen Ginsberg as the U.S. Poet Laureate. RO: In life? EH: My take on life is don’t waste it. It’ll be over soon. RO: When do you usually wake up? EH: 7 a.m. RO: When do you usually go to sleep? EH: 12 a.m. to 2 a.m., 5 a.m. on the weekends. RO: Do you like Cheetos? EH: Sometimes. Eric Humphries currently lives in Moore with his wife and son. His web address is He can be reached at n Romy Owens arts full time and curates part time at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. She loves Cheetos and can be reached through mental telepathy or at



Darryl Hillard, a Stillwater artist selected for Momentum Spotlight, with a collection of his paintings.

Momentum Spotlight Awards by Susan Beaty

OVAC’s Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still exhibition and fundraiser is held annually in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The event showcases works by Oklahoma artists age 30 and below. Those who have attended Momentum know that its unique, inventive mix of 2-D, 3-D, film, installation, and performance art results in one of the most intriguing and entertaining art shows of the year. This year, the Oklahoma City Momentum continues a new feature started at the Tulsa Momentum last year--Spotlight Awards. Through an application process, a Spotlight Emerging Curator was chosen who collaborated with the Momentum curator to select three Spotlight Artists. The Spotlight program was inspired by OVAC’s recent Art 365 project in which artists selected received a stipend as well as ongoing curatorial feedback during the year in which they prepared for the exhibition. Recognizing the beneficial impact of curatorial involvement during the creative process, the Momentum Committee offered a similar opportunity to selected Momentum artists. The committee selected Heather Ahtone, a writer, curator, and artist currently working at the University of Oklahoma, as curator. After reviewing applications, the curator chose Romy Owens as the Spotlight Emerging Curator. Owens is an artist and Curator/Gallery Coordinator for the Gaylord-Pickens Museum in Oklahoma City. Owens reports “I feel honored to have been selected to be a part of Momentum’s curatorial process. Heather Ahtone has been a fantastic mentor, and I’ve learned a great deal about being critical and thoughtful when it comes to selecting artists.

Momentum is such a fantastic art event, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.” Last fall, young Oklahoma artists applied for Momentum Spotlight by submitting proposals which included images of past work, the title, description, and sketches of the proposed Spotlight project, an artist statement, and resume. The curators met in November to review the approximately 20 candidates. Owens’s enthusiasm for the submissions is evident: “There were many fantastic proposals that were diverse and spanned all media. It was a challenging decision picking these three. We narrowed and narrowed and had long discussions about the final few. In the end, the three were chosen based upon their ideas and vision, and we also took into consideration who would benefit most from the curatorial process.” Ahtone and Owens selected Grace Grothaus, Darryl Hillard, Jr., and Brooke Madden as the Spotlight Artists. Each will receive a $1,500 honorarium and a $250 materials stipend, and their work will be featured in a DVD catalog. In December, the curators and Spotlight Artists met at the Momentum location to see the space and select the area where their work will be installed. In January, the curators visited each of the artists in theair studios to check in on their progress. The curators and artists met again when the artists began installing the work for the show. continued on page 10

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Grace Grothaus of Tulsa is a painter and sculptor who attended the Kansas City Art Institute. Her work has encompassed many media and formats because she chooses materials that best fit the project. Grothaus is interested in creating art that addresses our connection to, and troubled relationship with, our environment, along with the roles technology and industry play in shaping it. Grothaus explains that being selected as a Momentum Spotlight Artist makes her feel “like a little kid set loose in a candy store! I’m very excited to be able to bring to life a big project I’ve been dreaming about for months but haven’t had the right exhibition space or finances for. Also, it is really great to get some engaging feedback on my work - something you don’t appreciate enough until you are out of school and it’s gone.” For Momentum, Grothaus is addressing consumerism, and more, in McWilderness: a life-size landscape installation. She describes the project as a plastic simulacrum of wilderness illuminating the tendency to idealize nature and commoditize it, even to prefer the substitution (such as a plastic Christmas tree) to the real thing, because it is “perfect” and “safe.” Darryl Hillard, Jr. grew up in Oklahoma City and will soon graduate from Oklahoma State University. Hillard’s oil paintings and oil pastel drawings are visual statements of emotion, whether his own or the viewer’s. The narrative style and formal qualities of Hillard’s art are inspired by historical painting, especially artwork by Caravaggio, Van Dyke and Rembrandt. Hillard cites hip hop, African culture, and Kehinde Wiley as present influences. For Momentum, Darryl is creating a series of large-scale (approximately 5’x8’) paintings entitled “Stages of Embattlement with Alter-Egos.” This series is informed by Darryl’s relationship with and attitude toward his fraternity, and the conflicts of the different identities and personalities of his daily life. The paintings incorporate vivid color, evocative action, and vivid movement and struggle. Hillard describes his art as “real, ethnic, thoughtful, and controversial without being argumentative.” Hillard hopes to convey the experience of African American fraternities “attempting to be productive organizations in a predominately white society.” Brooke Madden, of Norman, completed her BFA at the University of Oklahoma in 2006. The natural environment is the inspiration in Madden’s installations. Of the Spotlight Artist opportunity, Madden stated “I’m very thrilled to be accepted, this is such a wonderful opportunity for me. I love creating installations because it can impact the viewers so much more than a simple painting or sculpture.” For Momentum, Madden is creating an installation titled Within Vitality in which she will transform a small room into an environment that abstractly reflects nature by referencing organic life. Madden will attach about 1,500 white circles to the walls and ceiling. The translucent circles, representing natural patterns in a cell wall, scales, or bubbles, create an organic, free-flowing tunnel. Madden will add fans and light to create a subtle vibrating movement and backlit luminosity, representing vegetation swaying in a breeze and sunlight. A faint mist of jasmine will be released to intensify the ambiance of clean, fresh air. A sound collage of slight and simple tones gradually increasing then decreasing in loudness and in harmony, will mimic breathing or heartbeats. Within Vitality is an apt title for the transformative, living installation Madden is creating for Momentum. Momentum Oklahoma City, featuring the three Spotlight Artists as well as the work of many other young Oklahoma artists will be March


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6-7, 2009 in the former postal distribution center at 320 S.W. 5th Street. The first night, Friday March 6, is Downtempo, and will be set at a mellower pace. Saturday March 7, the party kicks into Full Speed with high energy music. Whether you choose Downtempo or Full Speed, you will come away from Momentum amazed with the artistic talent and vision of Oklahoma’s young artists. Spotlight Artist Grothaus noted “Momentum may be the single best way to get a finger on the pulse of what is happening here and now in the art world of Oklahoma.” I enthusiastically agree and eagerly anticipate Momentum 2009. n Susan Beaty is an attorney in Oklahoma City and a member of the OVAC Board.

Top: A small maquette of Grace Grothaus’ project for Momentum Spotlight, McWilderness Bottom: Brooke Madden, a Norman artist selected for Momentum Spotlight, visits with Spotlight Curator Romy Owens in her studio.





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Graphic and Interior Design Exhibit April 2-May 2 OPENING RECEPTION: April 2, 4-6 p.m. Donna Nigh Gallery, Nigh University Center This exhibit will feature web design, print design, illustration and multimedia by UCO graphic and interior design students. Free to the public. For more information:, or call (405) 974-2432.

Opening Artist Reception March 5 from 5:30 - 8:30 pm Gallery Talk with Jim Keffer Exhibit Runs March 5 - April 11 (405) 951-0000 3000 General Pershing Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73107



Progressive Black Artist’s Vision Steps Outside the Box by Nathan Lee

I have been lucky to be an artist, activist and as of late a curator. The most recent exhibition I had the joy and honor of being involved in was at Living Arts in Tulsa. I was approached by Steve Liggett, Living Arts Director, to curate the exhibition and he had one simple question: Where are all of the Black artists in Oklahoma? It’s a question I have been asked on several occasions and I am happy that this exhibition helped shed light on Oklahoma’s creative class of color. It has become an artistic movement that is more focused and active than it has ever been. Entitled Transcend, this Living Arts event introduced Tulsa’s art community to a collective of contemporary Black artists whose vision was fresh, original and accessible all at the same time. The Transcend exhibition seems to be right on time given the social and political climate that is very much entrenched in race more so than in recent memory. With Barack Obama transcending the racial divides in this country, it makes sense that there is an African American exhibition that transcends the idea of what Black art constitutes. As artists of color have begun to make significant contributions to Oklahoma’s mainstream art community, their vision has begun to evolve too. This has never been more evident than in Transcend. Black culture is incredibly diverse in America and this exhibition shows that diversity both socially and artistically. The subject matter of Transcend spans the gamut of experience. The names of some of the artists in Transcend are new to the Oklahoma art community but their work is just as meaningful and expressive. Photographers Brenna King, Rory Littleton and Wendell Gordon touch on different slices of the Black experience to create a tapestry of complexity and depth while remaining some how connected with one another. Brenna King is a bi-racial artist whose work tackles the subject of being of mixed heritage and self definition. Littleton’s work uses human sensuality to create vivid, haunting images that stay with the viewer and provoke thought. Gordon


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Rory Littleton, Post, Photography.

presents a vision that is different than the other two photographers in that his visuals concentrate on being Black from an international perspective. He has traveled across America and Africa frequenting Ghana, capturing the culture of the people there. “I don’t make just Black art,” says artist Robert Hill. “I make art that communicates to the spirit and humanity of an individual. Art should not be exclusive to any group of people. It is meant to be shared.” That stance is very inclusive and talking with the other artists from the exhibition, that sentiment is embraced by each of them. It is their belief that art need not be confined and constricted by race. It should have the chance to affect everyone who wants to immerse themselves in it. I have noticed that this offering of socially aware art is devoid of the usual overt angst and anger that is at times present in the genre. The vision is no less passionate but there is a majestic serenity to the work that seems to trump divisive aggression. There is indeed a feeling of transcendence and evolving with this exhibition. It is a reflection not just of the evolution of African American artists, but a reflection of society changing. There has been an idea of a post-racial America. These artists could be called Post-Black artists as well. Instead of using art to define race, they use it to define segments of a much broader whole. The artists of Transcend are not Black visionaries. They are visionaries that just so happen to be Black. n Nathan Lee is the founder of Inclusion In Art, and a regular contributor to Art Focus. He is also a mixed media artist known for his sculptural work.

(top) Photograph by Marjorie Bontemps (bottom) Sculpture by Cherri Ledbetter

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(left) Ron Fleming, Tulsa, Scissortail, Wood, 11”x17” (right) Eric Wright, El Reno, Nest, Concrete and Steel, 14.5”x14”x14”


Spotlight On Oklahoma’s High Craft Artists

by Kelsey Karper

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s (OVAC) VisionMakers exhibition spotlights excellence by Oklahoma artists working in three dimensional and high craft media, such as glass, metal, ceramics, wood or fiber. The 2009 exhibition will be held March 28-April 30, 2009 at Six11 Creative in downtown Oklahoma City. An opening reception is free and open to the public on March 28, from 7-9pm. Of the 316 pieces of artwork submitted for inclusion in the exhibition, 37 were selected by the curator to represent the finest in Oklahoma’s high craft artwork. A variety of styles and media are represented, from the delicate felted wool in a piece by Stephanie Grubbs to the intricate wood carving by Ron Fleming. Eric Wright, one of the selected artists, said “As an emerging sculptor, I am honored to be in the company of so many skilled and talented artists. It is always exciting to see the level of talent this part of the country has to offer.”


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One of the other artists to participate in VisionMakers is Adam Labe of Stillwater. Labe said, “As an object maker, a craftsmen, an educator and the son of a silversmith and industrial designer I am delighted to be participating in VisionMakers. I am honored to be given the opportunity to present my newest work in public and to discuss my ideas with the distinguished curator, Judith Schwartz.” The guest curator for VisionMakers 2009 is Judith Schwartz, Ph.D, Head of the Sculpture: Craft Media Area at New York University. She is a critic, curator and author of national and international articles on contemporary craft issues. She is President of the newly established Museum of Ceramic Art to be located in Long Island City. Schwartz received her Ph.D from NYU. Schwartz selected the work to be included in the exhibition, and will also select the works to receive the $6,500 in artist awards. Schwartz will give a lecture and book signing on March 28 at 6:00 pm at Untitled (ArtSpace), 1 NE 3rd St, preceding the exhibition

VisionMakers Artists Stuart Asprey, Norman Martha Avrett, Stillwater Rick & Tracey Bewley, Oklahoma City Milissa Burkart, Tulsa Janey Carns Crain, Noble Bryan Dahlvang, Tuttle William R. Derrevere, Tulsa Cathy Deuschle, Tulsa Ron du Bois, Stillwater Jean Ann Fausser, Tulsa Ron Fleming, Tulsa Stephanie Grubbs, Edmond Virginia Harrison, Tulsa Bob Hawks, Tulsa Janet Shipley Hawks, Tulsa (above) Stephanie Grubbs, Edmond, Sea Spray, Felted Wool, 12�x34�x24

Carla Houston, Oklahoma City Howard C. Koerth, Oklahoma City Adam Labe, Stillwater Nathan Lee, Oklahoma City Harolyn Long, Edmond Sunni Mercer, Bethany Marie Miller, Oklahoma City Sharon J. Montgomery, Oklahoma City Don C. Narcomey, Oklahoma City Tomoaki Orikasa, Norman Paul Pfrehm, Wewoka David Phelps, Oklahoma City

opening. For an insight into the creative process of the artists, several VisionMakers award winners will give talks on April 30, from 6-7pm. All events are free and open to the public.

Ann Powell, Ponca City Maryruth Prose, Lawton Chris Ramsay, Stillwater

For more information about VisionMakers, please visit or call 405-232-6991. Six11 Creative is located at 611 N. Broadway in Oklahoma City. VisionMakers is presented by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and made possible by the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. n

Barbara S. Scott, Oklahoma City

Kelsey Karper is the Editor of Art Focus Oklahoma and a photographer working in historic and alternative processes. She can be reached at

George Wilson, Oklahoma City

Asia Scudder, Norman Lisa Sorrell, Guthrie Sue Moss Sullivan, Oklahoma City Brooks Tower, Oklahoma City

Eric Wright, El Reno

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(left) Sarah Atlee, Oklahoma City, Anonymous Niece, Acrylic and Colored Pencil on Rives BFK, 4”x5” (middle) Alexis Winslow, Rachel Raccoon Web, Acrylic on Canvas, 20”x30” (right) JP Morrison, Bixby, Properties of a Summer, colored pencil, gouache, graphite and paper collage on board, 24”x18”

Seeing Other People: Exhibit of portraits explores artistic interpretation of subjects by Susan Grossman For artist Sarah Atlee of Oklahoma City, portraiture offers the chance to tell a story about an individual person. In doing so, she does not adhere to a strict likeness of people but rather uses exaggeration, abstraction and various media to give viewers a different take on her subjects. So far, she laughed, they have not minded this altered state of their appearance.

Loosely defined as any art that focuses on specific or identified people, the longevity and flexibility of portraiture says much about human fascination with the lives and perspectives of other people, said show curator Jennifer Barron. That is why she jumped at the chance to put all the artists and their pieces together for this Underground presentation.

“I like the opportunity to imbed my own ideas into portraits and so far no one has objected,” Atlee said. “This makes creating portraits more visual and interesting to me.”

“It’s interesting to see how someone else sees a person,” she said. “Portraiture calls upon the interpretation of the artist as they see their subject.”

Atlee’s portraits, along with 11 other Oklahoma visual artists, can be found in Seeing Other People currently on display in the Underground’s Invited Artists Gallery in Oklahoma City.

Portraits are one of the longest standing traditions in the visual arts, encompassing works from Egyptian tomb sculptures and European wedding portraits, to contemporary family portrait photographs and E: True Hollywood Stories.

For this show Atlee worked outside her usual realm of painting, choosing ink for a portrait of friend and photographer Romy Owens and colored pencils for Anonymous Niece, a piece originating from an old family photo. “I found this picture of a young girl in a pile of family photos that I am guessing is from the early 20th century,” she said. “There is no name on the photo and I don’t know her. What I do know is this person existed and that is intriguing to me. She is a character frozen in time and I can only guess as to what her life was like.”

Employees of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation may seem an unlikely group to sit for portraits, yet Liz Roth was captivated by the notion of co-workers as substitute family. A selection of her collection, Cheeseburger Soup, is also a part of Seeing Other People. “I used to work as a civil servant for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and I thought my co-workers were a great example of how the workplace functions as a substitute family,” she explained. “In the DOT cafeteria was a dish called ‘cheeseburger soup’ that was continued on page 18

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a conglomeration of a lot of unlikely ingredients forced to function together. I thought that was a good representation of our group.” Roth invited her colleagues to pose for her and she painted portraits of them. Although she said she liked the results, as paintings she felt she was not getting the point across that in today’s society the workplace is a substitute family. She started to make etchings based on the paintings and Roth said she liked these much better. The Cheeseburger Soup project resulted in a book of the same name. “The book really ended up being my bread and butter,” she said. “What I am showing here are some of the paintings and some of the prints.” Other artists in the show include Josh Buss, Nick Hermes, MJ Alexander, Sam Echols, Jackie Jones, Jason Pawley, Eleanor Davy Carmack, JP Morrison, Sara Scribner and Alexis Winslow. “These artists have created artwork portraying friends, celebrities, and complete strangers in a wide array of style and motives, with the result an exploration into the very different ways artists see other people,” Barron said. “This show was a lot of fun to put together.” Seeing Other People is currently on display in the Underground’s Invited Artists Gallery and runs through April 15. The gallery sits beneath the intersection of Robinson and Robert S. Kerr in downtown Oklahoma City and can be accessed through any of the Underground entrances. It is free and open to the public. n Susan Grossman is assistant director of marketing for University of Oklahoma Outreach and a freelance writer based in Norman. She can be reached at

(top) Liz Roth, Stillwater, Cynthia: Opera Singer. In the wrong job., Etching with chine collé, 11”x10” (bottom) Sara Scribner, Cody Lee Dopps, Oil on gessoed panel, 18”x24”


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David Varmecky’s studio

Tulsa Art Studio Tour by Elizabeth Downing This spring, once again, we get a chance to peek into the lives of a few Tulsa artists by way of their studios, the backdrops to their creative pursuits. I once heard someone say that opening your home to the public was like giving it a French kiss: everything is hanging out, so to speak, cavities, bad breath, the whole shebang. So read into that whatever you may about artists and their proclivities to make out with the “general public”, and pucker up for an artistic springtime smooch a la Green Country this April 4th & 5th. After the first rush of excitement has past, when the kissing has left you punch-drunk and in need of a breather, you can satisfy your more cerebral desires by peering into the mind of an artist through the lens of their own workspace. As we’ve heard many times (and should believe by now) Oklahoma artists are deserving of far more credibility for their creativity than they usually receive. So this is the chance to delve into those imaginations and see the inner workings of artists that live in our own neighborhoods, because, let’s face it, the creative mind is a pretty fascinating thing. Meeting the artists themselves means that you get the sense of what it’s like to be a full-time, part-time, or only-when-I-have-time kind of an artist. Deep down we all sort of want to be the wacky free spirit with a cigarette in one hand and a paintbrush in another, spending days in frenzied creative pursuits and nights dazzling the intellectual coffeeshop goers or partying until the stars fade. Seeing an artist’s space lets us live a little vicariously. (Also, where do you think we sign up for the aforementioned Andy Warhol experience?) Alright, not every artist follows that stereotype, but the truth is that there are some very diverse approaches to creation that are directly reflected by an artists’ space. There are the easy distinctions, the organized creative vs. the not

(which can vary to a number of degrees I never thought possible until I went on this tour). Then there’s the pack rats vs. the minimalists, the planned spaces vs. the “wherever-I’ve-got-room”. More than that, the artists on this tour represent emerging, mid-career, and seasoned artists at a variety of ages and working in a variety of media. Among them are the President of the University of Tulsa Steadman Upham and his wife Peggy, a jewelry artist that has “a huge crush on Jake Gyllenhaal” and “loves spam and chocolate” (self-described), and Craig Wood, an artist who was inspired to delve into his art by the impending approach of middle age. Naturally, all this variety was carefully arranged to make sure you get to kiss a wide variety of suitors. It is springtime, after all. But, after all is said and done, artists are solitary folk, outsiders looking in. We don’t get out much, and the general public doesn’t get in much, but anyone can relate to this, a creative space. Seeing the way other artists work gives some insight into their process, which in turn can inspire, demonstrate, or teach us a little bit more about our own art or some spark of creativity that we didn’t even know we had in us. So come join us on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour 2009, April 4th & 5th from noon-5 pm, where spattered paint, stinky chemicals, sharp knives, hot kilns, messy hands, and stacks upon stacks of supplies, books, magazines, inspirational quotes, cats and dogs, and sometimes even empty wine bottles are all du jour! More information is available at n Beth Downing is not an art critic, but a photographer of the urban landscape and a technical writer who lives in Tulsa. She can be reached at

Tulsa Art Studio Tour 2009 Artists Kevin Byrne ceramics 2316 E 13th St Glenn Herbert Davis photography & installation 2837 W 21st Chris Owens painting & mixed media 3613 S Louisville Mary Russell & Lynn Clark painting 2236 E 6th St Cindy Swanson mosaics 4224 S Norfolk Ave Kristal Tomshany painting & mixed media 1846 E 17th St Steadman and Peggy Upham painting, metalsmith 28th & Lewis (Saturday only) David Varmecky photography 1104 S Victor Ave Craig Wood ceramics 2733 E 34th St

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To Conform –

Not! by Janice McCormick

Conformity: Textile Art by Kate Kline opens at the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition Gallery on March 6th and runs through March 28th. Conformity represents Kline’s first solo exhibit. Meet the artist at the opening reception on Friday, March 6, 6pm to 9pm. This event is free and open to the public. In her artist statement, Kline explains her exhibit’s over-all theme: “Conformity is safe and orderly. It maintains control. Do humans strive for conformity? Or strive to break out of conformity? Within a framework of conformity, in this case the grid, I am exploring the ways in which we creatively defy the norm. Through this defiance we jump-start change and progress. We express our individuality despite the rules and parameters of our lives. An observation of high school students wearing school uniforms illustrates this point very well. How far can you push the limits while staying within the accepted boundaries?” She adds, “I became interested in gridded structures as a form of symmetry. My grids vary from strict symmetry to what I call ‘casual symmetry.’ Sometimes the non-conformity comes from the content, sometimes the structure. As a textile artist I have tried to work with canvas as though it were the lightweight fabrics I use in my art quilts and other fiber pieces. On the whole, I have also embellished the works with stitches although, as a non-conformist, I don’t always work within my own rules.” In her biography, Kline describes how her life-long experience in making garments and quilts has turned into creating fine art quilts and dyeing, painting and printing on fabric. Her educational background and work experience has been in the law. Now in retirement from the practice of law, she continues to work in textiles, experimenting with a variety of media from other disciplines. As she puts it, “My varied background and cross-media scrounging bring a unique touch to my work.” She also shares her knowledge of quilt-making and surface design with others, teaching classes at Waterworks Art Studios. The Tulsa Artists’ Coalition Gallery is located at 9 East Brady, in the Brady Arts District. Gallery hours are from 6pm to 9pm on Thursday, Friday & Saturday; and in the daytime by appointment. For an appointment or more information, call (918) 592-0041. Check out TAC’s website: n Janice McCormick is an art reviewer who has been writing about art in Tulsa and Oklahoma since 1990. Currently she teaches philosophy part-time at Tulsa Community College. She can be reached at


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(top) Kate Kline, Tulsa, Fragments, Fabric, 24”x42” (bottom) artist, Kate Kline

Art instructor and Tulsa Girls Art School director Matt Moffett guides students Monae King, 11-years-old, and Mary Faith Flores, 12-years-old, through the brainstorming process as they begin sketching ideas for their first project of the semester.

TGAS brings art to the urban center of Tulsa by Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop Photo by Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop.

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for,” Georgia O’Keeffe once said. Tulsa Girls Art School Project, Inc. (TGAS) provides a voice for young girls from urban Tulsa who are searching for their voice. Director Matt Moffett and patron Mona Pittenger established this unique program in order to provide a permanent and safe setting for underprivileged girls to develop their vision and experience the world of art. Moffett said Pittinger wanted to “empower girls.” Moffett was a Spanish professor at the University of Tulsa when the unexpected loss of a beloved pet changed the direction of his life. Art entered his life and his skills as a pet portrait and cityscape artist started him on a new path. As an elementary school art instructor with Tulsa Public Schools he became aware that young girls did not have as many after-school activity options as boys. “In January 2007 the idea was born.” Moffett said. After finding a suitable space, the first 12 students from Eugene Elementary stepped through the doors on June 25, 2007, for a six week program. Students are selected from urban Tulsa elementary schools. They are nominated by a homeroom teacher, principal or art teacher and selected on their grades, leadership skills and a knack for art. The girls must maintain excellent grades and proper school attendance to qualify at no cost to the school or the family of the girls. “We require a strict attendance record in the program,” he said. “It is a privilege to attend this school.” They hope the opportunity will become a motivational tool, or catalyst, to help elementary age girls succeed at school and in life. In the fall of 2007, 12 students from Emerson Elementary started in the program. At

that time, they also added ceramic and fiber art to the curriculum. A kiln and clay were donated and a guest ceramic artist taught the girls how to create pottery and the proper steps for glazing a table setting. The latest expansion came when Spirit Aerosystems of Tulsa provided $9,000 to create a black and white photographic darkroom and purchase cameras for the school. Thirteen girls from Roosevelt Elementary and two home-schooled students joined the program in the Fall of 2008. “The goal is for the girls to learn not only the art,” said Moffett, “but also how to go out on their own to become a strong visual artist and market their works.” Moffett strives to set them up to do it all, from idea to completion. At the conclusion of each semester, a show and sale is hosted by the students. Moffett said the girls learn how to display their artwork, provide refreshments and develop salesmanship skills as they visit with prospective clients. The first exhibition generated $12,000 in sales for the school and students. With the help of Tulsa media outlets, approximately 500 visitors were in attendance. Moffett said he was surprised by the emotional reaction felt in the gallery as clients read the short biography of each girl and learned of the students’ diverse backgrounds. For the second show, each girl designed and created quilt squares. A fiber artist then helped the girls assemble a quilt, which was sold for $800. The quilt sale and student art sales provided $14,000 in additional funds. continued on page 22

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The proceeds are divided between the school and the student. The school holds 50 percent of each girl’s sales for them to purchase personal art supplies from Zieglers for home use, college savings bonds, field trips to Oklahoma museums, etc. Moffett said after the latest sale, one of the advanced students wanted to purchase some art books. They took her to a local book store where she purchased $700 worth of books for her home reference library.

For some students the school has become a life changing experience. It is amazing to see how the girls have changed and evolved in the positive atmosphere of TGAS, Moffett said. Mary was once a very shy student who chose a silent life in public. She has opened up and is excited about the ceramic program, and this past year she won her school spelling bee and progressed to the city wide bee where she placed first. Monae wants to become a fashion designer. Moffett said she has sketchbooks full of models dressed in distinctive outfits. Lucy is currently preparing for her first solo show at a Tulsa gallery and her art was selected for the Mayor of Tulsa Christmas card.

Photo by Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop.

Through the positive public recognition some of the students have developed a following. Moffett receives calls from prospective clients who are interested in purchasing the student art for their private collections.

“TGAS students who have shown tenacity, good attitude and really show their artistic talents are allowed to be in the advanced class,” he said. “Once they are accepted they are allowed to stay in no matter their age until they have graduated high school. The older girls are great role models for peer teaching and inspiring the younger ones.” The business of running the studio and gallery is not free. Moffett said TGAS running expenses are estimated to be $100,000 per year for rent, utilities, insurance, supplies, transportation, etc. These expenses are paid for by contributions, art sales and the support of Tulsa area businesses and foundations.

A “Wish Tree” has been set up in the studio with items needed by the school and TGAS is always looking for strong female artists to visit with the girls and work on projects. Students are currently creating an art garden in the yard of the school where donated sculptures and art created by students can be displayed. If you would like to help in a small way, volunteer or contribute, contact Matt Moffett at 918-607-4955 or visit the website at n Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop is a freelance writer and fine art photographer living in the Tulsa area.

Photo by Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop.

“In the past we were supported by the Mona Pittenger Foundation and are currently looking for additional opportunities for funding or grants to meet our funding goals,” he said. Many of the students do not have transportation to and from the program. Following school, they are picked up in a 12 passenger van and transported to the gallery. Car Country in Broken Arrow donated the used van. The students and Moffett decided it needed to be repainted and contacted a custom car body painter who agreed to paint the van with Vincent VanGogh’s “Starry Night”.

(top) Tulsa Girls Art School student Cristina Ciriaco is at work on a painting to be sold during the art sale held at the end of the semester. (bottom) Tulsa Girls Art School student Hayleigh Hopwood is at work on a painting to be sold during the art sale held at the end of the semester.


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(left) The Fundacion Valparaiso, an artist residency in Mojacar, Spain where Have Art, Will Travel panel artist Corazon Watkins spent a month as artist-in-residence. (right) Coazon Watkins and Mrs. Beckett at the opening reception

Have Art, Will Travel

at Galleria Monte.

by Lori Oden The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition has been providing the Artist Survival Kit (ASK) Workshop Series for artists for many years. This spring will mark the first ASK Retreat: Have Art, Will Travel, to be held April 24-26 at the Quartz Mountain Lodge. It is a weekend get-away to learn more about artist-in-residency programs that are available to artists nationwide, meet and learn from colleagues and mingle with artists from across the state. Artist-in-Residencies are opportunities for artists to travel and have dedicated time and space for creative work. The residencies are as varied as the places they are located. Some are paid, some are not. Most have certain requirements that have to be met such as exhibitions, teaching, or a combination of the two. Some last two weeks, and others can be up to six months or more. Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artist Communities, will be the keynote speaker. Caitlin has served the Alliance since 2002, first as event coordinator, and later in development, communications, and programming roles. She was appointed Executive Director February 1, 2008. Prior to joining the Alliance, Caitlin managed several nonprofit professional music ensembles in Chicago, and she worked for a PR firm specializing in nonprofit arts organizations, including the National Youth Orchestra Festival and the Stradivarius Society. She has received training in nonprofit management from the Chicago Nonprofit Financial Center and as a selected participant in the Arts & Business Council’s National Arts Marketing Project. Caitlin has lectured at Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University, Brown University, Roger Williams University, and the Rhode Island School of Design on a range of topics – from grantwriting to contemporary music to intersections of art and architecture. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in music performance from Columbia College Chicago and a Master’s in musicology from Roosevelt University, where her research focused on music as a tool for building communities of resistance and social dissent; and she was a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at Brown University.

According to their website, “The Alliance of Artist Communities is the service organization for the field of artists’ communities and residencies. The Alliance gives a collective voice on behalf of its members, small and large, that leverages support for the field as a whole; promotes successful practices in the field; and advocates for creative environments that support the work of today’s artists. Believing that the cultivation of new art and ideas is essential to human progress, the Alliance’s mission is to advocate for and support artists’ communities, in order to advance the endeavors of artists. The Alliance is one of the few national organizations representing programs that support aritsts in all disciplines, believing that collaboration and exchange that crosses traditional boundaries furthers our culture’s progress.” Artist Residencies are not vacations, but about growth as an artist through the intense work and interaction with a new group of people or dwelling in a different place for a time. Some Facts (from the Alliance of Artist Communities): • 250 artists’ communities in the US and 800 worldwide • 15,000 artists are in residence each year • residencies provide $40 million in support to artists annually • 65% are multidisciplinary, serving visual artists, writers, composers, filmmakers, choreographers, and others • 60% are in rural areas and small towns, while 40% are in urban areas • 75% are engaged in eco-stewardship – including historic preservation, land conservation, and sustainable living practices • 90% have public programs that engage the local community The weekend Artist Survival Kit retreat is an opportunity for artists to escape their everyday lives and mingle with their peers. In addition to the keynote address from Caitlin Strokosch, attendees will also hear from a panel of Oklahoma artists with residency experiences. Panel artists include Liz Roth, painter, Stillwater; Corazon Watkins, painter, continued on page 24

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Top: Anita Fields completed project from her residency at the Eiteljorg Museum Bottom: Liz Roth and Japanese model-collaborator for an art project in Kamiyama, Japan

continued from page 23 Norman; Anita Fields, ceramicist, Stillwater; and Kate Rivers, painter and printmaker, Ada. Panel artist Corazon Watkins said that she was first inspired to participate in a residency program to allow herself time to have complete concentration on her artwork. “Although I am a fulltime studio artist, I often get interrupted with household chores and responsibilities. Going to a residency gave me the privacy and concentration I needed. My favorite residency was at the Fundacion Valparaiso in Elmiria, Spain. I was given an endowment to spend a month residency in painting, and a solo exhibition at the Galleria Monte in Mojacar. The Foundation gave me my own apartment with complete amenities during my stay, and meals prepared three times a day. I had my own studio and all I did was my art.” Anita Fields, another artist participating in the panel, uses residencies as an opportunity to create work outside of her normal circumstances. “I enjoy traveling, getting to see a new landscape, and working in a different space. It is not only change, but a challenge. It presents the time and space to bring new ideas into being and to be inspired by a new environment. Last year I participated in a residency at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. It was a unique opportunity to collaborate with a community of people from all walks of life and whose ages spanned four to eighty. It lasted thirty days, some days I worked alone and on other days with museum visitors or community based organizations. It was a wonderful experience, one where I could fully immerse my time and energy towards the process of making art with others who were equally as excited about the possibilities of our creative efforts.” Liz Roth has participated in several residency programs, but her favorite has been the Kamiyama Artist in Residence in Japan. “I love to travel, and I visited Japan as a tourist. I fell in love with the place, and it occurred to me that perhaps I could investigate the possibility to create art there. I quickly discovered there were MANY residencies in Japan, and I was lucky enough to be accepted to one. In fact, I was recently invited back, and had a great time making art work there for a second time. Although all the benefits were fantastic (studio, house, use of a car, funding, airfare, etc.), the real gain was that this residency was a grass roots effort by the people of a small town in rural Japan. They are interested in being a part of an international conversation about contemporary art, and they found a way to get artists there.” The retreat will include opportunities to network with other artists as well as several options for break-out sessions on additional topics, all set within the beautiful Wichita Mountains. There will even be time for some art-making, to give participants a taste of what the residency experience might be like. For more information including a full schedule of the Have Art, Will Travel retreat, visit n Lori Oden is a photographer who specializes in nineteenth century processes; an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City; and the Executive Director for the Paseo Artists Association. She can be contacted at


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Sales Tax

and Whoopee Money by Sue Clancy

Recently a friend asked: “I have been meaning to ask you about sales tax... what you do about it (do you have a sales tax number and charge your patrons when they purchase artwork)? I have actually sold a couple of pieces!” My response: Congratulations for having sold a few pieces! The short answer is YES I charge sales tax, just like the gallery would do if they sold an artwork of mine. If I don’t charge the sales tax to the client I’ll still have to pay it later at tax time. I charge the same retail price plus sales tax that a gallery would charge for my work. The retail price should be the same whether you sell from your studio, a festival, a local gallery or an out-ofstate exhibit. Getting a sales tax number would only be an advantage when BUYING supplies wholesale. I personally chose not to incur the expense of getting the sales tax number because I seldom buy supplies from a wholesaler. I’m not a factory so I don’t have regular supply purchases of large quantity where buying wholesale would be a benefit. When on occasion I have needed something from a supplier who only sold wholesale I solved that by asking (politely) my local frame shop/gallery owner who does have a tax ID to order the product for me and I paid him. So it depends on the sort of art adventures you plan on getting into as to whether or not to get a tax number. I would highly recommend hiring an accountant to do your taxes once a year (before April 15). That way you pay the sales tax for the sales you’ve had during the year in an orderly fashion and your accountant can tell you when you need to pay quarterly. Only recently have I made enough high volume sales regularly that I now pay taxes quarterly. For years I just paid at the end of each year. Hire that accountant even if it seems ridiculous at this point because having an accountant will help you grow your business. I visited with mine

years ago and told her what I did and what I had planned and essentially “set up” our business relationship. Since that time I just drop by her office with all my paperwork, organized as per her recommendations, once a year. An accountant can also advise you how to get a sales tax number if it is determined that your particular situation would benefit from having one. In addition, I would suggest a “saving for taxes” strategy for use with every sale of every painting (or whatever art media you use). This strategy ensures that when tax time rolls around you have money to pay your

I would suggest a “saving for taxes” strategy for use with every sale of every painting (or whatever art media you use). This strategy ensures that when tax time rolls around you have money to pay your accountant as well as the tax bills. accountant as well as the tax bills. No matter how large or small an amount of money your artwork has sold for, put at minimum 10% of the total sale into a “hold for taxes” account along with the amount of sales tax. For example if the painting sold for $100, you put 10% ($10) of it in addition to the amount you’d charged for sales tax - on $100 sales tax would be $8.00 - for a total of $18.00 into the “hold for taxes” account. If your artwork sold for $1,000 then 10% is $100, sales tax is $80, so you’d put $180 aside for taxes. This “hold for taxes” account is never touched until tax

time and then that accumulated money is used to pay your accountant and the IRS & state tax bills. (I’d try to set up or use a bank account somewhere that gives you interest on that money.) Then, assuming the 10% “hold for taxes” savings strategy is used, I’d put $45 of the remaining money into another “pocket” or account that would be used to further your business; i.e. it would be used to buy art supplies when you need them, ship your artwork, print a postcard, postage to mail submissions, gas money to travel to deliver artwork, etc. Ideally, this pocket will accumulate and be used as necessary - not to mention it is available to tide you over during the “in-between-art-sales” times. The remaining $45 out of your $100 sale could be used as spending money or “whoopee money” as I call it. At the start of your business, I’d limit the “whoopee” spending to food and books - the sustainability of life stuff - and plow as much money back into the business as possible. I do recommend celebrating each of your art business success’s with a bit of that whoopee money though! But, small scale celebrations - just do a little something that makes you feel special. Buy that novel you’d been wanting, or buy a bottle of wine, or try a new-to-you food – do something! Remember to celebrate each success. Congratulations again on your sales! My friend responded: “WOW, what an answer. You could use this to write an art business article for OVAC.” My reply: Done! Thank you! n Sue Clancy is a full-time professional artist whose artwork can be seen internationally – and locally at Joseph Gierek Fine Art gallery in Tulsa, OK ( or at Downtown Art & Frame in Norman, OK. She checks her email occasionally, too.

business of art


Ask a

Creativity Coach

Dear Romney, I received a new art supply catalog and I’ve marked several items I want to order, but stopped myself. I want every new brush and how-to book but I rarely put these things to use. I’ve got plenty of stuff åbut nothing to show for it. What’s my problem?

-Pack Rat

Dear Pack Rat, You’re not a pack-rat, you’re a raccoon. Sometimes our personalities mimic animal behavior. Raccoons are attracted to new and shiny things like car keys, jewelry and bits of foil. An artist raccoon’s studio space is stuffed with treasures too—unopened paints, new brushes, unread books and canvases still wrapped in plastic. An artist raccoon is the first to sign up for a new workshop and buy the latest gadget. The upside is that this person is the go-to person for the latest information or technique; the downside is the artist raccoon doesn’t seem to know when to stop hunting and gathering and start working. To tame your inner-raccoon take these two steps toward creative freedom.

The University of Tulsa School of Art Alexandre Hogue Gallery

March 5 - March 27 Master’s Thesis Exhibition Opening Reception: Hogue Gallery, 5 - 7 pm, March 5

April 2 - May 1 41st Annual - Gussman Juried Student Art Exhibition Opening Reception: Hogue Gallery, 5 - 7 pm, April 2

For more information, please call

918-631-2739 The University of Tulsa is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action institution. For EEO/AA information, contact the Office of Human Resources, (918) 631-2616; for disability accommodations, contact Dr. Jane Corso at (918) 631-2315.


business of art

Step one: Take one hour to clear your workspace of items you’ve not used in the last year. As a gesture of gratefulness for your abundance, give your art materials to a public school art teacher. Make a commitment to give away one item for every new item you buy for the next six months. Step two: Consider whether your need to accumulate materials and information is tied to fear and insecurity. Maybe you don’t trust that you know enough to begin. You know enough today to begin your work. Your creative energies come from the inside—not from anything outside of yourself. Everything you need you already have. n Romney Nesbitt is a Creativity Coach, artist and writer living in Tulsa. She is the author of Secrets From A Creativity Coach, available on Romney welcomes your questions for future columns. Contact her at, or at

The installation of Craft in America at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

At a Glance:

Craft in America: Expanding Traditions by Sue Moss Sullivan The fine craft exhibit recently held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a stunning, beautifully installed example of the fine craft of America. Interspersed with contemporary craft are the honored works of early American craftsmen: a literate slave potter’s clay vessel, the clean, simple lines of Shaker furniture, the exquisite embroidery, weaving, and strong quilt designs of “women’s work”, finely crafted silver, and the beadwork and coiled baskets of Native Americans.

The majority of the work is contemporary craft. These pieces reflect the early traditional work in technique and design, but take fine craft to a different level. Kaye Sekimachi’s seminal, multi-layered threedimensional work of monofilament that dates from the ‘70s helped coin the term “fiber art.” The labor-intensive, detailed tapestry of Jon Eric Riis is almost unbelievable. Jack Lenor Larsen is an icon in the interior design world. His fabrics are more than utilitarian, they are an art form. His designs changed the fabric industry, both with great designs and the use of new man-made fibers to fit contemporary life styles. Albert Paley, well-known for his large scale forged metal, is represented by two very small pieces, a brooch and a menorah. On close inspection, you can see the same strong design and technique in these works as you see in his decorative, monumental portals. The art of furniture is well represented: elegant wood music stands, hard-edge metal chairs, a tall, stately ladderback chair, the “ladder” slightly skewed. Conoid Bench with Back by George Nakashima demonstrates his uncanny eye for leaving the wood as he found it. The large slab bench appears raw-edged and random; the “back” is a foil to the slab, designed and executed perfectly by the artist. Only a few pieces from this large exhibit could be highlighted for this article. I hope you toured this important show. The brochure for the exhibit describes American fine craft succinctly. “Craft is democratic: broad enough to accommodate anyone who makes something, or appreciates the handmade. In short, craft is us.” n

George Nakashima, Conoid Bench with Back, American black walnut, hickory, East Indian rosewood, 31”x113”x40”, c. 1961. Image courtesy of Mira Nakashima.

Sue Moss Sullivan is a former OVAC board member. She owns Studio Six in the Paseo with three other artists.

business of art


Round Up

March/April 2009

See artwork by over 300 artists working in all media and styles at Almost half of OVAC’s members are on the Virtual Gallery! Artists, how about you? We want the site to be representative of the great talent of this state. Submitting is easy via mail or email. See the “submit work” tab. Make yourself a deadline as we have over 24,000 unique visitors a month! Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still will be March 6-7, 2009 at 320 SW 5th St in Oklahoma City. This fun event is a chance to view, purchase and experience artwork by Oklahoma’s artists under 30. More information is at

We had excellent help last fall from several interns. Lori Duckworth from Oklahoma City University was an able assistant on special events and fundraising, as well as a bulk mailer extraordinaire. Helping us with the Virtual Gallery and other fun tasks through the summer and fall, Robert Dodd is about to graduate from University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Maryann Stewart from University of Central Oklahoma focused on marketing and membership services. Thank you to these interns for keeping us rolling. Art People Dr. Eric McCauley Lee has been named director of the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, TX. Lee is the former director and curator at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art, who left Oklahoma to become director of Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art in early 2007.

Thank you to our New and Renewing Members from November and December 2008 Drew Ackerman Sam Gresham and Lyn Adams Bert Allen Nick Bayer Susan Beaty Heidi Bigknife Tom Boepple Julie Bohannon Dustin Boise Deborah Brackenbury John Brandenburg and Janet Massad Linda Cavanaugh Jack Chapman Rachel Clare W. Maurice Clyma Janet Damron Robert and Caroline Dennis Connie S. Doak Elizabeth Downing Dreamer Concepts Foundation Kellie Eastham Ellen Ellinwood Lawanna Emerson Angela Evans Anne Ezzell Tom and Jean Ann Fausser Doug Parr and Pat Gallagher Melinda Glasgow Diane Glenn


OVAC news

John and Stephany Gooden Almira Grammer Martin and Kathleen Hallren Nancy Hamill Nancy Harkins Christina Harmon Maureen Harvey Bob and Janet Hawks Shane Hemberger Doré Hill Jonathan Hils Dan Hites William O. Hoover Kendall Howerton David and Vicki Hunt Ellen Jonsson Roger Jurgensen and Betty J. Wood-Jurgensen Kreg Kallenberger Julia J. Kirt Mike Klemme Kate Kline Erin Kozakiewicz Paul Lacy Samantha Lamb Nathan Lee Rod Limke Janice Mathews-Gordon Sharon and Ray McAllister

Janice McCormick and Ed Main Marie Miller Rudy Miller Nick Mullins Raybert Murrell Wendy Mutz Romney Oualline Nesbitt Nancy Nortz Lori Oden Ann Barker Ong and Jasmine Ong Suzanne Owens Christopher M. Owens and Sharla Hall Beth Parker Sarah Iselin and Frank Parman Ben Pendleton Paul Pfrehm David and Patty Phelps Ann Powell Maryruth Prose Natalie Ramsey Kathleen Rivers Deborah Roberson-Collins Juan Andres Robinson Franco Liz Rodda Ann Saxton Ira and Sandy Schlezinger Sue Schofield Melanie Seward and Bryan Lettenmaier Joe Slack

Stephen Smith Amber Rae Smithers Lisa Sorrell Jacquelyn Sparks Jeff Sparks Jim Stewart Julie Strauss David Surls Gwen Suthers Cathryn Thomas Skip Thompson Janice Tindale Jim and Beth Tolbert Ginger Tomshany Brooks Tower Joyce Ulstrup Anne Vieux Corazon S. Watkins Tyron Web Tommy White Frank Wick Charles and Renate Wiggin Marci Willis Joanne Woodward Janice Wright Mark Wyatt May Yang


Gallery Listings Ardmore


Jesús Moroles Through March 24 Closing Artist Reception, March 24 5:30-7 Michael B. Askew, Kelly Berry & Charles Rushton Through March 14 Annual All Schools Exhibit April 2009 The Goddard Center 401 First Avenue SW (580) 226-0909

Paul Mays Through March 13 University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma Gallery-Davis Hall 1806 17th Street (405) 574-1344

Bartlesville Fallingwater en Perspectiva: Frank Lloyd Wright’s House on the Waterfall Through April 26 Price Tower Arts Center 510 Dewey Ave. (918) 336-4949

Broken Bow Turned for Use II March 1 – May 1 Forest Heritage Center Beaver’s Bend Resort (580) 494-6497

Edmond Music Exhibit Through March 14 Edmond Historical Society & Museum 431 S. Boulevard (405) 340-0078

El Reno 2008 Gordon Parks Photography Finalists Through March 27 RCC Student Show & Showcase April 3 – May 8 Opening April 30, 1:30-3 Redlands Community College (405) 262-2552

Addressing the Distance by Jeremy Lepisto at Lovett’s Gallery in Tulsa, March 1-31.

Exhibition Schedule


Oklahoma City

Deanna Wood, Betty Wood & Michael Lalone Through March 4 Diane Salamon & Kristine Langten March 14 – May 1 The Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery 620 D Avenue (580) 357-9526

Oklahoma Art Guild National Juried Show March 5 – April 11 Bus Stop April 23 – May 23 City Arts Center 3000 General Pershing Blvd. (800) 951-0000

Norman Begging for More Through March 20 Dreamer Concepts Studio & Foundation 324 East Main (405) 701-0048

Borderlands: Images of the American West Through March 8 Gathering Fragments: Edward S. Curtis in Oklahoma March 28 – May 17 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave. (405) 325-4938

BJ White & Merry Cox March 6 – 28 Opening March 6, 6-10 DJ Lafon & Katherine Liontas-Warren April 3 – 30 Opening April 3, 6-10 JRB Art at the Elms 2810 North Walker (405) 528-6336 Doel Reed: Master of the Aquatint Through June 27 Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum 1400 Classen Dr. (405) 235-4458 Ty Kelly & Becky Edmonds Through May 1 Istvan Gallery at Urban Art 1218 N. Western Ave. (405) 831-2874

American Indian Mural Painting in Oklahoma and the Southwest Through May 3 Martha Maxwell: Rocky Mountain Taxidermist Through July 12 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd (405) 478-2250 Harlem Renaissance Through April 19 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive (405) 236-3100 Oklahoma Pastel Society Juried Exhibition March 6 – 28 Opening March 6, 6-10 Jack Hill: Retrospective April 3 – 30 Opening April 3, 6-10 Paseo Art Space 3022 Paseo (405) 525-2688 Kahn & Selesnick Through April 18 Untitled [ArtSpace] 1 NE 3rd St. (405) 815-9995


(left) Edward S. Curtis (U.S. 1868-1952), A Comanche Girl, 1930, Photogravure, 12 7/8”x 9 1/2”, on display at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art in Norman, March 28 – May 17.

Park Hill


Beadwork Storytellers, A Visual Language Through April 29 38th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show April 25 – May 17 Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc. 21192 S. Keeler Drive (918) 456-6007

Between the Lines: Cheyenne and Arapaho Ledger Art from Fort Reno Through March 22 Gilcrease Museum 1400 Gilcrease Road (918) 596-2700

Shawnee Arts of the Amazon from the Museum of the Red River Through March 29 Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 1900 West Macarthur (405) 878-5300

Stillwater Femfolio Through March 6 Closing and Artist Lecture, March 6, 5-7 Senior Capstone Exhibition March 11 – 27 Gallery Talk March 26, 7pm Opening March 27, 5pm Gardiner Art Gallery Oklahoma State University 108 Bartlett University (405) 744-6016


gallery guide

Prairie Noir: New Paintings by Jeffrey Hogue March 19 – April 18 Opening March 19, 5-8 Joseph Gierek Fine Art 1512 E. 15th St (918) 592-5432 Mealer/Cleaver: Installation by Dave McPherson April 2 – 23 Liggett Studio 314 S. Kenosha (918) 694-5719 Domestic Arsonal: Installation by Ellen Doktorski Through March 26 Dollar Stores to Diamonds: Swami Tourism April 2 – 23 Living Arts 308 S. Kenosha (918) 585-1234

New Works by Jeremy Lepisto March 1 - 31 Opening March 20, 5-7 Jewelry: No Lines, No Production April 24 - 25 Lovetts Gallery 6528 E 51st St (918) 664-4732 Dancing Across the Page Through March 15 Everyday People, Everyday Places March 22 – June 14 Seeing Ourselves Through April 26 The Philbrook Museum of Art 2727 South Rockford Road (918) 749-7941 Stanley Hess Through April 16 Pierson Gallery 1307-1311 East 15th St. (918) 584-2440 Conformity: Textile Art by Kate Kline March 6 – 28 Broken Open: Pastels by Debbie Wagner, Miniature Constructions by Becky Hyberger, Painted Gourds by Mira Mickler Moss April 3 – 25 Tulsa Artists Coalition Gallery 9 East Brady (918) 592-0041

Mikhail Baryshnikov Dance Company Photos March 3- 29 Art Directors Club April 1 – 25 Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery Third and Cincinnati (918) 596-2368 Master’s Thesis Exhibition March 5 – April 3 Opening March 5, 5-7 41st Annual Gussman Juried Student Art Exhibition April 9 – 11 Opening April 2, 5-7 Alexandre Hogue Gallery Phillips Hall, The University of Tulsa 2930 E. 5th St. (918) 631-2739

(above) Kahn and Selesnick, New York, Three Musicians, Digital Pigment Print, 13”x13” at Untitled [ArtSpace] in Oklahoma City through April 18. (left) Jeffery Hogue, Bartlesville, The Grazers, Oil on Canvas, 30”x30” on display at Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery in Tulsa, March 19-April 18.

Become a member of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition! Join today to begin enjoying the benefits of membership, including a subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma. Sustaining $250 -Listing on signage at events -Invitation to private reception with visiting curators -All of below Patron $100 -Acknowledgement in the Resource Guide and Art Focus Oklahoma -Copy of each OVAC exhibition catalog -All of below Family $55 -Same benefits as Individual for two people in household Individual $35 -Subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma -Inclusion in online Virtual Gallery -Monthly e-newsletter of visual art events statewide -Monthly e-newsletter of opportunities for artists -Receive all mailed OVAC call for entries and invitations -Artist entry fees waived for OVAC sponsored exhibitions -Listing in Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Copy of Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Access to “Members Only” area on OVAC website -Up to 50% discount on Artist Survival Kit workshops -Invitation to Annual Meeting Student $20 -Valid student ID required. Same benefits as Individual level.


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ArtOFocus k l a h o m a PO Box 1946 Oklahoma City, OK 73101 Annual Subscriptions to Art Focus Oklahoma are free with membership to the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. Membership forms and benefits can be found at or by phone (405) 232-6991. Student Membership: $20 Individual Membership: $35 Family/Household Membership: $55 Patron Membership: $100 Sustaining Membership: $250

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