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Tanglefoot artists throw open studio doors to public for 24th year

Eight local artists with studios in the local Tanglefoot building are inviting the public to peek into the working worlds of artmaking, celebrate their local art community and support it with purchases of work during the two-day event.
Work by Nikki Wall will be a part of Tanglefoot 24

Work by Nikki Wall will be a part of Tanglefoot 24 /Courtesy of Tanglefoot artists

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Tanglefoot artists prepare for their yearly show

Tanglefoot artists prepare for their yearly show /Courtesy of Tangelfoot artists

This year, the long-standing Tanglefoot collective of eight Grand Rapids artists are hosting an open public studio event in the historic Westside building. The oldest event of its kind in Grand Rapids,  Alynn Guerra, Carlos Aceves, Elaine DalcherTommy AllenNikki S. WallJeff CondonMichael Pfleghaar and Jason Villareal will be displaying their works, offering them for sale and the introducing visitors to the processes behind them.

The two-day event will be held on November 20, from 5-9 p.m., and November 22, from noon- 4 p.m. at 314 Straight Ave SW. This unique event gives opportunity for local art buyers or curious art lovers of the general public to be able to see inside the individual studio spaces of these talented artists and speak with the artists themselves.

The tradition began when artists Elaine Dalcher, Michael Pfleghaar and Nikki Wall began looking for a space for their own studio. Upon finding the Tanglefoot building on the Westside, they transformed the large industrial space into individual studios for themselves and other artists over the years.

Instead of solely keeping it as a work space, they created the annual open event to share their art for public viewing and purchase. Each of the artists have their own style and the collective focuses not only on the sale of their artwork, but also on “bringing new areas of art exploration and diversity with a focus on the land, cross-cultural themes and social justice,” as stated in the Tanglefoot 24 press release.

Over the years many of the artists have received awards for their work, and they all contribute to local projects in the Grand Rapids community from working with other artist exhibitions, helping with ArtPrize, creating classes and workshops and volunteering their time to help cultivate the art community in public policy. The artists work hard to express new ideas and fresh work each year.

This year, Elaine Dalcher’s paintings focus on observations of subjects from her local surroundings, as she spent time especially in Millennium Park.

“I am inspired by what I see as I continue to explore and express observed positive and negative space in images that combine brushwork and finger-painting, color and mark-making into balanced and harmonious compositions,” Dalcher says.

Michael Pfleghaar’s paintings are more abstract, and based off of modern architecture and design elements. Nikki Wall focuses on human form in her mixed media works, and uses layers of paint combined with scraps of metal, soil, cloth and more. She creates work based in nature, often with political statements attached. Along with the three founders, five other artists later joined the collective. This includes Tommy Allen, who specializes in photo-based art, especially in popular culture imagery.

Allen's recent work, he says, displays “the intersection of Pop Art and the ease of access found within contemporary street art techniques.”

This year, Jeff Condon has taken brilliant colors in landscapes and combined them with non-traditional patterns in his paintings.

Alynn Guerra brings inspiration from her Mexican roots as she takes a political route with her artwork, featuring printed works of ideas on the “environment, our relationship with food and the earth and satiric day of the dead scene.”

Carlos Aceves takes on social justice issues, as he displays the relationship of people and time from his observations of the world around him.

The final artist in the collective, Jason Villareal, creates both wood sculptures and abstract paintings to show ideas of the Futurism movement and growth in natural and man-made subjects.

Each artist will curate and display their personal artwork in their own studio areas set up in the Tanglefoot building. Tanglefoot was created as an opportunity for first time art buyers to purchase original works of art, and for anyone of any age to be able to see the behind the scenes of the “Tanglefoot artists."

The event is free and open to the public.

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