The Rapidian Home

Tanglefoot artists share studios with community at 21st annual art sale

This weekend, six local artists invited the public into their studios. Visitors turned out in record numbers, and red dots and lines to make purchases were evidence of community support of artmaking happening at Tanglefoot Studios.
Underwriting support from:

Artists at Tanglefoot

Carlos Aceves

Tommy Allen

Jeff Condon

Elaine Dalcher

Alynn Guerra

Nikki Wall




Art lovers were lined up to purchase work on Friday night

Art lovers were lined up to purchase work on Friday night /Holly Bechiri

Tommy Allen provided a heartfelt welcome to the Rapidian art beat with a sign in the stairwell

Tommy Allen provided a heartfelt welcome to the Rapidian art beat with a sign in the stairwell /Holly Bechiri

directions for parking for the event greeted visitors

directions for parking for the event greeted visitors /Elizabeth Drouillard

"People were standing in line for art!"

I heard this sentence repeatedly from my new companions at the 21st Annual Tanglefoot Open Studio Sale. Last Friday night I met up with a group of Rapidian readers and reporters to take in the art and discuss it afterwards at the Art Beat's monthly event.

Getting a chance to peek into local artists' studios that are normally closed, talk to the artists personally, meeting fellow art lovers, and talking about the local art scene afterward was a treat.

A variety of mediums, including paintings, pastels, mixed media pieces, sculpture, block prints and altered photo art were all present. Highlights included Jeff Condon's bright landscapes, listening to Tommy Allen discuss the transitions in his photography-based art, and the Red Hydrant Studio with Alynn Guerra and Carlos Aceves.

Jeff Condon's abstract landscapes combined organic brushstrokes, basic geometric shapes and neon color to form modern views that invited a closer inspection of the details rather than forcing one to step back. There was one painting with an orange field, pink trees, and bubble clouds which really intrigued us. On paper, that could sound very child-like or twee, but in person pulled us deeper into the landscape, and made us want to explore this roaming, layered world to see what else might be inside.

After going up what seemed like many, many flights of warehouse stairs, conversing with Tommy Allen about the many changes in the art and science of photography, and how that affects his work was fascinating. In the past, he did a lot of transfer work with Polaroids. There was a wonderful large scale one of a man swimming underwater, measuring 20x24, on display. I am regularly drawn to the endless ways people can photograph underwater and was also previously unaware that Polaroids could be so big, so I found the transfer piece really engrossing. As Polaroid stopped production and various replica technologies have become more expensive, Tommy has started exploring other types of photo transfer work, even going back to older technologies like Xeroxing.

As someone who's had many a baking mishap, listening to him compare his work to baking really gave me a much greater appreciation for artists who work with photography.

"It's like baking. You can do a lot of crazy things when you make a salad, but if you want to bake something and make it successful, there are very strict guidelines in baking in order to make it so," says Allen. "Photography is a very constraining medium. You are immediately working in a squared format. When you work with 35mm film, it's not like you get to choose what kind of film you want to work with. The fact is we work with very strict, strained formats around us. Chemicals are another form of structure that you have to have. Every process has a finicky side, and like baking, you have to follow the steps."

These boundaries seemed to frustrate him, but they also make photography work into the creative hunt that he happily pursues.

In the middle of the warehouse after meandering through other studios, Alynn Guerra and Carlos Aceves' studio can be found in the back. Theirs is boldly painted in red and white, perfectly highlighting the mostly black and white prints by Guerra and sculptures by Aceves. Guerra's themes of caring for our world, resisting the corporate takeover of everything and living now with hope are strong and beautifully embodied in block print work featuring seeds, pods, trees and Mexican Day of the Dead skeletons. Aceves' sculptures featuring nests, eggs, clockwork pieces, metals and wood and even zippers are warm and full of heart, unlike so many other industrial metal-meets-wood type work.

Afterwards, the Art Beat group discussed the various aspects and opinions on the individual works, and the success of this sale. The studios were hopping the whole evening. But even though the art was both enjoyable and compelling, the discussion among the group mostly glowed with a general satisfaction for the rest of the community's enthusiasm for art. It was the support of them collectively that became the theme of the evening.

"Seeing people in line to buy art put me in a great mood," noted Steven Davison.

"I loved having a hard time finding a parking spot," confessed Holly Bechiri.

It's not often that you hear people happy about standing in line or looking for a parking spot, but good art and good community are worth the wait. And Tanglefoot's 21st Open Studio Sale provided both.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.