A mother and three adult children prove that when it comes to art,
‘connection’ may be the best creative force of all
There are “artists,” and then there are Artists. The artists take themselves rather seriously and usually have fancy statements about their work (that sometimes are a little hard to decipher). The Artists are the ones who infuse some humor into the seriousness of being an artist.
On a fine day in September, I have the pleasure of meeting four of these Artists—a mother and her three adult children, all of whom are participating in this year’s Open Studios during the Oct. 10-11 weekend in South County. Meet the Heil family: There’s Betty, the 82-year-old mom, and Kris, her 50-something, son, then her two daughters, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, also in their fifties. They’ve all shown up to their mother’s Spanish villa in the Pleasant Valley area, a stunning home, dotted with the work of many local artists. Spacious and airy, it provides great acoustics for the booming laughs of the Heil family. This is a crowd of jokesters, but underneath the comedy, they have a heart-warming story to tell about how they each became artists.
The Fourth Annual Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show invites you to feed your mind and body
Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show, Saturday, Oct. 24
In the early 2000s, when two locals named Amy Courtney and Cassandra Brown started a small farm five-and-a-half miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, they were quick to embrace the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system, in which farmers regularly deliver produce to paying members. There was just one hitch: Courtney and Brown didn’t have any cars with which to make their deliveries. The solution to their dilemma came in the form of an old, trashed bicycle trailer, which they fixed up so as to begin biking their produce into town.
Today, that little patch of land on Highway 1 is known as Freewheelin’ Farm, and its overseers still make their deliveries by bike. “Something that isn’t talked about in agriculture that much is how our fruits and vegetables are moved around the country,” notes Kirstin Yogg, one of three co-owners of the farm. “Generally it’s in big trucks, and it’s using a lot of gas. So this is kind of our little stab at helping that problem in the world.”
That’s the motto for a hip new cosmetology school in town
This is the first time I’ve ever owned a blow-dryer,” says Dafni Moon matter-of-factly. “I’m still learning how to use mascara.” In some ways, her lack of experience with primping, teasing, and spackling isn’t surprising; the 24-year-old Moon grew up here in Santa Cruz, a self-described “hippie girl” who didn’t have much interest in makeup. But what is a little surprising is Moon’s career choice: she’s just months away from testing for her cosmetology license, studying at the city’s newest and hippest beauty school, The Cosmo Factory. An afternoon talking with some of the Cosmo crew went a long way toward explaining the school’s motto: “This Ain’t Yer Mama’s Beauty School.”
The FashionART Runway Show returns for its fourth and boldest year
As the quintessential hippie town, Santa Cruz seems like the last place on earth where a fashion show would be a hands-down hit. Granted, with its cutting edge, jaw-droppingly artistic style, the annual FashionART Runway Show has a slightly more psychedelic feel than most productions of its kind, but you still have to marvel at the near-fanatical zeal with which it’s been embraced by a community known for its love of all things earthy and organic. Spawned by River Street’s MichaelAngelo Gallery and sponsored by local banks, businesses and individuals, the event draws a crowd of nearly 1,000 each year. Just what is it about this show that inspires such fervor among its patrons?
Artist Marvin Plummer captures iconic wave on Swift Street mural project
year ago, Marvin Plummer was gliding along the Pacific Ocean in a diving boat, snapping pictures of the waves, and one in particular caught his attention. It was what’s called the “middle peak” at Steamer’s Lane—a gargantuan wave known to the locals who surf there. Little did Plummer know that the famous wave would live on through his work as an artist and become a permanent fixture in our community
Artist Michelle Giulvezan-Tanner’s work
When I first met Michelle Giulvezan-Tanner years ago, she was a straightforward artist. These days, the painter has taken to being more abstract, particularly on canvas. It happened about two years ago. She felt that her work, predominantly large-scale oil paintings of people, had become static and one-dimensional. “They didn’t seem to have any life or movement so I started hungering for that wonderful abstract of mark making,” she says. “I had a great conversation with a curator in San Francisco. He pushed me to go back to my abstract roots. I love throwing paint around and seeing what emerges from it; I [now] take abstraction and infuse portraiture.”
Here are a few things you should know about zombies:
the way to kill them is via blunt trauma to the head, or destroy their brain; they don’t talk; they don’t have a consciousness; and I Am Legend was a really crappy zombie movie. This is all, of course, coming from zombie aficionados Robert Klem and Edu Cerro, two thirty-something tattoo artists who work at Samuel O’Reilly’s Tattoo Parlour on the Westside of Santa Cruz. The two men, plus their other tattoo artist
The wax artist takes over the walls of Lulu's
Pretentious he’s not. Ask 35-year-old artist Ben Hecht what his artist statement is, or what’s the point of his work, or some other abstract artist question, and he might just shrug his shoulders, smile, and say, “I don’t know.” And that is incredibly refreshing. He’s not caught up in the overly analyzed and thoroughly confusing verbiage that some artists use to explain their work, and hence, one can relate to him—and understand him. Hecht brings new light and a fresh perspective to a generation of young artists. “I make it (art) intentionally ambiguous,” Hecht says.