Get a peek inside the artist’s studio

By From page A9 | April 09, 2013

Davis artist Christopher Dewees drops off an example of his gyotaku — Japanese-style fish print — at The Artery on Thursday. Dewees is one of more than 25 artists taking part in the Davis Artists Studio Tour. He was intrigued by the opportunity to finally reveal the studio to non-artists, “because the studios are pretty much a mystery to most people.” Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Check it out

What: Davis Artist Studio Tour

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: At 25 participating artists’ studios around town

Tickets: $10, available at The Artery, 207 G St. Kids under 12 are free

Davis artists’ studios “are as varied as the colors on a palette,” according to local landscape painter Phil Gross; they range from holes-in-the-wall to spacious additions, and vary according to the artist’s preferred mediums — everything from oil paints to ink-stained fish.

The Pence Gallery revived the Davis Artist Studio Tour in 2007 after several years’ hiatus, but eventually dropped it after 2009. Inspired by the idea of bridging the divide between artist and viewer, a group of artists, including Gross, decided to get together and form their own studio tour, sponsored by The Artery.

“We realized that if it was going to be picked up again, it was up to the artists to put it together,” said Cynthia Kroener, a local artist and steering committee member. “That has both had its challenges, as well as a lot of rewards.”

The 2013 Davis Arts Studio Tour, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, allows artists to discuss and sell art directly to visitors, while giving Davisites the rare opportunity to step inside the studio, typically hidden territory.

“I wanted people in Davis to have a chance to get to know some of their local artists, because, in my opinion, there are some very good artists in Davis,” Kroener said. “I think the exposure is always good for artists, and hopefully some artists will sell some stuff, but I think the main thing is to get the community involved.”

Gross added: “People go to galleries all the time and see art on the walls, but here they can go to a studio and see an artist go about their work. People get to ask a lot of questions they don’t usually get to ask.”

The tour has attracted more than 25 local artists who are drawn to the idea of a dialogue between artist and viewer.

“I think it’s important for an artist to be in touch with the community, because I think it’s good for people to see what a studio is like, and maybe it will inspire people to appreciate art, to maybe start doing art themselves,” participating painter Philippe Gandiol said.

This year’s studio tour is a first for many artists, including Christopher Dewees, who creates gyotaku, or Japanese-style fish prints, using actual fish and sea animals. Dewees became intrigued by the opportunity to finally reveal the studio to non-artists, “because the studios are pretty much a mystery to most people.”

Added Gross, “Sometimes people will buy your work but never meet you, so it’s really nice to meet people who collect your art. I expect to have a lot of really great conversations over the week.”

While Kroener and Gross hope the tour will become a permanent annual staple of the Davis arts scene, they are focused on pulling off this year’s event.

“My only regret — one that is shared by a lot of the artists in this tour —  is that I have to stay at my own studio the whole weekend and don’t get to go around and visit everyone else’s,” Gross said.

The 2013 Davis Artist Studio Tour will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Artwork will be offered for sale at each studio site. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at The Artery, 207 G St. in downtown Davis. Children under 12 are free.

— Reach Anna Sturla at [email protected]

Anna Sturla

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