Featured Artist – Bruce Wood – Studio 427

You’ve seen Bruce Wood’s creations all over Western Ave & even outside our walls, now find out what makes him tick!


Q:  Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? Where did you study? How long have you been an artist?

A: I grew up in Massachusetts. After graduating High School I attended Arizona Western College on an athletic scholarship. Then transferred to Northern Arizona University to study art. I have received a Bachelor of Science with an extended major in ceramics. I transitioned directly in to graduate school and received a Master of Arts in art education. Creativity has always been in my life. I have expressed it through building furniture, making pottery, fabricating jewelry, designing digital imagery, photography, and now through found object sculpture.

Q: What is the first thing you remember making/creating by hand?

A: As a kid I remember building tree houses and forts. I once found an out-cropping of raw clay and turned it into pottery.

Q: What do you love most about your art?

A: I love the challenge of putting things together that don’t belong together and making them look like they go together naturally. I also enjoy using everyday objects in a design and hiding them in plain view.

Q:  What is your biggest obstacle with your art?

A: Time. I have a multitude of ideas that I want to attempt, and not enough time to tackle them all.

Q:  Describe a typical art creativity session. What is it like? For example, do you work in silence, or do you work to music? Do you prefer to be alone, or do you need people around?

A: I work on several ideas at once. Each project spins off ideas for something new. I am torn between finishing an existing project or starting a new one. I jump from one thing to another and am always challenged to make my next piece better than the last.
When I am in the zone all existence is blocked out except the tasks at hand.

Q:  How does your personality translate into your art?

A: I like to make things that please me. I like to continually improve my skills and talents. The thought of failure rarely enters into the equations.
I am comfortable spending time by myself, living inside my head.

Q:  Did you always know you wanted to make the art you make today? Did you start out in a different medium in the early days?

A: I never imagined making the art I do today. I always believed I would be a potter. I like trying new things which has lead me to new art, media and skills.

Q:  What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an artist?

A: Make a lot of art and always try to improve. Don’t worry about the opinions of others. We are all in a growth process with our art.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the arts community?

A: I love being around a community of artists. For a long time I made art by myself. I learned that using myself as my own inspiration eventually stifled my artwork. My art has grown exponentially since I have moved into Western Avenue Studios.

You can visit Bruce in his Studio #427 on the First Saturday of each month at Western Avenue Open Studios!

 

Create More

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Create more love. Create more understanding. Create more peace.

Create more ART.

Best wishes from all of us at Western Avenue Studios to all of you, and yours, in the coming new year.

The Art of Gift Giving

Special events like Holiday Open Studios may be over with for 2016 but there’s still time to get thoughtful, unique, local, handmade gifts for everyone on your list. Many of our artists will have their studios open for shopping in the days leading up to Christmas. Check the board by the elevator as you walk into the building to see what studios are open that day.

Also the Loading Dock Gallery, which features many artists throughout the building and the local arts community is featuring extended hours this week for your shopping needs!
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Don’t forget to come back January 7th for our first Open Studios event of 2017!

Artists Pick the President

In a year like this one it should come as no surprise that the “Primped Out Pumpkin Contest,” one of the annual events at ARToberfest, had it’s share of political commentary. Shanna Thompson, of studio 210, took things a step further and let ARToberfest visitors vote for their choice for President.

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The results of this pre-election by artists and art-lovers followed national polls. Hillary took the lead over the Trumpkin – but not by as much as you’d think (or hope depending on your political bent.) So take that as a warning, when it comes to elections nothing is ever for certain. In keeping in this spirit, Western Avenue Studios is an early voting location this year. Lowell residents are invited to skip the long election day lines and cast their vote early on Sunday October 30th, from 10:00 to 2:00, at Western Avenue Studios, located at 122 Western Ave, in Lowell, MA.

Also on the ballot is your chance to voice your opinion on your Representative in Congress, the Governor’s Councilor, the State Senator, State Representative, and Sheriff. You’ll also have your chance to weigh in on ballot Question One (an additional slot parlor), Question Two (expanding charter schools), Three (quality of life rights for farm animals) and Question Four (legalizing recreational marijuana.)

And don’t fret- early voters still get nifty “I voted” stickers!

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Primped Out Pumpkins: and the winner is . . . .

Each year during ARToberfest weekend, Western Avenue Studios artists transform simple pumpkins into dramatic works of art! From fanciful fairy tale pumpkins to fretfully frightful abstractions, you’d be amazed at how a building full of artists use their creativity in an effort to win the coveted “People’s Preferred Pumpkin” prize. During ARToberfest weekend visitors were invited to wander the hallways and vote for their favorite creation.

This year the winner of the contest was in line to recieve The Great Pumpkin Trophy, created by artist Bruce Wood of studio #427, a $50 COOL gift certificate, and a Pumpkin Spice & Chill gift set, created by Amaranth & Rue Handmade Soaps, of studio #A302. Most importantly the winner would earn bragging rights for the next year.

Here are some of the creations that were entered into the contest:

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The winners of the 2016 Primped Out Pumpkins Contest are . . . . . .

Third Place: Cheryl Polcaro, studio 323, with her Caterpillar Pumpkin

Second Place: Bruce Wood, studio 427, with his Scary-Go-Round

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And our first place winner: Derek McGearty, studio A210, with his Scrapsapien Workers

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Congrats to everyone who took part in this year’s contest!

Artists of Western Ave Studios rule “Kingdom Animalia”

The Whistler House Museum of Art has given their 2016 juried members exhibit a “wild” theme this year – and many of the artists at Western Avenue Studios have been included in the show. “Kingdom Animalia” shows off the animal loving side of art with more than eighty original pieces in a variety of mediums.

“The Kingdom Animalia exhibition came out of discussions of people’s love for pets, and we chose to expand the subject to include all animals,” says President and Executive Director Sara Bogosian. “The result is a wondrous array of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and fiber art of creatures large and small. It is an overwhelming and lovely exhibition that all ages will enjoy.”

Among the many works on display are several by WAS artists. Valerie Borgal, Joe Lapiana, Jack Homes, Art Ferrier, Kathy Lennon Clericuzio, Nita Leger Casey, Laurie Simko, Suzanne Hodge, Margot Mam Thach Ilene Richard, and Denise Rainis all have works represented in the show. Congratulations to Laurie Simko, who has three pieces in the show, one of which earned her a Whistler Award.

The “Kingdom Animalia” exhibit runs through June 18th. The museum is open to visitors Weds through Saturday, 11:00 to 4:00. Or visit the artists themselves in their studios the first Saturday of every month during Open Studios to see more of their work.

Put a Ring on It

Happy National Proposal Day! Of course the artists at Western Avenue Studios are very inspired by love and marriage . . . and many have work that they cater specifically to couples looking to get married.

 

Any currently engaged couples, or people dreaming of the day the ywill be engaged, Western Avenue Studios will be having their very first Bridal Fair during Open Studios on May 6th in the Onyx Room. This unique wedding expo will be accompanied by three nights of a wedding themed Wearable Art Extravaganza – part fashion show, part performance art, part art exhibit the event will be a fun night out whether you’re wedding planning or not.

WAS this Weekend – March 18th Edition

Dogs rule at Western Avenue Studios. Check out the pampered life of a studio dog and how the furry visitors in the building have inspired some of our artists.


The Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios is featuring “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” an exhibit of work by three different visual artists who were inspired by the Wallace Stevens’ poem of the same name. The exhibit ends March 27th so be sure to check out this great show before it’s gone.

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“Swarmed,” the new experimental novel by author Renee Mallett in studio A411, will be released this week. The book is fully illustrated by Michael Crockett, with cover art by Adam Miller. “Swarmed” will be debuting at the 3rd annual Beverly Comic Con on April 2nd. Renee most recently had artwork and a story included in the “Alice Anthology,” a collection of art and writing inspired by Lewis Caroll’s children’s classic.

Tickets are now on sale for the third annual LoveCraft Wedding Event to be held March 20th in downtown Providence. Amaranth and Rue Handmade Soaps, studio #A411, will be part of this wedding expo that features elegant and unique vintage and handmade items from local makers. Tickets are $10 in advance and the first 50 couples through the door will recieve a swag bag.

The Tewksbury Public Library will be showing “Landscapes,” an exhibit featuring artwork by local artists, including Western Avenue Studios artists Tom Borgal (studio 504), Val Borgal (studio 504), and Robert Crooker (studio 120. The exhibit begins March 3rd and will be on display through April 5th. There will be a reception for the event at the library on March 22.

Putting on the Dog

There’s a lot of good reasons why artists decide to get studios at Western Avenue Studios. Community, a place to create, a beautiful historic setting. The dog-friendly nature of the building is just one great added bonus. Studio dogs are such a day to day feature of being an artist at Western Ave Studios that the hashtag #Dogs ofWesternAve has popped up on Instagram and Facebook. The life of a studio dog is a pretty exhausting one, as you can tell by seeing these hard-working pups in action:

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Of course, if you’re going to put a bunch of creative people in one spot and then add some dogs into the mix you’re going to end up with lots of art about pets and for pets and for their owners.

Many of the dogs of Western Ave have become the subjects of the colorful dog paintings done by artist Ilene Richard in studio 325

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Lois Mitchell in Loft 213  can make a custom pet portrait for you based off a photograph

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Ron Weed, in studio 205, offers airbrushed pet portraits

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Here’s studio dog Madeleine modeling her handmade dog sweater from As U R Studios, #513

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Ceramics by Nooshin, in A303, makes a variety of custom pet keepsakes

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Amaranth & Rue, studio A411, recently expanded their line of naturally luxurious soaps and skincare to include pet products like paw and nose balm and doggie shampooch as well.

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Of course not every place is as quick to allow people to have or bring their pets. Luckily Jay Hungate, studio 524, has some adoptable beasts of a much different sort that should appeal to those who don’t have the space, time, or inclination for a dog.

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