Eric Fransen: Solving Math Problems

Guest Author: Beth Downing
Eric Fransen, Golden Sectional, Walnut veneer, 34x39x21, 2008
Mathematician? Check. Woodworker? Check. Has the largest collection of woodworking tools most people on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour will ever see? Most definitely.
Eric Fransen’s “studio” is a warehouse in an unassuming part of downtown Tulsa. It works as a studio/”low-fi” art gallery and twice a year, is the backdrop for a 300+ person party complete with local band and of course, amazing art. He’s currently putting the finishing touches on his front showroom, where he’ll display samples of his pieces during the Tour.
Eric Fransen, Golden Sectional, Walnut veneer, 34x39x21, 2008
His pieces are true amalgamations of his curious set of talents. He combines a mathematical and engineering mindset with fine materials (wood from local sawyers and reclaimed barn siding and timbers) and out comes fine furniture for clients here in Tulsa and across the nation.
Tulsa Art Studio Tour featured artist Eric Fransen
For example, he’s built a cabinet where each of the drawers corresponds to a number in the Fibonacci sequence. For a table, each of the curved pieces is a part of a whole circle. He makes pieces like this for exhibitions as well as commissioned work for clients. 
He’s been making furniture since the seventh grade and still digs it, “I’m happy doing things with my head and my hands. My mom told me that I am truly kinesthetic and she’s right.”
See working artists’ spaces during the self-guided Tulsa Art Studio Tour April 21 and 22. A Preview exhibition  opens March 1, 5-8 pm at the Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis in Tulsa.

Tahlia Roper: Living With and In Art

Guest Author: Beth Downing
Tahlia Roper, Escape, digital photography, 30×24, 2012

 Tahlia Roper kind of defies classification as an artist. She’s a photographer (and new to it), a watercolor artist, and a videographer. She infuses satire and comedy into her work, especially her videos. On the Tulsa Art Studio Tour, be sure to ask her about “Smoothieland,” a video tribute to her day job, or her “Comment Box” installation piece.

She’s a long-time Tulsa resident that took a brief sojourn to Utah for about five months and then returned to Oklahoma. And it turns out moving back was a good thing – it sparked her creativity and she’s been actively working on her artwork ever since she got back. As for the art scene here, she’s still working her way into it by attending openings and volunteering at Momentum Tulsa this year.
In fact, her first contact with OVAC was at Momentum Oklahoma City a few years ago. While she was there, she met JP Morrison and ended up being a model for one of her pieces, which now hangs in the living room. 
Tulsa Art Studio Tour featured artist Tahlia Roper
She’s working her way towards getting her work out there – so far, she’s had an exhibition at Elements Spa at the former Crowne Plaza (now Hyatt) downtown and pieces at a few retail shops and restaurants around town. She says she wants “to be fully prepared” before doing a big show.
Unlike most, Tahlia’s studio is fully integrated into her living space. Essentially her entire living room and dining room are consumed with plotters, paints, supplies, a vintage camera collection, video editing equipment, and more. There’s a lot to look at, and Tahlia’s conversation is infused with that same sort of satire as well – be sure to stop by this young artist’s house on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour in April!
Check out more about Roper on her two blogs or

See working artists’ spaces during the self-guided Tulsa Art Studio Tour April 21 and 22. A Preview exhibition  opens March 1, 5-8 pm at the Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis in Tulsa.

Cathy Deuschle: A Studio of One’s Own

Guest Author: Beth Downing
Cathy Deuschle, PlumagePowder pigment on wings, apothecary jars, 
encaustic and paper on wood, brass, 10″ x 11″ x 7″
Painter Cathy Deuschle has a very long relationship with her studio – 20 years, to be exact. She works in a detached cottage from the main house and she says that a few years ago she “got serious and kicked everyone out – the dogs and the kids.”
Her workspace is infused with abundant natural light, so much which in the height of summer, she has to cover the windows to keep it cool. Her current project, paintings of broken mirrors reflecting themselves at different times of the day, echoes the importance of that natural light. She calls this new work “tonic” because it’s all about geometry and composition. These works hang all over the walls and the broken-mirror subject sits in the corner, waiting to be captured in another hour or so.
Tulsa Art Studio Tour featured artist Cathy Deuschle 
 “My favorite part of this space is that it’s mine,” she says. “I don’t have to explain it to anyone. I can sing and dance and spread out and make a mess and throw things on the floor.” This year’s tour was a bit of a challenge for her, and she’s grown more confident in herself in planning to have people come in and look at her work. OVAC has been a good source of meeting other artists, as well as her teaching duties.
Be sure to stop by Cathy’s studio during the Tour coming in April.
See working artists’ spaces during the self-guided Tulsa Art Studio Tour April 21 and 22. A Preview exhibition  opens March 1, 5-8 pm at the Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis in Tulsa.

Michael McRuiz: Choosing Photography

Guest Author: Beth Downing
Michael McRuiz, Light in the Canyon, Photography

Michael McRuiz has been a photographer by career and now he’s a photographer by choice and by passion. Photographer’s studios are very different than other artists since in many ways, the world is their canvas. But with the digital age, there are a few requisite components that Michael’s immaculate space also contains: a computer (big monitor is a plus, for all the Photoshopping), plotter, and archives of prints.

Michael came to photography in a roundabout kind of way – as a painter. He got his Bachelors and Masters degrees at TU in painting and as he says “was kind of a lazy painter, so I became a photographer.” But anyone who has seen his photographs knows that his painter’s background still speaks strongly. He manipulates scenery from his nature photographs by adding light, color and shapes to make places that don’t actually exist.
Tulsa Art Studio Tour featured artist Michael McRuiz 
And where does he get those photographs to begin with? During the summer, when he’s off from his teaching duties at Tulsa Community College, he travels to places like Glacier National Park and Iceland specifically to places with the right kind of landscape. It’s a far cry from his four years of being a staff photographer at the Tulsa World.

He loved it, saying “at the end of the day, I would put a stack of photos on the editor’s desk and my need would be satisfied.” But now, he says he can make it really fun “since I don’t have to make a living at it.”

See working artists’ spaces during the self-guided Tulsa Art Studio Tour April 21 and 22. A Preview exhibition opens March 1, 5-8 pm at the Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis in Tulsa.

Elements of the Cosmos: Grant Recipient Asia Scudder

Guest Author: Laura Reese, OVAC Intern
Asia Scudder, ”Escape from Eden” Baling Wire. 2001.
Asia Scudder is an Oklahoma City artist who transforms baling wire from merely a heavy duty material into delicate lines by which her works become otherworldly.

Scudder was inspired by her grandfather, a sculptor of regional-fame, to create “artistic representations of [her] own personal life experience.” Her work brings in aspects of storytelling with, as she described, “quantum timelessness”, through her simultaneous investigations of early cultures, such as the Mayans, as well as her expression of human emotion.

“I work to involve elements of the cosmos”, said Scudder. The combination of the mysterious early cultures of our world as well as the deep search for meaning and compassion she employs create an ethereal experience.
Asia Scudder, ”Creation” Baling Wire. 2008.
She hopes her works help create a “new vocabulary” with which one can “reach for compassion and agreeableness” when it comes to conflict based on our own human errors. Her work Escape from Eden uses gestural lines of the wire to create a tumbling motion; the subject has fallen out of Eden, out of the “cultural mythology of marital bliss” that Scudder implies in the title, and challenges the viewer to draw upon various sources, transcending the zeitgeist, to evaluate the parables she creates in her work

Scudder’s more recent work has moved from delicate wires to heavier materials, such as water-jet-cut steel, such as the work Compassion, to make her works sturdier and more complex. She was recently selected for a Creative Projects Grant from the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, to give her the means to transform several of her wire pieces into steel for an upcoming show at the Leslie Powell Gallery, opening July 7, 2012.

You can see her work at the exhibit Mayan Icons in Wire during the month of February at Istvan Gallery in Oklahoma City.

Allied Arts: Our Ally

As a fan of the arts, we thought you’d like to be a part of this united drive for the arts in Central Oklahoma (if you aren’t already). Learn more about Allied Arts in this video, which gives a great overview of the importance of the arts to our communities, education and economy. 

One gift to Allied Arts of any amount supports arts education, performances, exhibitions and more cultural programming in central Oklahoma! The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, along with many other cultural organizations, relies on Allied Arts to serve the community.

Allied Arts has been uniting the arts for over 40 years, and has set a record-breaking goal to raise more than $3 million for the arts this year. Please join this huge campaign for our local arts community with a gift of any amount and show how much central Oklahoma “hearts” the arts!

Learn more and donate today at

Furniture Made Out of Porcelain: Margaret Kinkeade

Exploring feminine and masculine roles in traditional culture, Momentum Spotlight artist Margaret Kinkeade is creating a Shaker-style kitchen using surprising materials. Her project includes a kitchen table and chairs made of delicate porcelain juxtaposed with wall-hanging quilts made of plasma-cut steel.  

Learn more about  Kinkeade in our recent issue of Art Focus Oklahoma magazine.

See her project at Momentum OKC this March 9 and 10.