I was preparing to write a blog about remembering a lost friend by creating artwork specifically for him. I was expecting an email of a couple pictures from Tanner Frady, but what I recieved far surpasses anything I could've blogged about. Here's a few words and some amazing artwork by Tanner for our friend Stephen Hughes.
"Stephen Hughes was a great friend to many in the art community in Oklahoma City. He was a lover of all things bikes, photography, and art. Stephen and his girlfriend Ashley Smith opened Brass Bell Studios, an art gallery, music venue and DIY bike shop, in the beginning of 2011. I was fortunate enough to be a featured artist in their gallery in 2011. That show for me created what would grow into a special bond with Stephen. It seems like I would be somewhere that he was every weekend. There was never a conversation between Stephen and I that I wasn't smiling and laughing the entire time, I think most people who knew him can relate greatly to this. Stephen knew that I was a quiet and shy person, and he loved to take advantage of that. He would always pick me up over his shoulder in a crowd full of people or give me a surprise ass grab when I wasn't paying attention, then you would hear his distinct obnoxious laugh. This piece of artwork is a collection of memories, a few of Stephen's tattoos done by Ashley, and objects that will forever remind me of the great human being that was Stephen Hughes. I felt a common bond with Stephen on many things including BMX, film photography, and art. I originally planned on submitting this piece to the memorial show at Dr. Palmer's studio, but as I got more and more done with it I knew exactly who I wanted to be the owner. I have known Ashley Smith for a few years, just as long as I knew Stephen. I have never seen any two people share such a loving bond as these two. I can only think of two times in their relationship that I saw them apart from each other. There is not any other person that I would rather have this piece than Ashley.
Special thanks to Tanner Frady for the very kind, deep words. If you'd like to attend Stephen's memorial art show tonight hosted by Dr. Bob Palmer and Ashley Smith, visit the Red Dirt Artist Gallery tonight from 6:00-9:00pm or click here for more details.