TREE + LEAF

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Ashley Smith and Tanner Frady Art Show!

ART, GRAFFITI, INTERVIEWDusty GilpinComment

Next month's LIVE on the Plaza falls on Friday the 13th! Our guest artist duo is a pair of extremely talented artists that are close to my heart. I remember the first time I met both Tanner Frady and Ashley.

He was a super skinny, quiet kid with braces and stenciled art pieces on plywood. He visited the OG Tree & Leaf store and asked if he could hang some artwork. We started riding bikes and eventually Tanner started hanging out while I was painting graffiti. Tanner is 5 years younger than me, but his work ethic is equally as mature. Tanner got a job at the Tree & Leaf shop, and it wasn't long after when Tanner started painting graffiti of his own, and with a few pointers here and there, he's become a really talented painter. Tanner is constantly exploring different mediums and has developed a style of his own with hand painted characters, text, graffiti, photography, and screenprinting.

Kaleb Nimz and I were doing graffiti demonstrations at the Metro libraries across town for kids and I got an email from Ashley Smith asking if she could attend. She was a local tattoo artist at No Regrets and had always been interested in aerosol. Somehow the conversation shifted and we were invited to paint outside the tattoo shop during a LIVE on the Plaza. Ashley gave me a complimentary tattoo in exchange for painting the inside of the shop and after a while, I was regularly getting tattooed by her and getting pointers when I decided to turn the machine on myself.

Ashley, Tanner, and myself have become great friends over the last five years. Now, cool enough, they are a couple. I'll be honest and say that when they first started dating, I was nervous. I didn't want to be caught between friends if things went south, but now I eat my own cautiousness. Their friendship has only encouraged them both in their artwork and work ethic. Together they are constantly working, critiquing, and producing amazing artwork. Together they are a powerhouse of talent that is doing big things for our city and local culture. I am very proud of my friends, and I am extremely happy to host them together with this upcoming show. As we've been doing lately, I got to interview them about their lives and upcoming show. If you haven't met either artist before, hopefully this will give you a sneak peek into the lives and art of these really amazing people...

A: WE are watching Oxford [dog] hump a blanket...

Perfect. The interview just began with that sentence!

A: He says he's thinking of you..

THAT'S OFF RECORD! But for real, tell me a little about yourselves, where you grew up and what you're currently doing.

A: Grew up in Enid, America. Knew I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could but didn't want to move too far from my fam. All my friends were moving to the Edmond/OKC area to go to school so I jumped on that bandwagon. I was going to school because I thought it was what my parents wanted me to do AND I kind of wanted too as well, but I didn't know why. I went to UCO for graphic design. I had always been artistic (got it from my mom) but wanted to be able to have a career doing art. After wasting TOO MUCH time and MONEY on college, I dropped out after I realized what I really wanted to do, TATTOO. Yadda...yadda...yadda...I now am a co-owner at No Regrets Tattoo OKC and do freelance art full-time. I love being my own boss and couldn't go back to not.


T: I grew up in "The Hometown of Garth Brooks". Yeeeehaw!!! Currently, I work  one day a week in the print shop at Tree & Leaf clothing, and on and off as a contractor at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Other than that, I consider myself to be a full time Artist. Ashley and I always have 10 projects at once each it seems. I enjoy whatever medium I can get hands on. But for the most part aerosol (fancy for spray paint) is my medium of choice. I learned the ways of Graffiti from the best around (you!) and have turned it into my own thing. Other than that, maps, maps, maps... and my most recent interests, hand lettering wood signs and wood cutouts with goofy characters.

What would you say influenced you to start doing art? What influences do you have now that you're professional artists?

A: Ever since I got my first tattoo, that culture that went with it has influenced me in my art. Classic tattoo designs, hotrods, rockabilly, greasers, sign painting, pinstriping...etc. I have been tattooing for about 5 years now, but just am now getting into hand painting signs and pinstriping. Everything goes together hand-in-hand and helps to improve my skills in each area. I feel like until I was comfortable doing tattoos at a certain level, then I felt comfortable hand painting signs, letters, woodcuts...then when I got to a certain level of comfort with that, I was able to feel comfortable starting to do striping. When I go back, though, everything I have tried and done improves my tattooing.

What would you say influenced you to start doing art? What influences do you have now that you're professional artists?

A: Ever since I got my first tattoo, that culture that went with it has influenced me in my art. Classic tattoo designs, hotrods, rockabilly, greasers, sign painting, pinstriping...etc. I have been tattooing for about 5 years now, but just am now getting into hand painting signs and pinstriping. Everything goes together hand-in-hand and helps to improve my skills in each area. I feel like until I was comfortable doing tattoos at a certain level, then I felt comfortable hand painting signs, letters, woodcuts...then when I got to a certain level of comfort with that, I was able to feel comfortable starting to do striping. When I go back, though, everything I have tried and done improves my tattooing.

T: Cartoons! I remember re-drawing some of my favorite cartoons when I was in pre-school. I have always drawn but the urge to show my stuff to people pushed me. I can't consider the subject matter of most of my stuff "serious" but I can consider the process and the visual effect as serious. The urge to keep producing stuff influences me now. I want to produce as much art as I possibly can. It never gets old. With graffiti and art alike, it is awesome to see peoples' reactions to the bright colors. It is that "How do you do that" kind of experience.   Getting to work every day next to Ashley is also a constant influence. We are both doing different things, but we are both staying busy.

Tanner, would you say cartoons are still an influence? What are your favorites and why?

T: Yes, a strong influence. Nowadays it is the classic cartoons and advertisements. There is something about the characteristics of old cartoons that are more animated and comical. The way they move and talk. The idea that every bit of them was drawn by hand is another aspect that I really enjoy. They just don't make 'em like they used to. Lately, I've been on a Felix the Cat and Popeye kind of kick. I just got Baby Herman from Who Framed Roger Rabbit tattooed on me, so that is another current influence.

Ashley, you create art outside of tattooing and traditional painting. Tell us a little bit about Hook, Line, & Sinker and how that idea came about.

A: That is another aspect that I have currently started tying into with my painting. It started with a fishing trip over 3 years ago and going to the Bass Pro shop to get some supplies. I hadn't been really fishing (and enjoyed it) since I was a kid, so I took it in with a grain of salt. When I was checking out the isles and ISLES of lures, spinners and spoons I had no idea the extent of it. I just thought it was worms or rubber fish that people used. As I looked at all the product I realized that most of them were bright colors and even GLITTERY! I'm such a girl...sometimes. I immediately bought one that caught my eye and thought this would make a good "good luck" charm for when I go fishing. I made a few and showed them to a few friends who bought them from me and after doing a few shows with them, I realized people really liked the concept. I took them to be sold at DNA and currently still sell with them. My love of knives has also merged over into my jewelry and painting. Pocket knives go along side with fishing, camping and the outdoors so I have just recently added knives to my jewelry making weather it be on a necklace or keychain.

What do you guys have planned for your show at Tree & Leaf? Can we expect any particular theme or idea throughout the art or print?

A: I'd say all of the above...traditional tattoo designs, hand painted and pinstriped pieces and sign painting influences.

T: All of the above as well. Cartoon character cutouts and hand lettering. Our print is going to be themed Friday the 13th since that is when the show falls on. It will be a mix of traditional tattoo and cartoon based ideas.

Along with ALLLLLL the stuff you're producing, painting, tatooing, and doing, you have a studio space. What's new with Brass Bell Studios and who are some of the upcoming artists? How do you find the artists, and when do can people visit the space to see art?

A: Well we do shows EVERY first Sunday of each month. Some of a few of our upcoming shows include Ember Lively, Taylor Gross, Tony Thunder, Promise Edmonds, Hector Lopez, Trayson Connor, Tessa Raven... We are pretty booked through the year and usually the artists come to us. We have at least one group show every Jan, which is BBS's anniversary month. As for gallery hours, we really don't have any. If we aren't at work, then we are here producing art. People are more then welcome to swing through when we are here or make an appt to come by. Randomly we might book a band or off-night show so the Brass Bell Facebook page is the best way to keep up with what is going on here.

Both of you just had an amazing experience to work with artist Wayne White on his Halo Amok installation at the Oklahoma Museum of Modern art. What was it like working next to Wayne, and what did you walk away with after working with him?

A: I loved working with an artists that I admired and it was even better because I feel like I really KNOW about this artist bc of Tanner. It was also great to work with someone you look up to and admire and them not be a dickhead or disappoint you. One of the best things I took from that experience was how to really use power tools and that museum art can totally be made out of cardboard. Cardboard: nothing special by itself but museum art when in the right hands of the right team.

T: It was an honor to have that experience working with him on the installation. I actually stopped going to school for the last two weeks of class so I could be a part of it. He is one of the nicest, funniest guys I have every met. He took a daily nap under the work table after lunch, taped his charcoal to the end of a stick, and was rarely seen without his cowboy hat. It is amazing what we produced with the simple materials we were given. He had a vision and we were all the worker bees. Not only did we get to work with Wayne, but an awesome team of people. A lot of what we were doing was new to me. I was constantly asking myself how this was going to work and if we were going to finish on time. It seemed impossible at the time. But the experience we had, mixed with the visitors' experience when they see it makes it totally worth it.

Any last thoughts you'd like to leave us with?

A: Oxford had a great time! Can't wait for the show! I plan on selling EVERYTHING!!! Wheeling and dealing!

Thanks guys!

 

Ashley and Tanner have a ton coming up. Here's the deets on how you can keep up with their day-to-day and upcoming events.

Ashley Smith - FACEBOOK - INSTAGRAM - TWITTER

Tanner Frady - FACEBOOK - INSTAGRAM - TWITTER

Upcoming Events:

  • - Tree & Leaf Poster Print Release Show, September 13th in Plaza District 7-11pm
  •  - Live graffiti demonstration at the Oklahoma State Fair Sept 15th from 12-6pm
  •  - Tanner Frady and Jake Beeson art show on December 13th at DNA Galleries.
  •  - Deluxe Indie Craft Show December 1st
  •  - TEEFxVKNGxHOLEYKIDS February @ Henry's Coffeeshop in Downtown Lawrence, KS. Last Friday of the month during the art walk.