The 2013 Santa Cruz Open Studios Art Tour is here! Taking place the first three weekends in October every year, this self-guided tour brings art lovers right into the creative spaces of over 300 diverse artists in Santa Cruz County. It's a unique opportunity to meet artists, view first-hand how they work behind the scenes and explore Santa Cruz while you're at it.
We recently caught up with Aptos resident Liz Lyons Friedman, the one and only artist who has participated in Open Studios since its beginning, 28 years ago. Friedman is a printmaker specializing in Woodcuts and Linocuts.
The artist and her press
Q & A with Liz Lyons Friedman
When did you start doing this kind of art?
I started back in college. I got a Fine Arts degree in printmaking and then I went on to get a master's degree, so I've been doing it for a really long time. I studied all different types of printmaking but I keep going back to the block prints - linoleum and wood.
What brought you to Santa Cruz?
I love the beauty of the area and the weather. I used to be a high school art teacher, so I was living over in the East Bay and wanted to get out of the East Bay and move to the coast. It was mostly a combination of the art community and living near the ocean.
How did you first get involved with Open Studios?
I was very lucky. I moved here in March and just happened to see something in the Sentinel about the very first Open Studios Art Tour. I got everything together in a couple days, put in my application and got in just under the wire. So, it was good timing.
What do you love about Open Studios?
What I love about Open Studios is the opportunity for people to come into my studio and see my process. I'm a traditional printmaker. I do wood cuts and linoleum block prints and it's a process that not everybody is familiar with.
I enjoy the other end of it, as well, being able to tour other artist's studios. The event brings people from all over, and I always tell people, get a catalog, map it out ahead of time and go studio-hopping and see as much as you can in a day or two. It's just a great opportunity to see a lot of artists and a lot of really nice art. And it's interesting to see the studios, to see where it's made and how it's made.
What can visitors expect at your studio?
At my location, there are actually two artists and two studios. There's my studio, which is a printmaking studio, and I will have two presses- my very large press that I use all the time and another press that I use for demos. They'll see the process of making a print in all different stages. I really can't demonstrate during Open Studios because it's so messy, but I'll have all the tools and visual aids out- photos with step-by-step on how it's done, and works in progress for people to see, plus, all the carved blocks from all the different prints that I make. So there's lots of art, tools and equipment.
It's a fun little studio that was featured in a Random House book called Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways
. They went all over the country, showing 28 different creative spaces that used to be sheds, and mine was one of two featured in Santa Cruz County.
My studio partner, John Gavrilis, does large-scale landscape photography. We have a fabulous succulent and cactus garden and we try to make it really inviting for people.
Where do you find inspiration for your prints?
Most of my work is about everyday events and momentous occasions. I call it my celebration series- people together, friends, romance, hanging out, just social situations, mostly. Whenever I'm out and I see something, like a couple sitting at a table with certain body language, I might take a photograph, do the drawings. Sometimes, I'll have the title before I actually find the people that I want, like the one I just finished. It's called 'Sunday Morning' and I'd been thinking about it for a long time. I just happened to be at a restaurant one Sunday morning having breakfast, and there was a couple there with the exact body language I was looking for- she was reading the newspaper and he was really busy on his iPad.
Sunday Morning by Liz Lyons Friedman
The Open Studios Art Tour takes place the first three weekends in October from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Studios north of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor are featured October 5th and 6th. Studios south of the harbor are featured October 12th and 13th. The third weekend, October 19th and 20th, is known as "encore weekend" and features participating artists from both North and South Counties. For more information, visit the official site for the Arts Council Santa Cruz County