Cedars Open Studios Exposed the Day-to-day of Local Artists

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On Saturday, as a part of the 9th annual Cedars Open Studios, more than 60 artists provided the opportunity to share a little insight into their own creativity by opening up their studios to the public. Complete with food, music, and of course, wine, most studios were at capacity with the steady flow of patrons and the curious passersby alike.

The studios were independently as unique as the individual artwork created within, whether it was glass blowing, photography, or expressive hula-hoop dancing.

I started my tour at the Art Hotel Gallery, where the artists - 15 in the Art Hotel alone - rented the space as a co-op, effectively lowering the sale prices for the lack of commission. Just two doors down was Groovy Monkee tattoo, where owner Matt Beasley proudly displayed his and his tattoo artist' work; but not in tattoo form.

"It can be skin or any other medium," said Beasley, "everyone here is an artist full time."

Right down Akard a few blocks sits the Re Gallery + Studio, conveniently located next to Lee Harvey's, (which wasn't just the favorite pit stop of the day, but showcased artwork itself). Inside the Re gallery were spectacular pieces solely from recycled, repurposed and reclaimed material.

The mood of the day was uncommonly communal and warm, especially for late November. It was no better felt than in South Side on Lamar where the artists opened up their studios, which also happen to be their homes. Most know that the South Side flats used to be an old Sears warehouse, but right where the loading docks used to be now, the multi-purpose place has store-front style studios specifically for artists, with their apartments located behind.

One occupant named Sam Fuller, but better known as the man behind "Old Black Man Art", came to own one of these studio/flats by means that echoed the themes of the day. Inside, his jazz inspired paintings and drawings, provided a strange backdrop in where he told me that just a year or two prior, he was homeless on the street. But he kept true to his art, and by a stroke of luck was actually contacted by the MTV show The Buried Life.

The premise of the show is where four young men are completing their "bucket lists" but not without helping someone down and out along on the way. MTV producers got in contact with Sam and not only found his estranged son, which he hadn't seen in 17 years, but put his art on display as well, starting in the South Side coffee shop, Opening Bell.

Fast forward to last Saturday, and Sam was happily working on a new piece as hundreds came in to look at the artists in the South Side Studios. Even though it is in its 9th year, the Cedar Open Studio event is invaluable to the community, and judging by the overall response, will be a continued tradition throughout Dallas.

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