Tag Archives: Featured Artist

Photo of a person standing next to a large metal sculpture of a heron

BICAS Artist: Colin Holmes

Interview with BICAS Metalwork Artist Colin Holmes

November 2020

This month we got to sit down with Tucson community artist Colin Holmes @rustypedal and learn more about what has inspired his art. BICAS has been so lucky to have Colin’s support at our annual Art Auction year after year.

Tell us, what got you started making art?

Desert Scene by Colin Holmes, 2017

I’m a fourth generation Tucson resident. Growing up here, on O’Odham and Yaqui land, I’ve always been inspired by the culture of recycled art and upcycled objects.  As a kid I used to walk by a house on my way to school that had sculptures and gates and security bars made out of motorcycle parts. I remember being transfixed and excited by the uniqueness of it.  My mom was an art teacher in TUSD for decades so I grew up with the idea that creativity and art are really important to culture and community.  We used to stop and look at murals, hang out with popular local artists, and do art activities at home all the time. I remember seeing the, now removed, bicycle art on fourth avenue and thinking how amazing it was that people could take these objects that were other people’s trash and turn them into beautiful, functional and exciting art. 

What brought you to BICAS? 

In 2008 my sister started riding bikes with a BICAS program at City High called El Grupo.  She had been having a hard time in school and all of a sudden she seemed stoked about life, and riding, and the community that she had found.  She built me a bike at BICAS and asked me to start riding bikes with her.  Her enthusiasm was infectious so I was stoked to oblige. 

This brought me to BICAS and I was completely hooked from the second I walked into that post apocalyptic wasteland that was the old basement space at Citizens warehouse. I couldn’t believe how magical it all was.  Piles of trash being turned into machines and art and education and community.  The culture felt right to me. It felt like it was based on love and inclusivity.  It was so different from the corporate engineering work I had been doing as an intern at the U of A.

Franny by Colin Holmes, 2015

 

Since that fateful first trip down the ramp I really never left. Embracing the BICAS mindset was a complete paradigm shift for me. It reawakened my creative side and got me making art again.  

 

I’ve been honored to make and donate art to the art auction every year because it is labor that has really tangible positive impacts on the community.  It makes folks happy, it raises money for really important programming, and it’s just straight up cool.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for your sculptures?

Hummingbird by Colin Holmes, 2019

My art hasn’t just been informed by the objects I use to make it, it’s also influenced by the act of riding a bicycle. I’ve always felt a connection between the experience of traveling by bicycle and art made out of bicycle parts.  It’s this connection that leads me to make sculptures of my favorite feelings while riding a bike.  Sometimes it’s that moment sitting in the desert with my bike leaned against a saguaro watching the sun set over the tucson mountains, or sometimes it’s a roadrunner crossing my path on the loop, and occasionally it’s that breathtaking moment that brings me to a halt as I watch a great blue heron take off from the Sweetwater Wetlands or a hummingbird whirring around the flowers at Patagonia lake while on bike tour.  

 

Do you have a particular piece you are most proud of? 

Great Blue Heron by Colin Holmes, 2019

I’m most proud of the Great Blue Heron that I donated to the 2019 BICAS Art Auction.  Ever since I started welding and making bike art at BICAS I dreamed of making one of those special pieces that folks remember. Like Troy Neimans’s Javalina or Zach Lihatsh’s Chiuahua or Kathy Franklin’s Dragon.  For me the accomplishment of completing that sculpture felt like I had reached a next level of skill.  It was a breakthrough piece and it meant the world to me that it raised so much money for BICAS and received so much recognition from the community.

 

Check out more of Colin’s work at rustypedal.com
Follow his social media accounts:
https://www.instagram.com/rustypedal/
https://www.facebook.com/rustypedal

August 2020 Featured Artist: Tucson DIY Artist, Writer, Photographer Martha Retallick

“Martha, what is the most exciting part to you about making recycled art with parts from BICAS?”

For me, the most exciting part about making recycled art is the treasure hunt. I never know what’s going into the finished piece because I’m still looking for the parts.

“What are your favorite parts to use in salvage projects?”

My favorite bike parts to use are disc brake rotors, chainrings, and freewheel cogs.

“What do you hope to make next?”

My next project will be incorporating a chainring into a house number sculpture for my gate. I have other ideas too but haven’t designed or built anything yet.

“How are you nurturing your everyday creativity during the pandemic?”  

I’m upping my culinary and home brewing games. In the past few weeks, I’ve been learning how to make mesquite biscuits, pizza, and apple soft drink. I’ve also added beer to my fermentation repertoire.

Awesome photos above are from Martha’s incredible salvage creation made from BICAS parts and other found objects! Check out Martha’s newly-launched website at http://www.westernskycommunications.com, then visit the BICAS Etsy Shop to purchase some salvage parts of your own. Parts are available for shipping or at-store pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BICAS Salvage Mask by Tucson Artist Racheal Rios

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic this May 2020, our allstar friend and colleague Racheal Rios created and shared a playful, unique mask on her Instagram each day. Some were made of all-natural materials, some edible, and some made of salvaged items, all on her page at @rachealrios. Check out this mask made of all BICAS art parts that she created this past week! We love Racheal’s work and how it supports our mission of creative upcycling. Make your own BICAS salvage crafts by visiting the ‘SALVAGE’ section of our online shop at etsy.com/shop/bicasart, going live June 1, for usable bike craft parts, craft kits and more. Stay safe, everybody.

 

BICAS Artist Gavin Troy

March 2020 Artist Feature: Gavin Troy, Tucson artist and longtime friend of BICAS

Artists Gavin Troy and Pasqualina Azzarello in the founding days of BICAS. Gavin and Pasqualina painted many of the iconic images outside BICAS’ original building.

Gavin, how did you first get involved with BICAS?

I met (BICAS founder) Kim Young at Gentle Strength Co-op in Tempe before BICAS was founded. We became good friends and kept in touch when she moved to Tucson- I visited her when she first began working for what would eventually become BICAS. When BICAS had its first art auction Kim invited me to show a piece and BICAS has not stopped inviting me since. I moved here in 1998 from Tempe and eventually rented my first art studio above BICAS. Super fun times back then, and I love contributing art towards fundraising to support BICAS. 

When Gavin Troy’s studio was above the original BICAS location, he painted a dreamy blue desertscape leading to the BICAS entrance.

What are some of your most cherished memories with BICAS?

In1998, moving into the building above where BICAS was located W. 6th street, life was amazing and the building was buzzing with creative people. It was a hub for all the creative folks here, Flam Chen, Barbara Williams African drum class, BICAS, and many visual artists along with welders and other creative beings were all in one area. The place was electric with creative energy.

What are you working on currently?

Being with my (almost 9 year old son), gardening with him, going on bike rides, working in the studio on paintings, riding the skateboard, posting up paintings on social media to share with others around the world, sending love and good vibrations.

It is important during these times to go within, find ones’ center, and let go.”

How would you describe the importance of art in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The focus of my work, first and foremost is the inner journey as a way to reflect and be in this world, to open up and create from this inner center. Then, sharing this work with the community. This form of self discovery has been an amazing way to heal, learn and grow. The hours of focused time painting are a blessing. It is important during these times to go within, find ones’ center, and let go. The main point is being creative in whatever form this may take and sharing that. I am thankful for the gifts of inner work and creative viewpoint. 

For inquiries or to see Gavin’s work, visit him on Facebook at Gavin Troy or Instagram @gavinhughtroy.