Tag Archives: Monthly Artist Feature

May 2020 Featured Artists: Racheal Rios & Rebecca Zapien

As community artists, have you had the chance to be involved with BICAS art? If so, in what capacity?

In the past we’ve only really been involved with BICAS art through the annual auction.  Racheal has donated art work and Rebecca has volunteered time.  We always love to go to the auction.

What are your favorite memories of time spent at BICAS?

The auction is always a good time.  Over the years BICAS has been a rad and essential resource for all things bikes.  Fixing, buying learning— all the bike things.

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, how does the work you’re doing now tie in to BICAS’ vision of empowered and sustainable Tucson communities?

We can draw similarities in the sense that we both want to see overlooked parts of the community thrive.   Right now the examples of mutual aid happening in Tucson is really inspiring and what keeps us all grounded and help us moving forward.  

What are you working on during the pandemic?

Right now we are reworking some of the things we made originally for the show at UA art museum.  The shows are really amazing and focus on the border and  the art program in the prison.  Maybe as things evolve with social distancing people will be able to see the show again or perhaps it will be made accessible in a whole new way.   The bandanas and tote we made for that show seem to have an entirely new meaning now with all the stuff going on and it seemed like a good time for us to work with what we have and find new ways to support people.  That’s exciting in the sense that we are constantly revisiting and reworking what we do.  We are starting a new bandana now and looking to do another print.  It always feels a little tricky to figure out what people might respond to but since we both have strong opinions once we get to the point of agreeing on things it usually turns out. 

What projects of yours are you excited about?

Just like everyone else right now, we’ve had to stop and regroup.  We had some really great projects planned with different poets and artists that are creating bodies of work around mass incarceration and that has come to a complete stop. We look forward to everything we do because we have the luxury to not have expectations or guidelines dictated by anyone outside ourselves which on some days is enough.  We don’t know that excited is what we might call it at this moment but we are grateful to be able to see what comes out of this as things crumble. 

Racheal and Rebecca can be contacted through their website, https://www.rryrz.org, or Instagram, instagram.com/rr_y_rz.

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.

BICAS Artist: Cathy Franklin

An interview with BICAS community artist Cathy Franklin

October 2019

I have always admired and been inspired by the artists who donate their work to the annual BICAS Art Auction. It has always been one of my favorite events of the year!


In 2015, my son, Nathan Franklin who was working at BICAS, and my husband, Mark, made a few pieces to donate to the BICAS art auction. It looked like fun so I designed two pieces – a sea turtle and seahorse wall decoration – and asked Nathan and Mark to weld them when they were making theirs. After seeing these pieces in the auction that year I was excited.

I think Nathan could see I was going to be asking him to weld quite a bit for me in the future. Instead he told me that I could learn to weld and he would teach me. He started bending metal for a 5 foot shark, patiently teaching me techniques and how to weld, how to use the grinding and wire wheels, as we designed the shark. Soon after, he went back to college and I continued to learn and experiment with metalworking. It took me many welds to get better but I could see progress in both my technique and my art. After many burnt fingers, abrasions and dirty nails I still love the process!

For the auction in 2016 I made a dolphin that hung from the ceiling and a giraffe sculpture. I never would have guessed that I would have become a metalcraft artist at the age of 50!

I think the biggest thing was nobody
told me that I couldn’t do it, so I did


Where do I get used bike parts to use for my art?
BICAS – 2001 N 7th Ave, Tucson AZ 85705
Single Track Bike Shop – 575 W Riordan Rd, Flagstaff AZ 86001

Where do I get the metal I use?
Tucson Iron & Metal – I try to buy used metal parts, however sometimes I do have to buy new steel rod or rebar if recycled is not available.

Also, any left-over metal from my husband’s and son’s projects is fair game. They do remind me that their good bike parts are not.

What kinds of metal sculpture do I create?
Mainly, pieces made with used bicycle parts and other used metal. I like making animal sculptures. Nature is what motivates me to make my art.

Sometimes the used metal pieces that I have suggest what I should make. This is especially true for the smaller art I make. For the larger sculptures, I select parts that help shape the art.

My most complex sculptures I have made to date are a 5′ tall dragon for the BICAS Art Auction in 2017 and a life-size baby elephant for their 2018 auction.

Recent Work
Recently I was commissioned by friend who is also a shark biologist to make a 9′ life-size hammerhead shark to hang in the entryway to his house. It was a challenging as well as rewarding experience. It was so cool to see his face when I delivered the shark!

Check out more of Cathy Franklin’s work!

Find her on Facebook at Cate Franklin Designs and follow her on Instagram @cathy_3dogs