I am a woman and I relate to women's stories, emotions, fears, joys; however I don't think my work is only 'feminine,' I think it is human and while the most of the forms are obviously female, I think the emotions are universal," said artist and graphic designer Gabrielle Howell.
Meeting Howell at the monthly RAW Artists "Mixology" event at Club 3340 was as exciting and vibrant as her work. She would be considered, by most, to be a beautiful woman and her work embodies the beauty inside every female form in a variety of emotional and physiological states.
One aspect of her work can be summed up from a painful experience in her past.
"I think the most bizarre experience was when my husband and I miscarried our first child in 2005. I have done several pieces on the matter, but overall the whole experience made me a better artist as well as a better person," Howell said.
It was this experience, Howell said, that allowed her to truly understand loss. "Now that we have our daughter Sophie, who will be four in November, I get to experience all the joys, love, and peace," she said. "It all goes back to experiences and relationships; everything is cyclical."
A Baltimore native, Howell grew up in a large family, which is largely influential to her work.
"I know that my heavily feminine subject matter is most likely influenced by the fact that I am one of four daughters and we are extremely close. My mother has six sisters. I have amazing aunts and cousins and friends all around me. It is in me to relate to this softer strength," Howell said.
Howell uses her experiences with love and life to feed her as an artist.
"How we connect with one another is a major subject for a lot of artists. People ignite each other with emotion which helps us connect with one another and in turn, helps me connect with my audience; that makes it easier to relate to each other and to art. I also feed on my passion and drive for something more, for something better, individually and as a whole. I want to always be growing as an artist, a thinker, a person," Howell said.
"The best thing about being a belly dancer is that it has improved my self-confidence a hundred fold and has enabled me to embrace my femininity, said belly dancer Perizad Dahlal. "This is magnified by the fact that I get to share the magic, glitz and glam of belly dance with others."
With a background in theater and improv, this belly dancer is shimmying her way into the hearts and minds of the Tulsa audience who appreciate the art form.
"Having experience in theater and improv is hugely beneficial to me as a dancer," Dahlal said. "Theater has taught me how to be 'larger than life' on stage and to tap into emotions which helps to better express the message or feel behind any given song."
Dahlal describes her belly dancing as playful, cheeky, and hypnotic.
She says she would like to have danced with Mata Hari.
"Beautiful, elegant, mysterious ... she had it all! And I'm sure she'd have some pointers," Dahlal said.
Any dance discipline requires dedication to technique and with that, comes cross training and practice, practice, practice.
"I don't know that any dancer could possibly ever have perfect technique ... which of course means there is always something to strive for," Dahlal said. "From posture, to isolations, to traveling steps, and grace and fluidity, there is always room for improvement."
Dahlah will be performing at the RADIATE showcase, presented by the RAW:Artist movement on August 16.
Your Design studio in Broken Arrow is currently featuring Artists of the Future, an exhibit that highlights the works of artists ages 11-26.
"It is very important to get them the exposure and experience and gain some confidence to keep doing what they love," said Alisa Inglett, owner of Your Design.
Some of the work is unusual and highly impressive, given the ages of the artists.
"There's a 12 year old who sculpts; he really gets the proportions right and has an immense amount of talent, which is amazing. There is also a young lady who is 26 who weaves baskets out of used guitar strings. She upcycles -- used ones. It's incredible!" Inglett said.
Other art forms include yarn, pen and ink, found objects, concrete, and oils. If one does not live in Broken Arrow, a trip to 211 S. Main Street on Aug 2 can also include the shopping extravaganza of the "open late until 8pm" event as many shop owners along Main Street stay open late and would welcome your visit. Artists of the Future runs through August 17.
Follow the Butterfly through Art Crawl
August 3 is the night to brave the heat and visit all the wonders and pleasures of the Brady District Art Crawl.
One new vendor to the scene is the delightful Mocha Butterfly Boutique, located at 216 N. Main Street. Nikki Warren was on hand the day I visited, and turned me onto one of the coolest jewelry designs I had ever seen called "Inspired Wire."
"We are so excited to feature them in our shop. Each piece is one of a kind." Warren said.
Each piece is a work of art, and expertly created from craft wire and many featured fused glass in a myriad of colors and designs; most were modestly priced.
The store has a warm, soothing vibe, as does the skin care line, Hydranics, nestled in the selection of art, clothing, and other jewelry items.
They recently held a trunk show for a line by Design Whimsy, which showcased jewelry and lush bath and beauty products.
Check out more information on their ever evolving line of indie produces products at mochabutterflyboutique.com.
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