POSTED ON OCTOBER 27, 2010:
Local photographer explores the "what-ifs"
Not in Kansas anymore. Taylor has been shooting photographs with the witch for the past two years and after many curious glances and support of the community he is ready to showcase this one of a kind body of work into what will not only be an art show but an event for Tulsans to experience and remember.
Creative thoughts and "what if" ideas are in constant circulation among the creatively inclined, but few are approached with enough inspiration to cross the bridge out of the mind and into physical form. And from the small pool of actualized creative thoughts, even less are adaptable and substantial enough to instill a sense of support and collaboration from an entire community.
Local photographer Evan Taylor has recently conquered this difficult feat by realizing a "wouldn't that be cool if" idea into a series of photographs titled, Death of a Witch, which opens Thursday, Oct. 28 from 6-9pm at Dwelling Spaces in Tulsa's Blue Dome District located at 119 S. Detroit Ave.
The idea for this body of work was born three years ago when Taylor and his wife saw a house in Western Oklahoma that reminded them of Dorothy's farm house from The Wizard of Oz. Fans of both The Wizard of Oz and Wicked, Taylor and his wife remembered the scene in which the house landed conveniently on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, exposing nothing but her striped tights and iconic ruby red slippers. The "cool if" idea to reenact that famous scene at the dilapidated farm house quickly evolved into an inspired mission to photograph the unfortunate witch around Tulsa and Oklahoma trapped in improbable predicaments leaving her legs and shoes exposed in front of landmarks and spaces across the city.
Taylor has been shooting photographs with the witch for the past two years and after many curious glances and support of the community he is ready to showcase this one of a kind body of work into what will not only be an art show but an event for Tulsans to experience and remember.
The timing of the show could not be better as Death of a Witch opens days before Halloween to catch a hold of the seasonal enthusiasm for all things morbid and odd. The show will continue through Nov. 30, in time for the return performance of Wicked at the PAC, which begins Nov. 17.
The opening at Dwelling Spaces will not only include fine art photographs of the witch's unfortunate travels but prints of all sizes, buttons, posters, t-shirts as well as mini-prints, wallet sized framed and matted prints. "I hate going to an art show and no one walks away with anything," said Taylor. Consequently everything sold at the show will be extremely affordable so everyone can take a piece of the event home with them.
"It is not meant to be fine art," said Taylor, "It is more of a kitschy trend that will appeal to a certain audience." This select audience has already proven to be quite expansive across the city as local businesses are eager to help out and become involved in Taylor's Death of a Witch event. In honor of his work, downtown restaurant Yokozuna will be featuring a limited time "Witchcraft roll" on request and Joe Bots Coffee at Dwelling Spaces will serve a "Death Latte with striped peppermint stick" to customers.
Recently established local T-shirt company Cosmic City (cosmic-city.com) will be selling a limited number of Death of a Witch t-shirts available only on opening night at Dwelling Spaces. A gift pack of Death of a Witch merchandise was even sent to Wicked's original star and Oklahoma native, Kristen Chenoweth, who was photographed wearing the T-shirt.
The decision to collaborate with Dwelling Spaces for the event was especially fitting. Death of a Witch artwork and merchandise will be right at home among Dwelling Spaces' eclectic variety of unconventional gifts and Oklahoma memorabilia. "It is a different kind of Oklahoma gift store," said Taylor.
Dwelling Spaces specializes in hip and quirky gifts and accessories for those brimming with Okie pride. The store frequently sells and displays the work of local artists in soft openings to feature the artist. Death of the Witch, however, is intended to function as a higher profile and large-scale event for the store. An open bar with beer and wine will be available during the opening. In addition, attendees are encouraged to dress in costume to receive a free button as a way of supporting the light-hearted nature of Taylor's work.
A graduate from OSU-Okmulgee, Taylor has been working as a professional commercial photographer for the past seven years. Death of a Witch will be his first solo show.
"Everyone that I have talked to has expressed some interest in what I am doing," said Taylor. From family and friends avidly suggesting future locations for the witch to meet her demise to the various landmarks and businesses around town that allow him to photograph on their property, Taylor has been blown away by the collaboration and outreach he has received from the community.
After the event at Dwelling Spaces, Taylor plans to keep developing this concept and hopes to one day turn the ideas and images into a morbid, yet humorous coffee table book. "It is a result of friends and family pushing, that it is what it is going to be," he said. "And I don't even know what that is yet."
Dia de los Muertos
Concluding a spooky Halloween weekend, the Living Arts will be hosting the 16th annual Dia de los Muertos festival on Monday, Nov. 1 from 5-11pm. The Day of the Dead celebration is one of Living Arts' most popular events, and the gallery expects 3,000-4,000 to attend this year. Directly inspired by the traditional Mexican custom of building alters to remember the dead, the festival offers Tulsans a chance to honor those they have lost over the year by building and displaying their own alters in an altered spaces exhibit or contributing to a community alter.
The festival will also feature Café de Muertos offering Churros, Mexican Hot Chocolate and Pan de los Muertos to those in attendance. Other events and activities throughout the evening will include a children's activity corner, a skeleton dance choreographed by Tulsa's Portico Dans Theatre and more than 30 artists' booths with local artists selling their work. This exciting event is an honorable adaptation of a Mexican tradition that will provide something to capture the interest of everyone in attendance.
More information is available at livingarts.org.
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