Different strokes: Father-daughter team opens working art gallery in Peoa
Bill Kranstover and Malia Denali are ready to share their family secrets. Well, maybe not all of them – but at least the artistic code that they’ve learned to live by.
The father-daughter duo has been hard at work setting up a working art gallery in the heart of Peoa. Now they’re prepared to open the doors of Texture Studios to the public.
The building, which originally housed the Peoa cash store, is located on State Road 32. Kranstover and Denali plan to use the space to create and display their own work and to offer workshops and open studio time to other artists.
Peoa has always been a home-away-from-home for the Kranstover family, Denali says. A 15-minute drive from Park City, the idyllic countryside provides a convenient and creative respite. There are several working artists who have taken up residence in the area, she adds. "It’s becoming an art scene."
Texture Studios consists of a large, open work and office space, storage and supply rooms in the back and plenty of wall space for displaying work. "It has a good feel to it," Kranstover says. "I like to get out of Dodge and come out here just to breathe."
The artist has had designated working spaces before, but never anything like his newfound sanctuary. "Most of his work – besides the sculptures – has come off the dining room table," Denali says.
Whenever he needs a creative kick, Kranstover jumps on his Super Strider, an outdoor elliptical contraption, and pedals to nearby pastures or the tranquil waters of Rockport Reservoir. "You have to be in a good state of mind – physically and mentally – to create art," he says.
Kranstover, known as "Kranny" to friends and fans, was Park City’s original Guerilla Artist. He is responsible for many of the metal sculptures that mysteriously popped up around town throughout the ’90s. "The real canvas for many years was all of Park City," he says.
He has worked in a variety of media for more than 40 years, showing his work in several local galleries and cultivating a vast network of art lovers along the way. Now he wants to dispense his artistic wisdom.
"For Dad, this has been a long time coming," Denali says. "He’s ready to spread out, produce and share what he knows."
Denali, a Park City native, returned to Utah two weeks ago after spending 10 years in Seattle, where she earned a degree in visual communications from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and explored the Seattle art scene.
After attending a recent painting retreat with her dad, she realized that she wanted to reinvigorate their artistic bond and take advantage of the opportunity to work side-by-side, full-time. "I saw his work and how serious he was, so I’m here to do the paperwork, among other things," she says. "I’m coming home with a sense of purpose."
The pair has collaborated before. Notably, they worked together on the Olympic Flame sculpture that towers above the patio at the Kimball Art Center. Denali did the drawings and Kranstover crafted the piece. "We make a good team," she says.
Denali will be the primary instructor for workshops at Texture Studios, which will range from basic sessions for beginners to more advanced courses in specific mediums. She is developing a 6-week curriculum that will cover a wide range media, identify students’ strengths and push them to create a small body of work for display.
She also wants to reach out to youth groups in the area and get the word out to artists that the space is available for open studio time, mentorship opportunities and potential residency programs. There’s talk of establishing a base in Park City and using the Peoa studio as a satellite location, she says.
The main idea is to take people’s thoughts and ideas and make the studio into what the community envisions. "It’ll evolve as people share what they want out of it," Kranstover says. "We don’t want to just hang shows. We want participation."
The purpose, Denali says, is "to create and encourage creation." "We have this space and we want to share it. People need space to get a little messy," she adds.
Denali and her younger sister Aja, also a working artist, learned about the importance of flexing their creative muscles early on in life. During their childhood, Kranstover encouraged his girls to make art with whatever media was available.
"Resourcefulness has always been a priority," Denali says. They played a game in which they had five minutes to create a piece of art out of whatever materials they could find. "You start looking at the world differently when you realize how you can apply things to art," she says.
Kranstover told his daughters never to get stuck in one medium or idea, a concept they’ve embraced by dabbling in various artistic fields. "Fear no art, that was always the mission," Denali says. In addition to working with pencils, paints and graffiti, she has branched into singing and playing guitar.
Music is also a passion of Kranstover’s and something he’d like to incorporate into studio events and work sessions. "Doing different things leads you to be more creative and flexible," he says. "There’s a fine line between any sort of artistic endeavor."
Kranstover has been using studio time to paint series inspired by the country landscape. His latest pieces feature hay bales, herons and other sights from Peoa.
He is on a bit of a painting spree lately – "It’s like a vacation for me," he says – but he hasn’t abandoned other forms of art. He recently created a set of "found-item" sculptures with things he came across in the desert and he has an upcoming public art project on his radar. "I can’t say what it is, but it’ll be big," he promises.
Denali has lots of plans in the works as well, including a grand opening celebration and various special events at the studio. "I personally can’t wait to see what the community will produce through this," she says.
For the time being, the pair is seeking ideas and feedback from the artistic community. Those with thoughts about workshops, studio uses and potential projects are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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