Oklahoma artists think outside the box for 12×12 art fundraiser


By putting artists in a box, an Oklahoma City folk art exhibit encourages many to think differently.

For its long-running 12×12 art fundraiser, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition challenges 175 Sooner State artists to create works no more than 12 inches high by 12 inches wide — or no more than 12 inches high, wide and deep for three-dimensional pieces.

For the 34th annual exhibition, the result is an array of small works of art as eclectic as Oklahoma State’s art community, with artists often using strict parameters to push their creativity to its limits.

From paintings and photographs to blown glass and handcrafted jewelry, the varied – but still compact – works will be auctioned at a lively event featuring local food, a cash bar and live entertainment from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. h September 16 at Lively Brewery.

Bidding for each piece starts at $200, but art lovers who don’t want to risk losing a particular work have the option to “buy it now” and win the auction.

Ticket sales and donations benefit the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, or OVAC, a non-profit organization that supports visual artists living and working in the state.

Here are 12 works of art from this year’s 12×12 art fundraiser that show just how creative Oklahoma artists can be, even under strict circumstances:

Oklahoma City artist Trent Lawson

1. “Order 66” by Trent Lawson

A longtime 12×12 favorite, Oklahoma City artist Trent Lawson is best known for painting clever pop culture mashups on velvet. This year’s imaginative effort features a certain evil emperor from a galaxy far, far away, serving up a special order for a customer at an ice cream and dairy shop very, very close to heart and taste buds. tastes of many Oklahomans.

Concrete and mixed media sculpture by Oklahoma City artist Carrie Kouts

2. “The Confinement” by Carrie Kouts

Just because the 12×12 settings are squared doesn’t mean artists can’t create round works there, like emerging OKC artist Carrie Kouts did with his concrete and mixed media sculpture “Confinement”.

Graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2019, Kouts frequently uses cement, building soil and similar materials in his work, which explores where the natural landscape ends and the man-made landscape begins.

Oklahoma Quilter Beverly Kirk Wall Hanging

3. “Exuberance: A Woman’s Joy” by Beverly Kirk

A Chickasha native now based in OKC, Beverly Kirk is a master quilter who often shares African American history and culture through his vibrant fabric art.

A Dutch artist now based in Pauls Valley, Irmgard Geul's embroidery painting

4. “A landscape to remember” by Irmgard Geul

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Irmgard Geul moved in 2003 to Pauls Valley, where she lives on a horse ranch with an art studio. She creates her “embroidery paintings” like “A landscape to remember” with a technique in which she embroiders and sews on acrylic paints on paper. The Dutch artist uses the embroidery paintings to share the views and experiences of her life in rural Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City artist William Larason created his artwork

5. “June Coastal Grooves” by William Larason

OKC Artist William Larason painstakingly creates many of his works – including this year’s vibrant animal portrait “June Coastal Grooves” – from one of the most humble materials: a sheet of gum wrapper.

Hand-knit artwork “Word Count” by artist Edmond Kendall Ross will be auctioned for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's 2022 12x12 Art Fundraiser.

6. “The Word Count” by Kendall Ross

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kendall Ross turned her lifelong passion for knitting into a OKC-based company called I’d Knit That. Perhaps playfully mocking the 12×12 settings, the emerging Edmond artist knitted a sweater with the slogan “There’s not enough room to say all I need to say” on a canvas for fundraising.

Carpenter and engraver Enid Ben Ezzell made his geometry

7. “Wood Mosaic #2” by Ben Ezzell

An Enid carpenter and engraver (as well as a lawyer and former city commissioner), Ben Ezzell made his geometric “wood mosaic #2” from alder, bocote, cherry, crape myrtle, marble wood, olive, padouk, pine, red oak, redwood, satin, spanish cedar, teak, walnut, white maple and white oak, plus a brass frame and copper accents.

The stoneware and enamel piece

8. “Untitled Skull #12” by Timothy Walsh

One of many intriguing 3D works included in this year’s show, OKC-based ceramist Timothy Walsh The “Untitled Skull #12” stoneware and glaze piece shines in silver and purple and sports elegant curves.

Walsh and his wife, Osage artist Jarica Walsh, are frequent attendees of 12×12, and this year she’s offering one of her signature blue cyanotype prints, which are made by laying objects on paper or fabric treated with photographic chemicals and exposing them to light.

The 'Inner Self' colored pencil portrait by Yukon artist Nina Nga Nguyen will be auctioned off as part of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's 34th Annual 12x12 Art Fundraiser.

9. Nina Nga Nguyen’s “inner self”

Emerging Artist Nina Nga Nguyen, from the Yukon, uses colored pencils to bring her “Inner Self” to a bright and beautiful life.

OKC artist Malcolm Zacariah created his colorful abstract sculpture

10. “Coma” by Malcolm Zacariah

An expert hand in origami, kirigami and other papercraft, Malcolm Zacariah, artist from Oklahoma City created her colorful abstract sculpture “Coma” with watercolors and cold pressed Arches paper.

Zachariah and his longtime artistic collaborator Emma Difani, the masterminds behind The recent immersive exhibition “Seed Reef” by local artist collective Factory Obscura are participating in this year’s 12×12. Difani’s pastel-hued media piece “In, About and All Around” will bring rounded edges to the often square 12×12 display.

Multimedia piece 'Cubist Mirror' by Bixby artist RC Morrison will be auctioned as part of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's 34th Annual 12x12 Art Fundraiser.

11. RC Morrison’s “Cubist Mirror”

Based in the Tulsa area, RC Morrison often experiments with the interaction of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, with acrylic plastic and found objects. Framed in a cobalt glow, “Cubist Mirror” reflects the The permanent fascination of a former student of Oklahoma State University for the color and intensity of light.

Oklahoma City artist Sarah Day-Short combined fodder leaves, natural pigments and resin on wood to create

12. “Seasons” by Sarah Day-Short

Artist OKC Sarah Day-Short literally captures the essence of fall by combining plucked leaves, natural pigments and resin on wood.


Benefiting: Visual Arts Coalition of Oklahoma.

When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on September 16

Where: Lively Beerworks, 815 SW Second St., downtown Oklahoma City.

Ticket prices: $45 in advance online and $50 at the door. Children 16 and under are admitted free.

Information and tickets: www.12x12ok.org and www.facebook.com/OKart.

Characteristics of Writer Brandy “BAM” McDonnell covered Oklahoma’s arts, entertainment and culture sectors for The Oklahoman for 20 years. Join her at[email protected],www.facebook.com/brandybammcdonnell andtwitter.com/BAMOK. Support her work by signing up for herSee & Do Oklahoma Newsletter andsubscribe to The Oklahoman.


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