Friday, October 22, 2010

Michelle and Troy Pence

Tomorrow is the start of the first weekend of the 9th Open Studio Art Tours!  We can't believe it's here already.  For those of you who are without programs, you should be able to pick one up at many of the local art galleries and shops.  There will also be an ample supply out in front of the Donation=Creation Art Store, located in Joshua Tree, slightly east of the Joshua Tree Post office.  The address is 61325 Hwy. 62 in Joshua Tree.  Welcome to the Hwy. 62 Art Tours, everyone!

One stop you will want to mark on your map this weekend is the studio of Michelle and Troy Pence, #17 in the program.
Troy and Michelle Pence

Michelle and Troy Pence have found their version of paradise in Joshua Tree.  Their fenced-in property is home not only to the two artists, but also to a dog or two, a timber wolf, a bullying rooster, three tortoises, and a hungry sheep who ate part of my notes.  The studio, which sits in front of the main house, was a homestead cabin.  It has now become the birth place for the unique art of these two charming people.
The sheep who ate part of my notes.

Michelle Pence works in styrofoam.  She carves and paints the styrofoam, sometimes even adding texture with coffee grounds or sawdust mixed with paint.  Michelle has a way of transforming something as ordinary as styrofoam into fascinating bas-relief paintings.  Most of the materials Michelle uses are recycled.  The styrofoam comes from a company that makes pool covers.  She uses a variety of different paints, including house paint.  Michelle has been working in styrofoam since 1999.  She loves animals, flowers and designs, and will sometimes look for ideas on the internet.
Michelle Pence.  Styrofoam tortoise shell.
Michelle in her studio.
Michelle has shown her work at Metro S.C.R.A.P. gallery in Indio, and both she and Troy show at the 29 Palms Gallery.  They have both taught art and music at Angel View in Joshua Tree.  They have been in the high desert for one year.   Troy and Michelle have been married for six years.  They met at S.C.R.A.P., where Michelle worked.  For their wedding invitations, they made the paper and envelopes the invitations were printed on.  They included seeds in the hand-made paper, so the invitations could be planted.  I admire the way these two artists lead a life that is so integrated with art.  Not only are they both artists, but they both sing and love music.

Troy Pence is a painter and metal sculptor.  He paints in oil, watercolor and acrylic, and has been painting since 1990, when his aunt gave him his grandfather's oil paints and brushes.   Troy comes from a family of artists.  His uncle and grandfather were both oil painters, his mother paints on porcelain, and his father is a cabinet maker.  His interest in art began in high school.  His family opened an art gallery to sell his uncle's paintings, and because of the gallery, Troy's painting became even more important to him.  Troy is a self-taught artist.  His art has been exhibited in the libraries in Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage, the Indio Museum, and 29 Palms Gallery, to name only a few venues.  He has had his work purchased by people all over the United States, Canada and Europe.
Troy Pence.  Abstract painting in one of his metal frames.
Troy Pence.  Abstract painting.

Troy's metal assemblage sculpture is shown in Laguna Beach at the Mint.  He has an avid interest in recycling, and you will be surprised at what he does with objects that have been discarded.  His approach to all of his art, whether it be painting or sculpture, is to focus on the basic shapes.  This approach seems to be working well for him.   In addition to his metal sculpture, Troy also makes his own frames out of metal.  Many of his paintings are frames in this unique frames.

Troy Pence, metal "shovel" tortoises.
More of Troy's metal assemblage sculpture.

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