Tucson Art Press Exhibit to Showcase Arizona Art This Weekend

April 17, 2015

Courtesy of tucsoncomic-con.com

Courtesy of tucsoncomic-con.com

by Joshua Levine

This weekend — Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19 — the annual Tucson Comic Convention’s spinoff artists’ showcase, Tucson Art Press Event (or TAPE!), will commence at the Tucson Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom, located at 260 S. Church Ave. Featuring over 100 artists and vendors, TAPE! pares down Tucson Comic-Con, as it’s more commonly referred to, into a more intimate and Arizona-centric event, while expanding the type of art on display outside the realm of only comic books and its associated forms.

Among the long list of noteworthy participants at TAPE! are the event’s founders: Mike and Teresita Olivares, who also organize the Tucson Comic-Con. But they’ll also be spending some time as vendors representing their own comic-related store, Xpanded Universe, located at 197 E. Toole Ave. in Downtown Tucson. I recently spoke with Teresita, who despite having her hands quite full with organizing and promoting the event, was more than happy to give me the lowdown on everything you need to know about TAPE!

“TAPE! is a sister event to Tucson Com,” she said. “We’re going into our eighth year with Tucson Com, and it’s a well-established and broader event. There’s people from all over the U.S. who come to that event. It focuses primarily on comic book-related stuff — you know, the writing, the fine art, the other things that have to do with comic books — and TAPE! is bringing the focus back to the Arizona community of artists, the local artists.

“When we started the Tucson Comic-Con, it was a very local event. We started small in a ballroom and the main focus was comic book artists in Tucson. As we grew, people from all over took interest in the event. So, Mike wants to bring in an art show that’s about the Arizona creators.

“This event is broader in the type of art that will be shown. So, instead of comic books, there will be people who are making more ‘do-it-yourself’ art, whether it’s buying a blank canvas or making it from scratch, sculpture, graffiti art, jewelry. The only thing in common these artists have is that they’re making the art in Arizona. It doesn’t have to just be superheroes; it’s any kind of art.”

It was important to Teresita and Mike to make TAPE! accessible to anybody who’s interested in attending. For that reason, all children under the age of 12 will be admitted for free, while older children and adults get in the door for $6 for the whole weekend.

“The point of this event is to get artists together and collaborating,” Teresita explains, “but also to get everyone out of the house — get them doing things together. We made sure it’s possible for families to do this together, that it’s affordable. And we want people who are interested in getting into the art scene in general to come. A lot of the artists we have at this event are people we’ve known for years, and they’re all willing to share their ideas. They’re willing to give tips to young artists — how they got started, what they’re doing now, the techniques they use in their art. They’re very open and they want to talk to people who are there, take pictures with them — it’s just a really fun event.”

The Tucson Art Press Exhibit runs from 10 A.M. until 7 P.M. on Saturday, and 10 A.M. until 5 P.M. on Sunday.