‘Playing with nostalgia’

Local artist gives unique spin on toys with works at exhibition

Artists Tim Kranz, from left, Donna Randall and Susan Newcom each pose with a piece from their artwork on display at Shiawassee Arts Center exhibition.

Artists Tim Kranz, from left, Donna Randall and Susan Newcom each pose with a piece from their artwork on display at Shiawassee Arts Center exhibition.

OWOSSO — For Tim Kranz, letting viewers bring their own interpretations to his art is essential.

With all of his toy-oriented images, the Swartz Creek native and oil artist likes to play with nostalgia and each person’s individual psychology. “I let the viewers take their own interpretation,” he said. “No matter what you’re thinking, it’s just toys.”

Art lovers will have the chance to render their own interpretations of Kranz’s works with the opening of the 2011 exhibit year at Shiawassee Arts Center (SAC), 206 Curwood Castle Dr. in Owosso. Kranz will have more than 20 of his nostalgic, toy-themed works on display during the exhibition, which runs now through Feb. 27.

“I’ve always been an artist. I took art classes at the Flint Institute of Arts when I was young and growing up, I wanted to draw cartoons in comic books,” said Kranz, a professional, studio, mural artist and art instructor at the University of Michigan-Flint.

From years of creating murals for Montrose Orchards, Kranz said his art began evolving and he began to think about what is appealing to people, eventually turning his artistic focus on toys, particularly “toys that I wanted, but never got.”

“It’s cool to watch people,” he said of those viewing his art. “There was a 30- year old guy who turned into a child immediately when he saw the Fisher Price airplane (in one of his paintings). My joy is watching people react to the work.”

“Yes, I spell out things but I let the viewer be creative,” Kranz said. “Once I create something and it goes into the public view, it’s the public’s.” The paintings by Kranz on display at SAC are the main focus of his creativity and MFA thesis. Along with teaching at UM-Flint, he became an Artist Member at Buckham Gallery in Flint, and currently serves on the gallery’s Board of Directors.

Along with Kranz, the exhibit at the Shiawassee Arts Center includes works from three other mid-Michigan artists.

Detroit native and fiber artist Marti Liddle-Lameti, who teaches art at Owosso High School and is an adjunct professor for Kendall College of Art and Design, will have her artwork on display for the exhibit. Liddle-Lameti, who lives in Owosso, attended Olivet College and completed her bachelor’s of fine arts at Eastern Michigan University, majoring in painting, drawing and art history. She earned her MAT in 2010. Liddle-Lameti has studied textiles with many notable fiber art instructors, and is an active member of many organizations, including the Shiawassee Artist Guild. She works under the company name of Martel Designs, and more information is available at her website, www.marteldesigns.com.

Lansing resident and gallery owner Donna Randall will have several of her watercolor works at the exhibit. Randall, who has been an artist for 40 years, has been using watercolor as her primary medium for and loves the freedom that paint gives her when creating her art. Randall also finds designs in unusual places, such as cicada’s on a moonlit sidewalk or the inside of an iris past its prime. She also finds joy in teaching.

“Artists, at all skill levels, are fun to work with,” she said. “Watching their awe at the amazing things paint can do is delightful and many times I learn from them.”

Retired fourth-grade teacher Susan Newcom of Corunna is the final artist for the exhibit. Newcom, who has always dabbled in art, currently works as SAC’s Gallery Manager. Working in mixed media, which is primarily Newcom calls her works in the exhibit “expressions of whimsy” due to the fun and colorful characteristics. Raised in Detroit, she is a graduate of Michigan State University.

Along with the exhibition, there also is an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 21, which is open and free to the public. Refreshments will be provided and SAC offers 20 percent off all purchases during the reception. The exhibition is sponsored by Chemical Bank.

The Shiawassee Arts Center is open 1-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The Arts Center features the artwork of local and statewide artists in eight galleries including the Frieseke Gallery and a specialty Gift Shop. The public is welcome and there is no admission charge. The Shiawassee Arts Council, celebrating its 39th anniversary in 2011, is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to encourage participation and appreciation of the arts. For more information about the exhibit, call the Arts Center at 989-723- 8354 or visit www.shiawasseearts.org.

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