Yes, Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery cohorts, Sally Stryker and Judy Yescalis are together again- teaming up for the 3rd time in a new Featured Artists’ exhibition, “Rust & Dye Again,” which will open in conjunction with First Friday Art Walk in Jerome on January 4th. Opening night festivities will take place from 5-8 pm and will feature food, wine and lively conversation with visitors, locals and many of the Jerome Co-op’s artist/members who will be on hand for the evening. The exhibition will be in place for two months.
The two artist-friends have much in common, including English teaching careers, deep family roots in the state and- like their fellow artists- long-term love affairs with inspirational local landscapes and life-styles. Their respective arts, however, have little in common. Stryker’s often whimsical, always thought-provoking character ‘assemblages’ are built from ‘found’ materials –iron scraps, bits of old objects, rugs, fabrics, buttons- all collected from her own southwestern surroundings. The large family of co-mingled folk and critters and the tales she creates to give them life are based in rich family heritage handed down from her maternal grandparents and from her mother who was born and raised among the smart, practical and earth-loving Hopi people in northern Arizona.
Yescalis’s batiks, however, are based on the ancient eastern fine art process of wax resist on fabric which requires natural undyed fabrics, hot melted wax, powdered fabric dyes and a large collection of hair art brushes. Her completed works are a departure from more traditional batiks which often depicted designs of culture-specific gods, objects of nature, and more recently, geometrical patterns for quilt block designs. “Many people think my batiks are elaborate watercolor landscapes,” she says. “That’s ok – the wax has been removed from the finished product in the final step, but there is water and color in the heart and soul of every one of them!”
Both Stryker and Yescalis were born in Arizona- in Jerome and Prescott, respectively, but both spent much of their earlier lives in California. Sally worked in her adult years as an Art and English teacher before moving back to the Verde Valley in the late 80’s and taking up residence on her grandparents’ homesteaded acreage in Page Springs. Here, she lives in her mother’s rustic cozy ‘schoolhouse’ home on the edge of Oak Creek where she maintains an outdoor workshop /birthing hospital for her ‘found art’ creations and continues to write and tell her delightful stories. Sally is also an active member of several area art groups. Her welcome mat is always out for whatever family of locals might come through her neighborhood- javelina, coyotes, fox-and of course, her 2 legged friends. There is also a friendly ‘found art’ dragon outside her door which is currently waiting for its very own story. About her transformative art, Sally declares, “I love the idea of finding something that’s been used for one thing and tossed in the dump. That relates to our lives: we can toss pieces of our lives away, but somehow, they’re still a part of us.”Judy became a southern California resident at 5 years old, returning to her home state with her husband in the 70’s where she began a 28 yr career teaching English and Foreign Language. Though she currently lives in the Village of Oak Creek where she is also actively involved in the Village Gallery Cooperative, she is quick to attribute her artistic inspiration to her parents who gave her the gifts of travel and music at an early age. Though most of her current batiks showcase the colors and landscapes of the southwest, her years of living and traveling in France and Spain as well as her frequent trips to California and to the east coast to see friends and enjoy the music of a favorite Broadway entertainer continue to provide much subject matter (and boxes of personal photos) from which she draws subject matter for her art.