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‘Lore’ art exhibition at &gallery showcases universal monsters

The “Lore” art exhibition poster at &gallery. The show will be on display until October 31.
AJ Stash Castillo
The “Lore” art exhibition poster at &gallery. The show will be on display until October 31.

Tucson’s &gallery is displaying its fourth annual “Lore” art exhibit Oct. 31.

As one of the biggest group art exhibitions of the year, it always has the shop packed during the opening reception. This year’s theme was centered around universal monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and more.

Cynthia Naugle, curator and owner of &gallery, was excited at the outcome of opening up the “Lore” art show theme to something besides mythical or cryptid creatures.

“I’ve always stuck to just keeping it to lore, so nothing pop culture. But I was like, ‘You know what, this year I’m going to branch out; I’m going to open it up to pop culture and different themes.’ So I decided to do movie monsters,” Naugle said.

Naugle usually caps it at about 25-30 artists for group exhibitions, but this show has over 40 artists using various mediums from paintings to sculptures. 

The core of &gallery has always been supporting local artists through both group and solo exhibitions, as well as selling pieces in the shop. To Naugle, watching artists branch out or create new pieces is something incredibly special. 

“The best part is seeing artists come in, mingle with each other, talk to each other about their art and their art process. Just being excited about something they have in common, which in this case is movie monsters and the fandom behind them,” Naugle said.

Future art exhibitions right now include a solo exhibition with Kayla Ballesteros in November and a benefit show with InkWorks in December.

Artist Alix Harris’ “Lore” art exhibition piece “She’s Alive.” Harris was inspired by the Bride of Frankenstein. (AJ Stash Castillo)

One of the artists, Alix Harris, known as Cyan Ali Art, created a beautiful piece titled “She’s Alive,” depicting the famous bride of Frankenstein.

“For this piece, I just wanted to do something that was vibrant. To me, when I watched the film, she’s so striking even in the last minute when she shows [up]. I just wanted something that was very striking and contrasting for that piece,” Harris said.

Back in 2005, when Harris was 13, is when she decided to pursue art. She currently creates fun character illustrations and sells them on her online shop.

Harris is often inspired by pop culture, fashion and the anime and manga she grew up around. Colorful, bright and fun art is how she describes her style.

“It feels awesome. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now, and I’m so happy I’ve gotten to be a part of it this year,” Harris said.

Harris is currently scheduled to attend the LightBox Expo in Pasadena, Calif., at the end of October.

Another artist, Noa Moquin, created a stunning piece depicting actor Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, titled “Dracula’s Web.” When creating the piece, Moquin put in a lot of thought, from the types of pens they used to how the piece should look visually to depict Dracula and his castle. Moquin wanted to mesmerize the viewer through the art pieces.

Artist Noa Moquin’s “Lore” art exhibition piece “Dracula’s Web.” Moquin was inspired by the Spanish Dracula. (AJ Stash Castillo)

“The castle itself is the web. So, if you look at it, all the white line art I went over and did it in liquid chrome. So it’s all embellished, and the light really catches it. I wanted to create this flattening effect between the web and the castle itself so they’re on the same plane, the same essence,” Moquin said. “It’s where Dracula ensnares his prey, it’s where he tends to his nefarious affairs, it’s where he does everything evil that ultimately gets him killed.” 

Gothic horror and romance are two big inspirations behind Moquin’s art alongside artists like Gustav Klimt and Ayami Kojima. Moquin often leans into symbolism with their pieces, whether it’s colors, florals or universality. 

Moquin was also inspired by the Spanish Dracula. When the Lugosi version was being shot, it was during the day, but at night is when the Carlos Villarías version was filmed. Both films shared a set.

“I decided to become an artist in 2010; it’s been thirteen years […]. I wanted to create great pieces. I wanted to create pieces that, if I showed to one of my idols, they would be like, ‘Wow, this is solid work.’ I want to have that creative power in my own hands, to take and to shape however I’m guided to,” Moquin said.

Moquin is currently working on a tarot deck titled Vena Obscura, translated to the Hidden Vein, and so far has gotten all the major arcana done. They are also working on “Interview with the Vampire” art pieces with heavy connections to Victorian floral language.

What to know if you go

&gallery is located at 419 N. 4th Ave. and is open 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Scary Story Open Mic will be 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 21. The “Lore” art exhibition will be on display until Oct. 31.


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