MAAG features work of painter Tim Kranz

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A few of Tim Kranz's paintings on display at Gallery 1212. Kranz's work will show at the gallery all throughout November. Photo by Jordyn Timpson

By Jordyn Timpson
Mason Times staff writer

Walking through Gallery 1212 in November, one might be brought back to their childhood memories with the “Toy Story”-like paintings of featured artist Tim Kranz. The exhibit highlighted more paintings, sculptures and drawings from various artists of the Mason Area Art Guild, most with an animal theme. Gallery 1212 owner Rebecca Stafford said they like to have a theme for their First Sunday Gallery Walk, which is a reception held for the featured artist that month.

Kranz’ 27 pieces on display evoke a sense of nostalgia with the use of toys and figurines through the eyes of a child or the toys. The toy theme started a long time ago when an art instructor kept asking Kranz to paint clocks, which he didn’t want to do but finally gave in.

“A strange part of me really wanted to paint toys,” Kranz said. “I started painting Kit-Cat clocks and realized they were like toys that tell time.” This eventually led to his work with toys.

Artist Tim Kranz uses familiar childhood toys in a way most people aren't used to seeing them. Photo by Jordyn Timpson

Graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design with a Master of Fine Arts degree, Kranz is now an art instructor at the University of Michigan-Flint, where he also lives.

Some paintings feature things in Kranz’ life that he never had growing up, such as a basement or certain toys that he always wanted. Kranz said a painting of his with a basement reflects the creepiness he associated with them since he didn’t have one as a kid.

“All my friends had basements and I didn’t, so when I’d go over to a friend’s and go into the basement alone, I was so scared of the dark and being the only one down there — that I knew of,” Kranz said.

Also using everyday life as inspiration for artwork, sculpture and painting artist Dianne Wolter’s gentle narratives were on display at the gallery because of her use of toys and animals. Wolter enjoys working with toys, and combines real people and animals with them.

Artist Dianne Wolter said she likes to nudge her viewers to bring their own interpretations to her paintings. Photo by Jordyn Timpson

Most of her paintings on display were of dogs that were in and out of her studio while at Rancho Linda Vista in Arizona as an artist in residence.

The animal theme was emphasized with a handful of kittens brought from the Ingham County Animal Shelter that were available for adoption. Shelter volunteers and kitten foster parents Terri Valentino and Marina Kotsifis allowed visitors of all ages to hold the kittens and encouraged people to adopt.

These monthly mobile adoption events are a good way for people to adopt without having to go to the shelter.

“Not everyone likes going to shelters, so coming to the mobile adoptions rather than the shelter makes them happier because of the environment they’re in,” Kotsifis said. “It’s definitely good PR for the shelter.”

The shelter, at 600 Curtis St. in Mason, typically holds mobile adoptions at pet stores, but decided to have one at the gallery after Valentino’s artist neighbor told her of the theme. Funds raised from the show will go to the shelter.

The First Sunday Gallery Walk was Sunday, Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but work by Kranz and others shown at the MAAG will be on display throughout November at the gallery, 1212 Turner St. in Old Town, Lansing.

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