Gina Tuzzi, All Summer Long

Gina Tuzzi will be showing in November of 2011 at Zza’s Wine Bar Gallery. Gina is that star you remember burning across the sky when you were twelve, right after sunset, laying on your back in the warm summer glow. With an illustrator’s mind-set, Gina’s imagery empowers us to not take ourselves so seriously – to take it easy.  I could not be more proud than to present the work of this brilliant local talent as the last of my solo-artists-in-Oakland tenure at Zza’s. Come celebrate a post-Halloween opening reception of her new work on Saturday, November 5th, 6pm to 9pm. 550 Grand Ave, Oakland, California.

I asked Gina a couple of questions after visiting her studio, trying to get to the bottom of things.

Obi: In my mind, there are three motifs I think of when I think of Gina Tuzzi’s work: crazy-trailers, eighties song lyrics and beards. Is that at all fair? Do you see that too? Where does that come from?

Gina: Man, reading those three motifs together back to back like that makes me feel like all creative credit concerning those particular facets of my work goes to my Dad, who made and traveled in custom vans in the 70’s (his van was named Vandago, my momma was the foxy co-pilot). He has an epic beard and taught me almost everything I know about music (he used to quiz me while listening to the radio as a kid). His spirit and cultural influence  are most definitely in parts of the work and probably always will be.

Obi: Can you sum up your biography and how you came to art in three sentences?

Gina: I come from the west side of Santa Cruz. I was raised by a carpenter/marine biologist/book doctor momma who’s an amazing gardener and a salesman papa who’s an incredible musician. I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl. I taught myself how to render by copying simple album covers from my parents vinyl collection – the Divine Miss M by Bette Midler, for example, and Phoebe Snow’s self titled, I remember copying those.

Obi: You have been showing your work a lot in the past couple of years, right? What’s next?

Gina: I have had the luck of some great shows this past year: 2 collabs at Swarm (one with John Casey and one with Ethan Worden), the diRosa auction, Basel Miami with Hello Kitty, a solo show at my favorite record store on the planet, group show with some of my heroes at Electric Works in SF, staff show at my beautiful place of work, Creative Growth. Damn, I am waaaaaay blessed! Next up in the art world for me is working more with the altar structures, hopefully allowing my work to become more devotional and ceremonial. And more tattooed figures, which in their own way also feel devotional and a lot like prayers. And most immediately in my art future…… in honor of the last year of the Mayan cycle, it’s time to make a new calendar.

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  1. Deborah Brightwell

    Gina’s work has such depth. I feel like I could touch the inner soul of her subjects. Beautiful work.




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