Always In High Demand: Life, Laughter, and Art

As our artists and staff have carried on with studio life during this most unusual Make Studio summer, our founders and Board recently finalized our phased plan for both reopening our physical studio and improving virtual services for the long haul.

To do that, we surveyed our artists and families, and completed risk-benefit determinations for all of our artists, staff, and potential visiting audiences. The result of this process is a plan we feel confident will keep the art-making going as well as help to keep our community safe. (Interested in the details? Shoot an email to Jill at

We’ve also been trouble-shooting getting some artists re-connected, such as Seth who just recently started virtual studio. Anticipating an art materials delivery heading his way, he said, “I wanna get back in the game!”

Although we’ve been having a great time in virtual studio, because many of our artists will be working from home for some time to come, enhancements to ward off Zoom fatigue — special guests, field trips to other artists’ studios and galleries, meet-ups with other progressive studio friends — are going to be a more regular occurrence this fall.

Kicking this off last week was a visit from long-time Make Studio friends, artist Dan Keplinger (aka King Gimp) and his partner Dena, planned in-tandem to #ADA30 celebrations.

Per our Program Associate Rosie:

“What a laughter- and passion-filled call! Thank you all and thank you Dan for sharing your stories and process, as well as Dan and Dena for your appreciation of Make Studio artists’ work! It’s always good to have another reminder that art is a way to tell stories and that artist’s stories and art are in high demand.”

Dan shared this video and description with us beforehand:

I am currently working on a portrait of Art Honeyman, I discovered him in the movie The Music Within. According to the movie he was in college and met a guy that just left the service due to hearing lost. Richard was new to the Gimp Life, so Art ‘showed’ him the ropes. Richard was a good public speaker and found a new passion for disabilities rights. According to the movie the was the start to the ADA.

During the session Dan shared some in-progress shots of his current work — a detail from his current work of Art Honeyman, and a 200% zoom-in of what it looks like when he is working.

Inspiring the mutual accolades and laughter amongst the artists in this session were conversations like this one:


Gary [on drawing Disney characters]: “I do it from my heart.”
Dan: “That’s what makes an artist.”

Dan: “Everyone needs love right now.”

Dena: “All your art, it makes people happy.”

Dan: “Every day I ask myself a question so I can try to find the answer. This morning’s question was: what is the difference between the ADA and universal design. And then that research gives me another idea and os on!”

Dena: “Your art and your story are in high demand. Art is another way to tell your story.”

Gary [about his characters]: “How lovable are they?!”

Dan: “I see my paintings more as conversations than decorations.”

Before wrapping up the visit with Dan and Dena, the group compiled a reading/watching list for themselves (and for you!):

Dan’s portrait of Christy Brown

Dan’s portrait of Stephen Hawking

My Left Foot documentary

King Gimp documentary

Inside Out, featuring Bing Bong!

Double Rainbow Guy


Have any feedback on these artists’ picks? Let us know, we’d love to share it with them!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s