This piece by Mickey Tomlinson will be on display at the Cabrillo Gallery starting Monday as part of "12x12: An Open Invitational." — contributed

APTOS—A collection of 207 art pieces will be on display at the Cabrillo Gallery in Aptos on Monday as part of the college’s annual “12×12: An Open Invitational” fundraising exhibit.

The art ranges from traditional oil and acrylic paintings to pieces created with found objects, textiles and plants, by artists of varying ages and experience levels. 

However, each piece does have one thing in common: they are exactly the same size. All entries must be 12 inches wide by 12 inches tall. 

The “12×12” exhibit has been held at the Cabrillo Gallery since 2013. The idea for it came from gallery staff who were looking for a way to raise funds for the space as well as support local art. Cabrillo Gallery takes a 10 percent commission of the work sold from “12×12,” making it mutually beneficial for them and the artists.

“For some [artists], this is the first time they will show anything in a gallery,” said Gallery Program Coordinator Victoria May. “It’s a big moment for them.”

Myrna Ehrlich. — contributed

May said that for most artists, being given parameters of any kind can be very freeing and inspire creativity.

“I don’t see any challenges in it, actually,” May said. “Artists and designers… they thrive on having parameters. They love to play with limitations.”

The 12-inch rule also applies to the depth of the piece. If an artist wanted to, they could install a cube sticking 12 inches out from the wall, May said.

This year, featured artists utilized everything from bars of soap and terrycloths to plants such as strawberries and Brussels sprouts. Some were rendered with paper, and others used the inlaid wood process known as marquetry.

“It’s interesting to see people play around,” she said. “They’ll make it so the frame is 12-by-12, but there are little pieces sticking over the edge. It’s a lot of fun.”

May said there were some issues with putting together this year’s exhibit. A handful of artists were unable to finish their pieces in time due to the recent power outages that hit California.

But the exhibit is slowly coming together—and is still scheduled to open on Monday. A reception will be held Nov. 9 from 4-6 p.m.

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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