Tag Archives: Omaha art

Where Pink Pigeons Fly

June 15, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Coming from a very artistic family, Gabi Quiroz’s parents always encouraged her creative endeavors. Her mother taught her to shade, her father used to draw, her grandmother quilts, and she has an aunt who draws and writes.

After being raised in such an environment, full of inspiration and creative energy, it’s no wonder Gabi became the artist she is today.

But her upbringing also fed another passion—animals. Growing up an only child, Quiroz was never lonely with all her animal siblings keeping her company.

“We started off with one dog and then it kind of became a zoo,” she says. “From there—fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, a cat, and another dog.”

After leaving the nest, Quiroz couldn’t imagine life without animals. Today, she has three cats, a miniature pinscher named Bella, and Wilbur, a potbelly pig, who will be 3 years old this May.

Quiroz loves all animals, but especially pigeons. That admiration is evidenced by the name of her business, Pink Pigeon Studio.

“I’ve always admired pigeons for how beautiful they are, but they’re always commonly referred to as rats that can fly,” she says. “Pink Pigeon is about recognizing the beauty in something that isn’t usually considered beautiful.”

Finding beauty in the unusual is evident in her work. Quiroz begins her creative process looking up the symbolism she wants to convey in multiple references, and then constructs the scene to take her source pictures for the piece she’s creating in a series, which normally consists of 10 pieces.  

From there, she works in her two primary disciplines—oil paints and colored pencils—to develop works of symbolic imagery and figurative study. Her pencil drawings are intricate and hyperrealistic while her paintings tend to be more fluid, yet both are always rooted in nature.

Life and death symbolism is ever-present in Quiroz’s pieces. She considers herself a spiritual person and believes in the afterlife. In her current series, she’s using local flora, such as peonies and poppies, along with animals bones found in the Midwest.

At her Hot Shops studio, you’ll find Quiroz pouring her inspiration into her creations while drinking coffee and, depending on the day, listening to an audiobook, music, or watching a movie she’s seen a million times. She loves the challenge of making something out of nothing, but admits being an artist is hard.In the next couple of years, her goals are producing four pieces a month and having her work show in regional and national galleries. Quiroz also one day aspires to teach art on the collegiate level, and ultimately, she wants to have a stand-alone studio and a couple acres of land for a farmstead of her own, with lots of animals.“If I were to work just when I felt inspired, this would be a hobby for me,” she says. “The artist stereotype that we lah-tee-dah all day and create something is wrong because most of the time, it’s not like that.”On those especially trying days, she brings Wilbur to the studio and stops for cuddle breaks.


See more of the artist’s work at gabriellequiroz.com.

This article appears in the May/June 2018 edition of Encounter.

Art Show + Party

November 18, 2013 by

This Thursday at 7 p.m., Sokol Auditorium will host Omaha’s inaugural RAWards semifinals. Twenty-five local artists across nine categories will compete for a chance to be one of nine finalists at the National RAWards in Los Angeles in January.

While RAW as an international, independent arts organization is itself five years old, RAW:Omaha is only now trying out its wings. “We just started in April,” says RAW:Omaha director Amber Keller. “So we didn’t have a full season.”

Due to the short 2013 season, the filmmaker category will be represented by one artist, Rob Kasel, as opposed to the usual three per category this Thursday. The remaining nominees are:

“It’s a mix between a nightlife event, an art show, and a party,” Keller says, attempting to describe the look of the evening. “Every artist that’s involved will have a booth section, but musicians will play on stage, and we’ll have a runway for hair, fashion, and makeup.” Artists will have decorated their space according to their craft, and “anything that anybody sets out will also be for sale,” Keller says.

A few examples of artistry to expect include Omaha Street Percussion, who will play for guests waiting in line; the Wetworks special effects team’s live demonstration of making up a model; and Alyssa Keller, who will be painting a canvas at her booth.

Given that the goal of RAW is to empower artists professionally, $15 tickets are available online to sponsor a particular artist. Otherwise, general admission tickets online are $17 and $20 at the door.

“Door money doesn’t go to artists directly,” Keller points out. Those fees go instead toward two showcases, one local and the other in another participating RAW city, for each artist plus a media packet. The packets include materials for the artists’ promotional use, such as video interviews of each artist, professional headshots, and candid photos and B-roll footage at their shows.

C.J. America Bergner will host this Thursday’s RAWards semifinal, and Brent Crampton will DJ. The Sokol bar will be open, and Scotty’s Go-Go Grill will be parked outside. Guests should note that the RAWards after-party at House of Loom at 10th and Pacific streets will feature $10 bottles of champagne.

RAWards Gen Flyer