Citizen Staff Writer
Nutrition, biology, fashion and the environment are just a few topics that encompass the world of clamdiggin, the business created by Tucsonans Alexandra Fisher and Kevin Johnson.
The hip and down-to-earth creative couple are designers, photographers, artists and, most important, parents.
While seated with their son, Cole, at a local market, they sip coffee as they discuss their lives and their trunk show exhibition that begins Saturday with a cake and champagne opening party at MOCA, 174 E. Toole Ave.
What makes the night even more special is that it is Cole’s second birthday.
“We wanted to have cakes because of vanity,” Fisher says, smiling. “I called some local bakeries and asked them if they wanted to donate cakes.”
The weeklong trunk show, aptly named PLENTY, will display the couple’s photographs, handmade one-of-a-kind T-shirts, photographs and unique designs.
“This is the name of the show because the immediate environment is plenty,” Fisher says. “A lot is available from that instead of buying things.”
This is what both artists are about: using natural resources to capture images and make designs, while constantly learning and having fun.
Fisher and Johnson returned to Tucson a few years ago after living in Chicago. They also have worked in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe.
“Here, we can borrow resources from the city. It’s a quiet market and we can maintain contacts easily,” Fisher says.
“It’s pretty here. Chicago was dark and cold and we had to stay inside,” Johnson says, mentioning how important nature is to their work.
The name clamdiggin reflects their light-hearted approach to art.
“At an opening, I once told someone that our job was to dig for clams while vacationing in Tucson,” Johnson says, laughing. “Art talk is so loaded and opinionated. Usually, people need to read a book, and that dialogue excludes a lot of people. We want to make everything we do as accessible as possible.”
Because every project is collaborative, the couple don’t put their individual names on pieces, just the clamdiggin logo.
All pieces are made and kept in their home, where they run their business.
“We always knew we wanted to have a family one day and we want our home life to influence our work and vice versa,” Fisher says as Cole feeds her a cracker. “It’s a good environment for a baby because Cole is always learning.”
Interacting with their son also gives them ideas for work.
“Cole is in love with birds, so he was the inspiration for that,” Johnson says as he draws with the youngster. “We have to juggle work with Cole, and when spending time on projects, we often bring him in.”
They have a full plate of projects ahead. They have exhibitions in Los Angeles and Chicago and have been asked to travel to Panama to make purses from recycled plastic bags. They also will be involved in a local poetry and art contest for kids and will participate in the Tucson Madonnari Chalk Festival in April.
“We are always learning while creating and just want to share in the learning process, too,” Fisher says. “If we can do all things in a fun way, that is positive.”
“We like to get as much out of everything as we can,” Johnson says as he lounges on his metal chair. “Some people say we do too many things, but one idea always moves to another.”
IF YOU GO
What: Cake and Champagne Opening Night Party, PLENTY exhibition
When: Party at 5 p.m. Saturday, Exhibition from noon-5 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays through Sept. 8.
Where: MOCA, 174 E. Toole Ave.
Info: 624-5019, www.moca-tucson.org