Thursday, March 5, 2009 | 3:01 p.m.
What: Artwork of Mike and Dasha Biggs
Where: Biggs Studio, 1115 S. Casino Center Blvd., Las Vegas
When: First Friday, 6-10 p.m. March 6
Info: www.firstfriday-lasvegas.org or call 384-0092
Beyond the Sun
A school-uniform-clad zombie with blood dripping from his mouth, a brunette female with a Statue of Liberty-esque tiara and oil dripping from her fingers and a half-dressed woman flanked by a three-headed hyena stare out from their places on the wall in the tiny studio.
While the displayed art may at first glance appear to be the stuff of horror movies, husband and wife Mike and Dasha Biggs, Green Valley residents and owners of Biggs Studio in downtown Las Vegas, say it's not about the gore.
"Even though we have dark themes, we're not very negative," Mike Biggs said. "The picture has a meaning behind it, you just have to look deeper. Not everything is blood and guts and evil."
His images, among which are an illustration of a man with a mouthful of cigarettes and another of a fetus with a gas mask, are about social commentary, he said. Themes range from religion and capitalism to being the slave at a 9-to-5 job.
"I try to hit on all of it," he said.
For Dasha Biggs, the inspiration for individual paintings often comes from current events or society.
"There are things that just make you angry," she said. "Like recycling. You could be the most eco-friendly person in the world and your neighbor is dumping black oil down the street."
In addition to basing their works on themes like smoking or recycling, both artists said they find the culture of their hometown to provide plenty of inspiration.
Dasha Biggs said the atmosphere of Las Vegas encourages her feminine yet dark themes in that it focuses so much on glamour and looks.
"A lot of things that are so pretty on the outside aren't like that on the inside," she said.
For Mike Biggs, the city's reputation of doing away with the old often inspires.
"Everything has to be shiny and new but it's a facade. It's fake," he said. "And that includes people and buildings. If it's old they tear it down. And if you're not hip to that you get shut down."
While the city may provide fodder for the canvas, the Biggses said they found that it doesn't offer the best atmosphere for art culture.
"Being an artist in Las Vegas is incredibly hard," Mike Biggs said.
First Friday, in which he and his wife have displayed their works for about four years now, is the only cultural art thing Vegas has, he said.
In addition to displaying their own works, the couple helps out other local artists by giving them display space in their studio.
The couple has not found it an easy task however to keep the displays up and the studio doors open.
"I struggle out here. I never make enough money to even pay rent. I'm constantly paying for this out of my pocket," Mike Biggs said, "But I will fight tooth and nail to keep this place open. It's what I always wanted."
Plus, he said, he can't complain about the art scene if he's not doing anything to make it better.