Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Brookside Tattoo Artist has Stories to Tell

By Susie Dumond
Wright tattoos a Brookside customer

Most people would cringe at the idea of a tattoo artist sharing stories and jokes while a client is under the needle. But customers at Brookside Body Piercing and Tattoo enjoy the distractions offered by tattoo artist Doyle Wright while enduring the pain.

Doyle Wright has long hair and a full shaggy beard. Tattoos cover most of his visible skin and he has large gauges in his ears. Wright is the kind of man moms might discourage their children from talking to.

Asked how he felt about being interviewed, Wright shared a story of a Dallas news anchor that he gave a tattoo. She did a story on Wright afterwards. "And she had the nerve to call me a f***ing dirty hippie. Can you believe that?" Wright said. So this reporter will refrain from using that choice of words.

But after spending time with Wright, it's obvious that he is a friendly and kind person with many great stories to share with a willing listener. Many of these stories start with, "One time at the tattoo parlor."

Wright will celebrate his 16th year as a tattoo artist in January of 2011. He came from a tattooing family, following a mother and older brother in the career path. He then shared that he fired them both from tattooing jobs after he surpassed them in talent. "And I'm not makin' that up. They weren't cutting it." He recently calculated that in his 16 years, he has given over 80,000 tattoos, using over a square mile of ink.

One of Wright's works

Asked what his own last tattoo was, Wright couldn't remember. He hasn't gotten a tattoo himself in ten years. One would expect a tattoo artist to have a process for choosing tattoos, but Wright said he never really followed a pattern.

"At some point, if you're in the industry, you're not getting tattoos of your mom or your kids' names. You're just having fun with the art," he said.

But Wright says tattoos shouldn't be taken lightly. "You're changing someone's body forever. One little movement can change everything, and if you mess it up, they'll be the first to tell you that they think you're s***. I don't want to be told I'm s***."

He shared the story of an art teacher that came to the parlor with a friend getting a tattoo. She told Wright that his job looked easy and she thought she could do it. He challenged her to give him a tattoo if she thought she could handle it. He set up the tattoo gun and ink, handed them to her, and prepped his leg for a tattoo. Centimeters from his skin, the art teacher gave up. She admitted that it was a lot scarier than Wright made it look.

Wright shared a variety of other stories while tattooing customers. One of the most thrilling was the time he stabbed a man in the forehead with a penknife. "That dude had tattoos on his face though, he could take it," Wright said of the incident.

Although Doyle Wright's casual demeanor in the tattoo parlor may make some customers nervous, his are the experienced hands that one would want changing the appearance of his or her body for the rest of time. So whether your need for a tattoo comes from rebellion, mid-life crisis, or inebriation, Doyle's steady hand can do the job.

Wright gives a customer tattoo care information.

For more info on Brookside Body Piercing and Tattoo, chec out their website at or look them up on Facebook.

A Day in the Worklife: Chet Thomas

By Drake Allen

Chet Thomas, 43, has been the main vet at the Brookside Veterinary Hospital for 16 years. Thomas deals with stray, sick, or very unhealthy animals all the time, and sometimes it can be a matter of life or death.

Thomas received his vet training at OSU. He grew up in Southern Oklahoma as a child, and he now lives in Sand Springs. Thomas also attends the Brookside Business Association meetings every month.

Farm animals were really the only animals that Thomas was around when he was growing up as a child. Like most Americans his favorite animal is a dog.

Thomas arrives at work everyday at 8 a.m., and his average workday consists of about 10 hours. "When you get to do what you love for a living it does not seem like work,” he said.

Thomas sees about 20 patients a day, and about one percent of those animals are in fatal condition. “The most common thing that I usually see animals coming in with is a skin disorder,” he said.

Most of the time when patients come into to see Thomas with a problem their animal is having he will normally send them home with medication and maybe schedule a second visit for the animal.

Most of the animals he sees are dogs or cats, and sometimes exotic animals like birds. “The most unusual animal that I have had come in would probably be a pig,” Thomas said, “and this pig was far from small.”

The Brookside Veterinary Hospital takes in stray animals. They also adopt the stray animals out to associations like All About Animals. They also allow people to come in and take a look at the stray animals.

“It is extremely tough when something fatal goes on and you are the vet who is working on the animal to try to help prevent this from happening," Thomas said. "Sometimes it is hard to cope with but you have got to move on quickly, because it is the name of the business.”

Thomas gave me the chance to play
with the animals that are in the back, the ones that you can adopt, and he let me see the stray animals. The Brookside Veterinary Hospital also allows the public to come play with the animals that they have.

I took three animal pictures. One is a cat waiting for its owner to come pick her back up. I also took a picture of a stray dog, very sad because the dog was very unhealthy.

Then I got a picture of a parrot that was at the front of the hospital, a fixture there. The parrot has quite a sense of humor, making funny comments while you wait in the lobby.

I also got a great picture of me feeding the parrot a peanut. He would take the shell off and eat by himself.

Kim Fonder: Aberson Exhibits

Artist and gallery owner, Kim Fonder, has turned the vaulted ceilings, cold cement floors and long, white walls of Aberson Exhibits, at 3524 S Peoria Tulsa, Ok. 74105., into a welcoming space for artists to show their work and connect with their audience.

I attended the, two, most recent openings at Aberson Exhibits, November’s artist, John Brainard, and December’s, Romy Owens. Fonder’s approach to gallery openings is “intimate receptions rather than sending out a thousand invites,” which works perfectly with the size of the gallery.

Kim Fonder and John Brainard at Aberson Exhibits during Brainard's Gallery Opening

At both openings, Fonder worked the room, facilitating conversation and interaction between the guests, artists and art. As an artist, I know how exhilarating and satisfying it is to experience someone else interacting with your work, Fonder, creates this environment for her artists. By intimately interacting with artists, people can be more aware of sophisticated work, and think about acquiring it.

Fonder’s intention with Averson Exhibits is to bring people, that were raised or born here, back and give them “an international space to exhibit their work.” This vision was embodied with November’s opening. John Brainard, is a Tulsa native who now resides in Paris. His work can be seen at

I caught Kim calling Exhibit “the hobo art gallery,” though this, upscale, space is far from “hobo”. Her and her assistant, Corey, do everything from climbing up on a ladder to change light bulbs to hand writing 600 holiday letters to friends. “Owning your own business is very demanding,” Fonder told me.

Kim Fonder (left) and her assistant, Corey (right) working hard at Aberson Exhibit

Fonder is a determined, hard working woman who knows exactly what she wants. I had the opportunity to have breakfast with her, without any hesitation or looking at the menu, she spit her order out “I would like two scrambled eggs, hash browns and pancakes.” This is how she approaches her work as well as her life.

As well as owing Exhibit, Fonder is an excellent artist. “I’m also a painter, I can put my work in the gallery, and develop clientele here. It works both ways,” said Fonder. Some of her work is currently shown at Exhibit; the rest can be seen at

Fonder, started out as a photographer, “I got a camera in high school from my dad.” She got hooked up with a photography group who encouraged her to participate in a dark room collective.

Fonder got a job with Joseph Gierek. She worked for him for five years.

After working for Gierek, Fonder used her undergraduate in elementary education from Oral Roberts University and Masters Degree in applied behavioral studies with an emphasis in School Psychometry from Oklahoma University. She taught and was a contract school psychometrist. “I was teaching, and in my other time I was painting,” said Fonder.

Fonder, started doing pieces for friends, they would ask her for a specific piece and she would create it. A friend of Fonders, showed her work to some people in New York, as a result, she did a show in New York and another one in Chicago.

Fonder decided to “do art all the time.” In 2008, she opened Aberson Exhibit. “Little did I know how much more I would work.”

Fonder, told me, “I don’t like to do things for long periods of time, I think that the art situation affords you a lot of different options.”

Fonder now uses organic materials for creating her pieces of art. With some education in interior design, Fonder not only fabricates hanging pieces, but also some furniture, which can be seen on her website.

A painting from Kim Fonders most recent collection, Alchemy

Brookside Mom Is on the Go

By Cody Wilson
Staying busy is one thing Brookside stay-at-home mom Shannon Klaus never has to worry about. In fact, the phrase “stay-at-home mom” is almost an oxymoron nowadays. Shannon admits she is almost always on the go. “

It is safe to say we spend a lot of time in the car,” she said, laughing. Between her two athletic sons, her musician husband, and herself, there is always something going on.

A typical day starts at 6:30 a.m. and does not end until 8 p.m. Her two sons, who are in first and third grade, attend a private school on the other side of town. After dropping them off at school, Shannon typically runs errands. For those, she doesn’t have to drive far at all. “I love having all of the specialized stores around Brookside. I don’t have to get all my groceries from a supermarket," she said.

With all of the cooking that she does, she loves having healthy and high-quality produce nearby. If she has any spare time before she has to pick the boys up, she will come back and do chores at the house.

“I love the location of our home. It is nearby some of the best parks and nicest restaurants in town.”

Shannon and her husband Greg are avid runners and enjoy having the Riverside running trails nearby. Greg also takes the boys on bike rides down the trails occasionally during the week to give Shannon a little break.

The two also enjoy their date nights during the weekend to unwind from a stressful week. Shannon’s favorite restaurant is Wolfgang Puck’s. “The best part about living nearby all these nice restaurants is we can save an hour of time paying for a babysitter, since it is just a five-minute drive.”

Her two elementary-aged sons play just about every sport offered. Taking the boys to and from practices logs up mileage on the car, but it is a great opportunity to catch up with the boys on how their day went. Whether it is wrestling, football, basketball, or baseball, Shannon enjoys watching her sons practice and play. For a few sports, her husband coaches, so he takes them to and from practices and that gives Shannon a chance to catch up on things at the house.

Shannon and her family are very involved with their church, which is located in Broken Arrow. Their home church is most likely planting a campus nearby Brookside, which they would love. “We are very excited to have church right down the street and it will feel more like home! With Greg playing in the band and taking a separate car, it will save two long drives.”

Shannon and her family love living in Brookside. “The only thing that I would change is the long drives to church and school," she said. “After living in Brookside for close to ten years I couldn’t ever see my family and I leaving Brookside.”

A Day in the Life: Daphney Gaebler, Purple Glaze

By Jackie Lawrence

With a cup of Starbucks coffee in hand and a smile on her face, Daphney Gaebler, 53 years old, pulls in at Purple Glaze at 3303 South Peoria Avenue ready to set up shop for the day.

Gaebler works part-time at Purple Glaze, fulfilling many responsibilities throughout the day. At 10 a.m. on any given Sunday, she unloads the kiln that has fired overnight and prepares tables for painters arriving at 11 a.m.

“Lots of interesting people come in and that’s a wonderful part of the job,” Gaebler said of working at Purple Glaze.

In particular, she describes a wedding party she worked with as one of her coolest experiences on the job. “The bride wore a veil and the groom wore a top hat,” Gaebler said, “It was a very fun and festive group of people to work with.”

On the downside, Gaebler described a young child’s birthday party as one of the worst experiences while working at Purple Glaze. The children were left alone by their parents, wreaking havoc by breaking clay pieces at the studio.

“I have quite a bit of patience for kids, but I do expect parents to supervise,” Gaebler said.

Throughout the day at the studio, Gaebler helps people of all ages choose a piece of pottery and color of glaze. As customers find a seat at one of the glass tables, Gaebler sets them up with a cup of water and paintbrushes and explains the proper technique of painting their piece.

“I’ve met some of the greatest people which come back regularly,” Gaebler said of her greatest enjoyment working at Purple Glaze, “I develop a reputation with the people and I enjoy being around them.”

When Gaebler is not walking about the studio assisting people, she sits behind the front counter overlooking the place with a laid-back demeanor. There is another side to Gaebler yet to be discovered.

Apart from working at Purple Glaze, Gaebler lives in mid-town Tulsa and works as a school teacher, as well as spending much time on Brookside.
“When the weather is nice, I like to ride with my boyfriend on his motorcycle to Crow’s Creek,” Gaebler said of one of her favorite places on Brookside, “And when the weather is cooler, we enjoy sitting by the fireplace there.”

It is about 3:30 on Sunday afternoon as a rush of children crowd the studio to celebrate the 3rd birthday of their friend. Gaebler greets the parents and designates a small table to set the birthday cake and presents.

“I just smile when I see the excitement the children have about completing their pottery,” Gaebler said while overseeing the party, “It’s the same passion I have about my pieces.”
Gaebler has painted all of the dishes in her house with a flower theme. Her favorite color of glaze to use is #181, an olive green hue.

She painted at Purple Glaze for a year prior to working at the studio.
“I needed a part-time job and the owner needed help so it worked out well,” Gaebler said.

The sun is setting around 6p.m. as Gaebler begins to shut down the studio. She finishes last-minute cleaning of the tables and loads the final pieces into the kiln.

Most customers and fellow co-workers would agree: Gaebler genuinely enjoys her time at Purple Glaze and does her best at making it an pleasant environment for everyone.

Garrett Blackwood: Bartender, Teacher and Businessman

By Emily Stern

Garrett Blackwood mixing juice drinks for the class.

The drinks I mixed during our practice time.

This past Monday I observed Garrett Blackwood the owner of the Blue Label Bartending School. Blackwood is not only a great teacher and bartender, but he is also a charming individual who made me feel comfortable the instant we met.

Blackwood owns two businesses. He has Blue Label Bartending, which rents out bartenders for private parties or weddings with locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. He also has the Blue Label Bartending School where he teaches a 32-hour course on how to become a bartender.

Blackwood’s Blue Label Bartending business has 16 bartenders on staff. They do around 400-500 private parties a year. This business began getting attention when they were in the top 7 businesses for the Spirit Award here in Tulsa. The Spirit Award is an award given by Spirit Bank to the most original business that has been in operation for less than 5 years and does not exceed $1 million in net worth.

Blackwood moved from Dallas to Tulsa in 2006, and realized that there are “3 places to go here: Brookside, Cherry Street, and Downtown.”

He found a house in the Brookside neighborhood, and in 2007 he opened the Blue Label Bartending School right in the middle of the Brookside bar scene. The building where the school is located used to be a bartending school, which is one of the reasons he chose this location.

Another reason he chose Brookside is because “it’s a very entrepreneurial area.” He expressed how much he appreciates that business owners invest so much of their time in the Brookside area.

While I was shadowing Blackwood at the Blue Label Bartending School I learned more information about bartending than I even knew existed.

During the class Blackwood’s student and I took a written quiz over the flavor and makeup of liquor and the appropriate use of wines. His student had been assigned readings over the material on the quiz and other information about alcohol. Blackwood claims that it is important for bartenders to not only know how to make drinks, but also that they need to know about the alcohol they are putting in them.

Blackwood taught us how to free pour. The correct technique for free pouring is necessary in order to pour the correct amount of liquor into every drink. After watching Blackwood and his student practice free pouring I thought it would be easy, but free pouring was much harder than it looked.

During the course Blackwood also taught us the meaning of the names in a lot of mixed drinks. For example, a screwdriver is called that because screw means orange juice and drive means vodka in bartender lingo that he taught us.

Blackwood showed us how to make all of the juice drinks out of his bartending manual. After he taught us about the ingredients, garnishes, and correct glasses to use for the drink, he let us practice making them.

As I practiced making these juice drinks, I could imagine myself working behind a bar and having drink orders yelled at me. I felt like a professional bartender after only attending a small portion of Blackwood’s course, which shows how great of a teacher he is.

Observing Blackwood was not only a fun time, but I also learned a lot of information about the bartending business and what it takes to be a bartender. As I left the school I told Blackwood that I would be back if I ever decided on bartending as a career, and after the great time I had on Monday I am definitely going to consider it.

More information on the school is at their website: