Couples that create: Supporting, inspiring one another

Fred Besch and Kath Irwin under their wedding arch. | Kath Irwin

The swirls of colors on a canvas evoke an emotional response. The shape of metal brought to life in sculpture creates awe. The detail in a piece of jewelry draws your eyes to the body. A sentence evokes imagery of a place or feeling. This is how creatives express themselves through art.

Couples that create, whether together or independently, inspire and lift each other up to be their best and most creative selves. Painters can be broody, writers agonize in the face of rejection and artists may doubt their ability but having a partner to bounce ideas off and encourage is a gift.

Inspired by love and nature, these local partners support each other’s work and grow together as artists.

Ryan Salm & Lauren Bobowski
Photographer, writer and musician Ryan Salm and jewelry designer Lauren Bobowski of Lala Jewelry are one such creative couple. Each works in a separate home studio while raising their young daughter.

Salm is an adventurer. His photos have graced the cover of Tahoe Guide and have been featured in other local publications. Salm’s recent slideshow, “Arabian Dreams,” was featured at the Tahoe Art Haus in Tahoe City. He photographed his multi-tiered trip that included a stand-up paddleboard trip around the Arabian Peninsula, a bike tour and busking at the World Cup in Qatar.

“I try to keep myself fired up, interested and on top of my game by creating ways to be creative, whether it’s through photography, writing or music,” explains Salm.

Bobowski attended art school and started as a painter, eventually leading her to jewelry.

“My real drive for creating is just a need. It’s my voice and how I best express what I feel,” says Bobowski, who has honed her creative voice as a silversmith. Her current designs are visual landscape pieces.

The couple supports each other with their strengths. If Bobowski needs help with photography, she asks Salm for guidance, and when he writes, Bobowski helps edit his work. |,

Kayla Anderson & Jason Forcier
Freelance writer Kayla Anderson and artist Jason Forcier similarly support each other in their creative endeavors. Anderson’s passion is writing and she freelances for multiple publications, including Tahoe Guide. When she met Forcier, she says he encouraged her to take the leap and pursue her writing full-time.

The couple also share a mutual love of travel, which led Anderson to write about Northern California road trips for Moon Travel Guides.

“Writing gives me the ability to meet so different people,” Anderson says.

Forcier is a mixed media artist who uses wall spackling and other household items on canvas. Forcier’s work can be found at Piper J Gallery in Truckee. He is an introvert while Anderson is an extrovert.

“I feel like we totally complement each other, and we’re lucky to each have our own creative outlet,” says Anderson. They both support each other’s creative work.

Forcier says he helps Anderson when she has writer’s block. “I tell her to mix it up, go out for a run, listen to new music,” says Fourcier, who constantly changes his studio around. Fourcier listens to Deep House music when he paints to inspire his work.

“Jason’s perspective when we travel, what he pays attention to, has helped me in my writing,” adds Anderson. |,

Kath Irwin & Fred Besch
Multi-media artist Kath Irwin and kinetic artist and sculptor Fred Besch met at the Truckee Roundhouse. Both are welders.

Besch creates human-powered kinetic bikes that have traveled to Burning Man and his bike sculpture is installed in downtown Truckee. Irwin’s creativity embraces the fierce art of welding with the subtle simplicity of her drawing and the intricacy of the jewelry she creates. Her work can be found at Riverside Gallery in Truckee. She supports jewelry artists Mary Guerra and Sondrea Larson, whose work can also be found at Riverside. Irwin’s drawings and cards are black and white, pen and ink, or charcoal.

Irwin explains that she and her husband get each other. They are both curious and love art.

“We both feel like creativity is so important to us and our community. We support things like the Roundhouse and public art,” says Irwin. “As a couple, it’s understanding that creative expression is so important to your soul, and so you have to do it,” muses Irwin. Their love of welding is a bond. Besch, who teaches welding at the Roundhouse, said the couple welded their wedding arch together when they were married last year. | @katieirwinpaints, @worksinmetal

This is the first in an ongoing series on local couples that create. Know a couple we should interview? Email