Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Asheville's River Arts District And It's Talented Artists

Hello Everyone, it's good to be back on the blogging scene again!
Just to update you, my family and I have made another move. We have relocated to Asheville, NC! Who knew little ole' Asheville (and my hometown I might add) would become #1 in Top Small US Cities. Pretty exciting to me. Now there's the River Arts District to see artists in their studios and plenty of downtown art galleries. It just fueled me, to say the least! So I decided to play tourist and head to the River Arts District and here's a few artists I met! I'm including links to articles and artist's websites for more detailed information for your future reading pleasure.

The first artist I met is Jonas Gerard (what a great name, right? Sounds like an artist name to me). He was so kind to allow me to take photos of his 5,000 sq. ft. studio/gallery and you have to see his cool art van. He is an abstract and representional painter and uses mixed media. If you have a love for vibrant color and abstract art, you'll enjoy his paintings. Jonas is emerged on the artscene in the 70's and truly is a color expressionists in my opinion. I totally relate to his creative process since he works more intuitively and which you can experience this through the movement of his paintings. His creative works consist of large and small paintings, 3D wall sculptures and free standing sculptures, painted bowls, decorative tiles, and gifts. Jonas Gerard's works have been exhibited all over the US and abroad. I would like to invite you to watch his performance video, it's not your usual artist painting video. And last note, definitely don't miss Jonas Gerard's "We The People" painting accepted by The White House in 1975.

On the way to Jonas Gerard's Studio and Gallery

Free Standing Sculpture by Jonas Gerard

Stunning entrance to Jonas Gerard's Gallery, full of color and energy!

Jonas Gerard's Art Van!

Rear View of Gerard's van.

Next on our tour, artist Stephen Lange. How do I share with you what I saw in Stephen's art? It's incredible. Words and phrases like mystery, dedication to details, glitter, layering, multi-dimensional  and complexity make his art such a success. I had not seen anything quite like Stephen's work and it was a fresh escape to hear about the process and the components of his work. They beauty of his paintings lay determined by the light of the day. As the light hits his paintings, you'll see what I mean. In his latest series, he's used reflective tape as one of his mediums and to it's advantage, very well. As the sunlight hits the small sections of tape, the sun's reflection is reflected back to you, giving you the wonderful feeling of the sun shining brightly on the ocean's water. Now the painting has interacted with you. The brighter the light the stronger the impression. So his paintings change as the lighting around them changes throughout the day.
Then to learn about the process of Stephen Lang's highly successful circle paintings... well, I'll have to leave that to another post. The next day I did see his circle paintings at the City Bakery Cafe downtown...awesome on their dining room walls. The warm paint tones on their walls made it a perfect backdrop for his large paintings.

Here's Stephen Lange with his very popular circle paintings made with handmade dyes. On the left his newest series of water paintings using reflective tapes. (Before)

(After!) Tada! See how Stephen's paintings glow in the different lighting conditions. His inspiration for this series of paintings was from his love of the marshes and water when he lived in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Now, we are fortunate to have Stephen and his family living in Asheville.


One of the most delightful artists I've met on this tour was Joyce Thornburg, an Outsider/Folk Artist. Joyce is a full-time artist and North Carolina native. She is such a delight to meet and one can feel her love for art. As Joyce says, she paints because she has to. Her soul longs to paint daily and is truly set free doing so. She paints on whatever she can, even recycled doors and photographs. One of my favorites was Joyce's "Natures Lollypop" painting. She has a love for cats, faces and travel and it shows in her work. She is more than a regular staple at The Wedge studios, she more like a muse for your soul. Joyce's art has been exhibited and collected throughout the US, Europe and Mexico.

Here is the lovely Joyce Thornburg painting on one of her recent doors. By they way, she suggests they can be used as headboards!

These are just three of the fine people that I have met, so far, in Asheville.  On my next post, I will introduce you to some more of the fine artists who ply their trade in this great city.  Remember, when visiting Asheville, simply look for the yellow signs for the River Arts District.  Plus, be sure to enjoy all of the sights, the music, and food while in Asheville.

One section of Asheville's colorful River Arts District.
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