Prowl and Growl staff writers Vivian Duncan and Kayla Wagner visited the Newnan Art Walk this fall. In their coverage of the event, they provide an in depth look at the event and its artists.
Walking through downtown Newnan’s Fall Art Walk
By: Vivian Duncan
The downtown Newnan Art Walk is an event that occurs twice a year- once in the spring and again in the fall. The event gives local artists an opportunity to showcase and sell their art. The artist pairs with a store and sets up outside or inside the store, and they are not required to pay a fee or donate any percentage of their earnings. The artists have a chance to really gain something from their artwork, by educating and entertaining the diverse population of Newnan.
The artists on this art walk come from an array of backgrounds, experience, and training. There are pumpkin paintings done by the 4th grade elm street elementary art class, taught by Mrs. Neely, as well as professionally trained artists such as David Boyd, a southern impressionist who graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. Boyd has lived and worked as a teacher in Newnan for the past 18 years. Most of Boyd’s work is from local or surrounding areas. The art walk also features international artists. Peter Tudhope from Girvan, Scotland is staying in Newnan for five weeks to work on his art. He travels all over the world to work and create art.
All of the artists interviewed started their hobby as a passion, and later decided to sell their work. Some artists, such as Jessica Holt – who paints bright colored images onto recycled tin- have quit their jobs and committed their lives to art.
Holt says, “If it’s the thing that makes your heart sing, do it. Press through it. It was scary to quit my job but it’s the best decision that I’ve ever made.” Tiffany Thomas, another full-time artist, received a degree in art from Valdosta State, and worked in retail for seven years. She described her experience in retail as “miserable.” She finally decided to quit her job and started a business selling her art and doing commissioned paintings. Her advice to people who have passions that they are not pursuing is “Don’t give up. Don’t settle for a job. If you want to do it, do it. But you have to be very dedicated.”
Other artists on the art walk simply make their art for pleasure. Maryann M. Bonk, who has been painting small pieces for three years now, does not rely on her art as a source of income. She says it is simply a hobby, and that she evens gives a lot of her art away to family or friends. Robert Mariani is a photographer stationed in Sharpsburg, GA who takes his pictures for pleasure. Eight years ago, Mariani’s friend told him that he needed to start selling his pictures. Four years ago Mariani attended his first event- the Newnan Art Walk. Mariani’s advice for truly enjoying your work is “don’t worry what people think-art is subjective. Be bold. You don’t have to do the right thing or be politically correct, do what you want to do.” Jackie Reynolds is an artist who makes jewelry from swarovski gemstones. She says “If we can pay for the beads, I don’t need a profit. Just follow your passion.”
Many of the artists interviewed mentioned the influence of technology on their art. The artists encourage people to check out their website, Instagram, or Facebook page. Bracey Pate uses social media and Etsy to sell her jewelry. David Boyd, the painter from SCAD says that “Internet makes it possible (to do what he does).” He advises to promote yourself through technology rather than through a gallery. Most galleries, he informs us, take 50% of the money you earn. If he sells through his own website, he receives 100% of the earnings. Chouaieb Saidi, an artist trained in Paris, says that technology has become an excellent way to use your talent. He advises to take up careers in graphic design or composition. Technology is becoming an important force in the artistic world.
As much as these artists enjoy their work, they admit that it is not always easy. However, they keep their high spirits intact. Tudhope, the Scottish artist, says that art “is my life, that’s how I make my living. I have to constantly be working, constantly practicing.” Tiffany Thomas explains that if you do commissioned art, you sometimes find yourself in difficult positions. She recounts a time when a client from a Florida country club requested a piece in certain colors, and wanted it within a week. She finished the beautiful painting of a forest scene, but when she met with the gallery, they decided not to choose her piece. Bracey Pate says, “You might not make a lot of money, but if you enjoy doing it, give it a try.” David Boyd explains,” You have to make tough decisions. But don’t get discouraged.”
Some of the artists in the art walk connect with each other through their art. Olivia Ellis, the owner of Out of the Blue Debut art gallery in downtown Newnan, goes to Martin Pate’s (another artist who was in the art walk) figure drawing classes. He gives these classes on Monday nights at the Carnegie library for $5 (to pay the model). Ellis has actually used these figure sketches from Pate’s class to create her professional paintings. Ellis also works alongside Thomas and Tudhope in the gallery. In the town of Newnan, many artists have formed a bond, specifically from events such as this art walk.
PHOTO GALLERY OF STUDENT WORK
NHS students’ artwork also appeared at the Newnan Art Walk, including work from Kaitlenn Brown, Morgan Whitehead, Kenya Powell and Alexis Westrick (PHOTO GALLERY).
Meeting the Artists and Their Work
By: Kayla Wagner
On Friday, September 18, local artists set up their artwork in an outdoor gallery on the square. This showcasing in downtown Newnan is held twice a year for artists to gain exposure and to give the Newnan population a chance to explore the wide variety of art.
Local Coweta County artist, Jessica Holt, came to the Art Walk to show off her unique pieces with the residents of Newnan. Holt creates her artwork using vibrant paint on recycled metal, which results in a beautiful contrast. She encourages anybody who enjoys art to pursue their passion no matter what obstacles come their way. Holt says, “If that’s the thing that makes your heart sing, do it-press through it.”
Tiffany Thomas earned an art degree from Valdosta State and now teaches classes with a fellow artist, Lydia Ellis, at Out of the Blue Debut Gallery and Studio. The majority of her income derived from specifics, work custom-made to the request of the buyer. One of the pieces Thomas created for a client is a large forest scene titled “Escape”. This impressionistic painting was done using cool colors with a dash of red to provide contrast to the piece. (PHOTO ABOVE). You can see more of Thomas’s art at TiffanyThomasArt.com.
Jackie Reynolds owns a jewelry business creating unique bracelets, earrings, and necklaces with Swarovski gemstones. Her husband came up with the name of the business, Wrapped n’ Rolled. Reynolds makes jewelry strictly for pleasure and has been doing so for about six months. “As long as we can pay for the beads, I don’t need a profit,” Reynolds said. Reynolds firmly believes that you should always make what you love a priority in your life.
Alexis Westrick, NHS junior, had a piece, that she made in Mrs. Hobbs’s AP Drawing class, displayed at the Art Walk. The title of the work is “When the dog bites, When the bee stings” and done with charcoal. Westrick’s piece consists of three Converse, an empty glass Coca Cola bottle, and a Coldplay CD. Westrick arranged these objects in a way that it used the space of the page and created a good balance among the five items. Also, the shoe strings lead your eyes across the drawing, creating movement throughout the piece. (PHOTO GALLERY ABOVE)
Martin Pate has been drawing and painting since 1981 and now makes a living by doing what he loves most. Pate is invested in his artwork full-time making pieces and using his two favorite mediums, which are oil on canvas and charcoal. He suggests that upcoming artists make sure that they are practicing and getting involved in the community. Pate teaches figure drawing classes on Monday nights at the Carnegie Library for $5 (to pay the model). You can view Pate’s artwork at pateart60.gmail.com.
Peter Tudhope, an Artist in Residence from Scotland, displayed his oil pastel drawings of local buildings at the Art Walk this weekend. One of his pieces depicts a large tree with protruding roots in front of the UWG Newnan Center. Tudhope creates emphasis by placing the tree closer to the foreground to make it the focal point of his work. He shows great contrast between the bright green grass and the deep colors of the shadows (PHOTO ABOVE). Tudhope’s artwork is available online at www.petertudhope.com.
Robert Mariani set up hundreds of pictures varying from people walking in the rain with colorful umbrellas to a close up of a tiger lily covered in water droplets. The first event Mariani ever entered his pictures in was in the Art Walk on the square. This is Mariani’s fourth year participating in the Art Walk. Mariani believes that future photographers should never be discouraged by criticism and advises them to be bold with their art. Mariani said, “Believe in your eye. Don’t worry what other people think. Art is subjective.” Mariani also suggests to always have fun with your creativity. You can access his photos at KerryBluePhotography.com.
Mrs. Neely’s 4th grade art students from Elm Street Elementary had their artwork displayed at Design House during the Art Walk. Each student created their own picture featuring pumpkins for the fall season. Some pieces included a leafless tree, bats flying in the background, or a scary face on the pumpkin in the spirit of Halloween. These works of art were done with water color and used white glue to add an interesting texture. (included in PHOTO ABOVE)
David Boyd, Jr. grew up taking art classes at a local high school, attended SCAD in Savannah, GA, then continued on to teach an AP Art class at Heritage for 18 years. Boyd began painting 18 years ago, and he says, “It’s like I found the other half of my soul.” Boyd believes that dedication is the key to success. “I wasn’t born with talent,” Boyd says, “I just always put in lots of effort.” Boyd advises that other artists take advantage of technology and use social media to gain exposure in different environments. Boyd also warns that if you sell your work in a gallery they will usually take 50% of the profit, but if you sell it on a website you can collect 100% of the warning for your piece. David Boyd’s artwork is available at www.davidboydjr.com.