Tahany Garrison is getting amped up for her first year as an Art Lotto artist. At our Luck of the Draw event, she drew the name of fellow-first-timer Hannah Sions. The two met downtown Harrisonburg for a full evening of art shows on a recent First Friday:
“In the unintentional spirit of procrastination, I have just now started on a portrait of Hannah. I met with her a few weeks ago and, fittingly, strolled through a First Friday downtown. I snapped some pics, and was on my way to think about what I had done- because I felt like I had gotten myself into trouble by finally participating in Art Lotto. I hadn’t done a portrait in a year or two. I was a little terrified, to be honest. Then I remembered a mantra offered to me in the past, “Keep it simple, stupid!”“What a relief. As usual, I was over-complicating things. I already knew I wanted to use salvaged/recycled materials. I have a nice stash of paperboard I’ve been hoarding and a bunch of stuff that the city doesn’t accept in the recycle bin. That was the ‘me’ in it. Finally, I choose a photo of Hannah, which as it turns out, was one she took of herself. A gritty, webcam shot of her perfectly witty and goofy self- perfect!”
“Now it’s execution time. Alone time to work on this piece is hard to come by before 9pm with little people running around. So, to keep them busy- I asked them to tear up the card board while I laid out the portrait on my substrate. So, kind of out of convenience and improvisation, I choose to do do a mosaic style portrait. Originally, I wanted to use the subtle differences in shades of brown on the unprinted side of the cardboard to do a monochromatic image. But life is more fun with color, and I’m pretty sure Hannah would agree.” ~Tahany
John Bell has a pin in my timeline. He was my first (ever) art teacher. After skimming through high school without taking a single art class, I showed up to his Blue Ridge Community College Intro to Drawing course with a 6B in my shaky hand. That class paired with his Art History course was a potent mixture that would seep into my soul for years to come. I really can’t accurately measure the impact he’s had on my skill, style, and love for art. He is the kind of teacher that had me seeing this world around me. I started looking up at building structure, noticing placement in paintings like The Swing and proportion in pieces like the Pietá, placing importance on seemingly mundane details in artwork like eyesight, value changes, and directional lines. He had me wondering things like “Why is she giving him a carnation?” and “What’s so controversial about Caravaggio anyway?” I began to question and therefore understand history through art. He did this for me and it’s truly an honor to have him participating in this art show that Denise and I have created. This year John is portraying Nashville artist Renee Somers and Jess Herr will be portraying John.
“After exchanging e-mails for several months, my Art Lotto “pardner” Renee Somers and I got together today for a rewarding session of conversation, coffee, drawing, painting, and a few photos. (I did a charcoal study – Renee, who lives in Nashville, decided to start a portrait of me in oils). When I chose her name, I knew it had a familiar ring to it. I soon found out it was Paul’s mother. I’ve known Paul since he was a student of mine about 12 years ago. The other connection Renee and I have is that we are both art educators. After seeing the Art Lotto 2012 show, I knew that I just had to be a part of it this year. It was easily one of the best group shows I’ve ever seen in The Burg. Since I haven’t done many portraits in recent years, this will be a challenge for me – but, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do it … for me, art is very much about The Challenge. It also seemed like a unique opportunity to get to know fellow artists (Jess Herr is doing my portrait … another art teacher!). Thanks to Brandy and all the others that are working to make Art Lotto happen!” ~John
I’ve known Renee Somers for nearly 15 years. She is an artist in every sense of the word. She lives it, preaches it, breathes it, studies it, does it, loves it and just can’t get away from it. It bleeds from her. It is her. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee but is no stranger to the Valley. Renee’s son, Paul, is a go-to for artful adventures in Harrisonburg, carrying on her passions and giving her ample reasons to visit: film festivals, poetry readings, art shows and…oh yeah, her amazingly sweet grandchildren. This is Renee’s second Art Lotto go-round. Last year she took home the prize for Best Hair with her painting of Matt Sedeen. This year, she’ll be all tangled up in the locks of Matt Hall. Fellow art educator/artist John Bell will be portraying Renee. After meeting with Matt for the first time, Renee sent me the following quick-sketch and thoughts:
“I wondered who was the artist I would paint for Art Lotto. I came, I looked, I wondered. I was plopped down on a stool at the Artful Dodger thinking each person I saw might be him. I asked first one and then another. I looked for someone looking for someone. Then about the time I settled in and just decided to relax, I ordered a coffee and told the bartender I was “just waiting for Matt Hall” and he said, “Why he’s right there,” and called him over. He resembled the images I had seen painted through the centuries of the Christ. I was thrilled at the fun hair I would get to paint and my immediate response was to do a Christ look-alike. But who knows where the spirit will take me as I handle this young artists face with my paintbrush and follow the contours of a well-chiseled firm face and curly feathery hair.
You know, when it comes to Art Lotto, it is about surprise, anticipation, and visual resurrections of our perceptions coupled with the images of the artists we have selected to portray. I took some pictures of Matt and my son, Paul, took some pictures for me. If you want to find out the outcome of this fabulous opportunity, meet me at the Art Lotto opening at the Artful Dodger. Last year and to-date, it was the best art show I had seen in years. The diversity, the talent, and the ambiance of the whole concept, of artists painting artists, was just inspiring. Top that off with the Super Gr8 Film Festival and you have music, passion and art all wrapped up in a artful heartful community.” ~Renee
Winner of last year’s Oh Snap! photography award and down right awesome photographer, Pat Jarrett, is up to good again. This year, he selected Parvina Mamatova’s name from the cup at the Luck of the Draw event. Since graduating from James Madison University in 2012, Parvina has relocated to Baltimore. The distance between her and Pat created a small obstacle that proved easily maneuvered by these two motivated artists. Pat shared a digital sketch of his portrait of Parvina along with a few words about his experience.
“Because Parvina lives in Baltimore it was tricky connecting, but we just so happened to be in the same town on the same day in March so we met at IKEA. We walked around looking for the right book shelves I needed to buy, chatting about her life and her thoughts on creativity and whatnot. I like her style, she has good energy. Also, she was wearing an IKEA-blue coat. After making frames in the store we went outside and I had her stand against the blue exterior of the building. The last frame was the best.
Last year I made a portrait of Elliott Downs using an extensive projection technique with multiple shoots and slide projectors. I am still quite interested in watching how projections work with digital photography, but since I only had the one shoot with her I started playing around with color and differing opacity. Mine is still not complete, but it is a play on red v blue.” ~Pat
Rebecca Rust, signed up for Art Lotto in person at one of our sign up events held at the Blue Nile. There’s just something about her that draws you in and makes you think twice about what’s going on behind those merlot colored glasses. This year, Matt Hall has been assigned the task of showing us his Rebecca as he will be creating a portrait of her for our August opening. Aside from getting involved in the arts and chatting about life at weekly girls night, Becca is also a derby girl. Mmm hmm. Pretty b.a. huh? Watch her in action at a Rocktown Roller event near you. This year, Becca will be doing a portrait of Jon Gehman
“I had seen Matt’s show at the Nile when it opened, and saw one image in particular that I had to have! His work reminds me of Miyazaki films, in the way that houses turning into beings, multiple faces appear from different perspectives.
Nothing is as it seems. I was prompted a week or so later, by Brandy, to go visit again for some photos. This time I had a fellow roller derby lady with me (who happens to be our go-to for Merchandise… and a fellow Art Lotto contributor), Ruthie Hogan, and she liked Matt’s work as much as I did, so she bought his Queen of Hearts image right on the spot! Her and Matt and I all figured out a plan to sell some shirts with Matt’s image on it! Locals helping locals helping non-profits. What more could you ask for?!” ~Becca
Lynda not only participated in the first Art Lotto but she won both the Kid’s Choice and the Best Use of Medium awards last year. She has a creative energy that flows through this town and inspires the heck out of me. And she’s an all ’round good human being to boot. In the midst of relocating and sorting through her boxed up life, Lynda continues to make time for creative ventures. Below, she is caught working in her office/studio on her lotto portrait of Katie Struble. This year, Lynda’s portrait will be created by Sharon Skates of Broadway, Va.