Several months ago, as if on automatic pilot, I rushed out of my house directly to the beach in Carmel to contemplate the ocean. As I sat in my car observing the vast amount of beauty, I could see that my emotional state was not right. For a moment I felt lost, incapable of coping with my own existence, not knowing what to do, nor how to move forward. Even the inviting sidewalks, the beautiful babies, and the cute puppies strolling the beach didn’t soothe my spirit.
But, as I have learned, I had to push forward and take in the beauty that was available to me at the moment. As I drove around the scenic route it finally hit me that, for one week I had not been surrounded by the beautiful art at the Gallery. Due to recent maintenance, we had closed the storefront and had moved to work out of a nearby office, always in the town, but not in a gallery setting. There was no paradise. I was starving for beauty. Since I am usually surrounded by art, I had not made any effort to read or listen to any beautiful music or poetry.
Philosophy teaches that there are different levels of energy produced by the body, and we have all experienced them. For example, the energy produced by reading a mathematical equation and the energy produced by receiving a kiss are completely different. One is intellectual and one is emotional. The latter is a more refined energy, and makes our inner world vibrate with life. This explains our constant search for joy, beauty, and love, because those elements increase the quality and quantity of the energy available to us.
Love itself requires an even higher production of energy. Since our energy states vary throughout the day, our state of love is also in constant fluctuation. We fall in and out of love so easily. At times, it is not that we don’t love the ones close to us, it is just that, with an over demanding society, always on the go, there is not enough energy left to sustain the state of love.
Since the moment I became aware that the energy levels within me are within my control, I made the decision to abandon the arid, plain, bare walls, and golden shackles of high-tech corporate America, and I traded them for a humbler, yet, internally more fulfilling environment. The result has been a more soothing, creative life, and overall, the moments of happiness are more constant and longer lasting.
So, what happens when we are surrounded by beauty? Unbeknownst to us, beauty in the form of art, classical music, poetry, literature, theater, opera, architecture, beautiful nature, etc. act as batteries that sustain energy levels by supplying our bodies with constant, pleasant sensations. In everyday life, the difference at first can be so tiny, but it can be felt when we go on vacation. On vacation, our entire surroundings change and the lack of routine enhances our senses. In fact, this is the reason why we go on vacation and why Carmel is such a wonderful destination. There is more than just the visual stimulus from nature, but the banquet to the senses is enhanced by beautiful food, art, and music.
Once we leave town and return to normal life, the lack of beauty in our surroundings begins to dull down senses and life becomes plain and arid. Negative emotions begin to weight us down, and what I call the wound of birth aches, and the effort to sustain the living experience takes its toll. The roller coaster of emotions begins and the shifting from happiness to anger, to love and nostalgia, take over, all based on the amount and quality of energy the body is producing. We talk about depression? Let’s talk about a crisis in lack of beauty. Without a constant source of pleasant sensations assisting the body, the daily energy drops and we can find ourselves in an endless cycle of suffering.
Art cushions the daily routine by opening up the senses, allowing us to be more in tune with our surroundings. Art reminds us that there is more to our existence than the fleeting moment, the regretted past, and the uncertain future.
While we are not always lucky enough to be surrounded by beauty and beautiful sensations, we can always understand the need for beauty and make efforts to find it. Beauty must become a necessity in our daily existence. We must realize that beauty goes beyond buying power.
It wasn’t until that Saturday that I realized how spoiled I had become, and how much the Art at the gallery lifts my emotional state. Art has truly become an imperative need in my life. With technology so readily available, I then knew that I had to more intentionally surround myself with things that bring me that sense of beauty such as the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke, Seneca, Walt Whitman, the music of Vivaldi, Mozart, and the paintings of Da Vinci that, thanks to technology, are now so much more accessible to me.
The closing of the gallery was just a temporary situation and I soon returned to my typical mornings filled by the beautiful smile of my boss, our cup of coffee, and a gallery of Beautiful art.
A time without art provoked in me a “lack of art” asthma attack. Without art there is no living. Surround yourself with beauty.
The journey to my Solo Exhibition in St. lves, the world-renowned center for Contemporary Modern Art.
It is a gentle paradox that, while a picture may be worth a thousand words, for me a single word or two can be worth a new painting. Words, heard or read, sometimes found within a song or a poem, sometimes carefully considered, sometimes no more than a throwaway remark, are so often my starting point.
Around my studio lurk phrases on bits of paper, scribbled lines on the walls, a springboard for visual inspiration, waiting to be translated into abstract images. I see the work I now do as the art of omission, looking to reduce a subject to the minimum that still has resonance and honesty. The image above is titled “Black Trees”; this came from hearing the Nashville singer Kim Richey’s song about traveling and displacement – “don’t know where we’ll sleep tonight, someplace far from here…” – an evocation of a journey through a strange landscape. For me, since I was last in Carmel in 2012, with Tamara in her gallery, my artistic journey has held similar uncertainties about where my work was heading. I had just completed a series of paintings around the subject of migration; a big subject, full of different strands, the movement of animals and people, voluntarily and enforced, culture, music, money, disease. The series was exhibited with the British National Trust, and subsequently some of the paintings are now with collectors in the United States.
Then followed a period when we moved house, travelled – including a wonderful journey into the Atacama Desert – and I had an extended sabbatical from painting. By the time I was ready to paint again, and for me that is an all-consuming commitment, I had lost three very good friends, all artists, kindred spirits, musicians, lovers of wild places. I tried to get fired up by my familiar surroundings, here on Dartmoor in South West England, but failed to find motivation there, and instead painted a series of pieces about friendship, sharing good times, loss and reflection – not morose, more a celebration of what we had.
This set of paintings culminated in an exhibition with the Marine House Gallery in UK, and that marked the time for me to move on again. I decided to put myself in an unknown place for a few weeks, alone, with the thought of trying to paint how it felt to be there, rather than what the landscape looked like. Leaving my wife Viv at home, I travelled north to the Shetlands, wild and remote islands between Scotland and Norway, early in 2017, and rented a cottage for six weeks. I found all I was looking for – wild weather, big seas crashing on black cliffs, and long solitary walks in remote hill country. The paintings that resulted seem to confirm that the landscape won – they are much more about the physical reality of the place, rather than about my philosophical wanderings and confusions.
“…original thinking – if you’re not confused, you’re not thinking clearly.” Tom Peters
I returned from the Shetlands feeling that I had re-found myself as in essence a landscape painter, in that the landscape in its widest sense would always inform my work, and I found a new freedom to make more powerful, intuitive paintings. I have always been fascinated by the underlying scale and geology of the natural world, in which man’s marks form a simple overlay, and this still is reflected in my new work. Jenny Pery wrote about me… “many of his paintings trace the enigmatic marks left by vanished people. He is fascinated by ancient markings on rock, shaman carvings on stones…he works on his canvases as if they were windows through which he can look into the past.”
THE PENWITH SOCIETY AND THE PENWITH GALLERY ST. IVES
Soon after my return from the Shetands I was given the wonderful opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at the Penwith Gallery in St. Ives – a very special privilege for any artist.
The Penwith Society was founded in 1949 by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon, Sven Berin, Bernard Leach and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, amongst others. This association with so many progressive and influential world-renowned artists has given the Penwith Society, and St. Ives, a unique place in British art history.
A charitable company – the Penwith Galleries Limited – was created to arrange a programme of exhibitions and manage the gallery complex, with three public galleries, artist studios, a print workshop, sculpture courtyard, and archive.
STILL PICKING BONES This was a thrilling turn of events for me, which I embraced with full commitment. Fired up by my time in Shetland, I set out to put together a portfolio of the very best work I could do. I avoided my normal practice of a core theme, but gradually it became clear that the new work was becoming a reflection on my long connection with the landscapes I love – the tin mining coast of west Cornwall, my life here on Dartmoor, my hillwalking and climbing days in Wales, the Shetlands, and the wonderful contrasts I have found in Arizona and the Atacama deserts. My very first solo exhibition was titled ‘Picking Bones’- and I’m still out there picking bones! I invited the brilliant ceramicist Laurel Keeley to show her work alongside my thirty-six paintings, as I knew our work would fit together quite beautifully.
The exhibition looked terrific and was very well received. I spent most of my time down around St. lves enjoying being a part of that very special artistic community. Now it is the time for me to once more take stock, reflect on what has been done, on where next I want to head, and wait for the creative juices to flow again. The last few years have been another big part of my journey as an artist; I have loved putting together this exhibition, I know I have given it my best shot, and I know that I’m a lucky guy to have all this in my life. As for what’s next, maybe it could be my time to head back to desert country …. the colors, the distant miles … simplifying, minimizing …. the art of omission.
One can always be amazed by the vision or intuition of some people and the
lack of common sense of others.
In 1933, the young Alfred Barr, co-founder and director of MoMA, bought without blinking, Oskar Schlemmer’s painting “The Bauhaus Staircase” for his museum. It was painted at the end of 1932 at the time when the German government was planning to close the most international and avant-garde institution of the twentieth century.
For his part,
Schlemmer, who worked at the Bauhaus between 1920 and 1929 and was in charge,
above all, of leading the sculpture workshop and later on the Performance
Theater, lamented that he could not achieve his best painting style for his
cutting-edge ideas. In spite of this, and as a protest to the anti-cultural
measures that persecuted artists and quality pedagogues in Germany at the time,
he reacts not with pamphlets but instead with the high level of his pictorial
creation with his famous painting, The Bauhaus Staircase (here corresponds to
put a picture of the picture).
To explain briefly what the famous Bauhaus School of Design, that existed between the years of 1919 and 1933, meant in its time, it must be remembered that shortly before being founded, a great fierce war had just ended, making it clear that a new social structure with greater democratic decision-making and new educational standards was necessary.
Among other things,
the integration of women was favored, giving them the right to vote.
Precisely who gave that right to women among many others were events
linked to the Weimar Republic in 1918.
The city of Weimar
was then a suitable place to try a new pedagogical idea that would push society
based on art towards a more balanced, harmonious, and creative future. It
was then, a hundred years ago, that the state school “Bauhaus” was
founded under the visionary direction of the architect Walter Gropius.
The quality of Gropius as director is shown in the nucleus of teachers that made up his team. In addition to Schlemmer, Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten, Vassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lázló Moholy-Nagy, Gunta Stölzl, Josef and Anni Albers, stood out among others.
As an architect,
Gropius favored the rigorous, clear, and ordered forms of decorative line and
saw in them the principle of a higher order training beyond artistic training.
It was this same general concept of basic construction that he applied to
the school, creating an interdisciplinary character for the freedom of action
of the creative spirit.
In the Bauhaus, the artist had to train and then given freedom, helped by the precision of an experienced technical assistant, with which the artist-teacher on the one hand and the craftsman-assistant on the other constituted a narrow pedagogical unit as the teacher will be the one taught.
sculptors, photographers, choreographers, upholsterers and painters formed a
team. The artistic approach was also applied to the everyday, generating
aesthetic forms for daily use, taking up the idea of William Morris, whom, in conjunction
with John Ruskin founded the Arts and Craft movement of the nineteenth century.
The integration and
high number of women as well as foreigners and natives was an unprecedented
In 1925, 6 years
after its foundation, obscure politicians won a first victory against the
revolutionary artistic movement of the Bauhaus by shortening subsidies in such
a way that the survival of the institution is maintained only with an eviction
and a new beginning in the equally provincial and small town of Dessau.
The first years there
are promising and full of energy, assisted by a building created especially in 1925
by Gropius for the proposed objectives (Schlemmer’s “Bauhaus stairway”
is inspired precisely by that building).
The Bauhaus gains in national and international importance, the teachers and also the students get a greater general recognition. The designs and products of those glorious times of the Bauhaus stand out even today for their modernity, which well gives an idea of how revolutionary it was in its time.
As usual, ideas and situations change and groups vary. After harsh discussions about the planning to follow and a change in the directory, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe takes charge in the 30s to try to save the now called Bauhaus Higher School, but the political situation is progressively growing more unfavorable and soon after, the State subsidies are again drastically cut back forcing the institution to a final eviction to Berlin in 1933, where just a few months later Hitler’s government closes the institution scattering the majority of the artists who made it up around the world.
With just a hint of imagination one could assume that without developments just narrated, for example the Seagram Building (New York, 1958) by the architect Mies van der Rohe, nor the PanAm Building (Manhattan, 1959) by Walter Gropius would never have been built , neither the New Bauhaus and then the School of Design of László Moholy-Nagy in Chicago would have been founded either, nor the art of Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd or Richard Serra would have been what they have been without the pedagogical work of their teacher Josef Albers at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina.
Seen with the appropriate historical distance and returning to the beginning of this text, it is interesting to note that the intuition and entrepreneurial character of a young art historian such as Alfred Barr gives MoMA the privilege of having a painting that perfectly condenses the idea, place and modernity of the Bauhaus in its time, at the same time that it shows that the lack of common sense and the mediocrity of the powerful arrogant who create the greatest resistance to the development of creative ideas and movements, now and then, display in their resistance a sad and dark example of their intellectual poverty.
We can’t seem to get away too far from the challenges that continue at the gallery, it has been a long year and we have learned to use our challenges to be more creative and maintain our commitment to share with you a world of art collecting.
Welcome to the Third Issue of The Art of Collecting
Dear Reader, my name is Sarkis Sakiz. I am of Armenian descent, born in Turkey. I began to work with gold, making jewelry, when I was around 10 years old. The journey through which I became a Master jewelry maker and designer has been long and fruitful. Now, I want to share it with you hoping to be a companion into the artistic world of Jewelry Collecting.
At the tender age of 10 years old, I was fortunate enough that my school’s Principal noticed my skills in woodcarving class and recommended me to a jewelry making apprenticeship. This was a program for the government which made gifts to be given to ambassadors, diplomats, and other officials. The apprenticeship was very good for a child but, what can you expect from a 10-year-old? Well, by the time I was 17 or 18 years old I was already a full-scale jeweler.
Merujan Gevik, the master jeweler that taught me learned jewelry-making in Canada and Paris. Once an excellent Master craftsman, he returned to work in Turkey. It was under his apprenticeship that I learned basic jewelry-making, molding, alloying, engraving, stone setting, fitting, etc. I learned the techniques as best as I could from him. However, in some areas, out of my own curiosity in my creations, I have been able to overstep the boundaries of the technique as well.
After my military service, when I returned home, Merujan Gevik approached me and offered me to be partners. He said “why be independent when we already have set up shop and we know each other well.” Hence, I saw that the partnership was a very generous offer. He already had everything, the knowledge, the established clients, and in return I could offer him my stamina, vision, creativity, and production. Creativity is something that is within and no one can give it to you. Either we have it or we don’t. It is what separates a good painter from the poor painter, a good Jeweler from the average one. The teacher can teach you how to alloy, melt, fabricate, and set precious gems, but not necessarily to be creative.
My design process begins with a drawing. Once the design is selected, I prepare the material to be used. For example, this ring is made out of platinum, so I start by melting the Platinum, then I shape it into either a wire or a plate depending on the design. I prepare the setting for the stones and mount the pieces to the design, finishing it with decorative Victorian Style hand engraving. In any art or field, improvement over time shows if you are cut out for a particular art like painting, jewelry making or any other work of art. Every person has to show an understanding and that you are capturing the audience. Jewelry is a visual art form and it has to stay within esthetical proportions of beauty. It is like a painter that gives a sense of depth in the painting and fills it up with every detail in the image. Jewelry making has similar understanding and knowledge to it, but today it has become a mass production jewelry business. In the US, the feel for it was different when I first started creating jewelry 25 to 30 years ago, because it takes time, and time is costly.
People ask me how do
I get my inspiration? do I wake up in the middle of the night and design? Well,
for me, an idea suddenly pops up and I put it down on paper. I am also inspired by conversations with my
clients; but, it does not happen with everyone, only with those whom I can
really connect with. For them, their
story brings a different design out of me. The history of creativity in my
trade has been an ovation to the beauty of the form, the design, and the one
who wears it.
Right now, my teacher
is probably near 80 years old. I see him every year when I go to Turkey. We
have a very close friendship. We were together for over 12 years. Hence, in
retrospect, I consider it a great opportunity for a child to be an apprentice
at a place where he can learn a skill.
Every person has a
natural skill. They have to reach their
potential as best as they can. I tell my
children that God gave each of us a brain to use, so we must make sure to use
it because not doing so would be so much of a waste. This greeting card was
given to me by one of my daughters for Father’s Day about 3 or 4 years ago and
“Dear Dad I can never convey how much your love and support truly means to me. You are a very special and constantly push me to exceed my limit. I have a picture of you and Mom by my desk. I see you everyday day and it reminds me of how blessed I am. You have always taught me that while my biggest obstacle might be myself it is also my biggest strength.”
Hence Dear reader, it is this journey and the lessons learned in the art of Jewelry Making that I want to share with you in order to bring you into a new level of understanding into The Art of Jewelry Collecting.
There was a print of a Braque painting in the dining room growing up, but that was the only painting I remember in our house. Living near Cleveland, Ohio, we would make occasional trips to the wonderful Cleveland Museum of Art. My strongest memories are of the Impressionist paintings — Monet’s water lilies, some beautiful Renoirs and Degas — the armor room, and the amazing Asian collection. The thought of collecting art myself never crossed my mind.
Attending college at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the art museum was close by, but I must admit I never went. When I met my future husband, he was a very hard-working engineering student, but when he needed a break from his challenging course work, he would take a few hours to visit the museum or attend a Cleveland Orchestra concert if he was lucky enough to win free tickets. I met many engineering students at CWRU, but he was the only one who showed such a love for art and classical music. Mike and I were married in 1980.
The first few years we were married, we would visit museums, and bought some small pieces at local art fairs. On a business trip from our then home outside Austin, Texas to Houston, Mike visited a Circle Gallery and was taken by the felt works of Calman Shemi. It was our first serious art purchase and from that time forward, as we moved from place to place, finding a house with a large enough space to hold the Shemi was always a high priority. We continued to buy art occasionally, usually at local art fairs In Tokyo, we purchased some wonderful contemporary prints at the annual print shows presented by the College Women’s Association of Japan, even though there wasn’t enough wall space in our small apartment to hold them all. But it was when we moved to the Bay Area and met Tamara that we began, almost unconsciously, to begin really building our own modest collection.
It was more than 17 years ago when my husband and I walked into Le Vernissage Gallery of Fine Art in Carmel for the first time. We were enjoying a lovely November day in Carmel, with no intention of buying any art. At the Gallery, we found a lovely lady and a beautiful collection.
There was an amazingly beautiful painting by Claude Idlas hanging under perfect lighting – we were intrigued. We considered it from every angle, left briefly to talk about the work, but then rushed back to make sure no one else bought it before us. It has had a place of honor in our living room from that day forward. Over the years, we visited Carmel and Tamara’s gallery several times a year, buying paintings when they took our breath away. We came to value Tamara’s great eye for art as well as her warm friendship.
Years passed and we continued to visit and acquired many paintings from Tamara from a wide array of artists, as well as adding pieces from artists at Hunters Point studios in San Francisco and other locations. We aren’t wealthy and we didn’t have a huge house, but by the time we moved last November, every wall in every room was hung with beautiful art.
Late last year, we sold our home and moved out of California. We left two of our most beloved pieces for resale consignment at the gallery, knowing there wouldn’t be wall space for them, and had the rest of the collection carefully delivered to the new house. We kept them stored away while we had some remodeling done. As we settled in, we came to truly love our new house and our new surroundings. But it was only when we finally, carefully, thoughtfully, rehung our art that the new house became our home. It truly took our breath away.
Each room now seems to have its own art “personality.” The living room has the brightly colored Idlas and Innes works on one wall and a wonderful grouping of mezzotints on the opposite wall. The library has bold pieces including a work by Sebastian. My office is hung with intimate, quiet paintings of women, including works by Martin Petrosian and Ashot Asatrian.Our bedroom has the Shemi piece as well as a landscape in restful colors by Marie Claude Valat. The hallway holds some of our Japanese prints. Looking around, I realize that the art not only makes this house a home, it makes it our home, reflecting our personalities and the journey through life that we are taking together. Our bedroom has the Shemi piece as well as a landscape in restful colors by Marie Claude Valat. The hallway holds some of our Japanese prints. Looking around, I realize that the art not only makes this house a home, it makes it our home, reflecting our personalities and the journey through life that we are taking together.
Please don’t get me wrong and don’t look for any commercial triggers in my April sharing. This is an appreciation from an art lover and a business woman to someone who truly creates. Since the years have brought us together and you all became treasures of my personal and professional existence, I feel safe to share some of my victories as well as some of my past pains and losses that are sealed in me.
Maybe it is time to open up and share one more layer of the woman to whom you have given the privilege to be there for your art needs, and sometimes even to become your friend. Here is one of the real reasons for my life long dedication to fine art and artists:
The father of my children, a little man I loved with all my heart, died under tragic circumstances and the shadow of his loss is still following me and my children. So, I have this weakness to nurture, praise, and encourage every single person who creates. I suppose this helps me, in a way, to comfort myself and move on with my losses, turning art and culture into something I can’t live without.
I know that the opening section of this writing became too long and personal, and I ask you for your forgiveness about it. Now let us turn to the main article:
It is about one of the most special characters in Carmel, Mary Titus. She is the owner of the studio-gallery right across the street from my gallery. Practically, if I were to use cold business logic, her business is my competition. As you all know I do not follow clichés or rules, even in dealing with you, and I always think art has one single obligation – to bring people, cultures and hearts together.
The rest of it we leave in the hands of Fortuna. We will all get our share in the blessings for being in the fine art business.
The more compassionate and giving we are, the more it comes back to us. That is the mentality I grew up with. Now, back to Mary. It is not a secret that artists are moody, and she is not an exception. Her operating days are odd, and sometimes she locks herself inside her gallery to create. When our paths cross, she welcomes me with her beautiful childlike smile, quickly sharing the news of the town and asking about the state of my business. Her connection with people is as free and unpretentious as her art. There is this genuine connection between the creator and her creation, leaving me with no doubt that the woman right across from my gallery is one of the most precious artists of this town.
Everybody knows how much I adore Carmel. For me it was like discovering a paradise on Earth. Every single thing in the town is very close to my heart. Since the time in the early 90s when I was hired by the local Institute of International Studies as a staff member and a curriculum writer for the languages I know, my weekends were dedicated to discovering and learning about every single corner of the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Carmel’s founding is related to art and culture and the spirits of its bohemian founders are still browsing here.
I am an outsider and probably always will be. The command of the
language is not complete, and I have given up on trying to improve my Armenian
accent. Nobody here knows that the town I love lives in my poetry
volumes, which have not been translated from Armenian to English yet. Who knows
when my fellow townspeople will discover that there has been a poetess living
among them for over 30 years who has immortalized characters, ocean and birds;
immigrants who have stepped into this town, very early, trying to earn their
portion of life; local police officers who smile and wave every time you pass
them. Every single person without knowing their name become part of my
environmental family, and Mary Titus is one of them. She is a genuine
artist with all her flaws that in the world of creativity become assets:
talkative overactive, silver grey hair, deep philosophical eyes, always genuine,
with a beautiful heart.
It is not easy to situate
creativity and business in the same body. One always dominates the other.
In Mary’s case, the artist is shining way above the business woman. Maybe
that is what makes her so unique and very likeable.
We have been neighbors forever, but last year she touched my
heart when I saw her mourning the life of a little hummingbird that she had
rescued. I saw the silky soul of the person who creates. There was no doubt that she treasures and
appreciates every single living beauty under the sun.
Mary was born in Florida. She is self-taught in the arts freeing her creative spirit from rules and cages. Her works touch and decorate many art lovers’ hearts from all corners of the world: Amsterdam, Africa, Australia, etc. She has many private and corporate collectors spreading the energy of her freedom-loving spirit, heralding everybody that thislittle town of ours still offers: treasures of local based creative minds that think, act, and create as true bohemians.
I am not going to go ahead and list all of Mary’s achievements and awards. That is not my intention. I am only going to share with you one of the paintings she created after learning that I was a going to travel for my latest poetry book signing tour.
She innocently smiled and told me, “I started and finished this painting thinking of you as another woman who creates.”
This little exchange of appreciation once more opens the beauty of her heart, accepting everybody and praising them for their creativity in every form.
Dear Friends and Collectors, the painting above is the one she shared with me, assuring you that Mary is not one of my gallery artists, as my gallery only represents European artists.
Mary Titus is one of the treasures of this town, and I hope this little essay of valuation and appreciation will turn your heads from commercialism and lead you to pay more attention to the town’s genuine, creative spirits.
Mary’s creations are perfect examples of abstract expressionism giving her power to bring our inner and outer emotions together as part of universal beauty. With her magical hand and her incredible humble child-like honesty, she is a creative character who sometimes finds herself in community dramas advocating for the artistic originality of the art offerings of the town because she cares. Mary’s character stands up as a patron of creativity who also beautifully carries the pride of being part of this beautiful environment.
I am concluding my address to you sharing my fears that a lot of valuable people around us come and go because we fail to notice and praise their existence. Yet, we all know one truth, that centuries ago was very well stated by Seneca:
Being in the art industry for over 2 decades, as the owner of one of the oldest galleries in Carmel, and being an observer of creative individuality, I have come across discoveries that have practically stunt me. Such is the case with the artist I am going to tell you about, Andreas Morillo, whom I consider to be one of the golden discoveries of my observant mind.
He is an older familiar face, a local to Carmel. He lives in his own creative wonderland without deadlines, financial struggles, and without competing with anyone.
Andreas lives in a happy home, under the perfect conditions, with the complete freedom to follow the mind.
At his age, his creativity, under ordinary situations could
have already reached its sunset; yet, surprisingly, the time for Andreas is
going backwards. His mind is going
forward. He is diving big into
everything. His ideas are getting
fresher and wider.
Sometimes I find myself analyzing the events of the day and he
pops out, always simple, always kind, and he, somewhat carelessly, brings in
and spreads out, over the gallery floor, his latest batch of surprising art
works without any need for conversation from the two of us.
Andreas has already enjoyed recognition for his landscapes and
seascapes in the Carmel art scene, but I have been the witness of the birth and
surprises of Andreas Morello’s expressionism.
In the shell of a wrinkled body, he is the one who is trying to rip the time from the past that he could have already started a long time ago. The incredible collection of expressions in his works are the product of his restless mind. He is a scholar, a risk taker and, he knows A-Z of the technics of Art. Andreas loves anyone and everything that leaves a mark in the history of contemporary art. He materializes his soul and brushstrokes through restless experimenting and creativity, managing to join people who crate and leave unforgettable marks in the world of art. Andreas, unbeknown to him, is reaching unreachable dreams and, he is going to join the giants.
Do you know why his brave and unusually fresh expressions are there immortalized in his canvas? Who is going to harvest those? Who is going to direct the artist’s destiny? What is the secret for this metamorphosis? Who does he have to worship and thank for his blossoming spring? And who is going to register the unusual merger of his realism and expressionism? Is he going to be working with someone close enough to be introduced properly? I don’t know; but, as someone who feels close to art and creativity, and as person who loves the town and its fruits, I feel I have to hint to my clients a sense of this exotic artist. The rest belongs to you, and the artistic community. What can we wish for him? Longevity and endless flow of creative energy.
Many wise and knowledgeable collectors and action houses spend countless hours looking and hunting for that piece of art treasured by many and probably painted by a deceased artist. Even at Collectors Galleries, I frequently get asked the question, how old is this artist? Meaning, will he pass away soon? Will my piece of art appraise once the artist is gone? While those questions are important, and a reality in the finances of art collecting, the value of working with a living artist is priceless, and I have a true story to share.
In 2017, for the second year in a row, Cristian Korn, the star of Collectors Galleries, came from Germany to the gallery in Carmel for his second art reception. His first trip to the Gallery had been in 2016 when he met many of the collectors and appreciators of his works; many of us becoming instant friends and family to the artist. One of those was Tamara’s dog. Tamara, owner of the gallery, hosts Cristian at her house when he comes to visit.
On that first night that Cristian stayed at her house, he was awoken by a snoring sound in his room. After looking around and under the bed he finally found Jack, a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, who became Cristian’s roommate for the next remaining two weeks of his visit at the house.
Jack was born in the US and had been adopted by Tamara’s daughter as a gift to her children while they were living in Mexico. Upon the family’s return to Carmel, Jack was given to Tamara as she had a much larger state for Jack to play. This means that Jack flew from Texas to Mexico City and back to Carmel, California.
A typical Westie, he began guarding his mama and her property against the many different animals in the area. As time passed, Tamara had become too busy at the gallery, so she had begun to bring Jack to work with her. Every day, Jack and Tamara would come to work and greet the clients together.
Cristian, upon meeting his new friend, was surprised at Jack’s loyalty and character. Cristian started making drawings and sketches of Jack in the house. The Cristian-Jack relationship inspired a beautiful series of works painted by Cristian between 2016 and 2017 called, “Le Mansion de Jack.”
Upon Cristian’s return to the gallery in 2017 he reconnected with all his friends and collectors, but he especially reconnected with Jack, who began snoring while sharing his room again with Cristian.
Jack was a real joy at the gallery. He changed the daily routine and brightened every day with his loving playful attitude. He was full of facial expressions, looking especially charming whenever he was disciplined and given time out. He shared my chair and trained me to sit just on the edge as he needed the rest of the chair for his daily rest. Being mostly a cat lover myself, this was my first time taking the time to make the acquaintance and the friendship of dog.
Jack quickly stopped being just a dog and became a co-worker, a friend, part of the team, and one of our most treasured arts at the gallery.
So, in 2017, 2 days after Cristian’s arrival, Jack sprang out of the gallery chasing after a dog and was fatally hit by a car driving too fast down San Carlos St. I picked him up from the street and handed him over to Cristian so I could drive to the nearest pet hospital to get Jack some help, but, Jack did not make it. He passed away on Sunday August 13th 2017, 6 days away from the Gallery’s biggest event of the year, Cristian’s art reception.
Needless to say, this tragic event changed our lives and our perspective of friendship, camaraderie, love and art. I understood that love and friendship come in different forms, and that something so little can have such presence and personality. Upon Jack’s passing I felt deep respect and honor to have met him. It was truly as if an old, wise friend had passed.
The night of Jack’s passing, friends and family gathered around him for a last good-bye. We brought flowers, tears, and a large stone to serve as his headstone. On it, we all wrote our own unique words of parting love and gratitude. Jack had been the matchmaker between me and my boyfriend. Tamara wrote in beautiful poetry to Jack.
Cristian, of course, during his grieving process, went home and painted his memories of Jack in Canvas, and “Le Mansion San Jack” was born. We all paid our tribute to Jack in our own way. It was then that I realized the priceless importance of art and of working with a living artist. Christ himself even said, “There is nothing like the living word.” Jack, through all of our differing words and the memories in them, lives on.
This story about Jack also brings us to a question of art and transcendence. Why do we collect art of dead masters? Does art exist only as something that has captured the past, or could it be that, just like Cristian, artists have eloquently captured an instant of time? As artist becomes historian and visionary could it be only a curiosity of the past?
What brings us to forgotten pasts? In the case of Da Vinci, it could be that he transcended himself, leaving pieces of living soul in his art, giving or leaving us glimpses of eternity and possibility in canvas that attract us even today. Da Vinci himself advised, “Avoid studies of which results die with the worker.” Is he pointing out this transcending with his work and his words?
Working with a living artist means you have a brainstorming companion who speaks the words and experiences of the time. Collecting their works means somehow, both of you understand each other. The similarities of existence are recognized by the collector who elegantly cries out, and by the artist, who masterfully paints. They each become companions who can express contemporary living, sorrows and joys. While many of us look to birthing the next generations to transcend living, many artists consider their art work the next transcendental generation. Cristian Korn is not worrying or asking about transcending, he is too busy painting it.
My friendship with Jack reminds me of the words of 1986 Noble Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel as follows:
“And what is a friend? More than a father, more than a brother: a traveling companion, with him, you can conquer the impossible, even if you must lose it later. Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing. It is a friend that you communicate the awakening of a desire, the birth of a vision or a terror, the anguish of seeing the sun disappear or of finding that order and justice are nWo more. That’s what you can talk about with a friend. Is the soul immortal, and if so why are we afraid to die? If God exists, how can we lay claim to freedom, since He is its beginning and its end? What is death, when you come down to it? The closing of a parenthesis, and nothing more? And what about life? In the mouth of a philosopher, these questions may have a false ring, but asked during adolescence or friendship, they have the power to change being: a look burns and ordinary gestures tend to transcend themselves. What is a friend? Someone who for the first time makes you aware of your loneliness and his, and helps you to escape so you in turn can help him. Thanks to him who you can hold your tongue without shame and talk freely without risk. That’s it.”