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The Quintessential Charlotte Magazine

Vol. 5 | No. 1

Introducing

The NEW QC Exclusive Est. 2011 REFINED LOOK EXPANDEd SECTIONS MORE GREAT CONTENT

JAN/FEB 2016

Scott Avett THE PIEDMONT’s

by Corey Miller • P. 146

Of the avett brothers on fatherhood, art, inspirations, and what’s next Also In This Issue: Amy Vermillion, Bob Peters, Coco Hill, Doc Porter’s, and more

The Art & The Artist featuring

behind the loom / Queen City’s abstract artists / the jewish film festival carolina art road trip / chandra johnson’s soco / COREY MITCHELL’S TONY


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The exclusives

JAN/FEB

2016 The Art & The Artist

128 Corey Mitchell, Charlotte’s Tony AwardWinning Theatre Teacher

134 Colorful and bold abstracts from talented Queen City artists.

140 Eastover’s SOCO Gallery places an emphasis on the art of photography.

146 Scott Avett on his origins, family, and The Avett Brothers’ legacy.

Scott Avett plays banjo at the Duke Mansion. Photo by Emby Taylor Photography.


The DEPARTMENTs

JAN/FEB

2016 The Art & The Artist

78

44

94 The CULTURE Arts & Style

The Artist Trip Park • 44 | Engage With Film • 50 Carlos Estevez’ Soul Catcher • 54 | The New South • 56 Fiber Artist Sydney Sogol • 58 | Coco Hill Jewelry • 62

The SPREAD FOOD & DRINK

Take Sides • 66 | The Scotch Egg • 72 | Good Food • 74 Corked & Casked • 76 | Bob Peters’ Winter Is Welcome • 78 A Customshop Spritz • 80 | Doc Porter’s Profiled • 82

62

The FOLIO HOME & DESIGN

A Design By Amy Vermillion • 86 | Curated Goods • 92 Reverence: A Vignette • 94 | An Urban Custom Kitchen • 98 Lauren Nicole’s Before & After • 102 | Basement Turned Pub • 104

The Explored TRAVEL & SPORTING

Southeastern Wildlife Exposition • 112 | Small Town Art • 116 Departures: Caribbean Winter • 120 | A Primland Dispatch • 124

Eventist • 31 | Exclusives • 128 | Index • 154 / Stockists • 154

18 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016

74

cover photo by EMBY TAYLOR PHOTOGR APHY | SHOT ON LOCATION AT THE DUKE MANSION


The NOTE QC Exclusive founders, Brett Barter and JP Grice walk to their office at The Foundry on Cedar St.

A NEW YEAR, THE NEXT STEP Does time speed up as we age? 2015 was an absolute whirlwind year for us. It was filled with a lot of challenge, change and a hell-of-a-lot of growing up, both personally and professionally. As a company, we finally outgrew the cost-conscious and stress-free home office and transitioned into a bonafide office space complete with all the bells and whistles - monthly rent, utilities, etc. Change is never easy and can be downright uncomfortable at times but it’s inevitable and it’s necessary for growth. Sure the days of rolling out of bed, going into the “office” and answering

emails or phone calls in our pajamas are long gone, but on the flipside, our team now has an amazing space that we’re proud to show off, a place that is truly representative of the QC brand and what it stands for. In August, Brett and his wife, Layne, welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Lennox into the world an amazing whirlwind unto itself. Then, there were months of lessons to be learned, sleepless nights, and a fever scare that landed the little cutie-pie back in the hospital. It all ended up just being precautionary and now Lennox is happy, healthy

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living [the good life]. - Gail Sheehy

ISSUE No. 1 EST. 2011

20 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016

ISSUE No. 25 2015

THE NEW QC 2016

and growing like a weed…a very chubby weed at that. Looking back, building QC Exclusive has been a lot like raising a child. Lots of time and energy is spent on both. Countless sleepless nights are endured and visceral events experienced in a short amount of time. And with each stage comes change, evolution, maturity, and a whole lot of joy. Just like a child, our QC baby is growing up! When you picked up this issue you may have noticed we’ve donned a new logo and cleaned up the layout for both the cover and content. As you flip through the pages you’ll see some other subtle design changes, new department names, and even more great photography and writing. A lot of these changes took months of thought and deliberation, and were made to enhance our number one priority: celebrating, in print and online, the best that our city has to offer, striving to be the quintessential Charlotte magazine. We hope you like what you see and we would love to hear what you think. In this issue read about the Piedmont’s own Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers and his evolution from touring musician to fatherhood, meet Chandra Johnson and learn about her new and emerging SOCO art gallery, explore the town of Seagrove’s rich art heritage, and read the inspiring story of the Tony Award-winning Charlotte educator, Corey Mitchell. Enjoy, and from the new QC, we wish you nothing but the best in 2016. Sincerely, Jon-Paul Grice and Brett Barter QCExclusive


EST. 2011

INFORMATION ADDRESS 619 S. Cedar Street Suite B Charlotte, NC 28202 WEBSITE www.qcexclusive.com EMAIL qcexclusive@gmail.com PHONE 704.219.9088 828.773.4922

SUBSCRIBE FOR A SUBSCRIPTION qcexclusive.com/subscribe or contact us through the methods provided below: SUBSCRIPTION BY EMAIL qcexclusive@gmail.com SUBSCRIPTION BY PHONE 704.953.6910 SUBSCRIPTION BY MAIL Exclusive Media Group 619 S. Cedar St. | Suite B Charlotte, NC 28202 (Include a check for $19.99 along with your address and contact information.)

22 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016


design a n d technology.

radiomir 1940 3 days automatic (ref. 572)

pa n e r a i . c o m


EST. 2011

our team PUBLISHERS Brett Barter Jon-Paul Grice SALES Kathleen Hands Barbara Herd Fern Howerin CONTRIBUTORS Jaclyn Ehrlich Sunny Hubler Paula Ilonze Melissa Justice Jeffrey Lipack Corey Miller Kasey Murray Lynette Wadsworth CREATIVE Stephen Philpott PHOTOGRAPHERS Emby Taylor Lunahzon Jamey Price Emily Dnistran

Connect INSTAGRAM @QCExclusive TWITTER @QCExclusive FACEBOOK Facebook.com/QCExclusive

24 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016


EST. 2011

Contact Us FEEDBACK We welcome your feedback, both positive and negative, and believe it is very valuable in our constant pursuit to be better as a publication. We encourage you to contact us with any critiques, compliments, or questions by email at qcexclusive@gmail.com and we will reply as soon as possible. EDITORIAL Contact JP Grice by phone at 828-773-4922 or email at qcexclusive@gmail.com.

ring in the new year

ADVERTISING Contact Brett Barter by phone at 704-219-9088 or email at bbarter2@gmail.com.

with something old, new, and blue

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EVENTS Post an event in QCExclusive or inquire about partnering with us for an event by emailing us at qcexclusive@gmail.com.


The TALENT JAMEY PRICE

SARAH AND BEN COLLIER

Charlotte native and Formula 1 photographer Jamey Price has

This husband and wife team

been published in Road and

photographs weddings and

Track, Sports Illustrated, ESPN,

editorials with a love for

Southern Living, AutoSport,

timeless, artful photography

and more. Visit him online at

using both film and digital to

www.jameypricephoto.com.

bring your vision to life. Visit them at takenbysarah.com

COREY MILLER

SUNNY HUBLER

A graduate of Appalachian

Sunny is a transplant to

State University and alleged

Charlotte by way of Maine.

film and literature snob, Corey

She is a writer, researcher, and

Miller left a sizable chunk of his

adjunct professor. Her latest

soul in Berlin. He’s just here for

work looks at environmental

the QC beer.

advocacy and nutrition-related health communication.

BOB PETERS

EMBY TAYLOR

A leader in Charlotte’s cocktail

This local husband-and-wife

renaissance, Bob Peters of The

pair, Mary Beth and Colin, have

Punch Room, stirs up some of

a passion for photojournalism

the finest craft concoctions in

and portraiture. Living outside

the city. Follow him on social

of the U.S. during the early part

media and Instagram to see his

of their relationship has given

latest recipes at @bob_peters.

them a different perspective to tell stories in a unique way.

STEPHEN PHILPOTT

EMILY DNISTRAN A graduate of East Carolina

The Philpott proudly hails from the

University, Emily is a Carolina

Queen City. After graduating from

based wedding and portrait

Savannah College of Art and Design,

photographer who loves

Stephen founded The Philpott

spending time with her adorable

Creative Co., a creative design and

Vizsla, Annie. See her work at

branding consultancy studio. Visit

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him online at www.thephilpott.com.

28 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016


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• www.charlottesymphony.org

JAN/FEB

2016 PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLOTTE SYMPHONY

The eventist

2/5/16 - 2/6/16 - Talented Michael Collins, one of the most acclaimed instrumentalists in the world, visits Belk Theater to perform Mozart Clarinet Concerto, a concert that is part of Charlotte Symphony’s esteemed Classics series. The combination of Collins’s clarinet artistry and Christopher WarrenGreen’s conducting will translate into a dazzling performance.

ORCHID • P. 38 | BREWERS • P. 40 | WOLF KAHN • P. 42

Mozart Clarinet Concerto

FEAST • P. 32 | BRIDAL • P. 34 | BOAT SHOW • P. 36

editor’s PICK


The EV ENTIST

JAN/FEB 2016

1/22/16 - 1/31/16 - Queen’s Feast features 125+ of the finest Queen City restaurants including from top left clockwise: Dogwood Southern Table, Georges Brasserie, Corkbuzz Restaurant and Wine Bar, Fahrenheit, Malabar, and 5Church.

QUEEN’S FEAST

1/22/16 - 1/31/16 - Experience new eats and savor your favorite treats as over 130 of the best restaurants in Charlotte offer a 3-course dinner for only $30 or $35 per person. • www.charlotterestaurantweek.com

as well as orchid art displays. Lectures for novice growers on how to grow beautiful orchids in your own home will also take place, and of course, orchid sales will give you a chance to take one of these gorgeous plants home. • www.dsbg.org

DANCE THEATER OF HARLEM

1/22/16 - 1/24/16 - Blumenthal Performing Arts and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts+Culture have joined forces with Wells Fargo to bring Dance Theatre of Harlem to Charlotte’s Levine Center for the Arts. • www.ganttcenter.org WOLF KAHN’s EARLY PASTELS

1/22/16 - 3/5/16 - The works of beloved American landscapist Wolf Kahn come to Jerald Melberg Gallery. • www. jeraldmelberg.com Piedmont Orchid Show

1/22/16 - 1/24/16 - Experience amazing orchid exhibits from local orchid societies and master growers,

32 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016

Romeo and Juliet

1/24/16 - 1/30/16 - You know the tragic tale, but you probably haven’t heard it the way Gounod intended it. This musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers arrives just in time to commemorate the 400th anniversary of The Bard’s death, and is performed by a cast of rising opera stars. • www.operacarolina.org

conversation! The menu will consist of Kafta kebabs, smoked and grilled chicken wings with spiced honey glaze, and barbecue cauliflower with tomatillo-avocado salsa. • www.chefalyssaskitchen.com Circus Xtreme

1/27/16 - 1/31/16 - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents Circus Xtreme, a show that is sure to amaze. Experience all the extraordinary circus performances you know and love, as well as the circus spectacles you’ve never seen before and that can’t be seen anywhere else but at The Greatest Show On Earth®. • www.timewarnercablearena.com Knightsounds

Super Bowl Spread

1/27/16 - Students will prepare four dishes that will kick up the typical Super Bowl fare. Unique but crowd pleasing dishes with tons of flavor will get you in the spirit of the game, or the commercials and

1/29/16 - Join the Symphony on a journey through the works of popular Spanish and Latin composers with Sinfonica!, an experience conducted by renowned conductor Christopher WarrenGreen. After the performance,


The EV ENTIST

JAN/FEB 2016

guests are encouraged to join the Symphony for tangos and tapas. • www.charlottesymphony.org Travel and Cruise Show

1/30/16 - Mann Travels presents the Travel & Cruise Show at the Convention Center, an event that gives guests the opportunity to save on cruises, tour packages, and drive vacations. There are dozens of exhibitors including Disney Destinations, Norwegian Cruise Line, and American Airlines Vacations. Guests can take advantage of the chance to win great prizes and giveaways and take in presentations on travel destinations all over the world. • www.manntravels.com Bridal Showcase

1/31/16 - Don’t miss The Bridal Showcase before you walk down

the aisle! The Carolinas’ largest bridal event will showcase about 100 wedding industry professionals – all in one day and one place. The Bridal Showcase is held every January and August at The Charlotte Convention Center and is sponsored by Belk, Party Reflections, David’s Bridal and Carolina Bride. • www.thebridalshowcase.com Mozart Clarinet Concerto

2/5/16 - 2/6/16 - Talented Michael Collins, one of the most acclaimed instrumentalists in the world, visits Belk Theater to perform Mozart Clarinet Concerto, a concert that is part of Charlotte Symphony’s esteemed Classics series. The combination of Collins’s clarinet artistry and Christopher WarrenGreen’s conducting will translate into a dazzling performance. • www.charlottesymphony.org

1/31/16 - Bridal Showcase

Queen City Brewers Festival

2/6/16 - The QCBF at The Fillmore at the NC Music Factory is ACEing Autism’s annual winter fundraiser, bringing together the Charlottearea breweries, brewpubs, craft beer focused restaurants, sponsors and enthusiasts to support ACEing

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Mon - Sat 10 am - 7 pm Sun 12 - 5 pm

photo this page courtesy of taken by sarah


The EV ENTIST

JAN/FEB 2016

Autism’s mission to serve more families in the Charlotte community affected by autism spectrum disorders. Each brewery and exhibitor offers a variety of its beer and food for guests to sample in an intimate setting. Live music and games will be on hand during each of the two tasting sessions. • www.qcbrewfest.com Ben Goldberg’s Invisible Guy

2/9/16 - Live performance by Ben Goldberg’s Invisible Guy trio. The acclaimed clarinetist is known for drawing on his Jewish roots and radical versions of Klezmer music. This Bay Area-based trio looks forward and backward at the same time, creating both nostalgic reveries and modern statements. Pianist Michael Coleman leaps between stride riffs and electronic splatter. Drummer Hamir Atwall

provides everything from a swinging undercurrent to a clattery rush. Goldberg’s clarinet work is always focused with an endearing lyrical quality. • www.mccollcenter.org Matilda The Musical

2/9/16 - 2/14/16 - Winner of 50 international awards, including four Tony AwardsŽ, Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. • www.blumenthalarts.org Taste Of The Mint

2/10/16 - Enjoy an evening filled with art and culinary delights, and experience pairings of small plates and beverages at two of Charlotte’s favorite restaurants: Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth , and Mimosa

2/11-14/16 - Mid Atlantic Boat Show

Grill. Menus are custom-tailored for the event. Following the epicurean adventure, participants will also get a chance to enjoy a guided tour of the special exhibition From New York to Nebo: The Artistic Journey of Eugene Thomason. • www.mintmuseum.org

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The EV ENTIST

JAN/FEB 2016

Amanda Uprichard

Ella Moss

Feel the Piece

French Connection

Joie

Red Engine Jeans

Show Me Your Mumu

Splendid

Tart

Three Dots

Tolani

Vintageous

1/22-24/16 - Piedmont Orchid Show

The Movement Makers

Connect with us! The Pink Hanger @pinkhangercharlotte @thepinkhanger The Pink Hanger

PinkHangerOnline.com PH: 704.366.7272 • 2935 Providence Road, Suite 103 • Charlotte, NC 28211

2/11/16 - What does it take to make a movement for social change successful then and now? Levine Museum Staff Historian Brenda Tindal moderates a conversation with sit-in veterans and today’s activists as they reflect on their experiences and what makes a social movement. • www.museumofthenewsouth.org Mid Atlantic Boat Show

2/11/16 - 2/14/16 - Annually displaying one of the finest collections of Cruisers and Sport Yachts you’ll find at any inland Boat Show, the Mid Atlantic Show boasts units over 30 feet from some of the best names in the business. This is the time and place to get the best pricing on the largest collection of cruisers in one location with lots of preseason discounts on 2016 models available to guests. • www.ncboatshows.com Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

2/12/16 - 2/14/16 - SEWE is a three-day showcase of everything you love about wildlife and nature. It brings together people of all ages, men and women, sportsmen and conservationists, artists and artisans, fans and families. Through an incredible lineup of events – from fine art exhibits,

38 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016


The EV ENTIST

JAN/FEB 2016

2/6/16 - Queen City Brewers Fest

conservation education, sporting demonstrations and parties, SEWE invites its guests to explore their “wild” side and pay tribute to the naturally beautiful world. • www.sewe.com A Symphonic Valentine

2/12/16 - 2/13/16 - Building on the success of last season’s Valentine’s concerts, AlbertGeorge Schram presents an all new program featuring a romantic selection of classical, popular, and Broadway favorites. • www.blumenthalarts.org All You Need Is Love

2/13/16 - Experience a Valentine’s Day themed celebration of all things sweet and spicy at the popular Treehouse Vineyards. Included in the ticket purchase is an evening of romance including live acoustic music by Vince Rivers, dancing, dinner and dessert, and of course Treehouse Vineyards wine. • www.treehousevineyards.com Oneaka Dance Company

2/17/16 - Feel the rhythms of the beat, experience the dances of the African continent with Oneaka Dance Company, and then view artifacts from various cultures and countries showcased in the Mint’s Arts of African collection. • www.mintmuseum.org

40 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016


The EV ENTIST

JAN/FEB 2016

The Jazz Room

2/19/16 - Season 6 continues with a special tribute to the “King of Swing” Benny Goodman performed by renowned New Orleans clarinetist Greg Agid. • www.thejazzarts.org GERSHWIN & COPLAND

2/19/16 - 2/20/16 - Andrew Grams conducts with William Wolfram on the piano as the Charlotte Symphony performs Gershwin & Copland including Copland’s Our Town and Rodeo and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Rhapsody No.2 as part of their popular Classics Series. • www.charlottesymphony.org Fossil Fair 2016

2/20/16 - More than a fossil show, this Schiele Museum event spotlights a wide variety of natural treasures

including fossils, rocks, minerals and the incredible stories that they tell. • www.schielemuseum.org South End Food Tour

2/26/16 - Take the opportunity to explore the diversity of establishments that cater to the story and history of South End as well as the area’s unique cuisine. • www.feastfoodtours.com Home & Garden Show

2/26/16 - 2/28/16 - Experience gardens filled with flowers, chic designer rooms and exhibits focusing on the best in landscaping, building, remodeling and decorating. • www.southernshows.com Vocalosity

2/27/16 - This fast-paced all-new live concert event from the creative mind of artistic producer Deke

1/22 - 3/5/16 - Wolf Kahn at Melberg

Sharon takes a cappella to an entirely new level. • www.blumenthalarts.org LOCAL FLAVORS OF NODA

2/27/16 - Tour NoDa’s thriving food and beer scene and experience the area’s vibrant nightlife. • www.feastfoodtours.com

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42 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016


MUSINGS

trip park Charlotte artist Trip Park’s colorful, paint-splattered landscapes and animals manage to tread a line between true-tolife and a touch of the otherworldly. BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE

S

Shain Gallery, the nearly 20-year-old contemporary art provider housed in Myers Park, hosts over forty different artists. Each was carefully selected based on the artist’s inherent talent and their ability to move viewers and buyers. Trip Park, a Queen City resident, is one such artist whose work adorns Shain’s walls – though often not for long, as his beloved paintings sell out at an increasingly rapid rate.

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GALLERY • 56 | CRAFTED • 58 | STYLE • 62

MUSINGS • 44 | MARQUEE • 50 | OPENINGS • 54

The CULTURE


The CU LTU RE

MUSINGS

O

Trip stands with a recent and beautifully executed painting of an elephant entitled “Prince Charming.” A Trip Park acrylic trout entitled “Upstream.”

Working repeatedly with many of his favorite illustrators Originally from New York, Park attended The forced Park to confront the possibility of this other dream University of North Carolina to major in Journalism. career on a nearly daily basis. He recalls being told early on by a professor that the “I got to see the [artists] work first-hand and see how advertisements he was sketching in class “looked professional and talented they were while actually directing better than they were written,” so Park took the advice their trade towards our and entered the art-driven side of the client’s needs,” Park says. advertising world. As an art director, he “I think the point with “Between the [artists] and was able to draw much of the creativity the animation studios and to make many of the connections that every painting is to find with which we worked, have made his work possible. I kept hearing, ‘come on, The acrylic paintings Park creates are jump to the dark side.’” a mashup of inspirations, often featuring - Trip Park Slowly, Park started contemporary, brightly-colored, paintsubmitting illustrations splattered landscapes and animals that as a freelancer. He proved successful, and began illustrating manage to tread a line between true-to-life and a touch of more children’s books (nineteen to date, 16 of which were for the otherworldly. The result is a mesmerizing image. the popular author R.L. Stine) while also picking up other Park considers himself a relative newcomer to the gigs, like providing editorial cartoons for Greensboro’s artist’s life, but his pieces resonate in a real way by News & Record. managing to appeal to children and adults alike, and to His work got noticed - in a big way. Park was tapped to draw the eye of everyone from high-end art collectors to help on the animation side of character design for Blue Sky feature film studio execs. Studios and asked to animate commercials for everyone Park says his first exposure to the art world came at from AT&T to PBS and McDonald’s. the start of his advertising career nearly 26 years ago.

the inherent drama.”

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The CU LTU RE

MUSINGS

“It needs to grab you, engage, and hopefully leave you with a smile and sense of appreciation.”

Today, having shed his corporate career, Park spends his time creating his images in his studio. He’s self-taught, and illustrates preliminary sketches digitally in addition to honing his painting technique. From a pointy-nosed Santa Claus to a barrel-chested ram to a flower-dotted field, each canvas is crafted with a variety of palette knives and acrylic paints. Park starts each piece on his computer where he can hash out the dimensions of the piece he’s about to begin. Trip Park brings a certain practicality to his work, a no-nonsense approach honed no doubt from the years in a highly competitive, cutthroat business world. He says his biggest drive is to keep improving and learning more and more about his craft. Park is methodical and organized, claiming that he “finds it therapeutic to have an ongoing list of subjects I’d like to tackle in the near future so I’m never left hanging with nothing new to attempt.” And though he knows that the muse may be a non-traditional or decidedly non-animistic one, he nonetheless credits much of the inspiration behind any given piece back to… advertising. “A great ad, they say, has a nice feel and a balance between busy and negative space,” Park

48 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016

explains. “It needs to grab you, engage, and hopefully leave you with a smile and sense of appreciation after you took the time to look at it. A painting, I think, needs to be approached the same way. There’s nothing worse than a bad ad, and a bad painting can be just as disappointing.” Park picks up new ideas everywhere, from his favorite artists like Ralph Steadman and Jeff MacNelly, from outdoor spaces, and even from creative restaurateurs. “I think the point with every painting is to find the inherent drama in each thing we’re trying to paint and then bring that out, in a huge way.” If you’re interested in finding out more, Trip Park is on Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs all under “Trip Park.” His work is housed in Charlotte at Shain Gallery. For more information email him at trippark@gmail.com.

A focused Trip Park, applies another layer with his palette knife to a recent painting of a blue crab.


HAYES

Selling Charlotte homes for over 30 years!

WWW.CCHREALTORS.COM


T he CU LTU RE

Marquee BenSchwartz, Director of the CJFF, at Ballantyne Village Theater.

engage with

film

5 Questions with Ben Schwartz, Director of the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival.

INTERVIEW BY JEFF LIPACK | PHOTO BY JAMEY PRICE

How did you get involved with the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival? I worked in Los Angeles as an assistant film editor for 8 years before moving back to Charlotte in 2001 to join the family business. In 2013, my work schedule grew a lot more flexible and I looked for something to get involved with that was film related. I knew immediately that the CJFF was something special. I’m not surprised at all by its success, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. What inspired the creation of the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival? Our inspiration from day one continues to be our inspiration

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today – to provide an illuminating and entertaining cultural, social and educational opportunity that brings the Charlotte community together for programming and events that will make them laugh, cry, think and feel. In just 11 years, the Festival has grown from a two film screening with about 140 attendees into a 28 film screening with over 4000 guests in attendance. Can you talk a little about how this massive increase has happened and what it’s been like to watch the festival thrive? The CJFF offers the perfect combination of things that make for a great event. We screen interesting movies, have informative and fun

value-added programming and basically provide an insular, nonthreatening access point for people to plug into the community, whether it’s for social, cultural, educational or simply entertainment reasons. The CJFF has also been extremely, extremely lucky to have had such a great leadership legacy. From Debby Block (2005-2006), Jodi Greenwald (2007-2011), Jeff Turk (2012-2013), Rick Willenzik (20142015) and now to me (though the jury is still out on moi), each Director has taken the mantle from their predecessors and kept the CJFF’s momentum moving forward. While each of us has brought our own ideas to the mix, everyone’s overall vision has been singular and unified – we all have wanted to


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Marquee

continue making the CJFF one of the premier cultural events in the region. What has been your greatest moment or experience during your time with the Jewish Film Festival? There have been so many great moments that it’s really hard to say this or that was the most successful. Two comments that people made to me recently really say a lot about how popular and important the CJFF brand has become and speaks volumes about what we have been able to accomplish. One emailer asked if we had dates yet for next year’s CJFF. After I told her the dates she said that her husband had to turn in his 2016 work and vacation schedule and he wanted to

be sure he was available to attend the festival. Another attendee recently told us that she and her husband are so busy with work and are on such different schedules that the two to three weeks that the CJFF takes place have become their annual date night period for the entire year.

CJFF | 2016

Program Schedule 2/20 | DOUGH 2/21 | ROCK IN THE RED ZONE 2/24 | SURVIVING SKOKIE

Where do you see the Festival going forward? How much more room for growth is there in this market?

2/27 | APPLES FROM THE DESERT

The CJFF’s goal and focus is to continue to do everything we can to be one of the premier cultural events in the region. We are constantly looking for ways to improve and make our events appealing and engaging to the entire community.

3/6 | SABENA HIJACKING

2/28 | BREAKFAST AT INA’S 3/2 | MR. KAPLAN 3/5 | WEDDING DOLL 3/9 | THE MIDNIGHT ORCHESTRA 3/12 | ONCE IN A LIFETIME A TALE 3/13 | OF LOVE AND DARKNESS 3/13 | SERIAL (BAD) WEDDINGS For more info: charlottejewishfilm.com

ENHANCE YOUR LIFESTYLE WHERE YOU LIVE

A MODERN RESPONSE TO CONTEXTUAL URBAN LIVING

SOUTHKINGS:Ruby is an urban, contemporary townhome-style luxury duplex nestled into the fabric of Charlotte’s premier neighborhood, Myers Park.

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DESIGN + BUILD

SOUTHKINGSMODERN.COM


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openings

CANVASED

pieces

THE MASTER

Sculptors to see at the New Gallery of Modern Art.

1

David Furman Prominent architect David Furman creates innovative sculptures from found objects.

2

Rainer Lagemann

F

Soul Catcher

Carlos Estévez’s exhibition comes to LaCa.

For Carlos Estévez, art is a mirror of the intangible; the intangible is the metaphysical reality — what we cannot see with our eyes. Estevez’s Soulcatcher is an attempt to capture the invisible

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dimension of the reality and explores the hidden dynamic of the universe. Through his lens, Estévez masterfully helps us discover the innermost depths of our world. FOR INFO: lacaprojects.com

His human forms are accentuated with light, forming incredible shadows.

3

Rick Lazes Lazes’ wood art and paper dolls are mustsee works. ricklazes.com


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gallery

Levine Museum of the New South’s exhibit Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Reinventing Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South takes guests on an explorative journey starting at the South’s roots in agriculture and ending with modern day industry.

The New

SOUTH

Enlightening exhibits at the Levine Museum of the New South are engaging the entire community.

T

BY PAULA ILONZE

The term “New South” was coined following the Civil War in 1865. It characterizes the progression and shift in the mindset of southerners regarding politics, economics, and cultural aspects. Great change emerged due to the abolition of slavery, forcing a complete reconstruction of the South. Being that we are in the South, understanding and celebrating the growth of the New South era, Charlotte and the surrounding central Piedmont in particular, is critical in building our community.

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PHOTO BY JAMEY PRICE

Since its founding in 1991, the Levine Museum of the New South has upheld its values of scholarship, education, collaboration, inclusion, and fiscal responsibility by the initiation of several exhibits educating and supporting the many underrepresented minorities of our society. One of the museum's newest exhibits is the NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South opened this past September, documenting the huge demographic shift in the United States, and how Latinos in particular have added to southern culture. This

exhibit created collaboratively with Atlanta History Center and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, “aims to engage Latinos of many backgrounds together with non-Latinos - serving as a catalyst for personal reflection, cross-cultural interaction and community engagement.” Another major focal point of the museum is its award-winning exhibit, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Reinventing Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South. This awe-inspiring exhibit immerses all its visitors in the story of Charlotte and the city's development and industrialization. With over 1,000 artifacts spanning over 8,000 square feet this exhibit brings enlightenment on old southern practices and traditions to thousands, and allows guests to understand how those traditions, as well as new growth have impacted the South's current culture. The Museum is also currently exhibiting Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited featuring black and white images that tell stories of the giving culture that dates back decades in the African American community, as well as We Are The Music Makers, which features the photos and stories of underground southern musicians. Both of these exhibits run into 2016, February and April respectively. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.museumofthenewsouth.org


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crafted

“I relish the idea of people forming a relationship with a piece.” Sydney Sogol

FiBER

a

Sydney Sogol’s fiber art focuses on exploring the relationship between color and pattern through weaving, dyeing, and manipulating fabrics. BY LYNETTE WADSWORTH | PHOTO BY JAMEY PRICE

At last, art meets its perfect soul mate. The distinct union between art and nature is breathtaking when seen through the creations of popular fiber artist, Sydney Sogol. Through weaving and dyeing, she is able to create beautiful fabrics that bring to life the perfect harmony between nature and various colors and patterns. From custom scarves to elegant drapes, Sydney’s work can be found hanging on the walls in homes and draping the necks of her most loyal clientele.

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Fiber artist, The success of Sydney’s craft and Sydney Sogol, her unique style of fabric making can in her studio, working behind be accredited to her endless fascinathe loom on a tion with nature and biology, and stunning new scarf. Sogol’s even more so to her undying love beautiful handfor animals. “Each piece I make is dyed one-of-akind yarns. inspired by a specific animal or plant to pay homage and bring attention to it’s natural beauty and unique story,” explains Sydney. Sydney’s art not only serves as an ode to nature’s beauty, but also as a voice for nature’s endangered species, a voice she hopes will one day be heard. “I hope that my work can provide an avenue for discussion on how humans and endangered species interact with and affect one another.” As a fiber artist, Sydney realized her passion for creativity in high school and has since cultivated her craft into creating functional pieces of art that people can both appreciate and utilize in their everyday lives. “I relish the idea of people forming a relationship with


Photography by Stefanie Haviv

WHY ART? Because when everything else is worn and discarded only your artwork will remain and will define who you are and what you value.

Offering an impressive selection of fine contemporary and vintage art. Follow us on Facebook.com/eldergallery 1520 South Tryon Street

Charlotte, NC 28203

(704) 370-6337

www.elderart.com


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crafted

“Each piece I make is inspired by an animal or plant to pay homage and bring attention to it’s natural beauty and unique story.” a piece, such as a scarf that can be used to keep warm, or a table runner that one can use to set the tone for a family dinner.” One of the most intriguing elements of Sydney’s popular work is the fact that each piece she creates is uniquely handmade and hand-dyed. Her creations include neckties, placemats, table runners, wall drapes, kitchen and bathroom towels, rugs, and scarves. Sydney also takes pleasure in customizing specific pieces for her clients. When she is not designing and creating fabrics, Sydney enjoys activities such as apple picking and mountain hiking, which also provide more inspiration for her awe-inspiring creations. Those interested in Sydney’s creations or commissioning a custom piece of their own, can find Sydney’s work at www.sydneysogol.com. FOR MORE INFO: www.sydneysogol.com

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Sydney Sogol’s Bonds Series showcases fiber in fine arts. Sogol shows off a colorful scarf in its final stages.


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ST YLings

COCO |HILL Childhood friends Erin McDermott and Kiki Slaughter bring their muses together to launch a collaborative effort, Coco Hill, a new brand that highlights both of their talents: abstract art and fine jewelry making. BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS BY ANDREA SHIREY


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ST YLings

THIS PAGE: The inspiration behind the name Coco Hill - Erin McDermott with her daughter Coco (left), and Kiki Slaughter with her son, Hill (right).

K

Kiki Slaughter and Erin McDermott White met as children at Camp Seafarer two decades ago. As they grew up side by side – roommates at UVA and bridesmaids in each other’s weddings - each woman started her own successful career in the arts before bringing their muses together to launch their collaborative effort, Coco Hill, in 2015. Slaughter, who hails from Charlottesville, VA, is an abstract artist who manipulates paint on canvas to create richly textured pieces full of

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color and layered with subtle evocations of places and things she loves. Today, she lives and works out of Atlanta, spending her days in her paint-splattered studio. Erin McDermott White, who is based out of Charlotte, made her career in the arts as a designer and maker of handcrafted jewelry. Her jewelry line, made to transition from casual to formal, incorporates pops of both soft and bright colors, along with geodes, quartz, and corals.

As long-time friends and supporters of one another’s passions, Coco Hill grew out of what the women describe as a shared love for wearable art. Each piece of Coco Hill jewelry is made with hand-painted colorful canvas sourced from Slaughter’s art and then crafted into a piece of jewelry – a chunky pastel printed bangle or a fine gold chain necklace adorned with a splash of tasseled canvas – by McDermott. The name of their brand-new side venture was inspired by the newest stage of life these two women have to share – the births of their first children: McDermott’s daughter, Coco and Slaughter’s son, Hill. FOR MORE INFO: @shopcocohill www.ShopCocoHill.com


TAKE SIDES From resurrected Old South grains served simply in butter and authenticity, to decadent mac and cheese, sultry collard greens, and the best bread you’ve ever put in your mouth: The Queen City’s restaurants have some absolutely delicious sides.

Sides from Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen photographed by Lunahzon.

BY JP GRICE | PHOTOS BY LUNAHZON OR JAMEY PRICE


BOB PETERS • 78 | POURED • 80 | PROFILED • 82

THE LIST • 66 | PLATED • 72 | CORKED & CASKED • 76

The SPREA D


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the list

PREVIOUS SPREAD: An assortment of sides from Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen photographed by Lunahzon. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: King’s Kitchen’s collard greens served on a southern plate. Georges’ gratin de mac. Kindred’s milk bread. Rooster’s Carolina gold rice with chicken. Biscuits from Uptown’s The Asbury.

T

The southern menu of my childhood was the meat and three: roasted chicken, a salty slab of country ham, or maybe a chicken fried steak, with my choice of sides and bread. Pickin’ the sides was always my favorite. There were so many options: mashed potatoes, green beans, rice, pintos, you name it. For the most part I always opted for a creamy mac and cheese, fried okra (the crispy kind, not that soggy stuff), velvety collards, and a biscuit (rolls be damned). But now, as Charlotte’s food scene is blossoming, when it comes to sides there’s way more choices and sophisticated ones at that - then ever before. To help you with your sidedish deliberation, these are my eight new favorites in the Queen City. Rooster’s Carolina Gold

Georges BRASSERIE Mac

When you get an amazing local ingredient there’s only one thing a good chef can do with it: pay homage. At Rooster’s, Jim Noble and crew take an antebellum rice brought back from the dead by diligent farmer, Glenn Roberts, and prepare it in the way it was meant to be; with appreciation, respect, and a heck of a lot of flavor.

The Gratin de Mac served at the South Park staple isn’t the standard comfort dish you grew up with. It’s got the same golden crust and arrives at the table in the same casserole dish but that’s where the similarities end. Georges’ version features luscious, milky noodles, chunks of lardon-esque bacon, and, gruyere - not cheddar - stars in this show. It’s amellow, creamy mac n’

• A Close 2ND: BEN THANH FRIED RICE

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cheese that your long lost French grandmother would surely approve. • A Close 2ND: Del Frisco’s MAC

Dogwood’s Pimento Bake Beloved in the South, pimento cheese is usually smeared between two pieces of white bread, crusts neatly trimmed. But at Dogwood the chefs take the iconic staple, bake it, and serve it bubbling hot out of the oven. What guests get is tradition elevated - a warm, crisp-on-top, gooey-in-the-middle, yet still sharp and savory skillet of goodness. • A Close 2ND: QUEEN CHARLOTTe’s

KINDRED’s MILK BREAD The only thing talked about more in Davidson than the NBA’s reigning MVP and alumnus Steph Curry is the milk bread from the folks at


the list

Kindred. Salty, airy, with hints of honey, this stuff is addictive. • A Close 2ND: Customshop bread

the South, my gramma, reside on a King’s Kitchen plate. They’re not bitter, they’re wilted just right, and the seasoning is near perfect.

Cellar’s Brussel Sprouts

• A Close 2ND: HARPER’s COLLARDS

The small plates at this dimly lit speakeasy below Tryon will have you singing Cellar at Duckworth’s praises. The cocktails are unabashedly some of the best around. However it’s the unexpected that has me going back weekly: flaky brussels, budding with flavor, with smoked pancetta, red onion, and balsamic.

BEEF & BOTTLE’s SPINACH

• A Close 2ND: SMOKE’S cORN muffins

Creamed spinach is an essential at virtually every steakhouse on the planet, but the simple, delightfully lush spinach that accompanies your perfectly medium rare steak at Beef & Bottle melts in your mouth. • A Close 2ND: BLT STEAK’S SPINACH

• A Close 2ND: STAGIONI’s VEGGIES

Asbury’s Cast IRON BISCUITS KING’s KITCHEN COLLARDS The only collards that come close to the greatest collard-preparer in

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’em, the biscuits at the Asbury are served table side in your very own cast iron pan. These crumbly golden handfuls are downright downhome and they only get better when you spread some of his housemade bacon jam on the fold.

“Just like your mama” did them, or at least how the talented chef, Chris Coleman’s maw maw did

Pimento cheese bake photo courtesy of Dogwood Southern Table & Bar.

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SCOTCH EGG

AT THE RITZ

Ritz- Carlton’s The Punch Room delivers nothing less than uber-creative and absolutely delicious plates and in this issue we share one of their inventive recipes with our readers.

p

PHOTO BY jAMEY PRICE

Put quail eggs in a pan with just enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a simmer, take the pan off the heat and cover for 2 minutes. Shock the eggs with ice water. Peel the eggs and put aside. Place plastic wrap across your countertop. Put chicken sausage on top of the wrap. Then place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of the chicken sausage. Using a rolling pin, roll out chicken sausage between plastic wrap, until very thin (approximately 1/8 inch thick). Lift off the top wrap and brush the sausage with dijon. Using a two-and-a-half inch circular mold, cut circles in the sausage. Place eggs in circles and then wrap the eggs with sausage using an offset spatula. Gently bread with flour, egg wash, and panko bread crumbs. Fry the Scotch eggs at 330 degrees for 3-4 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Serve with smoked paprika aioli, and your fvorite hot sauce. For The Punch Room’s aioli recipe visit qcexclusive.com.

FOR MORE INFO: @thepunchroom www.ritzcarlton.com


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PLATED

Ingredients • 4 6 oz. Salmon Filets • 2 Ears Of Corn • 2 Large Squash, Diced • 2 Large Zucchini, Diced • 1/2 lb. Limas • 2 Large Tomatoes, Diced • Juice Of 2 lemons • 2 Cups Heavy Cream • 1/4 Cup Basil Pesto • Salt For Seasoning • Pepper For Seasoning Salmon Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon in a small pan. Sauté for one minute on the presentation side. Flip over and place on a baking sheet. Bake the salmon at 350 degrees for eight minutes. Succotash

Good Food On Montford’s

SALMON & SUCCOTASH PHOTO BY JAMEY PRICE

The Montford Drive eatery, Good Food On Montford, is one of the most consistent restaurants in the Queen City, delivering culinary excellence with each plate and every visit. This recipe, like most at Good Food, is sure to deliver the goods.

SAVOR THIS DISH 74 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016

The duck ham and the chicken liver mousse Block & Grinder

Shuck corn cobs and cut kernels off of thecorn. Heat a pan over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil in the pan. Add corn and sauté for 20 seconds. Add squash and sauté for one minute. Add limas, heavy cream and a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil for 20 seconds. Remove pan from the heat and add lemon juice, pesto, and diced tomatoes just before serving. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.goodfoodonmontford.com

The decadent Ribeye deckel smothered in blue cheese Customshop

Old State Shrimp And Grits King’s Kitchen


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CORKED & CASKED

Cloudline

STONE

Pinot Noir 2013 Willamette Valley, OR

GO TO SESSION IPA ESCONDIDO, CA

Sometimes the mood calls for red but you’re cooking fish or poultry and the pairing is off. It’s time to reach for this extremely versatile wine from the premier pinot noir region in the States.

It’s hard to resist a good IPA but the time is not always right if the ABV is too high. In comes an extremely drinkable session IPA at 4.5%, from the makers of Arrogant Bastard Ale.

“An everyday pinot noir that pairs well with salmon and lighter red meats, and poultry.”

“Lower ABV in an IPA means you can drink a couple more than the typical IPA.”

- Rob Rondelez, Rhino Market & Deli

- Rob Rondelez, Rhino Market & Deli

BY STEPHEN PHILPOTT | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE

FOR THE

PALATE

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El Libre Argentina Malbec

Selby 2012 Sonoma CA Chardonnay

Hoppy Birthday Alpine Brewing Session IPA

Mocha Java Porter Sugar Creek Brewing Porter


BARRINGTON’S ~

~

Est. Est.

2014

2000

Est.

2009

JAN/FEB 2016 • @qcexclusive • 77


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poured

Bob Peters’

WINTER IS WELCOME PHOTOS BY jUSTIN DRISCOLL

W

When we told Bob Peters our first issue of 2016 was dedicated to Charlotte’s arts and culture his first reaction was to create an avant-garde cocktail that would push the limits. And push them he did. His “Winter is Welcome” recipe is nothing short of revolutionary. Using a porthole, a hand-held smoker, North Carolina pecan wood, and the perfect blend of local ingredients, Peters creates a concoction of the ethereal. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: Follow Bob Peters on Instagram @bob_peters | @thepunchroom

78 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016

Bob Peters adds smoke to ingredients inside the porthole, a vessel that will help infuse his Winter Is Welcome cocktail. For those without access to a porthole or hand-held smoker simply visit The Punch Room to taste this and more of Peters’ creations.

Ingredients

Method

• 4oz Cardinal Gin • 4oz Fair Game Apple Tipper Wine • 2 oz Simple Syrup • 30 Black Peppercorns • 1/2 Sliced Pear • 2 Wheels of Blood Orange • 2 Cinnamon Sticks • 6 Whole Star Anise Pods • 1/2 Finger of Fresh Ginger (Sliced Thin)

Add the ingredients into the porthole. With a Polyscience hand-held cold smoker, smoke NC pecan wood. Once the porthole is full of smoke infuse the cocktail for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Serve the infused cocktail in a chilled Nick & Nora glass for added elegance and enjoy.


APPROACHABLE WINES. HONEST FOOD. PASSIONATE PEOPLE.

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JAN/FEB 2016 • @qcexclusive • 79


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poured

Customshop’s

Aperol and Cranberry

Spritz

Trey Wilson’s Customshop is known for its delicious, fresh, and locally sourced fare. This philosophy and attentionto-detail permeates, extending past the plate to the bar, where Wilson and company round out the experience by serving mesmerizing cocktails like this Aperol and Cranberry Spritz in an alluring and endearing setting. PHOTO BY EMILY DNISTRAN

Ingredients • 2 oz Aperol • 1 oz Domaine de Canton • 2 oz Natural Unsweetened Cranberry Juice • Ginger Cognac • Creole Bitters • Fresh Lemon • Soda • Persimmon & Fresh Cranberry Garnish

Method Fill a cocktail shaker a third of the way with ice. Add Aperol, Domaine de Canton, ginger cognac, juice, and two dashes of bitters. Shake until the mixture is chilled. Fill a highball glass halfway with ice, add a lemon wedge, and then strain contents of shaker into the highball. Add soda, stir gently, and garnish with a persimmon and a fresh cranberry. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.customshopfood.com


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profiled

cleverLy crafted perfectly prescribed Andrew and Liz Porter’s grain-to-glass vodka is made with North Carolina wheat and handcrafted right here in Charlotte, giving it a regional taste and one-of-a-kind local flavor.

BY jEFF LIPACK | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE

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I

profiled

“It was a big risk, having to get a location and pay for the classes and legal processes before ever knowing if we would be allowed to continue, but it has been worth it.” - Liz Porter

In a crowded market, authenticity is a difficult thing to come by and when everything is mass-produced, a high quality, handcrafted product can seem like a thing from a bygone era. Home grown in a distillery near South End and uptown Charlotte, Doc Porters is the exception – a true craft vodka. Owner and operator Andrew Porter first learned about craft liquors as a chemical engineering major sitting in a distillation class in college. Years later when he met his wife, Liz, the idea to create their own distillery slowly transformed from daydream to reality. Now, two and a half years and many legal processes later, Doc Porters is finally being bottled. The Porters have had to deal with the many unique complications that come along with opening a craft spirit distillery. Unlike a craft brewery, Doc Porters has to go through a large mix of regulatory processes due to strict ABC laws in place in the Carolinas. In fact, it wasn’t until Andrew and Liz finished all the regulations that they were actually able to create and taste their own vodka for the very first time. “It was a big risk, having to get a location and pay for the classes and legal processes before ever knowing if we would be allowed to continue,” Andrew says. “But it has been worth it.” Now, Andrew is finally able to put his chemical engineering degree to use and create the nuanced flavors they are chasing. While Andrew stays busy at work in the back rooms perfecting the science of distilling, Liz focuses her Marketing and PR background on perfecting the business’ image.

NC/SC Distilleries

1

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Defiant Whisky Bostic NC Single Malt

2

OPPOSITE PAGE: Liz and Andrew Porter at their Peterson Dr. tasting room and distillery.

Under the slogan, “Cleverly Crafted,” Liz aims to bring a genuine craft feel to the brand. Unlike many modern spirits, Doc Porters is what you call a ‘Grain to Glass’ vodka: every step of the distillation process takes place under one roof. Andrew and Liz get a shipment of wheat from a local farmer and from there they mill, mash, ferment, and finally distill it. In doing each of these steps themselves, the Porters are able to more clearly control flavor, quality, and consistency. Until very recently, one key difference in running a spirit distillery and a beer brewery is the fact that breweries can sell their product from the location that they produce it. The Porters, along with many other North Carolina distilleries, decided to try to produce change within the government. After months of work, the lobbying proved successful. Active on October 1st of 2015, distilleries are now allowed to sell one bottle per person per year after a tour is given. While this may seem like a small step, it is a huge move forward for distilleries. With the success of their vodka, the Porters have also decided to start venturing into other types of spirits, like whiskey and gin. Currently, the whiskey is aging in the warehouse in American oak barrels and the gin is still in the flavor testing process. And even though they can only sell one bottle per person, Andrew and Liz believe that is plenty to get their customers’ attention. And why wouldn’t it be? With a quality, handcrafted product, customers are sure to discover that quality always trumps quantity. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.docporters.com

Dark Corner Greenville SC Whiskey

3

Muddy River Belmont, NC Rum

4

High Wire Charleston, SC Gin/Vodka


foundations

VERMILLION

Charlotte interior designer Amy Vermillion talks about her design beginnings, inspirations, and a recent renovation that embodies her elegant style and grace. iNTERVIEW BY jP GRICE | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE

Tell us about your background in interior design? I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design and I’m a member of ASID. When I graduated, my first job was designing furniture and custom kitchens and baths on the North Shore of Chicago. It was great because the clients we designed for had almost no parameters of budget or scope, allowing me to have creative reign. After that I worked for another residential interior design firm where the owner basically gave me clients and threw me in the pool! How did you start your design business? I did some consulting for an architectural designer and those construction clients turned into design clients. Eventually my name got out there and the phone started ringing with referrals. All it takes is one great client who spreads the word. I was fortunate to have that great client. Did you always want to start your own firm? Yes! When I was a kid I discarded my dollhouse furniture and repurposed all sorts of objects for tables and beds. My mom will tell you that when I was a teenager and got moody I would lock myself in my room and rearrange it.

86 • qcexclusive.com • JAN/FEB 2016

How would you describe your style to others? I have been told my style is clean and comfortably elegant. I don’t like spaces that are over-designed - it seems incongruous to the way we live. Details are extremely important to me though, and I find the best way to [incorporate detail] is through architecture and finishes. What is your favorite part about day-to-day work? My absolute favorite thing is working with my clients face-to-face when we are in the design groove. Nothing makes me happier than a client who is enjoying the process and is excited about their new [space]. Creating with my talented team is a pretty close second. When did you start getting noticed for your design work and how did the recognition make you feel? Several years ago my mom called me and said, “I just saw you in the New York Times Magazine and your father and I are so incredibly proud of you.” That was one of my first “pinch me” moments. [Recently my work was] included in a beautiful new design book with all of my long time interior design crushes. When I received my copy a couple of weeks ago and opened it, I got choked up.


The FOLio KITCHEN & BATH • 98 | BEFORE & AFTER • 102 | BLUE PRINT • 104

FOUNDATIONS • 86 | FURNISHED • 92 | VIGNETTES • 94 Amy Vermillion showing off one of her favorite spaces - a master bath featuring Calcutta Gold marble and custom architectural details - designed for her client Kristen Cone.


T he FOLIO

foundations

“Details are extremely important and I find the best way to incorporate them is through architecture and finishes.” CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT:

Cone’s new closet has an emphasis on both function and beauty. The kitchen and attached scullery provide an elegant space to entertain guests.

- amy vermillion

What sets your design apart from others? First, I have an amazing team of trades and craftspeople who execute my designs seamlessly. I honestly couldn’t do what I do without them. Secondly, I’m selective about what projects we work on and that benefits everyone involved; especially the client. Not every job is the right fit for either party. Being a trusted advisor is where I do my best work and I view each project as a creative collaboration between my client and myself. Are there any designers that inspire you and your work? My first boss, Catherine Chiesa taught me to look beyond what’s in front of me and to view negative space as importantly as positive; to take notice to the wall space around the painting as if it was part of the overall scheme. My mom, who isn’t a trained designer but has amazing style, gave me my love for the home and its furnishings.

What is something most people don’t know about design? That good or bad design has an effect on everyday living. Whether it’s a terrible color that makes you feel a certain way or a purposefully designed kitchen that can positively change the way your family cooks and eats together. It’s important and I never knew that until my clients told me how their lives had changed for the better after we had finished our project. Do you have any upcoming projects or plans for your company you are excited about? We are working on some beautiful projects here in Charlotte and have a couple in the pipeline out of town. Currently, I’m helping the Green Beret Foundation design

AMY’S THOUGHTS ON the CONE Renovation

THE GOALs I wanted to repurpose the spaces of the Cone’s Foxcroft home to not only be more functional (with more storage) but also add architectural detail and specialized custom designed elements.

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THE CLOSET

THE SOURCE

We expanded and closed off Kristen Cone’s

We used Calcutta Gold marble on the floors,

side of the closet entirely, then took her

walls and counters in the Master Bath to give

specific ideas for her bags and clothing and

an elegant and spacious feeling. The marble

guided her on the aesthetics. Everything is

adds a natural pattern but isn’t too busy. I de-

white, so the space is bright and easy to navi-

signed the drawers and doors with the same,

gate, and it’s both beautiful and functional.

simple custom detail.


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foundations

OPPOSITE: Vermillion’s favorite space, the master bath, has spectacular lighting, a luxurious bath tub and vanity, and added elements of architectural design to complete the aesthetic.

their offices and transition center, which is very special to me. The Green Beret Foundation provides support and resources for Green Berets and their families. I’m humbled by their service and sacrifice. It is so fulfilling to use my design skills in a charitable way. How does it make you feel when you finish a design and see your client’s reactions? I really do have the best job in the world and I love working with my clients. Most of my clients could hire anyone yet they entrust me with not only their homes but their family’s well being too. This is not lost on me, nor my design. It’s not just about the pretty fabrics and the furnishings - it’s about changing the way we think about the way we function in our homes and how that impacts our daily life.

“Good or bad design has an effect on everyday living.” - amy vermillion

FOR MORE INFO: Amyvermillion.com

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SERVICE


T he FOLIO

FURNISHED

curated Jacyln Ehrlich of Jaclyn Ehrlich Interior Design shares her favorite finds for the new year. For more information and designs visit her at jaclynehrlich.com.

LIGHTING GONE WILD Show your wild side by mixing it up with unexpected objects like this white feather lamp from Grace and Blake.

SHOW-STOPPING CRAFTSMANSHIP

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makes beautiful accents to

a beautiful, intricate

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FLOWERS FOR EVERY OCCASION Beautifully made florals centered around unique flowers are always a welcoming sight. bellefleurny.com

art in nature Beautifully arranged

Metal leaves, glass beads

butterflies and insects

and elegant curves make

create unexpected art that

this fixture special.

really speaks for itself.

lunabella.com

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NEVER OUT OF PLACE Cindy and Whitney Caudle’s

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LIGHTS PLEASE

CLEAN & SIMPLE

Piper Collection features

A slight curve on an

bold color combinations and

upholstered dining

graphic textures perfect for

chair invites friends to

the contemporary home.

linger in comfort.

piper-collection.com

leeindustries.com


T he FOLIO

VIGNETTES

tip

jan feb

Tamara Heathers incorporates natural and neutral elements and here’s why.

REVERENCE Charlotte interior designer Tamara Heather Leicester talks about one of her favorite spaces, a family mountain retreat in the Blue Ridge. PHOTOS BY DEB SCANNELL

What was the inspiration for the space? The room was inspired by the home’s setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains, situated on a steeply sloping site at about 4,500 feet of elevation with a long-range southwest view. The room is surrounded by windows that draw in the natural beauty of the wooded mountain location. All of the architecture and interior design choices were made out of reverence for the location and setting. What materials were used and why? The materials are simple and warm, with an emphasis on natural wood. The dining

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table is walnut, and the chairs are curly maple on reclaimed schoolhouse frames. The floor is also maple, and the fireplace is clad in pine. The natural materials fit well with the wooded surrounds, and provide a soft, tactile warmth to the space. What were your major considerations? One major consideration was using local artists and artisans for most of the furnishings. North Carolina has a strong craft tradition, so I wanted to pay homage to that history. I designed the round dining table to seat six; the base is an abstracted tree branch structure. It was

A focus on natural materials provides a soft, tactile warmth to the space.

Neutral paint colors for the wall and trim soften the space even in the harshest of light.

An interior that nurtures the natural elements of the home’s surroundings can be more harmonious.

A neutral base, is like a blank canvas, allowing you the owner to accentuate the space with pops of color.


T he FOLIO

VIGNETTES

made by Charlotte furniture maker Mica Sorkin. The chairs are by Asheville furniture maker Aaron Bailey, who has a studio called Edge of Asheville, and the red tree painting is by Asheville artist Phil DeAngelo. How did you choose the color palette for the space? It’s a neutral palette of off-white and dark brown and bronze along with wood tones. A mostly neutral palette is best here because it doesn’t compete with the views. I chose Sherwin Williams’ Neutral Ground for the walls, and the color makes the space feel soft and inviting, even under the direct glare of the afternoon sun. There are also accents of red and orange throughout the home that were inspired by fall foliage and drawn from a painting in the master bedroom (not pictured). What was your client’s reaction to the space and how did that make you feel when the project was finalized? We absolutely love it! As the designer and homeowner, I’m really proud of how it turned out. FOR MORE INFO: tamaraheatherinteriors.com

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T he FOLIO

kitchen & bath

The Carpenters received a custom cabinet package that incorporates storage in every square inch of their kitchen, along with quartzite countertops, tile accents, and hardwood floors.

CUSTOM Amy Kachin of Urban Building Group discusses the design strategy behind the gorgeous renovation of Charles and Kathleen Carpenters’ kitchen. INTERVIEW BY BRETT BARTER | PHOTOS BY JIM SCHMIDT

What major changes were made with this kitchen? This kitchen had the square footage to be a large, gourmet kitchen, but simply wasn’t being utilized to its fullest potential. Kitchens are made in inches and even fractions of inches, and every one counts. By removing two large, but poorly planned pantry closets and incorporating the regained space into the kitchen we were able to add cabinetry for better storage and a commercial appliance package. What was the inspiration behind the entire space? While a classic palette of cool gray and white tones has been popular for several years, our clients really wanted a warmer take on this timeless color scheme. Not only would this scheme flow better with the rest of the house, but it also offered an inviting backdrop for the home’s most popular room.

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What materials were used in the space, why, and how do these materials elevate this space? A lot of my clients love the look of marble but hate the durability. While there are good sealers to help offset the etching and staining of marble, it simply isn’t the right material for everyone. This was the case for the carpenters. Quartzite countertops were a great solution for this family – they offer great durability while still providing a softer palette of colors than what granite or man-made quartz products can offer. This particular Quartzite is also very unique and is the perfect show-stopper on this large central island. I also love using hardwoods in the kitchen. I think the warm aesthetic of hardwoods is not only soft on the overall palette, but also your feet as you work in the space. The dark hardwood stain grounds the space while contrasting nicely with the warm greys, taupes, and whites used in this design.


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kitchen & bath

Urban Building Group incorporated a stellar top-of-the-line appliance package featuring stainless Thermador Appliances and to complete the room the Carpenters fell in love with a quartzite slab.

What were the major considerations for the space and how did you achieve your clients’ goals with this space? The Carpenters knew that the appliances in this kitchen had to be top-notch. It can sometimes be difficult to balance such a large appliance package with the cabinetry when trying to achieve a look that is both traditional and timeless. I always carefully consider which appliances should be panelized and how much stainless will achieve the look my client is after. In this kitchen we opted for a custom-built cabinet grade hood on the cooktop and double oven wall, but opted for a stainless refrigerator and freezer columns on the pantry wall. Overall, this decision created a custom aesthetic that really shows off these gorgeous commercial appliances. How did you choose the color palette for the room and how do you think it impacts the space? We started with a timeless white kitchen, then found the perfect quartzite countertops to compliment the warm color scheme our clients were after. From there we were able to find the perfect complimentary color for the island and Butler’s Pantry. The tile accent behind the range married all of these elements together and the clients couldn’t be happier with the end result. The kitchen now feels brighter, larger, and features a perfect mixture of casual and elegant.

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Was there a set budget you had to work with? There’s always a budget! My goal is to maximize my client’s needs in a way that can accomplish all of the priorities within the space, even if those are adjusted priorities for what is actually feasible. Most of the time we start with a few very specific priorities – in this case, the cabinetry design and appliance package. Kathleen received a custom cabinet package that incorporated storage in every square inch of her kitchen, a stellar top-of-the line appliance package featuring Thermador Appliances. She then fell in love with a quartzite slab that really became one of the best features of this kitchen. While these stunning countertops certainly didn’t save on the overall budget, the durability of this material and conversational piece was worth every penny! What’s your favorite part of the space? While my favorite element in this kitchen is the beautiful island countertop slab, I don’t believe it would have the same effect without the compliment of the tile backsplash mosaic behind the range top. Both of these elements are great as stand-alone finishes, but together, it’s perfection. FOR A BIT MORE INFORMATION: www.urbanbuildinggroup.com


T he FOLIO

BEFORE & AFTER

DOUBLE

Take

Lauren Nicole brightens and rejuvenates a Northshore Estates space by incorporating neutrals and hues of blue. BY LYNETTE WADSWORTH PHOTOS BY RANDOLPH FOULDS

AFTER

E

BEFORE

Exquisite styles and functional designs can be found in beautiful homes across the Carolinas thanks to the unique insight and talent of Lauren Nicole Designs. For nearly a decade, this outstanding mother-daughter team has been refining their craft by catering to the exceptional needs of each of their clients. “Every home is unique, every situation is unique and every client is special and unique, that’s why our focus is on each individual’s “Soft grey herringbone fabric on the oversized sectional set the tone for accents of charcoal grey, slate blue and beige. [They] work together while maintaining a warm neutral color scheme.” - Lauren CLEMENT

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tastes, styles, wants and needs.” shares founder Lauren Clement. Lauren Nicole Designs’ most recent success, Northshore Estates, is a stunning 10,000 square foot home in Greensboro, NC. The owners of the estate sought to awaken the spirit of their traditional home with a touch of the contemporary and chose the Lauren Nicole Designs team for the job. By applying subtle color schemes and stylish furnishings the team created an el-

“To see just how light and bright this room actually is with all of the dark terracotta paint gone is enough to make anyone do a double take!”

egant aesthetic that is both gorgeous and more functional. Additionally, hand-selected accents and accessories added personality to each room, making the exceptional details the focal point of the home’s new look. www.laurennicoleinc.com


T he FOLIO

BLUEPRINT


THE PUB Lori and Craig Evans, with the help of Charlotte’s New Old, transformed an unfinished basement into an authentic Irish Pub. BY JP GRICE | PHOTOS BY DUSTIN PECK


T he FOLIO

BLUEPRINT

T The chandeliers down the staircase and in the Snug are from the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

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The Evans family knew they wanted to do something special with their unfinished space, but they didn’t know exactly what. After lots of thought the family settled on an idea, and an unconventional one at that. They chose to design and build a fully functional, historically authentic, and super cool Irish Pub. “We lived in our home for about a year before making a decision. We wanted a place for family and friends to hang out, a place that people didn’t want to leave. We’ve always loved the warm and inviting feeling of an Irish Pub and decided that would be perfect for this space,” said Lori Evans.

Finding a builder that the family felt comfortable with was a major priority. They needed someone that could see their vision and bring it to life. “It took about 18 months for Craig and I to plan the Pub. During that time we purchased the bar, back bar and most of the furnishings. Once we decided that an Irish Pub was what we wanted to do in the basement we set out to find a builder that could see our vision and then build it,” said Lori. After a year of searching the Evans’ settled on a builder that they believed understood their goals and desires for the space. They chose to work with Charlotte’s own New Old.


The billiards room memorabilia and antique observation chairs are from Eric Sprouse of Dilworth Billiards.

“There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of an authentic, old-fashioned Irish Pub and we wanted a very specific look to recreate that feel.”

Over the last ten years New Old’s founder Mary Ludemann and her team have designed and built some of the finest luxury homes in the Charlotte area. For them the Evans’ concept was one of the most unique projects they had ever been presented. Senior project manager, Darren Slate headed up this incredible build, and the end results prove that New Old and Slate were more than up for the task. Several major details were paramount to the Evans family when building their dream space. First, authenticity was key, and for good reason. “There’s nothing quite like

the atmosphere of an authentic, oldfashioned Irish Pub and we wanted a very specific look to recreate that feel for the ceilings and walls.” They went as far as to buy an entire wall from a Victorian home purchased at Crossland Studio in Charlotte. After all, if the end result wasn’t an accurate pub aesthetic then the entire space could potentially come across as kitschy. This of course did not happen. The space the Evans’ designed and New Old and Slate built is spot on. Livability was also a factor. Although they wanted a fun space to entertain they also “wanted it to be very

In the Billiards Room hangs a “Billiards Saloon” sign that hung in the Spaghetti Factory in South End.

livable and decided to add a private bedroom and full bath for overnight guests.” Access to the space from the outside of the home also makes it feel like a real pub, tavern sign and all, and “incredibly inviting.” The 2,300 square foot unfinished basement was a blank canvas for the Evans family and Slate, and the finished pub takes up nearly 1,900 square feet of that existing space. When entering through the exterior entrance, guests are led to the gathering room “centered around a potbellied stove set inside the hearth of a fireplace with a one hundred year-old mantle. It is a wonderful conversation

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T he FOLIO

BLUEPRINT

“Your home is an extension of yourself and should reflect your unique personality and design. That’s what makes a home feel like home.” - DARREN SLATE

The snug was a small private room with access to the bar. You used to pay a higher price for alcohol in the Snug. “Well-off” visitors or patrons who preferred not to be seen in the public bar would sit here. It was also the place where the parish priest would enjoy his evening whiskey.

area,” according to Slate. Contiguous to this room is the centerpiece of the space, the pub, highlighted by the front bar - which was made up by a one hundred and fifty year-old hardware counter and a custom add-on made perfectly to match. The back bar, where the glassware and spirits are stored was custom constructed from an antique walnut wardrobe.

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Slate credits “John Page, owner of High Country Cabinetry,” for working “magic in using existing antiques and pieces and transforming them and incorporating them in all the new custom cabinetry throughout.” Off the bar, guests have access to the Snug, Slate’s favorite room in the house. In a traditional pub, the snug was a private room that had access

to the bar. Guests that sat in the snug would pay a higher price for alcohol in exchange for the privacy the snug afforded. According to Slate, it was also a place where “the parish priest would enjoy his evening whiskey.” Adjacent to the snug are the billiards room and card room, both of which are the perfect place to entertain and spend your nights gaming away. Like the rest of the pub, these spaces were also furnished with authentic furniture and accents from some of the best vendors in Charlotte and the Carolinas including Dilworth Billiards, Dilworth Antique Lighting, Carolina Pool Tables, Shed Brand Studios, Charleston Design Works, Sleepy Poet Antique Mall, Gibson Mill Antique Mall, Crossland Studio and more. In the end, and after nearly two years, from conception to build, Craig and Lori got the Irish Pub they didn’t know they always wanted and it truly is the perfect reflection of their family and their personality. As Slate sums it up, “Your home is an extension of yourself and should reflect your unique personality and design. That’s what makes a home feel like home.” FOR A BIT MORE INFORMATION: www.newold.com


“We take care of people. That’s what we do.” Phil Jurney Charlotte Market President

A lifelong Charlotte resident, with 27 years of experience, Phil is one of our city’s most respected bankers. And he serves the community, on the board of Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas. Phil approaches every day with a desire to be prepared, present, and proactive for his clients. And he is excited to meet you! To see Phil’s video, visit ParagonBank.com/PhilJurney Give Phil a call: 704.644.4005

6337 Morrison Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28211 704.644.4001 | ParagonBank.com Member FDIC /

Equal Housing Lender


SPORTING

SOUTH EASTERN W ILDLIF E EXPOSITION The Holy City’s SEWE is the South’s premier exposition for the sportsman, conservationist, wildlife enthusiast and art devotee.

PHOTOS BY PAUL MULKEY IMAGES


The EXPLORED DEPARTURES • 120 | DISPATCH • 124

SPORTING • 110 | CAROLINA TOWNS • 116 FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Featured artist Kyle Sims’ River Bottom Wander. Guest artist Greg Beecham’s Old Log, Kyle Sims’ Power And Grace. Lita Gatlin’s Turkeys. Ryan Kirby’s Wood Drake.


T he EXPLORED

Sporting

[LEFT] John Banovich’s Legends. [RIGHT] 2016 featured artist Kyle Sims’ Near The Tetons.

F

For 33 years, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) has proudly presented the finest in wildlife and sporting art. Held in Charleston, South Carolina, SEWE is one of the largest and longest running art events of its kind on the East Coast, hosting more than 100 artists annually. A three-day celebration of wildlife and nature through fine art, conservation education, sporting demonstrations and the people who honor them all, SEWE makes its home in Charleston, South Carolina and plays host to hundreds of artists, exhibitors, and experts in wildlife and nature art – all eager to share their art and insights with more than 40,000 attendees from across the nation. SEWE’s impact on Charleston and the region continues to grow, as does its popularity. Each year, the exposition generates an estimated $50 million; it provides the public with easy, affordable, enjoyable access to wildlife and nature conservation programs; it increases awareness about the need to protect and preserve our natural environment; and, it celebrates our collective love for wildlife, nature and our role in preserving them for generations to enjoy.

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The 34th annual event will open February 12th and close February 14th, 2016 at five venues throughout downtown Charleston and VIP events will begin Wednesday, February 10th, 2016. SEWE will showcase the work of more than 100 painters, carvers and sculptors in Charleston Place Hotel’s grand ballroom. Each year, SEWE includes well-respected veterans, mid-career artists and talented up-and-comers in the weekend event. One painter is selected as featured artist each year. Artists honored with this distinction over the years have included Brett Smith, Carl Brenders, John Banovich, Dustin Van Wechel, Greg Beecham and Eldridge Hardie. Kyle Sims has been selected as the 2016 Featured Painter, and Stefan Savides the Featured Sculptor. Guest Artists include John Banovich, Greg Beecham and Brett Smith. Watch SEWE artists create original pieces live during the Quick Draw/Speed Sculpt on February 12th at Charleston Place. Working in their designated exhibit space, each participating artist will have just one hour to create a piece from start to finish. A live auction will take place after where attendees can bid on the works.

Carolina Artists 15 artists from the Carolinas you’ll want to see at SEWE. Peggy Watkins jennifer BLACK lita gaTlin mark horton ryan kirby hilarie lambert blaise lareau kevin leprince cecilia murray scott penegar paul puckett vicki robinson larry seymour jan sasser john tolmey FOR MORE INFO: www.sewe.com


NOT YOUR TYPICAL

Tailgate

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Purchase tickets online at queenscup.org or call 704.993.6920

Experience the Thrill of the Chase速


T he EXPLORED

Sporting

SEWE is proud to be the first annual event in Charleston to utilize the newly renovated Gaillard Center, having been under construction for the past three events. This superior performance hall and event space will house SEWE’s live performances along with outstanding local, regional and national artists and artisans. The exhibits at the Gaillard Center will include a varied mix of creations, including handcrafted furniture, woodworks, nature photography and knife makers. Television personality, author, and conservationist, Jack Hanna will join SEWE once again to entertain and delight attendees at the newly renovated Gaillard Center. SEWE is proud to promote and celebrate the art of the decoy. Decoy exhibitors will be housed at the Charleston Marriott, along with a decoy auction by Guyette & Deeter, offering nearly 200 investment quality decoys with values ranging from $200 to over $10,000. High end sporting arms dealers will also be housed at the Charleston Marriott. Members of SEWE’s VIP program enjoy perks and access throughout the weekend including private art viewings,

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Guest Artist Gregg Beecham’s Startled

parties, shuttle service and priority entry to all venues during show hours, however there is a limited number of VIP Packages available so if interested visit www.sewe.com. For the sporting and conservation enthusiast, Charleston’s SEWE offers it all: work from the best artists in the country, premier vendors, and world-class events. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.sewe.com


Where Business & Nature Meet

For more information, or to book your next corporate event, please contact us at 1-855-858-LUCK (5825) or visit our website at luckyclaysfarm.com

Privately owned and operated, Lucky Clays Farm embodies the rustic beauty of North Carolina’s Central Piedmont. Our spacious location of over 450 acres, with versatile indoor and outdoor settings, provides a unique destination for your next private business function or corporate retreat. Our state-of-the-art facilities offer an experience unlike any other.


T he EXPLORED

carolina towns

SMALL TOWN ART Art and its many genres has always been a major part of the culture of the Carolinas. Our region, rooted in authenticity and artisanship, has historically thrived in the areas of pottery, glass-blowing, painting, textiles, and craftsmanship. These seven small, art-centric Carolina towns continue to thrive by placing emphasis on the arts and their artists and artisans. For the art enthusiast willing to take a road trip, these towns are must-visits. BY JP GRICE

SPRUCE PINE, NC

CARRBORO, NC

FRANKLIN, NC

Set in a Blue Ridge valley next to the beautiful Toe River, downtown Spruce Pine, though very small, has a handful of impressive galleries including Spruce Pine Gallery, a popular place to see a wide variety of local crafts. Penland School of Crafts, near Spruce Pine, is a hub for international artists.

Performing arts, especially music, are a priority in the Carrboro community. The Carrboro Music festival is known to attract nationally and internationally acclaimed acts and their film festival is also very popular. Here you can also find fine pottery, folk art, and more at the NC Craft Gallery.

Plein air artists flock to this beautiful far-western North Carolina town for the natural elements that surround the area. Local art can be found in most of the shops and galleries including Franklin Uptown and Tsartistry. World-class sculptors like John Tolmay also proudly call Franklin home.

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T he EXPLORED

carolina towns

SEAGROVE, NC

BEAUFORT, SC

The pottery capital of North Carolina, Seagrove, is most likely more saturated with world-class potters than anywhere else in the eastern United States. The tradition of pottery in this area dates back hundreds of years to the 17th century when colonists discovered the impressive clay. It is now home to the North Carolina Pottery Center, the North Carolina Museum of Traditional Pottery and the Seagrove Pottery festival. While there, be sure to check out the work of acclaimed potter Ben Owens.

When it comes to finding the finest lowcountry art look no further than Beaufort. The area’s rich history has always included an appreciation for the arts. Visitors can tell that as soon as they visit downtown. Galleries abound including the Thibault Gallery, where originals from the best Southern artists can be found.

BLUFFTON, SC The peaceful downtown has so many offerings for its size, from great shops to amazing restaurants, but the art is truly the focus. Old town Bluffton has ten impressive galleries showcasing all kinds of art from iron-working to oil painting. Maye River Gallery and Pluff Mudd Art are must-stops.

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EDGEFIELD, SC The small town of under 5,000 boasts a state-of-the-art museum, theatre, and a distinguished reputation for pottery. Aiken Center for the Arts is very close as well.

ART institutions PENLAND SCHOOL OF CRAFTS One of the most renowned art institutions in the world producing some of the best artists and artisans in the world. SCHOOL OF THE ARTS The state’s unique professional school for the performing, visual and moving image arts. BRAITMAN STUDIO Painting and drawing classes with esteemed teacher Andy Braitman.


T he EXPLORED

DEPARTURES

Anegada Derived from the Spanish word for “drowned,” this flat and low coral atoll rises only 28 feet above sea level and offers visitors a gorgeous 360 degree view of the Caribbean horizon. White beaches ring the island and the 18 mile Horseshoe Reef, the fourth largest barrier reef in the world, lies just offshore. Attracting only 200 visitors a day, Anegada is the northernmost member of the British Virgin Islands and is the perfect spot to get away from the crowds and stretch out and relax. • www.anegadabeachclub.com Utila, Honduras A paradise for divers, this small island in the Honduras bay has over 80 diving sites, covered with extensive reefs teeming with exotic marine life including the elusive whale shark. Once back on land, enjoy long backpacking trails and classic Caribbean culture. Private islands around Utila are available for week long rentals at as low as $125 per night (for the entire island!). • www.utilaguide.com

CARIBBEAN WINTER BY JP GRICE | TULUM PHOTOS BY SARAH COLLIER

Beat the winter blues in one of these seven secluded Caribbean destinations. Andros, Bahamas Bonefishing capital of the world aside, Andros has some of the most spectacular beaches in the entire Caribbean. The seemingly endless flats surrounding the island boast beautiful shades of blue from the darkest royals to vibrant aqua marine. Its diverse flora and fauna, soft white sand, and absolutely pristine water comes with an added benefit: zero crowds, making it the perfect place to unwind and escape it all. • www.smallhope.com

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Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto Rico might not be the most secret of destinations, but it is often overlooked - something that makes absolutely no sense. After all, Puerto Rico offers its visitors the best of both worlds, a taste of the exotic Caribbean on familiar US soil. What makes this island destination different from the rest is what lies behind the surf and sand. Old San Juan’s centuries old charm offers curious travelers a timeless link to a grander era. • www.laconcharesort.com Dominica They call it the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean,” and with good reason. Dominica’s thick rainforests and lush landscapes are home to countless rare plants and

THIS PAGE: A sunset over the Mayan Riviera. The ruins at Tulum.


T he EXPLORED

DEPARTURES

animals. Featuring a highly active volcano system, the still-forming island resides in the Lesser Antilles region and is perfect for scuba diving. The surrounding sea is home for a family of sperm whales, making whale-watching a must. • www.secretbay.dm

Turneffe Atoll

The largest of Belize’s coral atolls, Turneffe is another gem for divers with over 60 diving locations for the underwater enthusiast to explore. One of the highlights of the Turneffe Atoll is the obscure and intimidating, yet beautiful, 500 foot deep Blue TULUM, MEXICO Hole located just offshore. An enigma like this presents divers A short two and a half hour plane a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. ride lands you on the Yucatan’s Out of the blue deep water and azure shores. Upon arrival, opBelize’s Blue Hole near the Turneffe Atoll back on the Atoll’s turquoise flats portunities abound. From access to the waters boil with wildlife, some of the most impressive ruins in including a year round population of bonefish that are the world - Mayan step pyramids including the greatest perfect for fly fishing. Visitors to the atoll can also exof them all, Chichen Itza - to crystal clear fresh water plore the island’s rich rainforests and observe dolphins, cenotes, world-class beaches, scuba-diving, snorkeling, crocodiles, manatees, and so much more. and a variety of sporting endeavors, Tulum has it all. • www.tflats.com • www.tulumhotelmiamor.com

Be our guest.

Plan your next getaway, and experience a fun-filled stay packed with amazing amenities, including complimentary access to the Charlotte Athletic Club, as well as fine dining and much more! 704-377-0400 • omnihotels.com/charlotte

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T he EXPLORED

DISPATCH

HAVE A FIELD DAY An eager Marc Williams visits the renowned Primland hunting preserve for a once-in-a-lifetime upland game hunt. A DISPATCH BY MARC WILLIAMS PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JAMEY PRICE AND PRIMLAND


T he EXPLORED

DISPATCH

T

To this sportsman, the delight of a covey rising is as synThis morning, the wake-up call was unnecessary. The inonymous as accompanying a well-trained bird dog in the room coffee bar would remain as dormant as the crows performance of its duty. To the dog, its duty is as inherent and songbirds outside our room. My eagerness is a draas any life-supporting instinct, performed to no doubt as matic understatement. A full day of the sporting variety equally and as gracefully as its prior generations. I would lay ahead, and with it, the excitement of my introductory have the pleasure this day of bearing witness to one of the outing at Primland’s hunting preserve. sporting life’s great endeavors. The nearly 12,000-acre property was initially operSoon after entering the initial field, our four-legged ated by logging companies and Depression-era lumcompanions stood steadfast, holding their customary bermen until its current owner, a Europe-based family statuesque pose, tight on the scent of business, acquired the property to feathered prey, tails pointed in the dibuild a sporting Mecca in the green“Much had been rection of the impending flight. As I gold swathed landscape of the Virginpraised about the approached the area indicated by Jack ian foothills. No expense was spared, amenities and activities and Topper, the unmistakable cackle a fact immediately evident as one enof a pheasant and its rise from cover ters the property through either of at Primland, but sprung me into action. Locate, check, the gated entrances. nothing so much as the point, and squeeze: Success. Much had been praised and sugfirst-class operation The rest of the morning and early afgested about the amenities and activi‘at the bottom of the ternoon were spent happily repeating ties at Primland, but nothing so much hill’ [where] abundant the systematic dance of human and dog as the first-class operation “at the opportunities to flush and bird until, finally, we had reached bottom of the hill”: Rows of planted quail and pheasant our limit for the day. grasses and sorghum, mature hardUpon returning to Primland’s lodgwoods and briar thicket are peppered awaited.” ing, situated on the property’s highest onto the property. Abundant oppor- MARC WILLIAMS point, I took a brief moment to rest and tunities to flush quail and pheasant recuperate. I would soon find myself reawaited, bolstered by the decadeslaxing by a dancing fire, enjoying the fruits of our labor as long release and preservation programs initiated by the well as those of a nearby vineyard. Recounting the day’s resort’s namesake. events to those who would lend an ear, I was reminded Having arrived at the preserve’s main lodge with a sinof one salient fact: The sporting life is more than just the gular kind of vigor, I was introduced to my guide for the day covey’s rousing flush. It’s a field day. And I just had one. as well as a pair of four-year old English pointers, named Jack and Topper. After an exchange of pleasantries, we departed to begin our morning combing the extensive fields Author Marc Williams is the proprietor of The Sporting Gent, an avid upland game enthusiast and sportsman, and a QC Exclusive Explorer. and hills of the property.

MORE PRIM LAND What to do when you aren’t in the field.

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When night falls on the field take advantage of Primland’s impressive Observatory.

After a long sporting day, relax the body and rejuvenate at Primland’s luxury spa.

Primland has a variety of world-class accomodations including its treehouse retreats.


JAN/FEB

2016 The Art & The Artist


BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE

The EXCLUSIVES SOCO GALLERY • P. 140 | SCOTT AVETT • P. 146

In 2015, Corey Mitchell, a theater teacher at Charlotte’s Northwest School of the Arts, became the first person to ever receive the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education. The award validates his efforts, but for Corey, teaching the arts isn’t about an award. It’s about the students and their right to equitable access to the arts and all of its tremendous value.

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their Guiding FORCE


“Art is not cheap, but it is of tremendous value.” - Corey Mitchell

I

It’s a rainy, gray November day when we walk in to Northwest School of the Arts, Charlotte’s only artseducation magnet secondary school, a collegiate-looking brick building on Beatties Ford Road. The walls of the hallways are covered in large murals and kids stream past in a scene reminiscent of middle and high-schoolers everywhere: laughing, shouting, high-fiving, putting their heads together and whispering. Each of the 984 students at Northwest School of the Arts, 6th through 12th graders, are given a rigorous academic program coupled with the opportunity to focus on instrumental and vocal music, piano, dance, theater, costume design and visual art. The carefully laid scaffolding behind this mold-breaking, boundary-pushing school is the talented network of teachers and staff. And so we have come to speak with Corey Mitchell, a theater teacher at Northwest for 15 years, who, in 2015, became the first person to ever receive the newest category of Tony Award for his Excellence in Theatre Education. The Tony’s, shorthand for the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, recognize the most prestigious achievements in live Broadway theatre in a star-studded ceremony held annually in New York City. Mitchell was selected out of more than 7,700 national submissions, and nominated by Charlotte-based GreyHawk Films, a former student named James Kennedy and the school’s Theatre Arts Guild. “That weekend of the Tony’s really solidified and helped to articulate [to me] the value of teachers,” Mitchell says. “I collected and heard a lot of stories. To receive that much love and to be able to get into those conversations… it was really quite stunning. It felt like I had won the lottery.” Midway through our interview with Mitchell - a smiling, bespectacled man with a quick laugh that can equally as

quickly turn stone-serious about the issues that matter to him most - yelling erupts in the hallway. The pitch and tone of two young men’s voices stands out from the steady hum of adolescent noise. There is real vehemence behind the words they are hurling back and forth, and for a moment the only logical thought is that a fight is breaking out. Without missing a beat, or even seeing the two young people in question, Mitchell assures us, “Oh, they’re just rehearsing a scene.” He pauses, calls the boys, and they both tumble into the room, laughing and curious. He asks them what play they are rehearsing and they tell us they are just improv-ing, putting into action an “emotional energy exercise.” “So you’re not fighting?” Mitchell asks with a wink in his voice, and the boys reply, incredulous, “what, of course not!” They laugh, spill back out into the hall and go on their way. Once they’re gone Mitchell rattles off their names, how they ended up at Northwest, their academic interests. “Art is not cheap,” Mitchell says,” but it is of tremendous value.” And so it goes at Northwest School of the Arts: the students are as immersed in all the highs and lows of secondary schools everywhere as they are deeply dedicated to their various art forms and passions. The teachers are their guiding force, staunchly engaged in the students’ academic and personal lives. Mitchell, born in Baltimore, Maryland, grew up in Statesville. His first time on stage was in kindergarten, and from there he was hooked for life, an active participant in chorus, dancing, band, and theater all through his schooling career. Mitchell recalls the early, formative influence his own teachers – in particular, a Mr. Calabrese and Ms. Debbie Miller - had on him, and on his decision to pick up the mantle of education himself. JAN/FEB 2016 • @qcexclusive • 131


Mitchell attended UNC Wilmington, where he majored in theater and education. Because UNCW didn’t offer a theater education degree, Mitchell graduated with a certification for teaching English. He spent four or five years in the classroom where he involved himself in theater and directing whenever the opportunity presented. In the year 2000, he began to get the itch for a change. At a Theatre Charlotte awards ceremony for a production he was involved with, Mitchell was approached by a friend who told him Charlotte was in need of some talented theater educators and it wasn’t long before Mitchell was notified of an opening at Northwest. He seized the chance immediately. “Switching from teaching English to teaching at Northwest was mind-blowing at first and a bit intimidating,” Mitchell recalls. “There’s so many good teachers and such high expectations from the students - Northwest is not like any other high school anywhere. It was the first time I was not working towards a test, but was really trying to help develop young minds. It is really liberating, and you begin to figure out your voice as an educator.” It’s clear after mere moments that Mitchell is not someone who thinks of his life’s career as ‘work.’ The man really loves theater. He acts, directs, and teaches, and says that each of these three roles feeds and strengthens the others. Mitchell rattles off the productions that have changed his life, from The Color Purple to Lion King, and says that he has always especially loved

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the magic of musicals. This past year, he saw his former student, Eva Noblezada, in the UK production of Miss Saigon. The first time he heard her speak on stage, he wept. Today, he primarily does musical theater at Northwest and is afforded tremendous flexibility in putting on shows that many schools would censor. Some of his greatest joys have come from seeing his students put on these no-holds-barred, trueto-script productions, like Pippen, Colored Girls, and Hair.

Every kid should h av e a r i g h t t o

e q u i ta b l e access to the arts.

“Some of the best things are things that challenge an audience, that help to move the stakes of what is ‘acceptable’ for high school,” he says. “The kids can tell that we are breaking new ground. I still have students contact me and say ‘Colored Girls was one of the most significant things I’ve ever done.’ There is a trust here that we are going to move the audience without alienating the audience, and that’s really of interest to me. Theater can be one of the most powerful voices and most powerful forces in a society.”

This leads Mitchell to another of his driving passions: preserving the arts in education and society at large. With massive governmental defunding of arts programs around the nation over past decades, things like theater and music have been falling by the wayside for students everywhere. Northwest might focus singularly on the arts, but in that the school is the exception to the rule - of which Mitchell is all too aware. He admits a deep concern about the defunding trend, as the arts increasingly become privatized and available only to the wealthier subsets of this country. “Every kid should have a right to equitable access to the arts,” he stresses. “Math and science are the intelligence of the society and arts is the conscience of a society – we can’t sustain a highly intelligent people who don’t have a conscience. You lose expression, creativity, the human connection that creates conversation amongst ourselves, and you lose an appreciation for what someone else goes through. Theater is storytelling and as an actor you’re supposed to get behind the eyes and in the brain of someone else’s experience. If we lose this, then we lose something significant.” That ‘something significant’ is what drives Mitchell, day in and day out. The Tony’s decision to begin recognizing the educators behind the stars signifies something important – though often overlooked, teachers of all varieties have always been the ones who stitch together the fabric of a culture, passing down knowledge


“Arts is the conscience of a society.”

and mentoring young people during their most formative years. To cross paths with a mentor that is so - C orey deeply aware of his own vital role is truly a once-in-alifetime opportunity.

As joyful as winning the award was, Mitchell is clear: “Even without a Tony, it feels mighty good to do what I do and M itche l l to be in an environment where I work with people that are so smart and so good at the work that

they do. There isn’t another school in Charlotte where I would rather teach. The arts, the culture, the students, the environment here… it is home.”

This Page: Corey Mitchell stands outside the Black Box theatre at Northwest School of the Arts in front of his favorite playbills.

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T he EXCLUSIV ES

ABSTRACT Charlotte’s abstract art scene is burgeoning and these six talented artists are leading the way. BY JP GRICE AND JEFF LIPACK PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE OR PROVIDED BY ARTISTS

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Arthur brouthers Among the power tools and gallons upon gallons of paint at Arthur Brouthers’ NoDa studio lies the most important tool, a little black notebook containing the secrets of his trade: his self-discovered paint mixtures. These “tricks” are a combination of chemical reactions and paint manipulation with various tools that create each shape and layer of his paintings. While most artists use brushes and palette knives to make their mark on their creations, Arthur spends hours mixing paint and poking chemical paint bubbles with a toothpick. While the process may not seem glamorous, the results are breathtaking: colorful abstract pieces that resemble elements of both the natural world and the celestial. WWW.arthurbrouthers.com

“The results are not entirely predictable; which parallels the natural world my work emulates.” - arthur brouthers

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“The color shifts subtly as well as dramatically creating a sense of play in my work.” - s e l ena beau d r y

WINDY O’CONNOR Windy O’connor honed her painting skills in college, receiving her Fine Arts degree from East Carolina University. O’Connor’s life-long passions have revolved around the arts and include a love for music, theatre, and art. Her paintings offer an escape. They are a “disconnect from the reality of an object or landscape through both traditional representation and abstraction.”

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When viewing her work one instantly notices that O’Connor’s paintings revolves around color. According to O’Connor, “I love to add layers of paint to the canvas and for me…paint itself is the subject. I see God’s beauty all around me each and everyday. Therefore, I honor nature through abstraction and expressionism.” hidellbrooks.com/windy-oconno


selena beaudry Selena Beaudry has found her niche in the world of abstract art. The essence of her unique style and ability begins with the playfulness with which she colors the canvas; smashing together colors that are bright, dark, soft and sharp. However, it is her style, what she calls piling (the practice of cutting a painting into pieces and then assembling those pieces into a pile) that truly gives her pieces life. WWW.selenabeaudry.com

sHARON DOWELL Sharon Dowell uses honest, bright, yet earthly colors with a unique abstract/realism combination. The simplicity of the paintings allows for the perception of each piece, particularly the landscapes, to feel as if they are a memory of your own. WWW.sharondowell.com

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“I love being in the moment of unexpected discovery found in a mark or line.” - C h a r lotte f o u s t

CHARLOTTE FOUST Charlotte Foust’s current work is a continuation of an exploration in non-objective painting. Her body of work explores, in more depth, the idea of working and developing the textured surface of the canvas. Her paintings have more layers and washes of color that build up the painting surface. Foust has a need to create and loves being in the moment of unexpected discovery found in a mark or line. Her abstract works have an unspoken language that speaks to the soul: a profound sense of wonder and discovery.

TERRY THIRION Originally from Belgium, Terry Thirion grew up in the farmlands and spent a lot of her time at worksites with her father, a master stone carver. She was exposed to sculpting and gothic art at an early age. Some of that influence is reflected in the shapes and forms in her paintings. As a painter and mixed media artist Thirion works with materials that vary greatly and are chosen in relation to the subject matter. She uses textiles, paper articles, acrylics, inks and sometimes simply oil paints. Thirion collects reference materials

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WWW.ChARLOTTEFOUST.com

by sketching and photographing on site and then produces works in her Charlotte studio or on the edge of the Laurel River in Hot Springs, NC. Through an abstract and intuitive body of work, Thirion expresses a fundamental sentiment of light and joy, represented in bold colors, a sudden curve or random marks. She aims to set aside political and social concerns that might otherwise get in the way of self expression by always painting while surrounded by music. www.terrythirion.com

Artist Statements by Terry Thirion and Charlotte Foust


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T he EXCLUSIV ES

SOCO

Chandra Johnson’s Eastover gallery, SOCO specializes in photography, specifically contemporary artists that range from the emerging to the internationally recognized.

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Chandra Johnson stands proudly in her SOCO gallery.

BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE


Charlotte’s brand new SOCO gallery is everything you’d expect given its name. Located on Providence Road, the warmlylit gallery is housed in a renovated 1920’s bungalow, with whitewashed walls and shiny wooden floors. The grounds are thoughtfully dotted with lush gardens and a front porch sits attached to the space. In every way, SOCO eschews the coldness and exclusivity that characterize many a fine art gallery, giving its nod instead to the surrounding southern culture that the gallery and founder Chandra Johnson call home. It’s clear from talking with Johnson for even a moment that the choices behind the space were a true labor of love from the woman running the show. Like the gallery, Johnson is herself warm and inviting, and her passion infectious. Her eyes almost literally light up and she becomes animated each time she cracks open a book to show you a “truly fantastic southern photographer” or points out the “amazing” photographic technique behind one of the pieces hanging in her gallery. The Queen City was just the right place for the philosophy behind SOCO.

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“I love how open and warm our art community is. When we opened the doors, people poured in with support.”

Previous Page: Laura Chumah, fine art gallery manager at Soco sits with Chandra Johnson. The gallery during the Liz Neilsen exhibit. Art from Soco Gallery Artists: [Bottom Left] Jim Mangan’s Run, from the Bedu series. [Bottom Right] Linda Foard Roberts’ Limbs, Over 100 Years Old from the Grounded series. This Page: [Top]Liz Neilsen’s Forest Tree. [Bottom Right] Ken Van Sickle’s La Dame Aux Bijoux from the Paris 1955 series.

“I love how open and warm our art community is,” says Johnson. “When we opened the doors of SOCO, people poured in with support and other local galleries have been extremely encouraging and helpful.” Currently, SOCO specializes in photography and features contemporary artists that range from the newly-emerging to the internationally-recognized. The attached boutique bookstore with a constantly-updated limited collection of art, architecture, and design books is a natural addition in lieu of Johnson’s other love: art history and research. “Our book philosophy mirrors our exhibition mission: to replace titles with new ones as they are sold to always keep it fresh,” Johnson explains. “The bookshop is the appetizer to the entrée of the gallery. If someone is unable to buy a piece of art, they can buy a book. It’s an education; they can research, they can learn.” For someone with such passion for art, the gallery was an inevitable step. Johnson explains that she was constantly researching art and artists during her free time anyway, and as immersing herself in the world started to “take over her life,” she decided she simply had to channel everything

she was taking in to start the business. The initial seeds of SOCO gallery grew out of various pop-up exhibitions Johnson spearheaded over the years in Dallas and in Charlotte, including exhibitions at the Mint Museum in uptown. Experimentation with the form solidified Johnson’s resolve, and just seven months ago opened SOCO’s doors.

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Art from Soco Gallery Artists This Page [Top to Bottom]: Jeff Whetstone’s Duck Hunter from the New Wilderness series. Lyle Owerko’s Boombox #5 from the Boombox series. Xavier Guardans’ Giza Desert, Egypt from the Traveling Lights series.

Born in Oklahoma, Johnson spent time in her 20’s traveling the world as a model, and soaking up the arts scenes in LA, New York, and Paris. She found herself drawn in particular to the photography that managed to blur fashion and fine art, and names photographers Irving Penn and William Eggleson among her favorite influences. After she moved with her family to Charlotte 11 years ago, she continued to immerse herself in the art world in any way possible – collecting, traveling, attending art fairs, museums, and galleries. “I love the visual, love challenging the eye, and love discovering new things,” she shares. “And the best part of art is it connects you to this broad world. That’s the most amazing thing about it.” Bringing a slice of this world to Charlotte began with a lot of hard work and the long process behind creating an exhibit. Johnson and her team start with the overall theme. For group shows, they build a story and look for artists that fit into the narrative and for solo exhibitions, SOCO seeks artists with a body of work that fits into the program. From there comes studio visits and careful scheduling. After getting an exhibition date, Johnson works with the artist to select each piece of work that will be in the show and, as she puts it, that is just the beginning. She intends to do between four and five exhibitions a year, and says SOCO is already scheduled out until next April with exhibitions and collaborations intended to expose guests to new works and challenge the viewers’ eye. Johnson will continue to use various events at SOCO as a platform to promote the handpicked artists she loves and believes in so deeply. Collectors and gallery-comers are given the opportunity not only to soak in carefully curated pieces, but also to hear about the practice and process behind the work. “Charlotte is extremely open to learning about our program,” she says. “A lot of the work we are showing would only be on view in New York or LA, and it brings me such joy to share it with my hometown.”

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art jan/feb

exhibitS

The cultural opportunities in the Queen City are at an all time high and these are the four exhibits you must see.

1

Carlos Estévez’s Soulcatcher at Laca Projects helps us discover the innermost depths of our world. www.lacaprojects.com

2

Ralph Turturro’s Found Objects will be on display in its full grandeur, color and textures at Elder Gallery. www.elderart.com

3

New Horizons, a Lark and Key show with Duy Hyunh, Angie Renfro, Kendra Bair- Runnels, and Jule Covington is a must. www.larkandkey.com

“The best part of art is

it connects you to this broad world.

4

Wolf Kahn’s Early Pastels at Jerald Melberg Gallery showcases Kahn’s realism in landscapes beautifully. www.jeraldmelberg.com

- Chandra Johnson

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T he EXCLUSIV ES


PickinG

Roots Carolina’s most sanguine musician, Scott Avett, ruminates on his origins, family, and The Avett Brothers’ legacy. BY COREY MILLER PHOTOS BY EMBY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

O

On a Merlefest stage in 2006, two mops of hair and a bassist shouted over the distinct, twangy hammer of banjo lovingly abused. Doc Watson probably sat somewhere nearby, smiling and nodding along, but this wasn’t exactly his bluegrass. That banjo echoed the sounds of old time Piedmont, but the picking wasn’t quite Charlie Poole. Their louder and quicker rendering of their already loud and quick “Pretty Girl from Raleigh” had them chanting “byebye, byebye,” but their ferocious, old-fashioned newness screamed “Hey y’all!” Fresh off the release of their masterful Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions, The Avett Brothers greeted a Wilkesboro crowd of old devotees and recent converts, many of them freshly minted bluegrass fans because of this performance: a new kind of folk craving a new kind of folk.


B

By that April of ‘06, The Avett Brothers were approaching cultural phenomenon status in North Carolina, their songs anthems for a youthful but fastidious following of southern romantics, their fiery concerts congregative for wandering metalheads outgrowing metal. Four studio albums and hundreds of shows later, the brothers are exponentially bigger but no less humble, a bit older but not quieter — and the eldest of the two is putting on a different show for a more demanding audience. Scott Yancey Avett is now raising his own little Avett phenomena, and he’s a harder worker than ever. Like the sound and energy of his band, 39 year-old Scott is simultaneously concerned with whatever is resoundingly present and what has come before. As is the case with any married father of three, he’s hard-pressed to dwell on the past for too long, but predawn writing sessions, studio-bound afternoons, and breaks between diapers and playtime afford him some time to look inward and backward. Noting the obvious influences close to home, like the original Avett Father, weldersongster Jim, and the unabashed, small town rusticity of his hometown Mount Pleasant, Scott also cites a wide array of musical influences, some from way back. Little Scott Avett, who worshiped Dale Hall and John Oates, wanted to be two things: “a famous rockstar, and blonde.” And while his hair remains a deep brown, his band’s biggest break, I and Love and You, went gold in 2014. His last few albums catapulted him to something like (or something beyond) rockstar fame. In the same way their early neo-bluegrass experimentation wasn’t the extent of the Brothers’ ambition, Scott isn’t entirely a rocker. His whisper-to-shouting vocals are directly inspired by the alternative metal of Mike Patton, but his unabashedly sentimental sadness mirrors Townes van Zandt’s acoustic “dark hope.” Arguably among the most crucial propellants in the roots music revival of the early 2000s, the Avetts are a singular type of folk rock. Though currently awash with unexpected (but appreciated) fame, Scott fondly remembers the days when The Avett Brothers were just Avett brothers. Cramped university town venues and pocket change in banjo cases — the band’s “back then” will forever be “legendary”

in Scott’s story of himself. Back then, though, Charlotte rarely welcomed even the stuff of legends. Despite being on the eve of some much needed cultural expansion, the Queen City and surrounding areas weren’t yet conducive to aspiring Carolina artists in the late nineties. In the beginning Scott wasn’t even sure that music would be his legend and, indeed, had poured much of himself into a more visual artistic vessel. The Millenium found him, a recent East Carolina University graduate, at the junction of two passions. He’d opened a gallery called the Southern Star in Concord, filling much of it with his own oil paintings, but the band that would be The Avett Brothers was constantly practicing in the back room. And in 2002, that band went on its first month-long tour. As the Southern Star closed its doors, The Avett Brothers issued forth. That crossroads turned out to be a thoroughfare for Scott the musician, but he still draws and paints, squeezing art shows into his schedule when and where he can. Though he has no future designs on the business of curating, Scott’s drive to create will never be confined to the realm of songwriting. He’s resolute in his decision to always keep an art studio, if not a gallery. So Scott dedicated himself to writing and playing, but Charlotte wasn’t yet dedicated to him, or any busking smalltimers for that matter. Back then, acoustic musicians had to be bold. Recounting his origins, Scott draws a strong contrast between his early hard rock leanings and the quiet inception of The Avett Brothers. The band’s transition from backroom to sidewalk to stage was distinct from that of its more percussive predecessors: Seth’s high school group Margo, Scott’s Greenville-based Nemo, and the eventual merger of the two had commanded a room with growling vocals and walloping drums, the way rockers are wont to do…but The Avett Brothers were an anomaly. The earliest live incarnations of the Avetts strove to find some platform which could reconcile the wildly entertaining barbarity of hard rock with their newfound bluegrass sensibilities — the tendency toward the Merle Haggard country arias which “lulled you to sleep, in a good way.” They knew what The Avett Brothers were on paper and in practice, knew how to write music and put on a show, but learning how to be The Avett Broth-

“Sometimes, that struggle is exactly what you need to be who you are.”

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“This need to create is just our very human way of playing God, trying to imitate nature and failing miserably.�


truly find and maintain their spot ers in public took time...and lots of on that stage. Concord native and live shows. A rock concert was like founder of Ramseur Records, Dolph a “faceoff with the crowd,” challengdiscovered the band fresh off its selfing the audience to look away; the released album Country Was. Like back-porch jam sessions that evenlots of Avett listeners, his first live tually migrated to the street corners show swept him away, and he signed of North Davidson and beyond, on them almost immediately. The broththe other hand, were an exercise in ers’ work with producer Rick Rubin overlooked diligence. “For the first since 2008 has further honed their time,” Scott blithely reminisces, “I exclusive brand of noise. Scott and had to convince people, ‘Hey, I’m his listeners don’t need a middleman, over here!’ ” Acoustic instruments but Rick is more than a curator. He’s forced Scott and Seth to play with a guide through the potential distracan earnestness that hadn’t been retions. While Seth was possibly born quired of them before, to project not to be recorded, natural performer only their sound but their originality Scott’s had to train himself for ses— to assure passersby that this kind sion work, for those moments when a of music couldn’t be heard on any song needs to be “tender, so quiet and other corner. While conservatories lonely.” Under the American Recordfor weird Charlotte like Tremont ings label, Scott has the tools and reMusic Hall and NoDa’s Fat City welsources to fashion “an onslaught of comed Nemo’s weeknight thrashmusic,” a veritable “wall of sound,” ings, The Avett Brothers began to but that isn’t generally what’s needed feel more themselves on the Plazain order to give The Avett Brothers Midwood streets and, eventually, life. Working with Rick has taught at that holiest of NoDa venues, The them that sometimes, it’s only right Neighborhood Theatre. Somewhere for a song to include the two of them between those well-paved streets of or three of them instead of seven. faux urban North Carolina and the Sometimes, it doesn’t need drums. classically curtained concert halls “Sometimes,” echoes Scott, “that across the States, they must have struggle is exactly what you need to adjusted themselves accordingly. be who you are.” They’ve been lockToday, their sound can’t be heard on ing themselves up in the studio for any other stage. some time now, and they’ve only ever That sound isn’t a lonely one, either, been who they are. thanks to the non-titular band memThis struggle makes bers and the various every bridge organic, backstage cohorts. Bob “Even if there’s every chorus just the Crawford’s double bass only one person, right amount of coarse, and Joe Kwon’s cello are as much a part of we’ve got to go out and imbues every album with the perfect The Avett Brothers there and get to Avett roughness. The as Scott’s banjo or the heart of the band has to evolve, Seth’s hair, and their performance.” sure, but the success longtime manager and of every progression confidant, Dolph Ram- SCOT T AVE T T hinges on their presseur, has helped them

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ervation of identity, whatever that may be. Scott is still surprised by the Avetts’ 2006 show of color, Four Thieves Gone, the band’s fourth LP. What he calls the “ramshackled diversity” of that record may be the thing that draws us to the band — and the Cabarrus County boys behind it — in the first place. They


can’t be pinned down. Their music is not exclusively out of the blueridged past, but it’s also a refreshing rawness distinguished from the coffeehouse folk of recent years. From 2000’s The Avett Brothers EP to last year’s Live, Volume Four, they are, broadly and not always, Americana. Is their style country

or rock? Bluegrass or folk? Since their explosion into the world of primetime television interviews and mainstream radio, are they pop music? Scott seems to be sure of only one thing in particular, and that should be enough for us as well: They’re The Avett Brothers, and they’re from North Carolina.

Exceptionally Carolinian though their recordings may be, the studio isn’t the stage. For Scott Avett, touring is a wholly different job, an existence removed from the vocal booth and the producers and record labels. It’s a different experience for the band and the audience because he insists on making it so. When

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“I know that as the children grow, it’s not my time anymore — nor do I need it to be.” a band tries to recreate their recordings onstage, Scott reflects, “they become a commercial, like a billboard, for something they’ve made: ‘This is the best version of that thing, this is that exact thing, and you can go buy it.’ ” A band shouldn’t be the most pristine version of themselves, Scott suggests; they should be the sweatiest version. There isn’t a single Avett Brothers song that sounds the same live, and this is a boon for their fans. Those hankering for some vintage Avett Brothers can still see the boys channeling their inner rockers or crowing away on a street corner, if they so choose: Just buy a ticket. Every strum and lyric are entirely separate beasts from their recordings, and every Avett show is also distinguished from the one before it. According to Scott, every performance has its own pulse, and it’s up to the performers to find it. Recalling a daunting show the band once put on for 4000 people in a venue meant for 23,000, Scott simply says, “We felt good about that, 4000 people. Even if there’s only one person, we’ve got to go out there and get to the heart of that performance. That’s what it’s all about,” finding what that show means, for the band and their audience. These days, Scott’s probing for the heart of a new performance. The road isn’t the ceaseless expanse it used to be. It can’t be, and that’s a good thing. Scott ensures that the Avetts never tour for more than two weeks at a time when they can help it — for when it can’t be helped, he runs the risk of disappointing his biggest fans. Bringing up three children necessitates frequent homecomings; Sarah Avett is just one woman, after all. He had always commanded himself, “never settle, never give in, and never stop dreaming,” but that was before 2008, before little Eleanor Avett was born, before fighting with the sky became pastime instead of lifestyle. Until that year, Scott Avett was invariably an Avett Brother, working for The Avett Brothers. There was never a downtime, a time when he wasn’t strapped to his work. Now he’s had to accept a divorce of sorts, a disconnect between his career as a creator, influencing the lives of others, and his new job — that of a father, shaping the lives of others. He’s forced

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to step away, on occasion, because nothing’s “worth sacrificing those kids.” Now, his dreams do get put on hold, and often. “I know that as the children grow, it’s not my time anymore — nor do I need it to be, nor do I want it to be,” Scott says, his baritone voice oozing with the wisdom and clarity of new fatherhood, and sounding an awful lot like his own supportive dad. “It really reminds you that, being grown up…it means something. It actually means something.” This separation of responsibilities is vital, but it’s also vitalizing. Being an Avett Father doesn’t preclude being a Brother. Scott explains, “It doesn’t mean I can’t get up there and lay it down, and just totally rip it.” Every show is, in a sense, for his sons and his daughter: “They’re just a new source for that energy.” Whenever his newest responsibilities are in focus, he’s nothing short of grateful for the old ones. Scott Avett’s learning to share the stage, and it’s only made that stage more lively. Scott’s still not entirely sure how he’ll walk away from this life, or whether he’ll ever stop playing or writing or painting. He feels a need to create, what he calls his “very human way of playing God, trying to imitate nature and failing miserably.” He’s just composing and gathering, moving things, controlling material. This thought prompts Scott, who supplies a great deal of the band’s darker lyrical strands, to consider the futility of trying to oversee everything. “I can only control this part, what I put out there,” he stresses magnanimously, “And I need to make it as good as possible while I can.” Scott Avett and his band are just telling a story, one that will always be unfinished. “If that’s interesting, if it leads to good, if it leads to some inspiration to continue,” Scott muses, “then we’ve done a good thing.” In his darker moments, Scott fears that his work doesn’t amount to much. “Sometimes I think we’re just a bunch of guys writing songs,” he says carefully. And then, after a pause, “Other times I think it’s the most critical thing that’s ever happened.” Both may be true. With any luck, they may just leave behind the world a better way. Scott’s talking to future generations here, those who will hopefully be inspired to continue whatever they decide is


worthy of carrying on. He’s addressing the young people at the edge of the stage, whooping and shrilly singing along to those one of a kind live-show distortions as best they can, joyously ripping apart and reconstructing their favorite Avett songs with the brothers themselves. But one senses that his real audience is a sight smaller and more intimate than that ador-

ing mass, and for now, their favorite thing he’s produced may not be his latest ballad, but his latest attempt at waffles and fried eggs. His primary goal as musician and father is making them understand the plan of it, to “let them know where we were going and why.” The Avett Brothers are a bunch of guys writing songs, and they’ll always be that. To his children, though,

PHOTOS BY EMBY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY ON LOCATION AT THE DUKE MANSION

Scott Avett is the most critical thing that’s ever happened. And for us, for the Carolina devotees who’ve grown up parallel with the brothers’ sound and career, a few more Avetts can be nothing but a good thing. “It’s their time, you know?” Scott laughs. “Here they come.” theavettbrothers.com

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