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F E AT U R E D A R T I ST / N a n c y S ta r k Studio visit / a rt R AT ST U DIO Art is sharp / h e n ry h o r e nst e i n ' s " S h ow " College & high school student spotlights ro a no k e a rt m u r a l p roj e ct / p ro ject ROANOKE’S PREMIERE V ISUAL ARTS MAGAZ INE


p ro j e ct

SEPT+ Oct 2012 / ISSUE 3


Art painting

web design photography


roanoke’s hottest restaurant and nightspot showcasing international cuisine half price sushi hour every weeknight world renowned djs


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VIA Noke Magazine is designed and owned by Chelsea Brandt and Emily Sibitzky co-owners of Desired Hype Design, LLC

STAFF Distributing issues 1 & 2 at the “Explore Roanoke” event for Roanoke College Freshmen. Photo by Tif Robinette.

TIF ROBINETTE Writer PATTY QUILTER Director of Advertising

We are thrilled to be back to work after our short hiatus in August! The two of us live pretty hectic lives and are still learning how to balance everything out now that we are including the production of this magazine in our schedules. We made a couple of mistakes in our last issue and need to make some retractions. The first is that we gave Emily Williamson’s band, “The Unapologetics,” the name “The Apologetics.” We are sorry for this oversight! Secondly, the last


issue printed images of artwork by Community High School students that were


submitted by Peyton Stanley. These included two paintings by Taler Coles and

Amanda Agricola, Mateo Marquez, Mim Young, Judy Lochbrunner, Megan Phillips, Julien Nicholas, Ralph Eaton, Brian Counihan, & Nancy Stark

one by Kate Tsolas. The photographs were by Peyton as was one of her paintings. Unfortunately, the students’ names were not submitted with the work and we published all work under the assumption it was Peyton’s. Sorry about that! We also owe many thanks to Tom Tielking for his support of this issue. Tom has always been a huge supporter of the arts in our region; we are thrilled that he has been such a huge supporter of us as well!

JOIN, LIKE, FOLLOW @DesiredHype @VIANokeMagazine

As always we want to say thank you to all of our contributors; we couldn’t do this without your help! We hope you enjoy this issue! Please keep in touch with us by following us on Facebook and Twitter and feel free to send us an email with any comments or questions you have! We’d love to hear from you! Until next month, VIA Noke magazine is published by Desired Hyped Design, LLC. ©Copyright 2012 Desired Hype Design LLC Reproduction without permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved. Printed locally by Chocklett Press

ta b l e o f C O N T E N T s


9 . . . PROject proJECT 10 . . . Behind the Scenes of the Roanoke Art Mural Project 12 . . . Studio Visit: Art Rat Studios 14 . . . Art is Sharp: SHOW by Henry Horenstein 15 . . . Just Get Out and Paint 16 . . . High School Spotlight: Megan Phillips 18 . . . College Spotlight: Julien Nicholas



Oc t

ber 5th

Local Colors will liven up one Friday’s lunch break this month with Taste of Culture. Head down to Wall Street (between Queso and Cornerstone) from 11am to 1:30 to experience traditional foods, music, and dress from Scandinavia. [Yes, this means the Vikings will probably be there!]

ART BY NIGHT! The first Friday of this month be sure to hang out downtown after work! There are 13 galleries within walking distance of each other that will be open and free to the public from 5 - 9pm, with many of the artists present. Free parking! Free visual entertainment! w




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Showtimers Community Theatre will be performing Dracula September 19 - 30. Wednesdays Saturdays 8 p.m. Sundays 2 p.m. Adults $12; under age 18 $5.



PROject proJECT is a free, one night public outdoor event of projection and light based art. Projects will include interactive works, projection mapping, performance, video, film, slide shows and hand held projections.




t o be r 5 t h


Don’t see your exhibit or gallery listed here? Email V I A N O K E to inform us of your upcoming show!

h o wti m e rs.


ELEANOR D. WILSON MUSEUM: Beverly Semmes: Starcraft (begins Oct 4). GALLERY 108 Sept: Darcy Meeker, Miki Overcast, Martha Rhodes, Linda Schaar, Susanne Sellers; Oct: Angela Shields, Nancy Stellhorn, Petie Stringfellow, Jean Sumner, Rebecca Talbot. THE JAX: Faces of Floyd [begins Oct 5.] JEFFERSON CENTER: The League of Roanoke Artists Showcase of Art. THE MARKET GALLERY: Sept: Ed Bordett & Mary Boxley Bullington. O. WINSTON LINK MUSEUM: In the Style of Link Exhibition. ROANOKE COLLEGE OLIN HALL GALLERIES: Acquisitions at Smoyer Gallery, Annie Waldrop: Leaves. TAUBMAN MUSEUM OF ART: Fabergé from the Hodges Family Collection; Edward Burtynsky: Oil, Anne Ferrer: Hot Pink [both begin Oct 19.] VIRGINIA TECH CARILION SCHOOL OF MEDICINE IN ROANOKE: What’s Inside? (begins Sept 20.]







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Oct ober On ly!

Attic Productions will be performing Southern Hospitality October 4-6 & 11-13. Hit the road for the short drive to Fincastle for this laugh-out-loud comedy and a great night out tic


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The Shadowbox Cinema’s premiere of “The Last Projectionist” will be this movie’s first US showing! The show starts at 8pm and is only $5. w







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S 21 - Tim O’Brien S 22 - April Verch Band S 28 - The Honey Dewdrops O 5 - Sons of Bill O 6 - Jorma Kaukonen O 12 - Garnet Rodgers O 13 - Dave Alvin O 30 - Kathleen Edwards w




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The Blue Ridge Potters Guild Show & Sale is SW Virginia’s largest all-pottery show. The show features functional and decorative works with a broad price range for unique gifts and pieces for your home or office.




No Shame is moving back to the Waldron Stage at Mill Mountain Theatre! Still at 11pm, still $5, and still the first 15 pieces to show up! Ev

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This year’s Valley Bank Big Lick Blues Festival will feature Robert Randolph & The Family Band Main Stage preceeded by The Wet Willie Band, The Mike Lucci Band, and a rib cook-off and eating contest! $24 online, $28 at the gate. 2pm - 9pm





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PROject proJECT will feature works by the following artists: Brian Counihan, CJ Yunger, Doug Marion, Justin Lincoln, Ben Lerchin, Simone Patterson, Ralph Eaton, Jim Leftwich, John Wilson, Mateo Marquez, Amanda Agricola, Annie Waldrop, Matt Ames, Julia Schneider, Lance Smith, Rhonda Morgan & Viki, Tomislav Butkovic, Warren Fry, Abigail Humpherys, Olchar Lindsann, Tif Robinette, Sara Burch, the Winston O. Link Museum, and many more.

For general information, videos from the last PROject proJECT, and a full listing of the artists and their projects, visit our website at project-project-roanoke.

 Image: Projection proposal for the upc oming PROject pro Mateo Marquez and JECT by Amanda Agricola.


Behind the scenes with the


Wandering behind the Davidson’s building on Jefferson Street in downtown Roanoke is probably not something one does on a frequent basis, but it may be something you want to do soon. Curious minds will be surprised to find a vibrant work of art on the previously bare walls. A school of fish escapes entrapment and flows along the wall followed by a predator; two fish ignore the danger as they fall in love amongst the chaos. What a colorful story in such an unlikely place! Couldn’t we all use a little more visual stimulation where we walk, work, and live? This is the main idea inside the mind of Mim Young, the founder of the Roanoke Art Mural Project (RAMP) and a “make things happen” kind of mover and shaker. Mim and her husband chose Roanoke when relocating in 1995 based on the strong local arts community. With pride for her new home she explains, “I’d really like to see us look as vibrant and wonderful as it feels to live here.” There are many different projects brewing under the umbrella of RAMP, the first of these being community-based mural projects such as the one in Grandin Village. Local artist Toobz collaborated with Mim throughout last winter to conceptualize, plan, and paint the large and colorful piece on the side of CUPS Coffee and Tea last February. Featuring local residents Pearl Fu and James Tarpley, the mural shows appreciation for all types of people who make a difference in our local community. Mim’s goal is to complete projects like this in several different neighborhoods. “It will help them think, ‘Hey, I live in a good place.’ They already do feel that way, but they may not see anyone else thinking that.”



RAMP Revitalization is another aspect of RAMP. Seeking to replicate successful revitalization mural projects such as Mural Mile in Philadelphia and Wynwood Walls in Miami, Mim has been working hard to gain the proper permissions and garner a strong community interest in the mural district she is proposing downtown. “I’m calling it a non-profit corridor,” she explains. “It’s between 1st and 5th street and its boundaries are Campbell Avenue, Salem Avenue, and Norfolk Avenue. In that area there is an abundance of non-profit organizations doing wonderful work in very non-descript buildings. They are under-funded and some of these people are only working part time, but they’re dealing with issues like homelessness, helping bring water and sewer systems to rural communities, and savings pets’ lives. There are all kinds of organizations down there and people go by those buildings and have no idea what is going on inside.” In an effort to inform the public about the ongoings of these non-profits, Mim hopes that colorful murals representing their work will educate and adjust the perspectives of passersby. For both of these projects, collaborating with building owners throughout the process is key and ensures that the final product is truly something that represents the community or organization. “I definitely have a specific strategy involved, because I don’t want something to go up and people say, ‘What’s that!? Why did they put that there!?’ I want to stretch their minds and their eyes with what we deliver, but I don’t want it to be something that people don’t understand. I would like communities to get together and figure out, what is the message for this village? What kind of message do we want to convey? And then I can go and put out a call for entries and curate the choices that they have to choose from based upon the message that they want to convey.” To ease these two larger projects into the public eye RAMP has partnered with The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge for support through their Roanoke Youth Art Connections program. This partnership has allowed Mim to educate and work with at-risk youth to conceptualize two different murals for downtown, one of which is the completed school of fish on the Davidson’s wall. “I think I enjoyed the workshops most,” she admits, speaking of the time spent with the students to educate them about different styles of art and to help them choose a style to work from for their murals. “I loved opening doors and windows of their mind to art, and helping them develop a visual vocabulary.” The next proposed RAMP – RYAC mural will be much more visible if all goes to plan; keep an eye out downtown throughout the next few weeks for another exciting work from these RAMPartists! In addition to these large and lengthy projects, Mim would like to manage several miniature projects; painted crosswalks, colorful parking meters, and small guerilla-style pieces in unexpected places are just a few of her ideas.

Left: Finished mural completed by teens through the RAMP - RYAC program. Above, top: RAMPartists working on the mural on the back wall of Davidson’s in downtown Roanoke. Center: Proposed design for a mural on side wall of Appalachia Press’ building in downtown Roanoke. Bottom: “The World is a Village” mural by Toobz for RAMP

Follow RAMP on Facebook to keep up with all of their current projects:

on the side wall of CUPS Coffee and Tea in Grandin Village.

ST U DIO V ISI T Brian Counihan, Daylillies, oil on canvas

ART RAT STUDIOS, located in a sprawling Southeast Roanoke industrial complex, is home to visual artists Ralph Eaton and Brian Counihan. Both are community organizers, responsible for highimpact arts endeavors, including the annual Marginal Arts Festival. When I ventured over to their space on “the other side of the tracks�, both guys were busy in their adjoining studios. Brian had just shelved two massive paper-mache human puppet heads and Ralph was stabilizing a rod work archway entwined in neon swaths of material. by Tif Robinette



Left: Ralph Eaton, Fuzzy White Wall Sculpture; stuffed animals, steel, thread, glue. Center: Art Rat Studios. Right: Ralph Eaton, Orange Anchor; stuffed animals, paint, artificial flowers, steel, glue, thread.

A R T R AT S T U D I O TIF: Brian, could you tell me about the work you are making? BRIAN: I’m trying to work towards more veiled portraits, with drawing and painting together. I am also going to work on a large woodcut out of those paintings. T: You’ve also been making large paper-mache heads that you wear… B: Yes, I was envious of Ralph’s big [Marginal Arts Parade] floats, and I chose to make two snobby aristocrats. RALPH: What was title, again? B: Art is Revolting! T: Ha, a double entendre? B: They have a snarling expression like there is a bad smell. T: So, how do you see your studio work and Marginal Arts Festival intersecting, do you make art specifically out of that interaction? B: I see my work as being a part of community involvement, even my portraits are interactive for those that sit for them. The carnival theme of Marginal Arts Festival influences my work. T: Ralph, what are you up to in the studio? R: Since I’ve gotten this studio my work has gotten bigger. Wherever I’ve worked dictates the work I might do, scale-wise, and in my so-called career I’ve had four studios and this is the best one yet. I’m working on doing a big installation project for an upcoming show at Roanoke College.

art to be useful in a high school, art education has to be linked to humanities. Basically, we explore the human condition. We learn it in history, and we learn it in art. We have a stripped down visual arts program teaching painting, drawing, photography, and film, but the focus is on the learning process of how to think independently like artists do. Too often what is taught in art education is just technique and self-expression. If we taught science as a therapy session, it would never prepare a student for college. The students at Community High are prepared to talk about art. They are taught that art is more than just a physical process of making; it is a conceptual process with visual language. How is art socially relevant? How is art personally relevant? There is an endless set of questions students can ask about art.

T: Can you talk about your education? R: I started out as a painting major at the San Fransisco Art Institute, but I very quickly realized I was more of a sculptor. Paintings were more like objects to me, rather than windows to another world. T: Tell me about your work for the Marginal Arts Festival parade and how your work building parade floats professionally intersects with your art making? R: I did make floats professionally for about ten years for the Rose Parade. It was one of the best jobs I ever had in my life. Specifically, I was a rod worker, or, in the industry, called a ‘rod god’ or a ‘rod jockey’. There’s not many of them. It’s a great fabrication technique. I use the float building process in all my sculptures, using rod work. It can be made very large and still fairly light. Since I moved back here, because I had parade experience, I became in charge of the MAF parade. It seems like people have fun with it. The parade depends on the community. Come on out and do anything you want to do! I would love to see more people build big floats and more crazy machines! T: Brian, could you talk about your role as a community builder and educator at Community High School? B: I went to an art school in Ireland. Non-stop in the studio, with only one day focused on archeology or history. It was a very British system. I then went to New York, and lived there for nine years. Being in New York seemed to be education enough, so I didn’t go back to school there. I found I needed more of a context for my own work eventually, and chose humanities direction rather than one in visual art. I was really more interested in the arguments about what post modernity is, and understanding what it meant, rather than having a professor point at a painting and say, “Well, that’s post-modern”. I needed language to explain it. Coming out of that experience, I found I was interested in taking abstract ideas and finding language to contextualize it. I don’t think it really helped my art be any better, but it did help me communicate about art. All this led me to my interest in teaching. I taught as an adjunct for several years, and then came into Community High School as a founding faculty member teaching humanities. Having the opportunity to change high school learning, to have a blank slate, was very exciting. We developed a curriculum based around the idea that in order for Top Right: Ralph Eaton, Herd, stuffed animals, steel, astroturf, paint, glue, thread. Bottom Right: Brian Counihan, Veiled, oil on canvas.

Visit Ralph online at Visit Brian online at


The Link Gets Burlesqued: A review of Henry Horenstein’s SHOW Ladies and Gentlemen! Come! Feast your eyes on exotic physical feats, daring décolletage and oddities of America’s erotic underground, all at the O. Winston Link Museum. Henry Horenstein’s SHOW is an exhibit of twenty-four black and white archival pigment prints in silver frames, ranging in size from 24 x 16” to 40 x 26”. SHOW covers the re-emergence of burlesque entertainment in America from 2001 – 2009 in venues like LA’s California Institute of Abnormalarts, NYC’s Slipper Room and New Orlean’s ShimSham Club. Performers Jackie Beat, Prince Poppycock, Miss Saturn, Violet Valentino, Amber Ray, Catherin D’Lish, Dita von Teese and others mix it up before Hornestein’s investigative eye. In burlesque tradition we see the hips and bill-spangled legs of a faceless dancer presenting themselves to us in Fishnets, New York Burlesque Festival, Southpaw, Brooklyn NY, 2005. Peeking in from the right are the crossed legs of a cropped, presumably male spectator, anonymous and stiff. Our perspective is roughly the same as his. At the other extreme we’re confronted with frame filing close-ups, like Amber Ray’s chameleon eye and sexy lips. Her features are titanic, grotesque, extreme, and weirdly funny. SHOW swings wildly in tone, from raucous hilarity to uncanny quiet. In Melody Sweets, This is Burlesque, Corio, New York, NY, 2008 a young gal poses in a tiled hallway between sets. Wearing nymphal feathers and pasties she smiles at us, the embodiment of an earnest, curative, sexy fun. In Jess, South Boston, MA, 2008 a woman plainly stands center frame before a sheer white



background. She’s topless, wearing a giant teddy bear mask, and affecting an arty seriousness that seems out of place among all these flamboyant freaks. SHOW is more about composition, texture and light than context or narrative, a departure from Horenstein’s environment rich Honky Tonk series. One exception is Helen Pontani and Peekaboo Pointe, This is Burlesque, Corio, New York, NY 2008. Left of frame in the background a spectator looks up from her cake, dumbfounded to see the titular stars in flamboyant gowns. What’s this? Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin are peering out of their plumage. I’m slapping both knees here! This is a great fit for the Link, whose namesake conspired to save the smoke, sound and immensity of an industry he loved from being pushed out of collective memory. By the 1970’s American burlesque was going the way of steam rail. Horenstein investigates its comeback. Burlesque is attracting audiences who’ve wearied of the vast, sterile, airbrushed array of entertainment sold via net and newsstand. Through ritualized spectacle, playful subversion, and laughter burlesque essentializes the visceral, lived experience of our varied and shared sexualities. ‘SHOW’ revels in the burlesquers’ glitter dusted details; here they are, warts, wrinkles, hair and all, their bodies bound in the pomp and pageantry of a re-born American subculture. Editor’s Note: This column is written each month by different authors with diverse viewpoints. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or opinions of VIA Noke Magazine or its publishers.

L o c a l a rt i st s

by Judy Lochbrunner & the Double Line Painters of the Blue Ridge

Painting outside (plein air) is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors while challenging yourself to record in an art work a sense of place and time. Light constantly changes and demands that the artist work quickly and make decisions on what it is about the location that has inspired the artist. Here in Western Virginia beautiful scenery is everywhere from sweeping mountain views to quiet places among the rocks or trees. Simply walking a favorite trail or local park will provide lots of inspiration. And taking the time to carefully examine and transferring that impression to paint and paper creates a “recollection” that contains all the senses. Public parks and spaces are a good place to start by sitting on a bench, carrying a simple camping stool to the location, or just spreading an old blanket on the ground. Avoid blocking sidewalks, trails or a right-of-way. Never set up on private property without the property owner’s permission. Always use common sense and stay safe with drinking water, sunscreen, hat, bug repellant, cell phone, etc. Start simple with expectations; focus on making a visual journal or diary and not a masterpiece or even a finished piece. Make a simple view finder by cutting a rectangle out of a piece of paper to help simplify the choices for the scene and reduce the frustration of trying to paint too much. Don’t be concerned what others may think or say just enjoy the activity. It can be fun and helpful to ask a friend to then share ideas and feelings. The same simple approach applies to materials. Plan to begin with a sketchbook and a small set of colored pencils, markers, conte crayons or even just a basic pencil and eraser. Most artist sketchbooks are made for any dry media and will provide a good workable surface. It will be worth the investment in making the process easier. Allow yourself the opportunity to explore, experiment and enjoy. And yes, it does take practice so don’t judge too harshly. Just get out and enjoy yourself while making art. The Double Line Painters of the Blue Ridge are Judy Lochbrunner, Sue Furrow, Angela Shields, Martha Lalka, Linda Schaar, Bonnie Mason, Mary Anne Meador, and Midge Ovenshire. Visit their blog at Left: Mary Anne Meador uses a camp stool and picnic table along with colored pencils and a spiral drawing pad to set up for plein air recently at Carvin’s Cove.


Megan is a rising sophomore and attends Burton Center for the Arts.




What is your medium of choice for creating your artwork? My medium of choice varies on what I’m doing usually, to be honest. If I have an idea that I think would look better painted, I paint, or if I think it would look better in graphite, I use pencil. My most used medium would probably be ink and ballpoint pen; I really enjoy working with ink.

What style or period of art inspires you as an artist? A mixture of art from different time periods inspires me as an artist. I really love older works of art from the 1800’s and from the Renaissance; they’re big inspirations for me. At the same time I am inspired by a lot of more modern street art. I’m still learning so I try to draw inspiration from all time periods and styles of art!

Who are some of your favorite artists? Since I first got started in art after looking at artists on the Internet, I have hundreds of favorite artists from different sites! When it comes to local artists, Toobz is my biggest inspiration. I adore his work; he’s really someone I look up to.

What are your plans for after high school? I want to be a sort of Renaissance woman, by being established in various fields. My passions are art, music/ piano, and history. I have a lot of plans for after high school. I would like to become a professional artist, pianist/muscian and plan to go to college to learn as much as I can about these subjects. If everything works out eventually settle down as a history teacher. It is a pretty ambitious plan but I’m going to try my best to get to my goals by starting to work on them now!


Julien Nicolas

Junior art major at Roanoke College (Above) The Designer at Work; silk screen, monoprint. (Right, top) Birth of Technology; plastic mannequin, beach ball, entire phonebook, mod podge, wire, cardboard. (Right, bottom) Crystal Formation; 10 yards of paper, foam board, acrylic paint, hot glue, black glitter; collaborative piece created with Kayla Lynch.




How long have you been creating artwork and/or involved with the arts? J: I’m not even sure I can recall how far back I began drawing and painting. I have been immersed in the arts from a very young age.

VIA: What is your medium of choice for creating your work? J: I am a mixed media artist. I find it difficult to narrow down my medium of choice, however, I find myself using alcohol based markers more frequently than others.


What style or period of art inspires you as an artist? Who are some of your favorite artists? J: Modern art and pop art are my main influences. Some of my favorite artists are Yoshitaka Amano, Audrey Kawasaki, and in photography, Richard Avedon.

VIA: What is your leading inspiration when you create your work? J: My biggest inspiration in creating my work is music. Music influences the messages behind my work, the emotions they convey, and the overall themes. I am driven by music and use my favorite artists’ songs as my muse.

VIA: Are there other passions or interests you have that tie into your work at all? J: One of my biggest passions has been and always will be fashion design. Having a background in costuming from a young age, I found myself very interested in design and construction of costumes and garments. My biggest influences being Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh, I am drawn to the odd and unique. These interests tie into my artwork in that my aesthetic strays from the ordinary and reaches for the unique and extraordinary.

VIA: What are your plans for after college? J: After college I hope to move to New York City and continue my education by enrolling in FIT’s graduate program, in order to fuse my love for art and fashion.


Regional Arts & Cultural Calendar Classes & Workshop Listings Local Artist Directory Organizational Directories 20


illuminating shadows Image:Three Red Bolts



Above: Stark 1 The Night Porter


her beginnings with

watercolor, found


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we were eager to discover the path, award winning lo� cal artist,

Nancy Stark

followed that led her to the style of

art she creates

today. 22


by Chelsea Brandt & Emily Sibitzky

CHELSEA: Have you always been interested in art? NANCY: I have been interested in art all my life but the only formal art education I had was an after-school art club in New York State. I remember going to after-school art club and I still have one of the little paintings I did way back then. I didn’t listen to my mother who said, “Go to art school, go to art school, go to art school.” I didn’t go, so I have no formal art education. In 1983, after I had my third child, I took a watercolor class at Blue Ridge Community College with Kay Flory. She was fabulous! Kay was supportive, encouraging, and I was hooked. I started out in transparent watercolors. I took Kay’s watercolor classes 1, 2, and 3, and then I began to look for other places where I could take classes. Except for that I have done a lot of workshops where you go and study for four or five days with an individual instructor. So I’ve spent a lot of time with other artists, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio just playing, experimenting, and seeing what I like to do.

N A N C Y S TA R K EMILY: Do you look back on where you started and see anything that you’ve carried throughout? Or is it completely different now? N: What I see is that I started out on this path, like how Kay got me started on watercolor, and then different things impacted or knocked me off that path. I used to belong to the Shenandoah Watercolor Society and I was painting in transparent watercolor; I took some paintings to a critique where Charles Goolsby, the department chair of art at Emory and Henry College, was the guest critiquer. I put up this huge, full sheet watercolor painting with three rocking chairs, shadows, bushes, the front of the house, pillars, everything. He looked at it and said, “What do you like about this painting?” I pointed to the bottom half of the rocker and the shapes from the cast shadow. He looked at me and said, “Then why is all of this other stuff in the painting?” So I give Charles credit for my use of cropping in my work. Somewhere along the way I was out with my husband, who is a train enthusiast, and we stopped to look at some trains one day. It was a bright sunny day and around the backside of the train there was this step with lots of round holes in it, and the shadows cast by it caught my attention. It was just shapes, so I got to thinking, “Why aren’t you painting things more like that?” I enjoy putting jigsaw puzzles together; I love to combine shapes and see how they fit and make up the whole. So I started on a different direction subject-wise. I took a watercolor workshop with Carolyn Gawarecki, who is a Northern Virginia artist, and she said, “Shadows are not gray.” So, since that class, my shadows have become purple. And purple is a color that I use a lot in my paintings. I paint the whole painting first, and then I mix up a big juicy puddle of a dioxazine purple and French ultramarine blue, sometimes there are a few other colors in it. I weave that color throughout the painting, which helps to unify it because it’s always the darkest dark. One night during Art By Night, Geri Stevenson and I left Signature 9 and we went around to other galleries, back when Richard Kurshan still had Studios on the Square, and the guest artist there was Joni Pienkowski. She was painting on doors and didn’t gesso them. She uses the grain of the door in her paintings so I thought to myself, “That’s a neat surface.” Before that I had been painting on watercolor paper but I decided I would gesso them first, which gives me texture to work with. In a way I was on this path and Charles kind of bumped me off and got me to paint cropped images, then Carolyn’s comment about the shadows and Joni painting on doors, and I’ve taken a little bit of all of that along the way. And that is true of any artist; when you see the artwork of other people there is something in it that appeals to you and it sometimes, somehow comes out in you, incorporating things from different art that you like. So it’s a continuous path, but maybe not one I would have gotten to without outside influences. C: Before you start a piece, do you go out and roam and look at the trains as your subject matter and take pictures? N: Yes, I work from photographs. I generally go up and access the tracks where they’re restoring the Virginian Station on Williamson Road and they’re pretty good about letting you walk if they see you’ve got a camera;

...”the shadows cast by it caught my attention. It was just shapes, so I got to thinking, “Why aren’t you painting things more like that?” they know that you’re ok and not going to sabotage anything, I guess. So I try to get different shots and try to use the camera to crop what I think will be a good image. Many times I don’t even use the full image. E: So when did you start integrating the found objects? N: I can think back to the first one that I did. It has been three or four years that I’ve been integrating found objects. I am by nature a pack rat; I very rarely throw anything out. Old things intrigue me, whether it’s rusty pieces of metal, or correspondence or photographs from years ago. My father-in-law passed away three years ago and I inherited his tool chest that had little drawers in it; inside of it were nuts and bolts and different things. And he was probably how you can trace back why I’m painting trains. So I’ve sort of come full circle. My father-in-law liked trains, I married his son, I’m painting trains, and now I have his stuff. So I started putting those things on the paintings themselves. Also, while I was putting these items on I was trying to keep in mind what kind of shadow they would actually cast when they’re lit. Because that’s another connection for me, I started painting the trains because of the cast shadows, and now I’m incorporating things that cast a shadow. So some of the shadows on my paintings are actually painted on with my purple mixture and some of them are just a shadow caused when these found objects are illuminated in a certain way. I also inherited a lot of my grandfather’s written memorabilia. He was a contractor and I have a lot of his books, so I have a lot of his handwriting and I began incorporating that. I got an old autograph book from a great aunt that was falling apart; either you can keep it or you can do something with it, so I started incorporating the paper memorabilia. And it intrigues me a little bit as things that survive over time. Rust survives when it changes, and (cont pg 26)


Far left: Yard Mates. Top left: On the Side Track.



Top right: Brakewheel Shadows.

Bottom: In the Yard.

F E AT U R E D A R T I S T the paper and the photographs; it’s sort of what’s left behind when people that you knew are no longer here. C: Do you work with any other medium than watercolor? N: I either work in watercolor or fluid acrylics, which are about the same consistency as heavy cream, but I’m not that interested in oil at the moment. I’ve done collage, and that goes back to incorporating things in the artwork. Right now I’m working on some commissions, and once they’re done I’m anxious to do a lot of large-scale floral painting. But they’re not just going to be floral; I’m interested in trying to incorporate a lot of shapes. I’ve done large-scale floral paintings with watercolor on plain paper but I’m going to try to do some on the wooden panels with gesso background. I’m also working on the boxes as another surface to paint on. All of my commissions are trains. And it’s interesting because when some people come through the booth at the sidewalk sale they comment, “Oh, you’ve got to love trains, or you’ve got to work for Norfolk Southern to be interested in them,” but I’ve sold them to people who have absolutely no connection to trains. And I think they see them more for the design and composition. I paint because it is the best therapy. A lot of times I have to make myself get in the studio, but once I’m there, there’s just something about it. But I do still like painting trains, and I will probably always paint trains. C: I love texture; I see these works not as trains but more as the shadows, shapes, and an overall visual texture. N: My number one things are shape, color, texture, and pattern. C: Do you like using bold colors? N: When I first started painting the trains on the watercolor paper they were very representational, the steel grays and the rusty reds, but they have evolved into bright colors. I do enjoy bright colors. C: Do you have any specific artists that are your favorites or might influence your style? N: There are a lot that are my favorites. I like Matisse, I love the cutouts, the shapes, the bright colors. There are several fabulous contemporary artists that I love; one in particular that I admire is Elaine Daily Birnbaum. She does fabulous abstract paintings.

You can see Nancy’s work at Signature 9 Gallery or online at Top: Complementary Colors II. Bottom: Red Letter Day.




Beverly Semmes: Starcraft October 4 - December 8, 2012 Opening Conversation with Beverly Semmes and Amy G. Moorefield, Museum Director Thursday, October 4, 7 pm • Frances J. Niederer Auditorium,Visual Arts Center

Lecture by Margo Crutchfield, Curator at Large, Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech Thursday, November 29, 6 pm • Frances J. Niederer Auditorium,Visual Arts Center This exhibition is organized by the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

For more information: • 540/362-6532 Funding has been generously provided in part by Roanoke County, the City of Roanoke through the Roanoke Arts Commission, an anonymous gift, and our community partners.

Beverly Semmes, Prairie Dress, 2006. Velvet, chiffon, cast glass. 81 x 160 x 282 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.




Nov. 2 Acoustic Africa Nov. 30 Celebrating 100 Years of Bill Monroe

Oct. 23 Esperanza Spalding

Oct. 14 Cashore Marionettes

Oct. 19 Ben Williams Dec. 7 Jim Campilongo Trio

P u r c h a s e T i c k e t s • 5 4 1 L u c k A v e . R o a n o k e , VA • j e f f c e n t e r. o r g • 5 4 0 - 3 4 5 - 2 5 5 0

MUSIC LAB & SISTERS OF THE CIRCLE After school arts programs at Jefferson Center offer studio education, performance experiences and help inspire the next generation of artists. After School Programs • 540-343-2624 • •

JEFFERSON CENTER Celebrating the arts renaissance in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Profile for Emily Sibitzky

VIA Noke Magazine - Issue 3  

Issue 3 - September / October 2012 Featuring Nancy Stark PROject proJECT Behind the scenes of the Roanoke Art Mural Project Just Get Out a...

VIA Noke Magazine - Issue 3  

Issue 3 - September / October 2012 Featuring Nancy Stark PROject proJECT Behind the scenes of the Roanoke Art Mural Project Just Get Out a...

Profile for vianoke