Laura Samuel Meyn 2017-12-07 05:36:58
Three local creatives believe the artwork you collect should say something about how you live in your space. Artists in the House There’s a quality to original artwork that mass-produced prints can’t approach. Perhaps it’s the palpable texture of layered paint or the innovative intermingling of various media; maybe it’s the emotions it elicits. Always it is the sense of the artist’s hand in the work. It’s that engagement with the creative force — in works imbued with humor, irony, mystery or breathtaking beauty — that compel us to invite an artwork into our home where we can ponder it at will. As for the artists? Contrary to their centuries-old reputation for preferring to work in brooding solitude, many are eager to get out of the studio to talk to clients about their tastes, their passions and, yes, even their living rooms. We caught up with three local artists who work with residential clients — sometimes through designers, sometimes directly — to help them realize dreams of collecting original works of art that coalesce with the spaces they call home. David Conn PAINTER AND MASTER PRINTER David Conn’s signature immersive woodsy scenes are in the permanent collections of more than half a dozen museums around the world, including the Amon Carter and The Modern. The retired TCU art professor also is a regular presence at the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival each spring; after two award-winning years as an exhibiting artist, he returns as a juror this spring. The rest of the year, he welcomes art collectors by appointment to his Shaw St. Studio in south Fort Worth. While the machinery of printmaking lured Conn away from his drawing and painting background, he’s lately returning to his beginnings with oversized paintings. The newest works are inspired by linocuts, similar to woodcuts but made with linoleum; the paintings even incorporate the yellow-tan color of printmaking paper as a background. Nature has served as constant inspiration. Conn grew up in New Jersey, in an urban setting that motivated him to go west — and to fly-fish. “Trout live in the most beautiful places on earth,” he says, naming northern New Mexico and the Brazos River as favorite destinations. “I tie my own flies, which is almost like an art form itself.” A recent rainstorm prompted Conn to shoot some images of puddles and made him puzzle out how to achieve a sense of translucency using only his black and neutral palette. “Can you imagine that 8 feet high?” he asks, holding the watery image. “It will just sing.” Conn does take on commissions — the latest, Daybreak, Edward’s Ranch (2017, acrylic on canvas, 6 by 9 feet) was recently installed in a Clearfork office. But he also works with designers and private clients to find a print or painting from his studio to bring his tranquil, meditative take on nature to private spaces. “To me, it’s living and breathing,” he says. “People buy things they love; they want to live with it.” David Conn The artist’s Shaw St. Studio is open by appointment. 1024 W. Shaw St., Fort Worth, 682-465-9202, shawstreetstudio.com. Amy Young PAINTER AMY YOUNG sees beauty in erosion, worn walls, graffiti and nature. Take a close look at her large abstract oil paintings; sometimes found objects are subtly worked in — a scrap of lace from the artist’s great-grandmother, old concert posters. But while her recent works are instantly recognizable, her style is constantly evolving. “I love growing; I don’t want to rely on what’s worked in the past,” she says. “I don’t ever want to stop putting as much passion into it as I do now.” Young works from a studio adjacent to her home, string lights overhead, soft music in the background. Having grown up in a creative family in Montgomery, Alabama, she has created art her whole life. Still, it took encouragement from her nearest and dearest a few years ago for her to make the leap to the large abstract works she’d been dreaming of. “It didn’t all come so easy in the beginning, but I didn’t let anything stop me,” she says. “My sons have said that had a big impact on them. You’re never too old to live your dream.” Young has found a champion in Park + Eighth owner Christina Phillips, who represents several artists in her Park Place interior design shop filled with restored vintage pieces and original art. “She creates these vignettes, highlights your art by what she places with it,” says Young. Ginger Curtis’ Urbanology Designs should provide a second shop for Young’s work when its new location opens in a remodeled fire station in North Richland Hills in late spring 2018. A low-key approach to commissions — Young doesn’t accept payment upfront — has liberated her to stay creative throughout the process. “I sit down and listen to what they want, I create one or more paintings for them to look at, and it always works out,” she says. “They’re not obligated. If they don’t want it, the person it’s supposed to go to comes along.” Amy Young The artist’s work is sold at Park + Eighth, 1612 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth, 817-708-2120, parkandeighth.com. See her latest work on Instagram (@amyoungart) and at amyoungart.com; for information about commissions, email email@example.com. Kim Robbins HER DIGITAL IMAGES include tall cacti against an orange wall, hot-pink-tipped succulents, blue sunflowers. There are cows and horses, cars and cityscapes, industrial machinery and abstractions. Kim Robbins is both a photographer and an abstract painter, and sometimes even her photographs look a lot like paintings. “I call myself a colorist, because there’s lots and lots of decision making,” she says. “In the darkroom, you were dodging and burning and making choices; now I call it the ‘lightroom,’ you’re still making all those decisions, but without the chemistry.” A thread of design savvy runs in the family; Robbins’ grandfather was an interior designer. Earlier in her career, Robbins worked as a model and then as a stylist creating backdrops for photo shoots. Since she married photographer Peter Robbins, best known for his Western work, the couple has collaborated. They spent several years shooting Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogs. Kim is obviously comfortable in a retail setting. Pottery Barn and West Elm stores in Fort Worth, Southlake and Dallas have hosted her for weeks-long stints in the store, where customers can view her work in person, see how it looks with residential furnishings and visit with the artist. Too, Kim and Peter frequently exhibit together at the National Cutting Horse Association shows at Will Rogers Memorial Center. The face time has paid off; not only has Robbins met individual clients, she has worked with some designers as well. Jennifer Kostohryz, co-owner of Fort Design Studio, picked up a few pieces for her own home. Anne McBurnett, an interior designer for Komatsu Architecture, enlisted both Kim and Peter to provide works for the American National Bank of Texas on West 7th Street. Designer Brett McPherson installed some of Kim’s photography of succulents in a home in Oklahoma. For another family home, Kim sized abstract photos to fit panels that conceal a large television. “I love pairing art with environments,” she says. For details on a Fort Worth Pottery Barn show, see below. Kim Robbins The artist’s work can be seen at Pottery Barn in University Park Village (1616 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, 817-332-5707) Dec. 10-24. For updates on future retail appearances, visit her website at kimrobbinsphotography.com.
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