Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Totally Ignorant...Art bash aims for the unexpected

Robert Downes - August 25th, 2005
Last year’s Ignorant Art show was the hands-down art event of the year for Traverse City. Approximately 400 people attended -- all dressed in black -- raising $5,800 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Traverse through the sale of works by 13 “unknown” artists.
This year, artist Ryan Wells and his comrade organizers hope to top the success of that event with their guerrilla art show, which will be held this Saturday, Aug. 27 from 9 p.m. to midnight. Held on the floor above Trattoria Stella at Building 50 in the Grand Traverse Commons, the show is pumped with high expectations of its two previous outings.
Just be sure to wear black if you attend -- it’s a Japanese tradition of showing respect for a performance, transmogrified in the beatnik era to a hallmark of hipness in locales ranging from London to the East Village... and now even Northern Michigan.

DOODLIN’
Wells, 30, is a specialist in commercial real estate who has a passion for painting. He and other local artists launched the Ignorant Art show two years ago to give voice to creative types who maintain full-time jobs but have serious artistic aspirations on the side.
A 1994 graduate of TC Senior High, Wells attended Northwestern Michigan College before earning a Bachelor’s degree in finance from Haworth College of Business in Kalamazoo.
After college, he traveled the country, spending a year in Florida building his career. Concurrently, he found artistic impulses creeping irresistably back into his life.
“I had always doodled and played with art a bit,” he recalls. “After college, I packed everything in my Prelude and found a house and a job. I broke myself down and found my place in the world and my value.”
Part of that exploration was drawing with charcoals after work. “Charcoal is an easy medium,” he says. “I knew I wanted to paint, but that’s a big commitment. That’s when I realized the crossover from doodling and drawing to self-expression.”
After returning to Northern Michigan in 2000, Wells began moving past his drawing efforts into painting with oils and acrylics.
“Abstract expressionism is probably my main focus,” he says. “I paint emotions -- painting keeps me in balance with a stressful job.”

INFLUENCES
Wells cites abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollack and graffitti icon Jean-Michel Basquiat as influences. “They taught us that we should all be seeking our own way of painting,” he notes. “For Pollack, it was when he found the separation of painting and the line. In my paintings, I start a ‘story’ and the viewer subjectively finishes the story. There should be an emotional connection, like ‘I get it.’”
Indeed, Wells’ paintings have a quality of great depth. You gaze at his work and find yourself noticing details that draw you closer; you fall in, engulfed by myriad levels and dimensions. His paintings are a soup of images with a slink of events roiling just below the surface.
Wells typically works on two-three paintings at a time. “Some I kick out in a few days, others take years at a time.”
One, “Tarnished,” took two years to complete. “It was snippets of my life, not meant to be a pretty picture,” he says. “When I do sell my work, you’re buying part of my life.”
That painting sold for $2,200; others range from $500-$3,000. Despite those respectable prices, Wells avoids local art galleries.
“I’m not comfortable putting my art in a gallery. The Ignorant Art show was my humble yet sarcastic way of getting my art work before the public.”

WHO’S WHO
Like Wells, the exhibitors at Ignorant Art are generally unknown to the local art world. “It’s surprising how many people have other professions but are working at their art in their basements, garages and crypts. What we offer is a one-night show for three hours with a now-or-never feeling of the chance to buy their work.”
For artists, there’s a $75 entry fee to be included in the show, with 15% of their commissions going to support the Boys and Girls Clubs in the nonprofit event.
For attendees, the $15 donation offers wine and hors d’oeuvres from 310 along with music and art that’s guaranteed to be unusual. And plenty of great people-watching -- there’s something about black apparel that adds a touch of unforgettable glamour to an artful endeavor.



 
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