Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Totally Ignorant...Art bash aims for...
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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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