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ARTIST ALLEY
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Archive for the ‘Kansas Notebook’ Category

Artist Alley Artistic Update #1

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

I have accepted the position of INTERACTIVE ART COORDINATOR for the AARON DOUGLAS ART FAIR. I will be responsible for creating an Interactive Art Project that attendees of the Fair can take home with him. Thank you Staci Dawn and Aaron Douglas Fair Board Members for this opportunity to assist with this important event.
http://www.aarondouglasartfair.com/

aarondouglas

On another note: My water color painting, “The Albino Woman” will be featured on an episode of the Destination America television show “Monsters and Mysteries in America” scheduled to air sometime in March. The episode is about Topeka’s Albino Woman.
http://www.destinationamerica.com/tv-shows/monsters-and-mysteries-in-america

"The Albino Woman" By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

“The Albino Woman” By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY



Along The Shunga Trail

Monday, January 20th, 2014
"Along The Shunga Trail" By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY - Oil on 14" x 18" Canvas Board.

“Along The Shunga Trail” By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY – Oil on 14″ x 18″ Canvas Board.

This Painting Is For Sale At

http://artist-alley.artistwebsites.com/featured/along-the-shunga-trail-ja-george.html

“ALONG THE SHUNGA TRAIL“  By: The GYPSY

I get bored easy. Because I get bored I have to constantly be doing something which may explain my artistic nature. I create to keep my hands, eyes and mind from becoming too idle. But I do not create the same things over and over again for to do that would once again bring me back full circle to boredom. So it is that as I create I explore. I explore new ways of doing what I do best; Create art.

When I was a child growing up in Topeka, Kansas I explored not knowing that my explorations would bring about a lifelong need to see what was behind a closed door or around the next bend in the road. Growing up always near or by the Shunganunga creek which meanders through the Capitol City afforded me many opportunities to explore, learn and reach out to a world I would embrace not only as a child but also as an adult.

Long before Shawnee County Parks and Recreations conceived of a pathway following the Shunganunga there were those, like myself, that knew of and explored the many twists and turns that ran alongside the creek. Shawnee County did not create the Shunga Trail, it has always been there since the beginning of time; all they did was to cover it with concrete and put up pretty signs.

So it was as I started out to create my painting, “Along The Shunga Trail” that I sat out to explore a new path I had not traveled before. I usually will create the background for my paintings using acrylics. They are fast drying and allow me to move ahead quickly with my oils on the foreground. With this painting though I had in mind to create the entire scene using oils and a pallet knife. Unfortunately for me however that exploration led me down a path that I did not enjoy.

I laid the canvas to one side and stepped away from it, my attention drawn off on to other adventures and other artistic explorations. Then one day I placed the canvas back onto my easel and let it occupy my mind for a few days. I let it call to me, pleading to be explored and finished. Today I answered it’s call.

Forever the explorer I looked at the path I was to create and follow and thought to myself; What can I do different? Looking at the textures the failed attempt with the pallet knife had left on the canvas a solution came to mind. I determined that the best way to forge this trail was to create the scene with one brush. When I paint I usually use a large assortment of brushes to complete a painting especially when I am painting a scene. Yet this day I would attempt to explore my memories using one simple brush; a number 6 half inch flat synthetic bristle brush.

As I child I would poke and prod at the tadpoles and crawdads that inhabited the calm pools along the banks of the Shunganunga. As I had once poked and prodded at the creatures of the creek I poked and prodded at my canvas until I was satisfied that my hand had captured what my eye had seen within the flowing waters of my mind.

So without further ado I present to you my newest exploration; “Along The Shunga Trail”.


Fritz Durien Hall of Fame Warehouse

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

“FRITZ DURIEN HALL OF FAME WAREHOUSE” By: J.A. George.
Water Color on 9“ x !2” Cold Press Paper

"Fritz Durien's Hall of Fame Warehouse" By; J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

“Fritz Durien’s Hall of Fame Warehouse” By; J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

What Carry Nation did to keep Kansas dry, Fritz Durien did to keep Kansas wet. From his Hall of Fame Saloon Topeka Barkeep Fritz Durien kept stashes of the good stuff at various locations under the floor boards of his Saloon. Not one to go down easy Ol’ Fritz fought the battle against Kansas Prohibition all the way to the high court.

The photo that this painting is based on struck me for it’s stark simplicity of an act of defiance. Fritz is not making a grand gesture rather the gesture is simple and speaks volumes. You can almost hear Fritz thoughts as he stashes his treasure; “My customer’s will not go thirsty. But more importantly neither will I.”

Fritz’s battle with the government hit’s close to home for me and my wife. My wife and I also had our battle with church people and a city government that wanted to close down our little neighborhood tavern in Baxter Springs, Kansas because of the evilness of liqueur and beer. We fought the good fight but eventually grew tired and moved on. Fritz also eventually gave up the good fight, closed his Saloon and headed off to Germany. In a strange twist of ironic fate the “Hall of Fame” Saloon went from selling hard liqueur to selling soda pop after Fritz had left the building.

-The GYPSY-
www.artist-alley.net

“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”


Pore Richards

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
"Pore Richards" By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

“Pore Richards” By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

This Print Is Available For Sale At:

http://artist-alley.artistwebsites.com/featured/pore-richards-ja-george.html

As a child my Saturdays and summer breaks centered around youth activities at the YMCA located, at that time, at SW 8th and Quincy in Topeka, Kansas. The youth area was in the basement of the one time USO building and was a virtual boys club. No girls were allowed in this sacred area that included pool tables, lounge area with large color television, which most homes did not have at the time, hobby shop ran by the wise, talented and noble Mr. Anderson and an Olympic size swimming pool.
Activities included Judo lessons, handball, basketball and trampoline in the gymnasium. Field trips ranging from tours of Frito Lay and Coca Cola to Flights on small planes at Billard airport. My first flight on an airplane was captured on a front page story in the Topeka Capital Journal during one of these field trips. And let’s not forget swimming lessons from Louie the Lifeguard (I eventually obtained the Junior Life Saver level after Louie threw me into the pool after I refused to swim but that’s another story for another day) and open swimming in the afternoon when the pool became no mans land.
Yes, for a boy the YMCA was a world filled with opportunity, education, wonderment and fun. Now days there is a parking lot located on that southwest corner that was once a bastion of a boys life yet that is not what this posting is about, no it is about the business that once sat at the opposite corner from the YMCA; Pore Richards Beer ’N Stein Café.
When I would walk to or leave the YMCA I would always notice the big black sign with the neon lettering and the caricature of the funny little Hobo on top with his “Toe Peek A ing” out of one shoe. I had always assumed that the silly little Hobo with the large round spectacles was the fabled “Pore Richard”. I always found it funny that the adult who had made the sign did not know how to spell the word “Poor” and I wondered if Mr. Richard had been upset when he first saw the sign.
There was never really anything about the sign nor the exterior of the building that would appeal to your appetite to invite you in yet it was a Topeka tradition and a Topeka gathering place. My grandmother would sometimes take a business lunch in this mysterious restaurant that was off limits to one of my tender age.
Yes, almost everyday of my young life I saw Pore Richards and his image became such a familiar sight to me that even to this day when I hear the term Poor Richards Almanac a vision of the funny little Hobo comes to mind.
I had vowed that one day, when I was an adult, I would have a “Beef ’N Stein” in the famous Café. But alas, that was never to be. As with so many things and places held dear to so many peoples heart “Pore Richards” passed into history and the pages of the past.
Sometimes I think about the iconic sign and wonder what happened to it. Is it collecting dust in someone’s storeroom that swears, “I’m going to do something with that someday!” or was it recycled for the metal that was in it. I personally would like to see it in a museum where future generations can smile at the friendly little Hobo but barring that I think the recycle scenario would be the best thing that could have happened to the sign.
I smile when I imagine the stoic little Hobo being the front grill of an expensive recreational vehicle rolling down the highway, freed from the confines of the sign and doing what a Hobo does; traveling the highways and the byways of America. I lift a Stein to you my dear unknown friend and your memory; Pore Richards.

-The GYPSY-
“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”


4th And Jackson 1974

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
"4th and Jackson 1974" By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

“4th and Jackson 1974” By: J.A. George AKA; The GYPSY

This Print Is Available For Sale At:

http://artist-alley.artistwebsites.com/featured/4th-and-jackson-topeka-kansas-1974-ja-george.html

This scene from Topeka, Kansas shows the back side of Poor Bills Bar looking east towards Jackson Street. The buildings in the background face Kansas avenue. The Norva Hotel can be seen to the left.
The backs of buildings have always fascinated me. They are the hidden story of the true nature of the building. The facade may have been changed and updated with each passing generation but the unchanging rear is the window to the past.

-The GYPSY-
“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”