Eighth annual Starbucks auction supports AIDS Foundation Houston

Love it or hate it Starbucks is an ubiquitous fixture of urban life, combining the “where everybody knows your name” charm of the local bar with the “first taste is free” seediness of the corner drug pusher. For the Montrose at Hawthorn Starbucks (3407 Montrose) that position at the intersection of community and addiction carries with it a major social responsibility. Which is why for the last eight years the employees of Montrose’s most fabulous Starbucks have sponsored a silent art auction to raise funds for AIDS Foundation Houston.

This years auction is March 2 from 5-9 pm. The organizers  are still seeking donations from local artists and businesses to help round out this year’s selections. Visit sbuxauction.weebly.com for more information on the auction and how to donate.

—  admin

For the Love of Kettle show at Kettle Art

Gotta love it

This annual fundraiser has become a hot ticket for snagging some great art for cheap. All 9 x 12 pieces are by local artists and each cost $50. Original art at that price, heck, buy a few. The event helps to keep the gallery running and celebrates art on the more edgy and quirky side. Or give the chocolates and roses a break and consider a piece as a unique Valentine’s gift. See? We got your back. Just get there early.

DEETS: Kettle Art, 2714 Elm St. 7 p.m. KettleArt.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Starbucks art auction to benefit homeless youth charity

There are times in life when the strangest ingredients can come together to make something wonderful: wasabi and chocolate, curry and cranberries, peanut butter and pickles… That’s the case with Montrose Grace Place, a charity serving homeless youth in the Montrose area. Take one part 90 year old Lutheran Church willing to help without preaching, add a desire to serve homeless youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, mix with a passel of volunteers of all religious backgrounds (Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and more than a few Atheists), let steep in a community desperate to help queer homeless youth and voilà, a vibrant charity that has provided food, clothing and, most importantly, interaction with adults who give a damn to dozens of kids over the last two years.

Of course all that doesn’t happen without expense. Despite Grace Lutheran Church donating space and volunteers donating hundreds of hours of labor Grace Place still has some expenses. The employees of the River Oaks Starbucks (the one at 2050 West Gray, not the one at 2029 West Gray or the one at 2030 West Gray) wanted a way to pitch in so they organized an art auction tomorrow evening, January 1 starting at 6 pm. The auction features donated works by local artists as well as works by the Grace Place kids themselves. Stop by for a latte and some art to go.

—  admin

Holiday Presence visual art show at Kettle Art

Deck the halls

Not only is Kettle Art celebrating its anniversary, it also rings in the holidays with its seventh annual gift exhibition, Holiday Presence. Most every piece of art in the show is priced under $200 and all are by local artists. What’s better — the show changes as pieces are sold. New works fill in the blanks keeping the exhibit fresh and the gift ideas inspiring. And don’t feel guilty if you decide to keep the art for yourself. We all have good intentions of gifting it, but in the end, it just looks better on our own walls.

DEETS: Kettle Art, 2714 Elm St. 7 p.m. Through Dec. 24. KettleArt.com.

—  Rich Lopez

For the love of art

Van Lynch was a late-comer to painting, but he’s made up for it with passion

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DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION | Lynch’s varied, colorful paintings have earned him a following after just a few years in the art world. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Having only been painting for about two years, Van Lynch isn’t at Thomas Kinkeade’s level of fame yet. But that hasn’t stopped him from selling multiple, high-price pieces to establishments around Dallas. (And he’s much better than Kinkeade.) Lynch has turned his creative side into a lucrative part-time art career, working his way up through the ranks of local artists with his unique abstract style.

That’s a far cry from his corporate background. Before he started painting, Lynch graduated Stephen F. Austin University with a degree in business and immediately began working into the hotel industry. He hopped from East Coast to West in various sales and marketing jobs before settling in his native Dallas.

“I was missing something, so that’s why I kind of shifted gears,” he says. Now, Lynch’s day job as an apartment manager for the Amli Residences allows him to live comfortably in his apartment, surrounded by his artwork.

Painting started as a Christmas present from his mother and sister — and he took to it like a fish to water.

“I’ve always wanted to paint or do something creative and I’ve never set aside a time in my life to do that,” Lynch says. “One year, my sister and my mom bought me art lessons with [Cynthia Chartièr] at her beautiful studio and that’s where it all started. I painted with her for approximately six months at that studio. It went from there.”

With Chartièr’s guidance, Lynch discovered a facility as an abstract artist.

“I came in for my first lesson and I was like, ‘What do I do, teacher?’” Lynch recalls. “She said, ‘Anything you want; I’m just here to guide you.’”

After his official lessons ended, Lynch bought studio time for a good place to “make a mess.” It was also where he could meet and trade feedback with other artists, some of whom became friends.

Lynch draws from a variety of inspirations, from colors to images. He frequents the library and owns numerous art books, taking after his favorite artists such as Kandinsky, Mondrian and Monet. When he paints, though, Lynch doesn’t always have a definite image in his mind; he says he works better when he sets out the colors he wants and just goes with it until he deems it finished.

Lynch has displayed his art in shows and festivals around Dallas. His canvases start at about $200 for a 36-by-48-inch piece, rising depending on size and complexity.

One of his biggest sales was to the Downtown restaurant Dallas Fish Market, which bought six canvases from him for their renovation. But even that money goes back into his art.

“I bought more canvas and paints,” Lynch laughs about his proceeds. “For me, as a beginner, it’s my secret little addiction, being at the art supply store every chance I get. I just can’t stop myself.”

The best part about painting for Lynch, though, isn’t the paycheck that comes with a custom order — it’s the happiness he gives someone.

“I think the biggest satisfaction is when someone sees something the first time and are like, ‘Oh my God, I love it,’ Something I did really spoke to someone.” He recalls one instance when he sold a piece to a musician who said, “When I see that, I wanna go home and write a new song.”

Lynch hopes he can retire from his day job eventually and become a fulltime artist, painting and teaching on the side. He’d also like to expand his repertoire to include other artistic media.

 “I’d love to do sculptures, mobiles, welding — things of that nature,” he says. He’d also like to work lights and soldering into his art.

Lynch admits to being a bit of a size queen: His ideal work involves bright, bold colors, simplicity and a lobby-worthy size. His project dream is to combine two dozen of his own medium-sized paintings into a mosaic to make a larger “statement” piece.

The only regret Lynch has is that he waited so long to start what has become his favored hobby, but “now I’m doing it” and he doesn’t plan on stopping.

In additional to commissioned paintings, Lynch likes to use giclèe, a method where art is photographed with a high-resolution camera and then printed onto commercial items such as T-shirts and wood. “I’m not above coffee cups,” Lynch chuckles.

— Draconis Von Trapp

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Omni sensual

New hotel’s artwork is as much a draw as its location

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‘THUNDERHEAD’ | Gay artist Ted Kincaid’s largest-ever work dominates the new Omni Hotel’s lobby. He’s one of a number of local artists represented throughout the facility. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

“Did you see the gay clouds?” Jeff West asks.
Of course, the clouds themselves aren’t gay — they are, at most, bi-cumulus — but West (who works with Matthews Southwest, the lead developer of the new Omni Hotel in Downtown Dallas) knows that many gay art fans will know just what he’s talking about: The massive, distinctive digital wisps that are instantly identifiable as the work of Ted Kincaid.

Thunderhead 1111 is Kincaid’s largest work to date, and it dominates the lobby of the Omni — a great testament to the inclusion of local artists throughout the property.

Art, in fact, is a key aspect in the design of the hotel; the halls are decorated with unique pieces, as are the individual rooms. In most instances, pieces are for sale. It’s probably a natural progression from being able to buy a hotel robe or slippers, but still a nice one.

Especially because of the Omni’s attention to detail. Meeting rooms in the hotel are named after Dallas neighborhoods and landmarks (enjoy a conference in the Katy Trail room, a reception in the Oak Cliff), and the artwork reflects that, from photos of Deep Ellum to abstract paintings of Bishop Arts.

The building itself is dazzling as well, from the LED lights that decorate the exterior (but do not flood into the rooms) to the graceful lines in the Texas Spice restaurant. You can’t call it a museum, but the Omni is a gallery of a kind, and worth a tour even if you aren’t from out of town.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Robb Conover opens new Pop (exploration) art show at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum

Tonight, queer artist Robb Conover makes a colorful statement with the opening of Sweet Bullets, the exhibit he curated for Kettle Art. The show features local artists Corey Godfrey, Dan Colcer, Daniel Birdsong, Tony Reans, Nix Johnson and Conover himself. Your likely to see a whole lot of bold colors, but he tells Kettle Art’s blog that it’s not just a Pop art show. From Kettle Art:

“We wanted a Pop edge without the show being completely POP. So, the name “Sweet Bullets” was coined by Corey. To me, its art that is fun and intense; as fast as a bullet traveling across the room and just as peaceful and sweet at the same time. We wanted to give Kettle-ites a new feeling of adventure after leaving the show. We want the audience to experience a journey that the walls at Kettle have never seen.”

Read more of what Conover tells Kettle here and see some of the works that will be on display through Dec. 10.Kettle Art is located at 2714 Elm St. The opening starts at 7 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

Q Live! goes up with full production of Reza’s ‘Art’

Recently, we wrote about Q Cinema’s new live-theater program, QLive! Well, the project’s first fully-staged production, Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning play Art, opens Thursday, and runs five nights: Nov. 17-19, 25 and 26, all at the Firehouse Gallery, 4147 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth. Curtain is at 8 p.m. all nights.

“Our staging embraces Reza’s vicious wit but celebrates a new dimension . . . the folly and frequent luxury of youth,”  says Todd Camp, the group’s founder. Set in Paris, the play is about how three friends react to a strange painting: One that appears to be only a white canvas.

There will also be a showing of new works by local artists in conjunction with the play. All of the pieces will be auctioned off to raise funds for QLive!’s 2012 season. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students). There will also be a full bar with donations accepted.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ro2′s ‘Synclines’ art show closes tonight

Conover in sync

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We’re used to seeing the bold and colorful Pop art of Robb Conover depicting comic book icons of late. Whether he’s giving his take on Wonder Woman or exploring a queer element to Batman and Robin as they kiss, Conover adds a definite punch to the local arts scene. His work has been seen in the gayborhood at Buli, Drama Room and Lucky’s.

He goes in a different direction, above, in Ro2 Art’s exhibit Synclines. Conover joins local artists Cabe Booth and Kevin Obregon, to present, what the gallery calls, new and unexpected works. The show closes tonight with a reception.

DEETS: Ro2 Art Downtown, 110 N. Akard St. 6 p.m. Ro2Art.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Art Con’s SEED event Better Gnomes & Gardens tonight at Sons

When in gnome

Better Gnomes and Gardens. Art Con’s SEED event put local artists to the test with their reinterpretations of garden gnomes and pink flamingos and all up for auction. Benefiting Art Conspiracy, the event will also feature local bands The Red 100s, John Lefler and The Blurries.

DEETS: Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St. 7 p.m. $10. ArtConspiracy.org.

—  Rich Lopez