Westerville Art Hop

This was the first annual Westerville Art Hop. It consisted of about 30 locations in Uptown Westerville where artists were creating art live and/or displaying their work.

Artist Richard Leavy, Westerville Art Hop
Artist Richard Leavy, Westerville Art Hop

Why water colors?

The dirty secret is water color is easy to clean up. Oils are a pain. With soap and water, you are done. The fact that you can use transparent color. In water color you can put on layers. It is like having sheets of colored glass, one on top of the other. Plus, the flow of the water can give unexpected mixtures of color. Some unexpected bad. Some unexpected good. To an extent you must give up control. You can plan and then throw the plan in the trash can because it doesn’t work out that way. I find it to be a beautiful medium. It is difficult, but not impossible and easy clean up.

How long have you been doing it?

About 3.5 years.

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

The watercolor pans you get when you are in the third grade…. Forget it! Those are impossible. Nobody could paint well with those. Get decent equipment. Most of the classes that I am aware of are designed for older people but Westerville Arts Council Youth (WACY) offers painting classes for young people.

Anything else?

Westerville has a lot of artists, and no cultural arts center. If there is anything that is missing in this town, it is a cultural arts center.

Artist Alexandra Zecevic, Westerville Art Hop
Artist Alexandra Zecevic, Westerville Art Hop

What is your medium?

It is acrylic.

Why acrylic? How long have you been doing it?

I have been doing it (painting) all my life. Acrylic is the easiest paint medium that I ever worked with. It is the easiest because it is permanent, and it doesn’t need to dry for a long time like oil. It is very flexible. You can change it, blend it, and pick bright colors.

Are you a full-time artist or is this your side gig?

More like a side gig. 

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

If they really love doing it, they need to do it part time. Find a design job or something that they can do for profit. I have a lot of artist friends. None of them are really making it.

Artist David Myers, Westerville Art Hop
Artist David Myers, Westerville Art Hop

How did you become a trained Art Therapist?

I went to college at Cal State Los Angeles for two or three years and received a Master’s in Art Therapy.

What is art therapy?

Art can be a therapy. The act of doing art is therapy. For anyone, it can be an alternative means to express yourself.  Some people feel more comfortable with the visual than the verbal. It is just another way to express yourself.

What is your process to tell a story with art?

I start with a story. Then I illustrate it, or I allow the story to evolve out of the art. It is about intuition, living in the moment and seeing what will unfold. Usually when we do art, we have a plan and execute the plan.  We rarely step into a blank canvas and see what happens. I have explored that in my own work, and I work with artists to do that. To be in the moment, and have the confidence to trust our intuition, then express it. There is no wrong way to do it that way. Whatever unfolds, whatever happens happens, but you need to accept it.  It’s when we have an expectation and we don’t meet it, then are disappointed, then we judge our art and ourselves. It is one and the same. When we accept our art, we accept ourselves.

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

Be themselves. Explore who you are. Embrace and develop your gifts even more. You can learn from others but do it from your own filter.

Artist Lena Halversen, IG: @lena_halversen, Westerville Art Hop
Artist Lena Halversen, Westerville Art Hop

Tell me about the medium you are using and how long you have used it.

This is acrylic. I have been doing this for about 9 years. I’m 17.

Is this the one thing that you are passionate about?

I am passionate about a lot of different areas in the arts. This is where I started out. In the realm of the arts is my passion.

Any advice for a young person (younger than you) who wants to do what you are doing?It is all just practice. I think there are people who think it comes down to talent, or that person was born with it. You must not be afraid to make mistakes

Jennifer Murray, IG: @jennifernicolemurry, Westerville Art Hop
Jennifer Murray, Westerville Art Hop

Tell me about the medium you are using and how long you have used it.

I have been painting forever. I took 7 years of private lessons with David Myers (middle school through high school). In 2015 I got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the Rhode Island school of art and design. I am mainly a painter.

Why painting?

Why not painting? Of course, I love painting. I am drawn to it. I do draw and do other stuff. I love the way it feels to work with paint. I love 10 layers of gesso.

What is gesso?

It is a sealer. You put it on raw canvas to prime it.

I am particular about the surface area. I want it to be smooth. I sand it down.

Tell me about your process. Share your secrets.

I am teaching a class, “Intro to Painting for beginners to intermediates” at the Bryn Du Art Center in Granville. For my process, I usually have an object that I want to put in a scene or an abstract sense of the type of scene I want. For example, the kitchen. Then I do a bunch of sketches. I play around with the composition. Once I find something that I like, I draw it out. I know a lot of people are not going to like this because they feel it is a secret magic trick. But I trace a lot of stuff directly on the canvas. Some people feel that is cheating, but I am working smart. I like to work with Procreate, it is an iPad drawing app. Sometimes I take a picture of my painting then put it in Procreate, then draw over the photo. It allows me to change colors of objects. It is a way to get some distance from the painting that I am working on, and to visualize something.

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

You got to love it. Quantity is a huge thing. Make as much stuff as possible. Paint every day. Draw every day. If you make ten paintings, one of them is going to be good. Get out of your head and go for it. You are never going to truly be original. Everything comes from something else. You know what you like. Pick artists you like and copy them. Not one to one. Change something.

Mark Toro, IG: @marktoro5, Westerville Art Hop
Mark Toro, Westerville Art Hop

Tell me about your experiences doing rock concert photography.

It was a blast back in the day when you didn’t need a photo pass to get credentials to be at the stage. You could take a big bag of gear into a show. They would just check to make sure you weren’t bringing in contraband. I would get to my seat even if I wasn’t close, then I would just roam get as close as I could, get my shots, then move to the other side. I would do that all night long. That was from 1975 to 1978 I didn’t do anything for about 13 years. Then, I got an opportunity to shoot professionally for a few local magazines. Then, I started getting the photo passes where I was right at the stage. That began in 1991 with Siouxsie And the Banshess, the first big show was the U2 show of 1992 for Achtung Baby which was the Zoo TV Tour. I would pick and choose who I wanted to shoot. It was a blast being at the stage.

Wow! being right at the stage is a little easier right? Less heads to avoid getting a clear shot.

You still must be able to operate a camera. Most of the pictures you see on the wall were done with manual focus. The only ones that are not are Chrissie Hynde 1998, the Stones and Ringo.

How did you get started?

I was at a famous rock show in 1974 in Cleveland stadium at the Emerson Lake and Palmer Brain Salad Surgery tour. We were close to the stage on the infield. This guy had all these 35 mm cameras with lenses around his neck. I was totally transfixed with what I saw. I thought, “what in the world kind of camera is that? I have to get one of those.” That was the beginning of it. I saved up for my first camera. After that it was all over. I knew I wanted to become a photographer. I went to photography school and got a degree from Ohio Institute of Photography. I eventually became a corporate photographer for Columbia Gas for 12 years. I travelled to 5 states, sometimes on a Learjet for corporate communications. The company filed chapter 11, so I lost that gig. I never lost my love for photography.

What is your favorite memory?

Wow there is just so many. Queen (rock group) is up there. I saw them 4 times back in the day. I have a shot of Freddie (Freddie Mercury was a British singer-songwriter, record producer and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen) looking right at me, Phil Collins and Genesis 1978. I snuck in to see the band before they let people in. I got shots of a whole mini set. The U2 show is another highlight because I got a cover and a 2-page spread out of that.

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

Get the degree, so you can compete. Find what you love in photography and pursue it. Shoot a lot. I shot every day after school for about 2 years before I did anything. I wanted to get familiar and the love of shooting. Feed your mind images. You can’t create from a vacuum. Zero in on how you want to specialize. Pursue it! Don’t give up! Keep shooting!

Westerville Art Hop
Westerville Art Hop
Artist Don Wilkins, Westerville Art Hop
Artist Don Wilkins, Westerville Art Hop

Tell me about the medium reverse painting on glass.

I start with a drawing; then, I paint what I have drawn on one side of a piece of glass. When I show the piece of art, it will be on the other side. I find a backing for it. Hopefully, it comes out with something that pops. The contrast between the flower, the backing and a frame that brings it all together. Sometimes, I need to paint a second coat.

Tell me about the background.

It is a piece of vinyl that looks like metal that is kind of shinny. It gives a nice contrast to the soft flower. I found them online for kitchen and bathroom renovations. I assume they are used for back splashes.

How did you get started?

I started about a year and a half ago. It was an idea that my wife had. It has been about a year and a half trying to find the right frames and backgrounds. I am not aware of anyone else who is doing this; so, I don’t have anyone that I can ask. If I make a mistake, I just take a razor blade and scrape all the paint off and start over.

How long does it usually take to complete one piece?

About 2 or 3 hours. One coat, then wait for it to dry and do another coat. If a third coat is needed, it takes about half an hour to dry.

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

I don’t know that a young person would have much fun doing this. If they wanted to try, I would have them draw first. I think that if you are trying to do art, sketching and drawing is where you start. Without a sketch, I wouldn’t have any idea what to do with the paint.

Sidebar: I love the repurpose component!

Rob Mandell, IG: @robmandell, Westerville Art Hop
Rob Mandell, Westerville Art Hop

Tell me about your preferred medium and your process.

I worked in the corporate world for almost 30 years. I developed multiple sclerosis. I retired from work because of that. I needed a hobby, so I started doing photography. One day, I took a picture of a light bulb that I needed to buy a replacement for. People loved the picture. I started to play around with photography. I am now the president of the Westerville Art league. I show my work at a couple of places in town. I’m just having fun.

Westerville Art League has been around 61 years. I feel honored to be the president.

How would you describe your work?

Anything from abstract to real. We will travel and find pictures like in Norway. Light, reflection, and shadows.

What tools do you use to create your art?

My cell phone and my tablet. I also use free apps: toolwiz and snapseed.

Sidebar: I can’t believe Rob is taking the images with a cell phone and only using free apps to increase saturation in his images. I thought he used Lightroom at a minimum to process the images.

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

Don’t listen to what everybody else says. Play, enjoy, have fun. See what you want to see. If you are not having fun, it is not worth it.

Rob Cordray and Helen Brauchi, Having fun at the Westerville Art Hop
Rob Cordray and Helen Brauchi, Having fun at the Westerville Art Hop
Helen Brauchi, Rob Cordray, Kyle Dapo and Tiarra Marshall, Westerville Art Hop
Helen Brauchi, Rob Cordray, Kyle Dapo and Tiarra Marshall, Westerville Art Hop
Kyle Dapo; IG: @kyledapo, Westerville Art Hop
Kyle Dapo; Westerville Art Hop

You said you are a fashion designer. Tell me about your background and describe your fashion.

My background is in music. I went to college for music. I have always liked fashion. I focus on men’s fashion. I find elegant fabrics and turn it into a tail coat, a vest. I want men to know they can branch out from a black and blue suit.

What is your design name?

Nothing Right. If you have nothing right to wear, then I can provide something.

Where can we find your stuff?

On Facebook

Do you work for all sizes?

Yes. It is very easy to tailor something. To bring it in or bring it out. I focus on the average person because the average person is not thin. I tend to focus on all different sizes.

Any advice for a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

Be like Nike and just do it. It is a lot of fun and it is easy. The only person holding you back is you.

My take on the Westerville Art Hop: The Westerville Art Hop was wonderful. There was ample free parking close to the event. I might have walked a total of four blocks the entire time I was there. The event had a friendly vibe. There were so many locations (about 30) where artists were creating art and displaying art. Although well attended the event didn’t seem overly crowded. It was great to hear people share their passion and how they arrived where they are currently. I think it is remarkable that the young people were articulate, confident, and gave sound advice to the next generation. I enjoyed hearing about the different processes of creating art.