by Shawn Vinson
DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY Director/Partner
by Shawn Vinson
DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY Partner/Director
We recently had the pleasure of hosting one of our favorite people for a ten-day visit to the Deep South. The force of nature that is Kosmo Vinyl had only just returned home to New York from a holiday in England and France. He celebrated Christmas in Normandie with his family and spent some time back in London catching up with friends, including his old mates Mick, Paul and Topper. A few days later, he was boarding a flight to Atlanta for his Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump one-man-show at DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY. The opening reception was scheduled for January 20, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. presidential inauguration. But before we could get to the festivities, there was work to be done, and less than 48 hours in which to do it...
by Shawn Vinson
DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY Partner/Director
When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art.
When artists get together for dinner,
they discuss Money.
- Oscar Wilde
Earlier this year at the opening of the Decatur Art Festival Fine Arts Exhibition at Agnes Scott College's Dalton Gallery, I was introduced to a charming local banker from Cornerstone Bank. I didn't realize that we still had any community banks left and it was nice to meet Jamie Ensley. When he learned that I had just opened DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY his eyes lit up!
Do you want to open another gallery in our bank? he asked.
Turns out that Jamie and his team were just discussing the best use of some extra space they had at their Decatur office. Ideas were floated: a community room? a wi-fi cafe?
Jamie, who was once the chair of the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, had another idea:
What about an art gallery?
What do Winston Churchill, Kosmo Vinyl and Wreckless Eric Have in Common?
They're all British... yes, that's the first thing that comes to mind. Churchill (1874-1965) was born in Woodstock, England; Kosmo Vinyl (b. 1957) hails from East London; and Wreckless Eric (b. 1954) is from Newhaven, East Sussex. You might also know that they're all artists, and yes, plenty of artists come from England, so what? Well...
Ruth Franklin (another superb British artist) and I recently had the privilege of attending the opening of 'The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting' at the Millenium Gate Museum in Atlanta. The exhibition features over 30 of Churchill's paintings, many of which have never before been displayed publicly. In short, it's a fascinating exhibit on many levels, and I highly recommend you go see it before it closes on February 1, 2015...
The 10th & final SkaterAid "skateboard/music/art" festival is September 28 from 2 - 7PM at East Decatur Station in Decatur, Georgia. SkaterAid is produced by a dedicated group of volunteers, and 100% of the proceeds benefit the Georgia Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
A big part of the event is the 'Art Deck Auction'. Months before the festival, artists are invited to create original works using skateboard decks as canvases. Some paint, some draw, there's mixed media collages (as seen above), 3D works and the occasional 'functional' piece, such as a rope swing or a coat/hat hanger. It's been announced that this is the last SkaterAid, and a record 135 art decks have been donated this year.
Today marks England's last official day at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, so I thought I'd go ahead and share our first 'guest blog' to mark the occasion. I've personally gotten over my disappointment at the 3 Lions early exit, thanks in large part to the unexpected success of my Team USA. I reckon most England supporters won't feel the same as I do, and the opinions that follow aren't likely to help. Chris Pig is one of the few Englishmen I know who who isn't bothered at all about football. He's more interested in art & culture, thank you very much. He's also busy being one of the best printmakers in the UK, if you ask me. If there was a World Cup for Printmaking, I've no doubt he'd fare better than the current English National Team, who couldn't even score in a brothel. - Shawn Vinson
A 'guest blog' from London - by Printmaker Chris Pig:
Last night I was out at a restaurant with my family to celebrate my partner’s birthday. At the end of the meal the waiter passed me the bill and solicitously said to me “England are losing one nil.” I tried to look as if I cared about this because, after all, he thought he was doing me a favour by supplying me with an update on a football match. I think he thought that, as a man, I would rather be watching the world cup than being out with my family. And that is what annoys me about football, not that people gather together to watch some men play a ball game either in person or on the TV, but that it is assumed that everybody shares their interest. Also a sinister undertone to this is that if you are uninterested in football, you are not patriotic.
Every four years since 1930 (except in 1942 and 1946 thanks to the Nazis), the world's biggest single-event sporting competition takes place. It is estimated that over 700,000 people watched the 2006 final match in Germany, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was broadcast to over 200 countries. As you probably know by now, the 2014 World Cup will happen in Brazil and it starts tomorrow, June 12. I figured I'd better get this blog posted now, because I'll be a bit preoccupied through July 13.
This next month might be a good time for a guest blog by one of our artists who actually couldn't care less about football (I won't mention names), but this installment is about the artists who do. Read on, and please leave your comments below...
Our man on the street in New York City, Kosmo Vinyl, recently posted a comment on our blog about the Raymond Pettibon Surfers exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan.
It's nice to live vicariously through our friends in Manhattan sometimes. Sure, we read about art online at excellent websites such as Artinfo.com, and I enjoy following famed NY critic Jerry Saltz on Facebook - but the personal touch of getting a 'note' from a friend is a fine way to discover a new artist or gallery show I might otherwise miss when scanning the blogs and online art magazines.
This exhibition, the first ever to be devoted entirely to the California-based artist's 'surfer paintings', closed a few days ago - but you can still view it online. I liked the short video of the installation, and couldn't help notice all the folks sitting around watching one guy work (reminded me of a construction crew), but that's another story.
Here's what Kosmo Vinyl had to say...
... Those sage words of advice came from my friend Eric last year, while we were discussing my to-do list...
Eric, better known as Wreckless Eric, is an ‘antique English pop musician’ who once wrote a song called (I’d go the) Whole Wide World. Considered “one of the great Stiff singles”, it was produced by Nick Lowe for London’s Stiff Records in 1977 and re-released in 2013 on the Ten Big Stiffs compilation. His name may or may not sound familiar, but you’ve probably heard the tune before. Perhaps you know the 2007 cover version by The Proclaimers, or maybe you recall Will Ferrell singing it to Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger than Fiction? In his book, A Dysfunctional Success, Eric wrote:
It was single of the week in all the music papers, and number one on the TimeOut alternative chart. It stayed there for weeks. Elton John reviewed it for the Record Mirror, saying it was the only album he liked.”
Summer, 2008 -- It was a fine day in Whitstable, an English seaside town sixty miles east of London. Billy Childish, Ruth Franklin, Gary Goodman, Teresa Stewart-Goodman and I all met at Billy's mum's house, where he goes every Sunday to paint and have tea. Gary introduced us to Billy, having gotten to know him at poetry readings and gigs. Ruth has known Gary and Teresa since their Brighton Art School days back in the 80s, and I met Ruth through the art dealer I started working for in 1991. I actually sold her pictures for a few years before we met in person, and the same is true for both Gary and Billy.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”... indeed.
I’ve had a bit of a thing about England for as long as I can remember. When my grandparents went to Belgium in the 1970s and I heard they’d have a layover in London, I asked for a t-shirt from there. They brought me back one with a picture of an English Bulldog with a Union Jack on it. Years later when I was in high school, I discovered Punk, and that t-shirt got sliced and diced and safety-pinned back together again. The only class that mattered to me at that time was Graphic Arts, where I learned and loved photography and screenprinting, and the only thing digital was a calculator! I didn’t know it back then of course, but the foundation was being laid.
At 21, I delivered a box-truck full of framed art to a design showroom in Naples, Florida. That was my first day in the art business. I had gotten my real estate license a year earlier, and had come to realize that selling houses wasn’t for me. Luckily, while moonlighting as the promotions director at a karate school, I met a fellow who owned a company that imported & distributed fine & decorative art from around the world. This really appealed to me, and I was excited about the new job.
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