“What other artists should we make sure we see today?”
I’m asked that a lot as folks are leaving my painting studio in Asheville’s River Arts District. There are over 200 artists within about a square mile here, and I would recommend people see everyone but…if your time is limited and you just an a morning or afternoon, here are my suggestions for my favorite “must see” artists who work around me.
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- The Lift Studios is the creative home of Daniel McClendon (www.theliftstudios.com) Daniel’s paintings are process-focused and examine the connectivity of instinct, impulsive action, and identity. The work begins non-objectively in the form of a chaotic black and white abstract painting, and from there the animal— a central figure in all his works—emerges. These animals, created from a variety of colors, patterns, textures, forms, and symbols, take on the role of both a totem as well as the embodiment of instinct itself.
- Michael Hoffman (LiveLifeArtfully.com) In a world of sameness, Hoffman Studios offers you something truly unique. I invite you to visit our gallery and working studio to view the varied selection of handbuilt porcelain we offer for your enjoyment. Each piece of pottery is made using antique lace, some centuries old, to create objects that will be cherished for generations to come. Using the materials that nature has provided, we formulate glazes that dress each piece in a skin of dazzling colors. Colors that often mimic precious gems, stones and weathered metals.
- North Carolina Glass Center (www.ncglasscenter.org). The North Carolina Glass Center is a non-profit, public access glass studio providing daily educational offerings & demonstrations. You can watch glass being blown and even take a class and learn to blow glass yourself!
- Bee Sieburg (www.beesieburg.com) Bee is one of my favorite people on the planet. She loves to paint countryside (local and European) and farm animals. Her style is loose and free with an awesome use of color and brush strokes. She’s upstairs in the Wedge Building.
- Matt Tommey (www.matttommey.com) Matt’s handcrafted baskets are a whimsical collaboration of traditional weaving techniques, vines, bark and recycled metal. Every basket begins with a walk in the woods. His artistic “voice” centers around the ability to speak the language of natural materials. By responding to nature and incorporating many different materials, he’s able to create one-of-a-kind sculptural creations. If you see someone rummaging around a kudzu field gather vines, that’s probably Matt.
Honestly, this is is really minimal but at least it’s a start. There are so many other talented artists around here. To explore the district properly would take all day or a weekend. These artists are another one of the reasons why we love living in Western North Carolina and Asheville in particular. The mountains, trails, and woods, the restaurants in downtown Asheville and all the mirco-breweries, the music — what a fun place to live or visit.