From June 13th through June 15th, ARTworks Vass will celebrate Fathers’ Day by featuring the work of at least four different North Carolina Folk Artists. There’ll be opportunities to meet the artists, to watch them demonstrate their craft, to shop their pop-up markets, and to create original Folk Art. Refreshments will be served, and door prize drawings will also be held. Folk Artists being featured during this event include Ted Gregson of Sanford, Kathleen Miller of Southern Pines, James Januzik of West End, and Thomas Graham of Alamance County.
Folk Art is a widely recognized and collected art form. In may be naïve, with self-taught artists working with whatever materials they have at hand to create beauty. In other forms it’s embraced for its traditions and rich history, with techniques that have been passed from one artist to another throughout the ages. Folk Art may include paintings, crayon drawings, wire sculpture, jewelry, tin creations, found objects and more. It may be functional or purely decorative, and ARTworks Vass will be celebrating several different North Carolina Folk Artists during this extended weekend event.
When Ted Gregson isn’t twisting and turning wire into whimsical and wondrous sculptures, you’ll find him at the side of the road in Sanford, next to his colorful spray painted vintage truck that’s a work of art in itself. He’ll likely be surrounded by his fantastical creations, while playing the air guitar that he crafted out of found materials. Gregson’s work appears in collections in twenty-eight countries, and rumor has it that it may also be found at the offices of Smithsonian Magazine, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Washington DC, and in the office of at least one local congressman.
Within the Folk Art genre, Gregson would be labeled as an Outsider Artist. He’s had no formal artistic education, and his creativity has been internally driven by his own imagination, instead of being passed from one generation to the next. Ted Gregson, his work, and his truck will appear at ARTworks Vass between 11:00 and 2:00 on Thursday, June 13th.
At the other end of the Folk Art spectrum, Kathleen Miller is a Decorative Painter who has been accredited by the International Society of Decorative Painters. The roots of Decorative Painting may be traced for centuries through Colonial America, Europe, and Russia. It’s this history that draws Miller to her craft, and drives her to learn at the hand of masters to expand her skills and knowledge to their full potential. She also makes it her personal mission to share her love of Decorative Painting with collectors, her students, and the public at large. For Folk Art Fathers’ Day, Miller will be augmenting her collection with a series of original golf and fishing themed pieces, as well as a series of new primitive country landscapes and painted wooden objects. Miller will be exhibiting her work and demonstrating her craft between 11:00 and 4:00 on Thursday, June 13th at ARTworks Vass.
Locally, James Januzik, may be best known for his work at A.D.I. Tattoos, which he owned and operated in Southern Pines for more than twenty years before retiring. Less known is the fact that he has an extensive arts education, or that he was a Fine Artist long before thoughts of tattooing ever crossed his mind.
When asked how Tattooing can possibly be considered a form of Folk Art, he replies, “The art of tattooing has been around for millennia. It was virtually unknown until the European Explorers arrived in Polynesia and discovered tattoos on the natives there. This discovery brought a surge of interest from people of all social and economic backgrounds in the community. That trend continues today, as modern day tattooing and the art that it inspires, have become culturally accepted and treasured. The art of tattooing is a tradition that’s passed from generation to generation and from master to apprentice. I honor those traditions while also adding my own modern sensibilities and creativity to each finished piece. While I no longer work with the human body as the substrate for my creations, my process is still similar. My work is deeply personal, and touches its collectors as a means of honoring and remembering the people and things that they love for exactly that reason.”
Januzik has been exploring the manner in which he can combine his two artistic loves into a style that’s all his own. His work now is often tattoo-inspired, and executed on canvas or another substrate that catapults it into the realm of fine art. He’ll be sharing this new body of work during the Folk Art Fathers’ Day Weekend Celebration at ARTworks Vass. In addition to the new pieces that will be on display, he’ll also be offering a limited number of opportunities for custom requests for his Fine Art Tattoo Canvases. These often include, dates, names, objects of special interest, and sentimental touches that hold significant meaning to a collector. James Januzik will meet collectors, demonstrate, and share his latest collection at ARTworks Vass on Friday, June 14th, between 11:00 and 2:00.
ARTworks Vass Owner and Metalsmith, Jean Skipper, has been a collector of Folk Art and a fan of Folk Artists for many years. One of her favorite traditions in North Carolina includes attending Fearrington Village’s Invitational Southern Folk Art Show each year. While there in 2018, Skipper was drawn to Thomas Graham’s brightly colored Tin Collage, to his unique repurposed tin jewelry, and to the functional objects that he creates using items that would ordinarily be sent to the landfill. When the two met again at this year’s show, they immediately began to make plans for him to join ARTworks Vass as an exhibiting artist and guest instructor. Several of Graham’s coveted original collages will be on exhibit in the gallery and available for sale during the Folk Art Fathers’ Day Celebration.
Graham will also be returning on Saturday, July 21st, to teach his first class, and Jean was first in line to reserve a seat in his class. While she’s been a metalsmith for years, the manner in which Thomas creates is intriguing to her. She loves that he shares his tips and tricks so generously with his students, and that he caters to the needs of each guest in class… from absolute beginners to more seasoned metal artists. Creating in the manner that he does is rare, and his ability to communicate this to others exceeds even that. You may register for his full day class, The Art of Tin Collage, by clicking here, and reservations may also be made by calling 910-245-4129.
After days with a spotlight on Folk Art and Folk Artists, on Saturday, June 15th, children and adults will have the opportunity to create their own Folk Art Inspired Paintings at ARTworks Vass at a cost of $10 each. This self-taught painting adventure is sure to yield masterpieces that will make a perfect gift for Fathers’ Day, or the experience may be used as an opportunity for parents, children, and grandchildren to make memories and art together. Painting sessions will be held between 11:00 and 4:00, and a limited number of seats will be available. Reservations may be made online by clicking here or by calling 910-245-4129.
For your GPS, ARTworks Vass is located at 129 Main Street, in Vass, NC. More information about this event may be obtained by calling 910-245-4129.