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Studio III Art Group Featured at Mary Hong Gallery

Studio III Art Group Featured at Mary Hong Gallery

Mary Hong Gallery is excited to introduce the work of THREE amazing local artists from FWB!  Mark Bonner, Jim Cooper and Larry Griffin are the talent behind Studio III Art Group!  Join us in welcoming them at an Artist’s Reception on Friday Aug 5th from 5-7pm at Mary Hong Gallery in the Shops of Grayton.  Food, Bevs, and great talent will make this an amazing event!

Here’s some insight into each artist:

MARK BONNER:

Mark is originally from Dothan, Alabama, but now resides in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He began to practice his artistic talent in private classes at age eight, which he continued through age 16. His first exhibit was a group show, at age 13.

Mark attended The University of Alabama, where he majored in commercial art, and minored in sculpture. He is also the co-owner of Studio III Art Group, Inc., a Fort Walton based business, specializing in high end faux finishes, murals, and traditional Italian plaster techniques. You may have seen his most recent work locally at the Downtown Fort Walton Beach Artwalk, or in the mural on the side of Run With It in Downtown Fort Walton Beach.

Although he has only recently started exhibiting again his artwork has been well received in the Gulf Coast area. By combining his training in graphic design, techniques learned in his current business, and his love of light and reflection, Mark’s work has evolved into a style of its’ own. A lot of his works include gold, silver, or copper leaf, and incorporate his own special medium recipe, which allows the metallic surfaces of his work to be painted and glazed, without losing their inherent reflectivity. He has also recently begun to incorporate glass into his work. Subject matter varies with his inspiration but he typically focuses on unique interpretations of nautical themes, landscapes, wildlife, figures, and faces.

Mark is a member of the The Arts and Design Society of Okaloosa County. He is passionate about keeping art and culture part of the attraction to the Gulf Coast area. In the past few years Mark has won several awards for his work including:

Viewer’s Choice: 2011 Okaloosa County Fair
First Place: NWFLAA “Social Issues” show
1 of 12 places in the ADSO 2012 Calendar 2nd Place: ADSO-Me, Myself, and I; Self Portrait Exhibition
2nd Place: NWFLAA-Members Exhibition
1 of 12 places in the ADSO 2013 Calendar

Mark’s work is constantly evolving. As he learns new techniques, he constantly strives to combine them with what he already knows to create something new, and different, from anything you have seen from him in the past.

JIM COOPER

1) Tell us about your background…family…passions..etc…

I am from Northport AL and moved to the Emerald Coast with my family and now live in fort Walton Beach. I love the beach and the casual lifestyle. I enjoy traveling and seeing new horizons. The views and the light here are uplifting and an inspiration. I love reading, music, theatre and conversation.

2) When did you first “Wow!” yourself with your art?

My art teacher in the seventh grade saw possibilities for art in everything around her and encouraged her students to open their eyes to the world. I created a mosaic in her class that excited me about lines, colors and shapes. I entered my first art show with her encouragement in the eighth grade. I also love seeing how most images, emotion or indication of movement can be expressed by  a few simple lines. Later an interest in photography led me to my love of perspective.

3) Are you drawn to certain types of imagery or scenery? Do you have a secret dream to live or spend an extended period of time somewhere else?

I love land, sea and skyscapes. I hope to travel and experience the perspective that mountain, desert and cities can offer. I also love oriental art and hope to explore the differences between it and western art.

4) For the composition of your art, do you sketch by hand? Use a computer? How do you begin a piece?

Most of my creations begin with just an idea and result from an internal process I am not always aware of. I tend to just start a work from the idea but sometimes sketch a rough outline for a beginning point or direction.

5) Do you allow a work to wander from the original idea, or are you pretty disciplined and stick to the plan?

I most often let the work direct the end result but if the idea has a particular purpose or intended result will follow my plan.

6) Do you feel the same joy producing a commissioned work as you do creating something on your own?

They are so different because a commissioned work is the joy of sharing my view with the clients; appreciation of my style or subject and fulfilling their need. Whereas working on a piece for myself is a free expression of my creativity and just to please myself.

7) How long will you work on a piece of art? Do you stick with a piece from start to finish, or do you move among many works in progress

Most often I have several things going at once. Sometimes though I have a purpose or vision that is so strong that I focus on it exclusively.

8) How do you get yourself in the creative mood?

Mostly it is about finding the time to get in the studio. I usually have something in the back of my mind that I want to do and that alone creates the mood to express that idea. Frustration with everyday life can often motivate me because it allows me to change gears and to let go of the mundane.

9) What would our readers be surprised to know about you?

I am a hairdresser by day and an artist by night. Surprisingly hair is also my art. Transparent colors and glazes are like watercolor working with layers of color and negative space. Permanent colors are like oils and acrylics placing color for a specific look or color. Foiling is the placement of light and shadow. Cutting is architecture and styling is sculpture. So I am really an artist all the time just in a different fabric or media.

10) Can you think of a word or phrase that best describes how you feel about your work, what would it be, and why?

Excitement probably expresses it best. I love that there is always something new to explore and that the possibilities are endless. One idea leads to another in an ever changing and new creation.

11) Any new or upcoming endeavors that you'd like to share

Thanks to Mary resin open up an incredible new world, one that goes beyond two dimensions and seems unlimited in possibilities. I really wand to explore oriental art and how it can be expressed in this media.

LARRY GRIFFIN

Tell us about your background…family…passions..etc…

Once upon a time, in what now feels like a galaxy far, far away, I began this journey of life on the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwest Virginia. My home area is very rural and sparsely populated (if you remember The Walton’s, they were urban!). My family (Dad, Mom, older Sis and younger Brother) were farmers; then, when corporate farmers usurped the tobacco allotments, Dad began work in the area furniture factories and Mom went to the textile mills. That background instilled a love of nature and growing and planting and exploring and hard work. After college, there was little for me in the area. After some acquaintances issued an invitation to visit them in Alabama, I packed up and headed for Tuscaloosa. Culture shock! From ACC basketball to SEC football and losing almost a hundred years of history. However, that move introduced me to the Emerald Coast and the inspiration to live and work here. The textures, the colors of an almost-tropical area provide non-stop inspiration.

2) When did you first “Wow!” yourself with your art?

The journey as an artistic spirit is somewhat convoluted and moves in fits and spurts (many times the need to ‘earn a living’ and ‘pay the bills’ take precedent). My earliest memory of an artistic and creative nature comes from a time when I was seven years old. Every summer, I would spend a week with my maternal grandmother…just Granny to me. She lived in an even more rural area two counties away from home. Although she would never admit it, I know that she had a difficult time keeping my entertained ( no television or radio). After teaching me how to grow flowers, she would give some paper and a pencil stub and an old magazine. I remember one day when I did a pencil drawing of a ‘Breck Girl’ that looked just like the girl in the magazine ad (at that time, all ads were black and white). I remember feeling very excited about what I had done and wanting to do more.

3) Are you drawn to certain types of imagery or scenery? Do you have a secret dream to live or spend an extended period of time somewhere else?

I find excitement and energy in everything around me every day. Time is passing too quickly to take the wonders of each day for granted. Less time, longer bucket list. After having spent a number of years as a professional faux artist, I would really like to tour northern Italy…Florence and Tuscany, Umbria, Milan, Venice. Ultimately, I harbor a desire to have a bed and breakfast for artists somewhere around here.

4) For the composition of your art, do you sketch by hand? Use a computer? How do you begin a piece?

Each piece of work begins when images and thoughts collide. Sometimes there may be a hand drawn sketch. Many times it just a name or phrase that is written down and used to trigger the mental snapshot.

5) Do you allow a work to wander from the original idea, or are you pretty disciplined and stick to the plan?

Usually, I allow the execution of the idea/concept to evolve as I move along. There are times when I realize that the required technique is beyond my current skill levels and now is not the time for this piece. Sometimes you have to ‘walk away’ and come back to it later.

6) Do you feel the same joy producing a commissioned work as you do creating something on your own?

Each work is a creative joy and challenge. From years of working with Interior Designers, I learned how to negotiate the creative twists and turns a commissioned piece requires.

7) How long will you work on a piece of art? Do you stick with a piece from start to finish, or do you move among many works in progress?

Once the blank canvas has a splash of color, the work progresses at its own pace until complete. The pace may be interrupted for dry times or if a ‘happy accident’ brush stroke leads me astray to capture the inspiration and idea.

8) How do you get yourself in the creative mood?

To achieve that creative ‘I gotta do this image’, most of the time I try to use “cognitive mediation”; recently just spending quiet time with the dogs has been effective (helps keep the blood pressure down, too).

9) What would our readers be surprised to know about you?

I am too optimistic.

10) Can you think of a word or phrase that best describes how you feel about your work, what would it be, and why?

My work is changing and evolving as I learn more about myself with each new piece.

11) Any new or upcoming endeavors that you’d like to share?

I intend to keep putting paint on canvas, boards, walls; to keep pushing my own ill-perceived boundaries, learn more and follow that idea of ‘what happens if I do this’.

The road that leads me to the Emerald Coast is filled with twists and turns, highs and lows, some sunlit paths on the mountain tops and some fog-shrouded valleys. I am a Virginia Cavalier/Carolina Tarheel by birth, beginning this life’s journey in the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the heart of tobacco-land, furniture-land and the then ‘sweatshirt capital of the world’. Think about living an hour from Winston-Salem and High Point NC, 30 minutes away from Bassett Furniture home office or the home base of Dan RIver and Fieldcrest textiles. After high school graduation, I continued on to college where I earned a bachelor’s degree in English/Theatre Arts with enough earned credits for secondary studies in chemistry and philosophy. With that kind of educational training and exposure and the given time frame of late 1960’s/early 1970’s, one can do everything and nothing. If one should read the resume, that is what I have done…from a writer/photographer for a county weekly newspaper and industrial newsletters, owning and running an independent portrait photography studio, windows for JCPenney, organizing a community theatre and freelance public relations/publicity studio. After moving to Alabama in the late 1970’s, I began my career in the food service/hospitality industry which I continue to pursue. I discovered that this is something I enjoyed and I could do well ( the experiences in theatre and the arts are useful in this field). Plus the hours are generally very flexible, leaving time to chase after that unforgettable, elusive artistic creation that someone cannot live without. 

Thank you, gentlemen!  I look forward to many more questions on Friday Night!!!

Peace,

Mary