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Special, Mural, Painting, Photography

Feature: 1619 Flux

1619 FLUX is re-opening for our One-Year Anniversary on April 15th, 2017 with a new Exhibition about Revitalization in West Louisville, and other surrounding neighborhoods.


“1619 Flux is NOT an art gallery.” — Kara Nichols


Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow Exhibition  Co-Curators:  Jesse Levesque, Kara Nichols, and Gwendolyn Kelly

Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow Exhibition
Co-Curators:  Jesse Levesque, Kara Nichols, and Gwendolyn Kelly

Kara Nichols and Jessie Levesque did not want to open an art gallery on West Main Street. Not that there’s anything wrong with that notion, it’s just that the pair had something else in mind. The full name they gave their venture, 1619 Flux Art + Activism is actually fairly direct in announcing the mission, but once you put art on the walls with a price tag, “gallery” is the easy assumption. People get it – they know what that is and they can feel good about it. But the real mission – the second part of that name – is an idea that still struggles to gain currency in the mainstream. What exactly does it mean to use art to effect social change?

Part of the problem is that it can mean so many things. “We want to engage artists who are solving problems creatively,” explains Levesque, “and, of course, part of that engagement will include exhibiting art, but there’s more to it.”

Nichols, who holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Louisville, never saw herself in the role of “curator”, but she and Levesque are inventing a new role for themselves, step-by-step.  The first step was to make a home. The building is a humble, low-slung bungalow-like edifice that sits back off of Main Street between 16th and 17th Streets. It seems utilitarian on the outside, and the interior is open and efficient; a good space for a reception. When 1619 opened its doors one year ago, there was a party attended by a host of Louisville VIP’s: Mayor Greg Fisher, Ghislain D’ Humeires, Teddy Abrams, and many others. The high profile event drew a large crowd and the owners engaged a valet parking company to handle the traffic. That doesn’t seem unreasonable for such a glittering night, but later they heard negative comments from the neighbors. “They said to us, ‘seeing valet parking told us we weren’t welcome,’” says Nichols. “Which is exactly the opposite of what we intended.”

"Portland Car Show" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

"Portland Car Show" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

Which just underscores the challenge of trying to focus creative social activism through a physical location designed to pull people across the mythical 9th Street divide.

"Consume" by Bryan K. Holden, 48x72x9in, Plastic Liquor Bottles, Cardboard Homeless Signs, Wood, Resin, Ink, Paint, Liquor, Cigarette Butts, Pills, Syringes, Keys and Wedding Ring

"Consume" by Bryan K. Holden, 48x72x9in, Plastic Liquor Bottles, Cardboard Homeless Signs, Wood, Resin, Ink, Paint, Liquor, Cigarette Butts, Pills, Syringes, Keys and Wedding Ring

Hoping to clarify their intentions, Nichols and Levesque invited artist and West End resident Gwendolyn Kelly to co-curate a new exhibit that opens April 15, Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow. Although it does feature artists: Adam Horton, Randall Webber, Anne Huntington, Gwendolyn Kelly, Bryan K. Holden, Scott Vinson, D.R. Stewart, REMI, Kacy Jackson, Dwayne Whidby, Josh Ison, Shaun Sargent, Andrew Cozzens, and Erik Nohalty will all have work in the show, it will also highlight people and businesses that are making a creative difference in neighborhoods in transition: Algonquin, Butchertown, California, Chickasaw, Germantown, NuLu, Parkland, Park DuValle, Park Hill, Phoenix Hill, Portland, Russell, Shawnee, Smoketown, and SoBro/SoFo, among others.

One of the ways they accomplish this is by devising categories for people who affect change through creative action. In the statement for the exhibit, the curators state: “Creative people help to revitalize neighborhoods as architects, artists, connectors, employers, muralists, navigators, and witnesses. Art and activism emerges when creative people invest their time, money, and energy in neighborhoods in flux.”

"Pharoah Sanders" by Kacy Jackson, 48x24in, acrylic and spray paint on board

"Pharoah Sanders" by Kacy Jackson, 48x24in, acrylic and spray paint on board

Nichols, Levesque and Kelly came up with a series of identities:

Navigator
Architects
Witnesses
Connectors
Muralists
Employers
Artists
Evolvers

They see these terms as establishing entry points for individual to become a part of the discussion. “There is so much going on,” says Kelly, “but if people can identify with one of these roles, then they are involved.” The roles encompass people, businesses, social agencies, and art non-profits. “Connectors are churches, school, organizations like Louisville Visual Art,” explains Levesque, “Employers are obvious, but some of the other categories are more subtle in their definition, and, of course, we are all witnesses.”

It may seem surprising that Nichols and Levesque opened their space while still trying to figure things out, but their lack of arrogance and willingness to learn and grow provides an important example for people of means who want to make a difference in the community. It’s too easy to talk yourself out of taking such a risk, and nobody wants to look foolish, but perhaps in the territory where angels fear to tread is exactly where we might find the greatest opportunity for change.

Grand Re-Opening and One-Year Anniversary!
1619 FLUX: Art + Activism’s
Neighborhood Revitalization & The Creative Flow Exhibition

Saturday, April 15th, 2017
5:00pm - 10:00pm

Meat from Superior Meats, BBQ by Boss Hog, wine & beer, sides and desserts from The Table, Farm To Fork, and Sweet Peaches

Live music with WoWuWoo & Krew from 8:00pm to 10:00pm

"Phoenix Hill" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

"Phoenix Hill" by Adam Horton, 8x11in, photograph

"Sweet Peaches Restaurant Mural" by Resko, Photo by Randall Webber. 8x11in

"Sweet Peaches Restaurant Mural" by Resko, Photo by Randall Webber. 8x11in

"Smoketown Teardown" by Adam Horton, 36x36in, photograph

"Smoketown Teardown" by Adam Horton, 36x36in, photograph

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Drawing, Painting

Vignette: Joshua Jenkins

"Three Kings No. 2" by Joshua Jenkins, 52 x 41 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"Three Kings No. 2" by Joshua Jenkins, 52 x 41 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

Jenkins at his home studio (2017)

Jenkins at his home studio (2017)

For his upcoming show at Kore Gallery in Louisville, painter Joshua Jenkins has been creating a body of work that shows him shifting from the energetic, bold color and mark making that has long characterized his work. A softer approach to outlining form and a comparatively muted color palette rendered in broad washes of acrylic paint has dominated his technique since the end of summer 2016.

“Seeing a muted color pallet can seem calming to the viewer,” explains Jenkins, “but once you look closer at the surface, you can see a juxtaposition of more complex emotions with anxious line work subtly radiating through each canvas. The subject matter of each work focuses on the abstraction of the sorrowful human form in contrast with a slight homage to nature…”

"Drawing #18" by Joshua Jenkins, 9.5 × 7.5 in, graphite and watercolor on paper (2016)

"Drawing #18" by Joshua Jenkins, 9.5 × 7.5 in, graphite and watercolor on paper (2016)

It is in that balance that Jenkins finds contentment, a location that inspired the title of the new exhibit: Somewhere In Between Anxiety and Serenity. “Joys and upsets always seem to come hand in hand. Keeping in mind the current political climate of our country and the world as a whole, along with my own personal life experiences, I wanted to explore the contrasting feelings of fear and happiness. It seems as though neither emotion can shine without the other lingering in the background.”

The artist is featured in the January 2017 issue of Kentucky Homes & Gardens (Louisville). The article is about Carriage House Interiors and their 2016 Homearama design that prominently featured two of Jenkins’ paintings.

The Great Meadows Foundation recently awarded an Artist Professional Development Grant to Jenkins. He will be using the grant money to visit Los Angeles for the first time.

Jenkins has also been accepted to showcase his work at Mellwood Art Center's March Art Show on March 4th & 5th. 

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
Age: 29
Education: BA in Digital Media with a Minor in Studio Art, Marist College (Poughkeepsie, New York)
Website: http://www.joshuajenkinsart.com
Gallery Representative: Joshua is self-represented locally, but is represented by New Editions Gallery in the Lexington area

"Birds Flying High" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 40 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"Birds Flying High" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 40 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"A Moment of Disbelief" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 36 x 1in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"A Moment of Disbelief" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 36 x 1in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

A detail of an untitled work by Jenkins.

A detail of an untitled work by Jenkins.

"Wondering What Just Happened" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016) $750

"Wondering What Just Happened" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016) $750

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Digital, Illustration

Q&A: Monica Beavers


“Rabbits are a lot smarter and tougher than most people give them credit for.”
– Monica Laake Beavers


"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

Monica Laake Beavers was born and raised in the rolling hills of Northern Kentucky. She has always had a love for art and believes creativity is the spice of life. Monica received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, focusing in Graphic Design & Drawing, from Xavier University, and was at one time the Design Coordinator for Louisville Visual Art. She recently finished writing and illustrating her second children's book, "The Big, Brown Bunny Huh?".

When did you first think you would be an artist?

I’m pretty sure I was in kindergarten. The teacher pretty much wasn’t able to take the pencil away from me. I just kept drawing rabbits on everything – my fascination with rabbits started very young.

Who or what inspires you now?

My main inspirations are:

  • Walt Disney: say what you will about him, but I’ve always been a Disney kid from an early age. I respect his creative genius, ambition and persistence he carried throughout his career. He failed so many times early on in his career, but he kept on going. 
  • Movies, specifically Indiana Jones. I want my art to be able to force people to take a breather from the seriousness and monotony of life and just enjoy a moment, even if it’s fleeting. 
  • Saul Bass inspires me artistically. (Bass 1920 – 1996) was an American graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker, best known for his design of motion-picture title sequencesfilm posters, and corporate logos). He always focused on the communication of design and art. He was able to take complex opening scenes to films and simplify them to their bare minimum. When creating my books, I’ll try to start with a complex idea and try to simplistically break it down using a rabbit or other animals to typically convey the message in a lighthearted manner.
  • I’m very much fueled by quotes as well, specifically Charles Bukowski and Rudyard Kipling. 
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Why rabbits? Tell us about the real-life “Bun.”

The bun, the myth, the legend! I’ve loved rabbits as long as I can remember. 

I chose rabbits because of my own pet rabbit, Grumpy, as well as my love for personification. Grumpy has a unique personality and had a very rough upbringing. I wanted to bring this personality to life. Grumpy may appear crotchety and not very trusting of those who first meet him, but he has a heart of gold! 

Grumpy, aka “Bertie McBean” (his stage name for the books), is a French lop by nature and a bunny jam packed with disdain. Hailing from Cleveland, OH, he was saved from a hoarding situation and relocated to Indyclaw Rescue in Indianapolis, IN. One fateful day, he was adopted by a lady (me!) and meandered to Louisville, KY. His knack for traveling and zest for life blew him upstream to Bellevue, KY where he currently resides. He is a free-range rabbit who loves acoustic music (especially Eddie Vedder), the smell of feet, and apples.

You also are heavily into sharks, and there is at least one shark painting on your website. These two animals wouldn’t seem to be a natural match, yet they dominate your unique sensibility. Why is that?

I think from both sides of the spectrum, they are extremely misunderstood animals and ridiculously interesting. Rabbits are a lot smarter and tougher than most people give them credit for. They have a lot of admirable qualities and unique habits (thumping, chinning, binkying, etc.). On the shark end, I’ve always been fascinated knowing they have been in existence practically since the beginning of time and yet have never had to evolve nearly as much as most animals have. Again, they are extremely misunderstood animals but carry a very weighty reputation. 

Additionally, both animals have such unique characteristics they’re a lot of fun to play around with and personify. 

You can draw and paint old school, but why do the two books you have published rely on computer graphics? 

I think this stems from my college Graphic Design professor Jonathan Gibson. He very much emphasized the importance of keeping a human touch when creating a design piece. He stressed the importance of texture and use of mixed media when designing. Too often people rely on a computer to create textures/effects and as a result, a lot of art can begin to look monotonous and generic and lack personality. 

"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, book marks, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, book marks, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

My love of art began with drawing and transitioned into graphic design, but I like to use the two interchangeably. When creating my illustrations, I actually start by sketching them all out on a notepad. I then take photographs of textures that have personal meaning to me. For example, I’m a Red’s fan, so a lot of the grass used is from the Red’s stadium. Additionally, the furs used for Grumpy/Bertie McBean are actual photographs of his fur.

Additionally, depending on the project I first start with the idea and what my main message is. From there I select the medium to work in accordance to the theme of the piece. My current style wouldn’t necessarily be used if the message were different. I felt like this style captured the personality of Bertie McBean and what I was trying to convey. 

If you could do anything else but make art, what would it be?

I would be a marine biologist or zoologist, travel the world and study sharks.

What frightens you the most?

I hate caterpillars - really, …I do. In all seriousness though, my biggest fear is losing the ones I love the most and not following my dreams and looking back years from now and asking “what if…?”

What challenges you more than anything?

The question “what if?”

What is your favorite music to listen to when making art?

I typically mix it up between Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam, Pokey LaFarge, Jim Croce, or the Eagles. 

I usually listen to pretty chill music when making art. I’ve been listening to the Into the Wild soundtrack a lot lately.

Favorite movie? Besides Jaws, that is?

Ha! I think, “I’m going to need a bigger boat” for that question (wokka wokka). Although it is hard to beat, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade is my favorite. In my eyes, it’s the perfect storyline and end to a trilogy (the fourth movie didn’t happen). It includes a just the right amount of campiness, wit and quirk that separates it from a standard action/adventure movie.

What are you reading right now?

I’m in between three books, “Ham on Rye” by Charles Bukowski, “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles, and David Sedaris’ “Chipmunk Seeks Squirrel.”

What advice would you give a young artist just out of college?

Don’t get frustrated. Each path and experience will lead you where you want to be as long as you don’t lose sight of where you intend to go. After graduating you leave feeling like you’re on top of the world and reality starts to sink in with work, but remember, you chose art for a reason. You always have options and you chose art because you didn’t want a boring life.

If you were given a $100,000 what would do with it?

Start my own company full time and work on branding The Big, Brown Bunny. Start up my own rabbit rescue and probably travel to Egypt, Greece or South Africa- great shark diving area.

What does art mean to you?

Art means happiness. It’s my escape. It allows me to take a break from the real world and just create. It means taking a closer look at things and not accepting things as they are, it means endless possibilities.

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?

Walt Disney – What inspired you? What would you hope people remembered you for? What kept you going on the hard days? 

Harrison Ford – I would have to ask about Indiana Jones.

Hometown: Villa Hills, Kentucky
Age: 28
Education: BFA, Xavier University
Website: http://www.bigbrownbun.com

"Big Brown Huh?" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2015)

"Big Brown Huh?" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2015)

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Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?    Click here    to learn more.

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