A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Live Painting with Josh Oliveira

Interesting event just four blocks from my house tonight. As a fundraiser for the Springfield Arts Initiative, the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield had a nice little cocktail party inside the lobby of the Sovereign Bank Building. There was a bar, there were hors d'oeuvres, there was loud and peppy music spun by DJ Mike Grant, there was plenty of mixing and mingling. The focus of the evening, however, was a paint-in by artist Joshua Oliveira, who created the work on the easel during the event. In fact, the music and everything else is what gets him in the zone to paint. He draws his inspiration from the vibe of the crowd.

"I had no idea what I was going to paint tonight until I picked up my brush," he told me.

I asked him if he names his paintings, and he said he does. The paint hadn't even dried on the canvas, however, when I asked the question. He'll have to "sit down and have a conversation" with the work before he figures out its name.

That's Josh Oliveira in the Mona Lisa shirt, and Evan Plotkin talking to him. Plotkin owns the building and donated the space for the event. You can see other art on the walls; there's always some kind of exhibit up in that lobby, thanks to Plotkin. Anyone can walk in and walk around during business hours. I don't bank with Sovereign, but I treat the lobby like an extension of my own living room.

I liked this event because it reminds us that art isn't made in a vacuum. It's not just about some tortured genius alone in his garret. It takes more than an artist to make art: you also need a patron, and an audience. In Springfield, we have plenty of all three.

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