I recently had the pleasure to visit Brian in his studio to find out more about his amazing abstract paintings and his process of making art. His bright colorful artworks fill his studio. It would be hard to not smile when you see his paintings that range in size from small intimate works to extra large. His latest work, "Mostly Black and Red" (pictured on the left) when stretched, will be 72" x 42" x 1.5 gallery wrapped. Currently, this painting is heading to a photo shoot to be used as a backdrop on a film set. Then it's off to Yudian Gallery in Hangzhou, China.
Abstract art is often about the process the artist may be using. In many of his paintings, you can easily see how he has reduced something tangible to its abstract essence. In other pieces, his paintings are more nebulous and when you take time to look closely, you realize there are more than patterns, colors, and contrasts to what you see on the surface of the canvas. His artmaking is a reflection of how he sees the world.
I was curious about his process for working on his large canvas pieces. He describes his process as, "Due to my somewhat aggressive paint application techniques, I prefer to work either on unstretched canvas on a large table or on wood panels, as stretcher cross bars tend to show through when painting on a stretched canvas. My acrylics are applied with rags, rollers, spatulas, palette knives, fingers, and whatever I can get my hands on. I will on occasion use a brush, but it's rare."
Visiting Brian's art studio was a wonderful chance to see first-hand his works in progress and where the magic happens.
Brian Kirchoff has plenty of good news to share. He recently completed and delivered a large commission of five works ranging from 7' x 4' to 22" x 22", for an absolutely amazing 5000 square foot penthouse suite in the Central West End.
Brian is one of 150 artists from around the world chosen to participate in the Saatchi Art "Other Art Fair" - Virtual Edition, May 23 through June 5, 2022.
He's signed with Yudian Gallery to be represented in Mainland China. They'll be displaying as many as 10 pieces at their primary gallery in Hangzhou, China's fourth largest city (approx 13 million).
He was also accepted and signed with Plogix Gallery last week.
In June and July, he will have some of his art on display at the Missouri Athletic Club. Be sure to stop by and see his work in person.
I’ve always been a fine artist working in watercolor, graphite and water-based oil paint. After several years of isolation due to the pandemic, I wanted an opportunity to work with other artists in a field outside my comfort zone. In 2021, I enrolled in a Sculpture class taught by Joe Chesla at St. Louis Community College - Meramec. The fall class featured an introduction to materials, tools and techniques for 3-dimensional work. Assignments featured projects using sand, wood and plaster.
“Water Spirit”, carved from a block of laminated yellow pine using an 4.5” angle grinder. The beautiful grains in the wood appear as ripples on the water. The gentle curve of the neck and heart shaped opening in the body represent how I was feeling after the loss of my husband and fellow artist several years ago. After hours of hand sanding and finishing with Danish oil, I was heartbroken to learn one of my younger brothers had passed. In times like this, nature and art can heal the soul.
“Along the Trail”, hand carved from a block of plaster using stone carving tools. As an artist, I have a wonderful opportunity to share my love for the beauty of nature. With this sculpture I chose rounded forms to convey an idea of fruitfulness, harmony and maturity. The etched shapes in the curve represent waves of prairie grass. I spent many hours hand sanding and buffing with white paste wax. Keeping the abstract sculpture of the bison white was important as I wanted it to represent a white buffalo, held sacred by the Lakota as the symbol of abundance and hope for good times to come.
“Tranquility in Copper”, recycled copper and rebar. When copper flashing was removed from my three-story storefront, built in 1896, I saved it to create a sculpture for my garden. In the 2022 spring sculpture class, I learned techniques for cold bending rebar and the art of MIG welding metal to create a heron. After pulling out roofing nails and flattening the flashing with a hammer, I used tin snips to cut the copper into shapes that were riveted around an armature created from 1/2” rebar. Although the nearly six-foot sculpture seems to appear in a state of balance and tranquility rising from a concrete base, it also moves with the wind as if ready to take flight.
Odd Nerdrum's "You See We Are Blind" Exhibition at the Fine Art Oslo Gallery has 60 paintings on display spanning twenty years of work. Jan-Ove Tuv guides us through a tour with a comprehensive analysis of some of Nerdrum's transformational art.
One of Cathy Loos' paintings, “Discovery,” the first in her series of cave paintings is featured in the auction of the estate of Bob Hansen. Her work is in good company. Some of the artwork offered from Hansen's collection include Joan Miro, Andre Cortes, Robert George Stolz, Leclere, C. L. Carlton, and Edward George Armfield. She sold this painting to Bob Hansen about 20 years ago. He has passed away and Link Gallery is holding an auction of his collections. Her painting is included on page 3 of the site. You can check out this amazing collection at Link Auction Galleries located at 5000 Washington Place, Saint Louis, Missouri 63108-1381. It is an incredible array of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and other exquisite items.
Bob Hansen (1931-2021) grew up in Union Missouri and graduated from Drury University with a degree in economics after his time spent in the U.S. Army. Hansen went to work in public relations at Drury University and then Ford Motor Company. His new job involved traveling around to introduce new models of Ford cars. When his father passed away he returned home to take over the family business, Hansen Franklin County Land Title and Abstract Co.
Hansen had a love of art that led him to open an art gallery in Union with his friend Lee Young. This interest got Bob appointed to the Missouri Council of the Arts by Gov. John Ashcroft in 1997. He served on the board for six years.
Bob spent his life dedicated to the service of the community and others. He was known as an avid supporter of local businesses and a generous donor to causes he believed in with either a helping hand or a monetary donation. Read more about him.
See More of Cathy’s art at B Extraordinaire Gallery.
by Kathy Corey
Today, B Extraordinaire reached out to local St. Louis artist, Allie Gant after hearing about the opening of her family’s new venture, the Gallery Pub located on Thurman in the "Historic Shaw Neighborhood." In this interview, she shares her inspiration and ideas, and the opportunity that sparked the unique concept for the Gallery Pub. The dream is now real, and the Gallery Pub opens on March 8 and presents its first exhibition.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in art?
I’m a multimedia artist with a BFA in Ceramics and printmaking. I currently work mainly in ceramics, along with curating art for the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center and the Gallery Pub on Thurman.
What inspires you?
Other artists!!! Ever since I began curating, I have found an exceptional amount of joy in supporting artists other than myself and paying forward all of the trust and encouragement I’ve received myself. It’s an incredible feeling being given an opportunity because someone sees your worth, so I’m trying my best to now do that for others.
How did you come up with the business concept?
My mother is an art therapist and I’ve been an artist since I was very young. We always knew we wanted our bar to be community-based, and most of our decisions while molding it will reflect that. We’ve kept the incredible bartenders that had worked there when it was Thurman’s, we hired our head chef because we truly love his energy and the creativity he shows through his cooking, and we redesigned the interior to make it a brighter, more welcoming place for our guests to bring their friends and family to. We really aren’t making decisions based on US. They’re about our incredible staff and our community and now our artists too. My mom and I decided we would be missing out on supporting a large part of the community if we didn’t execute our wall space as a gallery, and we aim to display all different kinds of art from artists Who might not be as well known. I believe St. Louis does a really great job in supporting our very well known artists, and there aren’t many places to discover and appreciate new or less known ones. It’s our goal to do so.
What has been the most challenging part of getting the new business started so far?
Haha, the liquor license. Truly it’s been like pulling teeth. Everything else has been surprisingly ~fine~ to get through. The community around us has helped immensely in many different ways, and their support and feedback has really helped us find a grounding here in Shaw and propelled us to make this a place where everyone wants to be.
How do you select artists for the venue?
I’ve put out an artist call requesting email submissions of 5 images, a small bio, and an artist statement. For this first exhibit, I selected artists based on a theme “st louis x traditions,” and the art on display right now reflects the area in which our business resides plus old traditions that we will continue from what Thurman’s used to be. They used to have live music- lots of jazz- so one of our artists was selected based on his incredible jazzy music-themed art.
Who are the artists for the first exhibit?
Byron Rogers, Robin Leibovich, and Michael LaRue, Candace Hyams also has a piece at the Gal which will be our only permanent piece on display, “Jack Rabbit.”
What advice can you give to aspiring artists in your community?
Believe in yourself and others will believe in you! Don’t be afraid to allow your art to reflect who you are as a person, as it will be your biggest strength, especially when defending your art or even just talking to others about it. Let it show your confidence, and don’t give yourself too many boundaries. There is no right or wrong with art
What is the best way to reach you to be considered for an upcoming exhibit?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for submissions, comments, and questions :)
Here is a sneak peek inside the Gallery Pub and the art exhibit.
How and why Magritte continues to influence everything I paint.
I’m a Rene Magritte fanatic.
I have four different books about his art as well as his recent biography which revealed a lot about the man that I never knew before. I’ve seen his work in four different museums and stood transfixed, contemplating his work every time I’ve had that opportunity.
I first discovered Magritte back in 1991. I have always been an art lover and always loved to draw and paint. My mom used to tell me that someday, I would grow up to be an artist. I’m still waiting to grow up.
When I was a kid, I took a few art classes outside of school – I learned to paint with watercolors (which I never really liked.) In grade school, I created the Comic Corner for our school newspaper and loved the Walter Foster learn to draw or paint books.
In high school, I was offered an art scholarship for college but it was only a partial one and I just didn’t think I could make a living at it. So, I pursued a career in advertising and went the writer route, getting my degree from Mizzou through their Journalism school.
I had a great high school art teacher and took two art classes while at Mizzou. When I got into advertising, I had the pleasure of working with some amazing artists/illustrators here in the St. Louis area and on occasion, beyond. I was developing an art appreciation – but not so much in the area of fine art.
When I would visit museums or galleries, I had that, oh-so-familiar saying when I looked at a lot of modern art – “I could do that”. Upon calling off an engagement with a designer who would often accompany me to those excursions, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands and decided “I’ll give it a shot.”
She had given me an airbrush for Christmas and I decided I’d figure out how to use it. I went out and bought a book on airbrushing and began painting. I had no idea what I was doing – but quickly figured out that rather than just simply attempting to create airbrush work, the combination of actual brush work and airbrush gave my paintings a distinct look.
I kept painting and began to look for an artist that I could emulate – nothing too complicated – I knew I was no Michelangelo. Picasso? Probably not. I just couldn’t think in his geometric way.
Mr. and Mrs. Strangefellow, Tom Blood, 1994
But I did begin to explore the world of fine art. I had always been a fan of Guy Billout, a French artist whose work showed up in a lot of ad campaigns. His ideas were thought provoking.
I liked that.
I was a fan of the New York artist, Mark Kostabi who created mannequin like figures that were really cool. I tried emulating a few of his works.
Roy Lichtenstein helped define the Pop Art movement.
He was another favorite whose Pop Art style was bold and fun – and simple.
Then one day, I ran across Rene Magritte’s painting called ‘Personal Values’.
It stopped me in my tracks. The painting made no sense. It made perfect sense.
Everyday items that we all take for granted, put in an extraordinary new light. A bedroom with the sky for the walls. Two area rugs that are incredibly detailed and the comb – my gosh, the comb was (and is) amazing.
Who was this guy?
He was a Belgian surrealist.
Before I saw that painting, my idea of surrealism was totally Salvador Dali based. Melting clocks and elephants on stilt like legs were cool – but just not my cup of tea.
But Magritte – the more I explored, the more I liked what I saw. Magritte painted ideas.
He relied on his sub-conscious as inspirations for those ideas. But he also looked at the everyday items and simply imagined them as problems. Problems that he tried to solve through his paintings.
Magritte’s painting, “Hegel’s Holidays” is a perfect example.
In his own words, “How could I paint a glass of water with genius? Then I thought that Hegel (another genius) would have greatly appreciated this object, which has two opposing functions: not wanting water (repelling it) and at the same time wanting water (containing it).”
Magritte’s surrealistic paintings make you think. They challenge you to look at things in a whole new way. They are charming. They are unsettling. They’ll make you smile and they will almost always defy reality or at least, find absurdity in it.
All of those characteristics are things I love to explore.
And here comes the fundamental reason why I love Magritte’s work more than any other artist.
Magritte wanted to paint ideas. His goal was to never have technique get in the way of the idea. If he was going to paint a locomotive coming out of a fireplace, (Time Transfixed) both the locomotive and the fireplace would be so realistic in their depiction, that you wouldn’t question what they were, you would simply wonder why.
That, to me separates Magritte’s work from everyone else and it has become my own personal quest as well. I don’t want technique to get in the way of the idea. Magritte called it, “The Art of Painting”.
There are so many types of art – impressionism, realism, cubism, neo-classicism, abstract, Pop – the list goes on and on and I salute every single one of those styles. But for me, the art of painting is being able to express your idea without the technique getting in the way.
I have a long, long way to go. I invite you to follow me on my journey.
Tom Blood is a St. Louis based artist whose work has sold on four different continents. He has had numerous solo shows in the St. Louis area and is one of the featured artists in The Gallery, located in The District in the Chesterfield Valley. His work can be found on B_Extraordinaire’s website as well as on tombloodart.com
I recently participated in Mary Gilkerson's 5 Day Painting Challenge along with 2500 other artists. The challenge consisted of painting one painting a day in 20 minutes for five straight days and sharing (or not) on social media. It sounded like fun and a good stretch exercise for me. The idea is to help develop flow while painting by reducing the details, and shifting your attention to the overall shapes and colors. This exercise also helps get you back on track and creates a daily painting practice. I was skeptical at first, even though I paint fairly fast, 20 minutes goes by faster than I realized. We were allowed up to 45 minutes and encouraged to reduce the time each day until we reached 20 minutes. Canvas prep and paint mixing were not included in the time. Mary recommended determining composition and subject of your choice beforehand and to paint on a small canvas. I painted in oil on a 11"x14" prepped canvas. It was harder than I thought it would be. I used the entire 45 minutes on Day 1 and was only able to reduce to 25 minutes by Day 5. This was a challenge for me. Although I didn't make the 20 minute goal, I felt successful.
I learned that you really have to let go and rely on your instincts to paint so quickly. After competing the challenge and some minor touch ups I now have 5 finished paintings.
This can be used as a great warm-up exercise for a larger painting. Go ahead, challenge yourself and see what develops.
Below are the before and after paintings from the 5 Day Challenge.
Day 4- No changes
Recently someone told me "You are so Cottagecore." My kids know what Cottagecore is. Almost everyone on social media knows what that is. But apparently, I didn't know that the life I've created is trendy. After a quick google search and way too long on YouTube, I now know that my house (which is a cottage,) my barn turned into an art studio, the organic garden I'm developing, the two coops for the egg-laying chickens, the solar lights... What I thought was just life lived as art... is actually the cool thing now.
I've been living my life as art this week by framing collages for an exhibit of self-portraits created by men transitioning out of the criminal justice system; sketching some of my students who attend a school for the arts, and working in my winter garden.
I've realized that living life as art is living my best life. If you relate to Street Art or Cottagcore, or a picture you just can't place into one category, I hope you are living your best life. And your life as art is a masterpiece.
Self-portrait by a man transitioning out of the criminal justice system.
I am frequently asked what is the best way to photograph your artwork so it looks professional. Here is a wonderful video on photographing your artwork by Tyler Stalman, produced for Saatchi Online. how to reproduce your art.
Welcome to B Extraordinaire Gallery, A Place for Artists to Share and Sell Art.