Sunday, June 19, 2016

Art, Art and More Art!

I have just returned from the most magnificent weekend ever! Here's the itinerary!
 I met and got to talk to Peter Max! YES, that Peter Max! There is currently an exhibit of his work at The Tampa Museum of Art, titled 50 Years of Cosmic Dreaming. The exhibit is sponsored by Park West Foundation, and The Tampa Times. I was able to attend this special event because a good friend of mine was invited as part of a VIP event held by Park West Gallery. My friend Kathy was invited because she enjoys investing in art. It started 3 years ago when we were together on a cruise and we decided to attend the art auction. Apparently depending on what you spend gets you invited on other cruises or weekends away. Who knew???

In addition to meeting Peter Max I met David Najar and David Lebo.

We arrived on Friday in time for breakfast AND the opportunity to hear the artist David Najar speak about his art and his inspiration. Najar is a former instructor of Krav Maga, Israeli Martial Arts. He is a soft spoken man with a sense of humor and paints as a way to heal and slow down his world (click above on his highlighted name to read more about him). Najar's paintings are landscapes, since he is inspired by nature, and after checking out his work I just had to have one! The photo on the left shows me with Najar and the work I purchased. It is a framed print titled Beyond the Trees. Unfortunately original paintings were priced out of my comfort zone. I did have the opportunity to speak with him and he told me he had the sense that I was involved in the arts. Chills, I tell you, chills! And then we agreed I need to get back to doing art.......... thank goodness summer is here!
Above are examples of Najar's work, I pulled from the internet.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the artist David Lebo. He gave a wonderful presentation of his work and how he thinks of himself as a visual storyteller. Wouldn't that be an amazing concept to share with students? Photos below show him telling the story of that particular painting. BTW check out his reflection to see his art on the back of his jacket! And you can click on his highlighted name, above, to read more about him!

Lebo was influenced and inspired by Mad Magazine's Spy vs. Spy, by artist Antonio Prohías, in addition to other comic books he read growing up. Lebo grew up in Miami and was doing outdoor murals when people asked if he had paintings for sale. Lebo would work on the murals by day and go home and paint at night, then sell the work out of his trunk! Lebo GOT himself out there AND GOT noticed and was commissioned to paint The Norwegian Getaway out of Miami. Let me just say, "WOW!" He is a very intelligent man with a love of history and science in addition to art. Lebo also has a very loving and supportive family that he spoke fondly of.

Peter Max was the first artist that I remember hanging up a poster of his work (I believe it was a centerfold from the Sunday paper) in my room as a teenager. So it was just amazing to be able to meet him. Because of his age and how popular he is we could not take a photo with him. However, they had a professional photographer take photos and I will get a copy in the mail. AND you just know that I WILL post it!!

If you look over the span of 50 years of art by Peter Max, in my opinion, you will see how it evolved from being a graphic commercial style art, the imagery of many of his earlier posters, to a bolder look of rainbows of color, more in style with fine arts or easel painting. Max's inspiration for his work comes from many different sources. Originally he wanted to become an astronomer and believes the universe was his greatest teacher.  He was ALSO commissioned to do The Norwegian Breakaway out of New York.
I'm not sure why the ship commissions impresses me so much- maybe it has to do with the level of recognition. Seriously, think about JUST HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL SEE YOUR ART on the side of a cruise ship!!

Anyway, while at The Tampa Museum of Art, (I love that place) I just HAD to get Peter Max t-shirts!
Thank you Kathy for letting me share such a wonderful adventure with you!

Thanks for reading!

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