Thursday, September 01, 2011

In the gallery -- September 2011

The lovely month of September bridges the gap between sizzling summer and the cool beauty of fall. The Library's Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery bridges the gap as well with two new celebrated artists and their work. In this golden month Brandon Boas' imagination peeks into Nature's secrets with Photography and Robert Foote celebrates his Woodturnings.

Photography by Brandon Boas

On December 29, 2009, I read about Brandon Boas in Dick Wolfsie's column "Life in a Nutshell", in The Paper. Chronicling past year feel-good stories, Dick spoke of Brandon's passion for photography. I emailed Brandon, set up a gallery exhibit and voila! Here is the rest of the story.

Twenty-nine year old Brandon Boas from Columbus, Indiana certainly knows how to overcome life's struggles and the limitations of Down syndrome, pursue his life dreams and reach for the stars. Though he never had photography training, he has launched his own photography business and received state and national acclaim.

Brandon began taking pictures when a family friend showed him some photographs. Immediately, he was inspired to begin taking pictures himself. When he turned 10, he got his own camera, a little yellow Kodak. Since then, his cameras have not had a rest. He began with pictures of his family, flowers, landscapes, and old barns, especially old barns "because they might fall down" he says.

Brandon's family motivated him to launch his own company BB Loves Photos, or email to show other disabled people how much they can achieve if they work hard and dream big. Proceeds from his sales have been sufficient to pay expenses associated with his photography, but are not yet a significant source of income.

When Brandon entered a barn photo in the 4-H Fair, it became a turning point in his life. Although the entry was disqualified because it was not supposed to be framed, "somebody saw it and bought it" said Brandon, who then realized his Photos would sell.

In November 2009, Brandon, a determined, self-directed and ever so patient photographer won the John McCauley Memorial Community Awareness Award at Development Services Inc. in Columbus, IN and has been featured on WISH-TV Channel 8 and WRZQ Radio. Nominator/ mentor Tom Harpring, Director of Communications at DSI, and a professional photographer himself, says of Brandon "if he sees something, he immediately wants to figure out how it's done and has the ability to seize opportunities presented by unexpected happy accidents."

Now, along with creating a book of his photography and opening a store, Brandon dreams of starting a wedding and portrait photo business. "God created landscapes and people," Brandon says, "that's why I want to do people and weddings." "Maybe when I retire, says mentor and mother Kay Boas, "because I can't keep up with what he wants to do now and work too!"

An example of this "promotional entrepreneur" in action comes from Brandon's own lips: "I walked into Baron Hill's office in Washington D.C. and gave him two of my business cards; one for Baron Hill and one for President Obama". "When I met Stedman Graham at a conference I made sure Oprah got a business card too!" His "person to person" promotions have been honed to perfection.

Robert Foote
"S1 Actions in Wood"

Beneath the professorial robe, Robert Foote, Wabash College Professor of Math and Computer Science since 1989, holds a secret passion for turning wood into beautiful "objects d'art". His first experience at woodturning occurred in a junior high school shop class and later under the tutelage of his grandfather, a finish carpenter and furniture maker. He has been turning wood seriously since 2003. When he first set up his shop, he thought he would do general woodworking, but as soon as he started using his grandfather's old lathe, he knew that was what he really wanted to do.

Most of his work consists of small to medium-sized bowls, vases and platters, some functional, some purely decorative. He also designs and makes tree ornaments, earrings, and small containers. He uses mostly domestic wood, but occasionally chooses an exotic species. He often incorporates holes, bark, and other wood irregularities into his pieces to give them an unusual character. Some of his work is inspired by Southwestern Native American pottery. Photos of his work may be seen by googling "S1 Actions in Wood" on the internet.

For the past five years, Bob's wood turned masterpieces have appeared in the windows of downtown businesses during the annual fall art exhibit sponsored by the Montgomery County Art League. Three of his pieces won awards. In March, he gave a presentation to the Art League about his work and how he does it.

Much of his "training" as a wood turner comes from the numerous books and videos that now exist on the subject. He has taken classes from Ed Moore at the John C. Campbell Folk Art School in Brasstown, North Carolina, and from Tom Fortenberry at Woodcraft in Indianapolis. He also benefits from the woodturning organizations he currently belongs to.

As a member-artist of Crawfordsville's Athens of Indiana Arts Studios & Gallery his work continues to be on display and is for sale. He is a member of the Association of American Woodturners and its Central Indiana Chapter which meets in Zionsville. While living in Georgia for a year, he joined the Classic City Woodturners in Athens.

Robert's other hobbies include playing trumpet in the Wabash College Brass Ensemble and the Montgomery County Civic Band and bicycling the quiet roads of Montgomery County.

S1 is the mathematical term for a circle.
An S1 action is when something is spun in a circle.

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