The artist’s biggest enemy is fear. Fear is what keeps you from taking risks with your work and being true to yourself. It makes you lack the confidence to share your work with others. Fear can even prevent you from doing that work in the first place.
In Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, he describes this antagonistic force working against artists as “Resistance.” As the book’s title suggests, Pressfield believes anyone who embarks on a creative endeavor is fighting an inner battle.
This summer, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to help local artists win that battle.
When you support local artists by checking out a show, providing words of encouragement or purchasing their art – you play a part in the victory. You help them not only by validating their work, but by participating in the final fight of an artist’s battle. That would be bringing their art to the world.
Appleton-based artist Scott Wong (pictured above) has learned how to put up a fight and do the work. As the leader of the Free Art Friday movement in Wisconsin, Scott hides pieces of his art on a weekly basis for some unsuspecting person to find and keep. He encourages other artists to do the same.
But this summer marks a new chapter in Scott Wong’s artistic journey. He’ll be putting on his first-ever solo art show in Oshkosh, displaying his unique brand of stylistic, eye-popping art in one of several art events being held in Northeast Wisconsin this season.
“I’ve been involved in art shows and galleries before, but have never had the pleasure of being the only artist on the floor with works being shown so I’m very excited to showcase these new pieces to everyone!” Scott says.
1. Oshkosh Gallery Walk
Scott’s art will be on display at Beckett’s Restaurant in Oshkosh beginning with an opening night event on Saturday, June 7th from 5 to 9 pm.
It’s part of the Oshkosh Gallery Walk event, which features the creations of local artists at 20 different downtown venues including local businesses and galleries. The gallery walk is being held on the first Saturday of every month this summer.
You’ll be able to see Scott’s art at Beckett’s the entire month of June.
He says he is “feeling a ton of different emotions” as the show approaches, but he tries to remember that he creates his art for himself, and everything else is just a bonus.
“I’ve been in my studio everyday for the last ten months because of goals I’ve set for myself,” Scott says. “I’ve made creative goals, artistic goals and I’ve experimented like a mad scientist because I really wanted to push myself to the limit from a creative perspective. I’m really hoping everyone digs my new stuff, but if they don’t – that’s OK, too.”
Scott’s solo show is called “A Boy and his Block.” That’s because much of his art is focused on a character he created named Blockhead.
His paintings typically combine spray paint with other mediums and have a graffiti/street-art feel. The paintings also tend to have messages accompanying Blockhead. You’ll know Scott Wong’s work when you see it.
Yet Scott says he never really intends to make a specific point with his art. He simply wants you to experience it in your own way.
“I don’t paint each piece on purpose looking to incite a specific emotion out of my audience, but I do want a reaction of some kind. I think that’s only fair and probably what most artists want. Maybe a particular piece brings back a memory? Maybe you look at it and feel enraged? Perhaps the piece over there makes you feel like you’re insanely caffeinated? I’m not as concerned as what you’re feeling just as long as you’re feeling something.”
Find out more about the artists and businesses participating in the Oshkosh Gallery Walk on their Facebook Page.
2. Art on the Town – Downtown Appleton
The city of Appleton will also be celebrating local artists this summer with its Art on the Town events. They take place on the third Friday of every month from 6-9 pm through September.
Businesses along College Avenue in the city’s downtown play host to different pieces of art. So you can stroll up and down the Avenue enjoying all the creativity. Each date focuses on a different theme – including Fiber Rain, Paint on the Town and Chalk on the Town.
“My favorite is ‘CHALK ON THE TOWN,'” says Scott Wong. “Most of sidewalks in downtown Appleton are an amazing wash of color from various sidewalk chalks. Some are simply phenomenal while other areas are set aside specifically for families and children. It’s just an awesome way for people to come together simply because of art.”
Art on the Town also offers free trolley rides, live music in the street as well as stuff to eat and drink.
Another art event taking place in Appleton is Art at the Park from the Trout Museum of Art. That takes place July 27th, 2014 in Appleton’s historic City Park. More than 200 artists participate and thousands of visitors come to soak it all in. Art at the Park has been going on since 1960!
3. Gallery Nite – Downtown Green Bay
Green Bay has its own downtown art tour as well. Summer dates for Green Bay’s Gallery Nite series will take place on June 19th and September 18th in 2014 from 5 to 8pm.
Twelve different downtown galleries and Olde Main Street district business are participating as well as six different restaurants. This year the event will also include live music at the NWTC Artisan Center, an artisan market at the ART Garage, and cooking demos at The Attic.
Just like the Appleton event – you can travel from gallery to gallery aboard an old-school trolley.
Last spring, WhooNEW contributors Roxanna and Zak Bruss spent an evening experiencing Green Bay’s Gallery Nite. Check out the article for more.
Of course, another big summer art event in Green Bay is ArtStreet, which takes place August 22-24th in 2014. 200 artists from around the country descend on downtown Green Bay for a full weekend. Plus, there will also be great music, great food, and fun stuff for families to do.
Local Art is All Over the Place!
The events we’ve mentioned in this article are far from the only places you can go to appreciate the artistic endeavors of people who live in our community.
You’ll find the work of local artists on display at coffee shops, including Harmony Cafe in Appleton, and Kavarna in Green Bay. My wife and I recently had dinner at White Dog Black Cat Cafe on Broadway in Green Bay and enjoyed checking out the art on the walls there while waiting for our food.
Local libraries – like the Central Branch in Brown County – also regularly feature exhibits from area artists. Even certain bars like The Green Room Lounge in De Pere are putting on art shows.
Scott Wong says he thinks the art scene and the support behind it is strong – but he also admits there’s plenty of room for growth.
“More people are becoming involved and participating and I think that speaks volumes. I do wish there were a few more opportunities for local artists like myself and I’m hoping more opportunities present themselves with time. This is exactly why events like the Oshkosh Gallery Walk are critical to the growing success and awareness of art here in Fox Valley.”
Besides supporting the local art scene by consuming art, or even hosting it in your business, you can also help it grow by participating – by making your art. The best way to get the arts and culture scene in your community to thrive is to be an artist.
You’ll find helpful workshops and events like Pass the Paint Pass the Wine at The Green Room Lounge. Classes at Green Bay’s ArtGarage and Appleton’s Miativity open art studio are great places to meet aspiring artists and learn.
But you don’t have to paint, sketch or sculpt to be an artist. Maybe you are a writer, a gardener, a cook or a carpenter. Maybe you’d like to design your own clothes, decorate homes, compose music or be a comedian. We all have the capability to create inside of us. We all should let that creativity out.
First, you have to deal with the Fear and Resistance and actually “do the work,” as Steven Pressfield puts it. Scott Wong agrees…
“Keep doing whatever art it is you do and do not stop for anything or anyone.”
Find Out More About Artist Scott Wong
Visits Scott Wong’s Blog
Find out more about Free Art Friday Wisconsin on Facebook
If you have local art events or a unique local artists others should know about, tell us all about it!
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