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Artist ignites collection, senior analyzes contemporary art

The Fresno Arts Council sponsors ArtHop, an event which educates the community about the local arts. In this column, senior Stephan Melendez chronicles his once-a-month visits to ArtHop.

I have never been fond of traveling downtown, so I was not thrilled to find my way to Calaveras Street through the awkward streets that merge into others and pick up somewhere else. Although, I was excited for the new adventure that I was about to embark on. Little did I know the world of art could be so intriguing, which I found out through ArtHop, an event that I had never heard of.

1821 Gallery and Studios is located in the Southwest region of Downtown Fresno. The studio previously used for industrious purposes, but was bought and converted into an art gallery by Bruce Kalkowski. The inside of the studio has been completely refurbished, giving it a modern contemporary finish.

The most widely used propellants to spark a bullet in the chamber of a gun, are sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate; commonly known as gun powder which is also used in pyrotechnics. Some might say I live under a rocks when it comes to the arts, but with only a infinitesimal amount of knowledge about art; the way the imagination can be expressed is touching.

Local artist Robert Weibel, has left art enthusiasts with a bang, from his pieces that were hung on display Oct 4. Weibel has pieced together the unimaginable collection which made his art is very inspirational.

Drawing all his life, especially as a teenager, Weibel has had a passion for the arts and creativity. Graduated with a degree physiology, he decided to return to academia and took a couple of classes at City College in figure drawing and print making; shortly after, he had his first showing at a coffee shop downtown in 1995.

Ten years after, Weibel decided to become a full-time artist and leave his job in middle-management. Shortly after, he left to Europe and brought a printing press and came back to the states to open up his own studio. Until 2007, once attending a pyrotechnics event, he was inspired to create his own version of art using gunpowder.

After hearing the passion in Weibel’s voice, I felt chills run from the arms down through my back causing my hairs to stand up. The most inspirational portrait of artwork that spoke to me was a portrait with a young woman looking down into a body of water which starred back at her in a reflection with the moon gleaming in the back. The foliage in the background added the right sentiment background. The piece provided a deep analytical thought of peace and contentment the strokes in the pieces were natural; everything flowed together.

My favorite non gunpowder produced portraits included the painting of the bright light blue sky with butterflies spreading their wings in the air. This reminded me of something someone would see in the middle of summer.

The ArtHop was exciting, mainly because it was my first. The intricate details of each picture indicated that the pieces had taken a lengthy amount of time and that overtime Weibel was able to complete his work. Through this experience, I was understood the difference and meaning behind every piece of art; every artist is different, not one is the same.

Overall, the 1821 Calaveras Studio was worth the visit and provided a great atmosphere including music, drinks and snacks, with air conditioning to help with the humidity. Weibel’s creativity was interesting because he tells a different story in each pieces, I never thought someone could use gunpowder in an art piece; the sky is the limit in creativity. I learned the there is not such thing as conventional art, but art is something that is within that only artist can express in he or she’s own unique way.

Check back next month for coverage on ArtHop, Nov. 1.

For past coverage on ArtHop, read the Sept. 14 article, Musicians emphasize personal message, art instills emotion.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 8 article, Dyslexic junior follows passion, learns tricks for reading.

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