Local Artists Live “Life Out Loud” At LAG Spring Art Exhibition
by James Coulter
A series of pipes to an old air-conditioning unit may not seem out-of-the-ordinary to most people, but to an artist like Chris Warrell, not only is something like that an ideal subject for a piece of art, but also for an award-winning art piece.
Warrell’s acrylic painting, “AC Unit”, won him first place in the emerging artist category of the Lakeland Art Guild’s “Life Out Loud” Spring Art Exhibition at Florida Southern University on Friday.
A graphic design sophomore at the college, Warrell was inspired to paint something “grungy” for his art piece, which he entered into the spring art show upon the recommendation of his employer.
Warrell had only painted 12 to 15 paintings prior to the art show, which was the very first he had ever entered in his life, making his first place win even more impressive.
“I am really excited about it,” he said. “It is something I never really expected.”
The biggest challenge with his painting was getting it created by the show’s deadline, especially since he wanted to focus on finishing the details often overlooked by non-artists, he said.
Though he hopes to continue focusing on graphic design after college, he also loves to paint as a hobby, as it offers a peaceful deviation from the art he typically produces.
“I really enjoy the process of painting,” he said. “It gives me something to do when I am not busy with other stuff.”
Warrell was one of the 66 artists who submitted the 160 pieces within the art exhibition for “Life Out Loud”, the 46th Annual Spring Art Exhibition at the Melvin Gallery in Florida Southern College and hosted by the Lakeland Art Guild.
The art pieces and artists were divided into two categories: accomplished artists (50 artists with 130 pieces) and emerging artists (16 artists with 30 pieces).
The show was a juried competition judged by Dr. Alex Rich, Assistant Proffesor of Art History in Florida Southern and Director of Exhibition at Polk Museum of Art.
This year’s art show had an eclectic collection of two to three dimensional artwork ranging from paintings to sculptures, all of which were judged and awarded within the two categories.
The first place winner of the accomplished artist category was Mark Kilvington for his art piece “Deja Vu.”
His acrylic painting was named thusly due to its subject being an elderly lady pouring tea in front of another painting of a milk maid pouring buttermilk in a similar fashion.
The elderly subject herself was based on Kilvington’s aunt, who was also an artists who created artwork for greeting card companies during the 1950s.
Kilvington often paints up to 8 to 10 paintings a year. Many of his subjects are wildlife, though he occasionally enjoys human interest and historic pieces such as this.
“I love to be diversified and not box myself into a corner,” he said.
Having exhibited his artwork across the state from Winter Haven to St. Augustine, Kilvington has entered and won numerous art shows, though he is still amazed by his prize that evening.
“I am honored to win this award,” he said. “I didn’t even know about the show, the other artist invited me to his exhibit, so it is a real honor for me to win this show.”
The theme for this year’s art show, “Life Out Loud”, focuses on artists motivating other artists, with the intention of allowing newer artists the opportunity to showcase their work, explained Ron Horn, Lakeland Art Guild exhibition committee member.
This year’s show especially offered the opportunity to showcase artists from outside of the Polk County area, including artists from neighboring Hillsborough and Highlands County.
Since its start, the guild and art show has grown in size and scope, and expectations are high for the sheer volume of art and artists to continue growing each and every year.
“We are getting to be more well-known with more artists in the organization, and giving them opportunity to show their work, and it is just building and building and building,” Horn said.
The “Life Out Loud” Spring Art Exhibition will be hosted until June 9 during normal gallery hours at the Melvin Art Gallery at Florida Southern College, located at 111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive in Lakeland.
For more information, visit their website at: www.lakelandartguild.org