Last Sunday afternoon (January 29th), I had the opportunity to see a live painting demonstration. This was exciting because I had never before watched a painting be made right in front of me. I met Gerard Amsellem, one of the two artists involved, at a studio tour event last fall. He and his friend/frequent collaborator Mikel Frank reached out to me a few weeks later to ask me to do some writing for them. (This post is not part of that work. I’m just sharing my experience.) Mikel and Gerard – or the Visual Passion Duo, as they call themselves – often collaborate on large-scale abstract paintings that they create in front of audiences at demonstrations like this one. Sunday’s event was held in honor of Gerard’s brother, also an artist, who died ten years ago.
It was fascinating to watch them work together to turn an ordinary door into a mixed-media piece in about an hour and a half. They used paint, crayons, markers, and pieces of colorful paper that they glued onto the door. They never plan anything in advance, though they did stop several times to look at the painting and decide together how to proceed. Despite this, there was an awesome element of spontaneity to the process. I couldn’t look away.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the completely finished project, since I could only stay about an hour. Here’s what it looked like around the time I left.