Three Hyattsville artists exhibit paintings, collage at Artomatic
BY REBECCA BENNETT — After a three and a half year hiatus, Artomatic is back and in Prince George’s County for the first time. For six weeks, art enthusiasts can browse and buy within walking distance of the New Carrolton Metro Station at 8100 Corporate Drive, Hyattsville.
“Prince George’s County is quickly becoming the epicenter of art in the National Capital Region and Artomatic will help to put us on the nation and international arts map,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.
“Artomatic will also help provide visibility for the thriving artists and art districts in the community, like the Hyattsville Arts District.” said Ronnie Gathers, director of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation.
“I am very happy this event is in Prince George’s County,” Hyattsville artist Paul Hrusa said. “If we are going to be in the [Arts District], then I think these events should happen all the time here.”
Approximately 75,000 visitors are expected in the 90,000 square foot space secured for this year’s show, according to county officials. Snack bars with beer and wine and performance spaces are scattered through the building’s four floors.
Artomatic is free and open to the public from Oct. 30 to Dec. 12, 2015, on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to midnight and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
“Visiting Artomatic is an amazing opportunity for everyone to experience the diverse and creative ways that artists express themselves,” Hyattsville artist Scooter Johnson said. “I hope that when people look at artwork it inspires them to endeavor in their own artistic expression and to reflect more deeply on life.”
And in Hyattsville resident Maurie Kathan’s installation, that reflection takes the form of a journey. Maps, yarn, national park pamphlets, and sticky notes draw the observer from state to state on a personal expedition. “The piece is named Restart and the trip was a needed restart to my life,” Kathan said. “I packed my whole life into my car and drove.”
Johnson said some of these exhibits are not here to market someone’s art, but their purpose is the enjoyment and experience of them.
Hrusa said it’s not his job to tell people what to expect, but to share without expectation.
Anyone can show art at Artomatic, according to its website, and it’s a non-juried, first-come, first-serve art exhibit. This year, county officials said they expect more than 1,000 artists and performers, including approximately 40 from Prince George’s County.
“In addition to creative art, Artomatic also features a plethora of performing art forms throughout the exhibition – live music, dance, spoken word, comedy as well as professional development series and special events showcases,” a press release said.
Arts non-profit Art Works, which is moving to the former Marche Florist building at 5100 Baltimore Avenue, is hosting a maker space at Artomatic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays in November.
All three artists are showing at Artomatic for the first time. Johnson said some of his work is on display at the recently re-opened Fleisher’s of Maryland and one piece donated to Art Works Now for the upcoming fundraiser auction. Hrusa said he has also shown work in Hyattsville, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Paris.
Johnson’s art can be found at Artomatic in sector 3 on the 2nd floor. Hrusa’s art can be found in Sector 7 on the 4th floor. Kathan’s art is in Sector 6 on the 4th floor. For more information, visit www.artomatic.org.
Full Q&A with the artists:
Describe your art and what inspires you.
SCOOTER: I love to make art that may be interpreted in many different ways. Your experiences affect the way you approach situations in life. Similarly these experiences affect the way you view and interpret art. I like to think that in viewing my art (and art in general) you are offered a reflection yourself. The subjectivity in art and how it resonates with an individual is inspiring to me and I love to hear people talk about how a particular piece of art affects them.
PAUL: I don’t believe in inspiration but there are principles of discovery that interest me: texture, weight, color, intricacy. I like to work in non-traditional materials. Specifically these paintings are house paint and printer’s ink on polystyrene sheets. The smallest is 36″x14″; the largest is 48″x48″.
MAURIE: My art is an instillation collage. For this piece I was inspired visually by patchwork quilts and the idea of scrapbooking. Artistically the idea of changing a space is very interesting to me and other installation art is very inspiring to me.
How did you get started with your artwork? What makes your artwork unique?
SCOOTER: I have always enjoyed attempting to portray interpretations of reality accessible only through one’s imagination. Imagine alternate realities, alien landscapes, etc. In some ways, I feel, this artistic interpretation parallels how we use the language of mathematics to interpret the physics of our reality.
PAUL: What got me started with painting was getting kicked out of music class when I was 13 years old – but more specific to this body of work showing at Artomatic – it is a matter of process following principle – six of these paintings are of flowers because I wanted to explore a subject matter that could make use of color, intricacy, and texture – and I wanted the motif to be historical in nature. The polystyrene material explores texture also, along with weight. The other two paintings being shown are examples of process exploration that I went through to be able to fully realize the flower motif.
MAURIE: I have studied art since I was a kid and took some classes in college. But I don’t do art regularly these days mostly because the pieces I imagine are these big installations which are not something you can do easily in your living room on the weekend.
When people see your booth at Artomatic, what should they expect? Or what do you want them to take away?
SCOOTER: I hope that when a viewer approaches my artwork they are drawn into a place where their imagination takes over and draws them into a world that can exist only in their own mind. Many of my paintings are created with the purpose of being multiply interpreted. I think this allows the art to evolve with the viewer.
PAUL: It is not my job as an artist to tell people what to expect – my job is to share without expectation. On a lighter note I would like people to take away a painting, because they are for sale. Visualize them in your living room.
MAURIE: My piece is an autobiographical large scale collage of a trip I took in 2012. I spent 7 month driving across country and my trip is represented on the wall through state maps. The piece is named Restart and the trip was a needed restart to my life. I started the trip pretty depressed and very directionless and to get myself out of this place I decided I needed a change of place. I packed my whole life into my car and drove. What I hope people take away from this piece is the duality of this being an amazing trip where I got to see amazing things (represented by national parks maps and other mementos) and a trip where I was going through a lot of personal turmoil (represented by ladies crying a puddle of tears, post-its discussing my experience and the street signs).