Sunday was the closing reception of the Szozda Gallery here in Syracuse, located at the Delevan Center on 501 West Fayette St. right on the edge of the downtown Armory Square district. Curated and directed by Caroline Szozda-McGowan, who became one of my most strident & reliable advocates over the past year.
My connection to the gallery -- and to the Delevan Center in general -- reaches back to my undergraduate years at Syracuse University. One of the few "formal" painting classes I took was with artist Jerome Witkin during what would have been my junior year. He took us to see his studio one afternoon, can't recall if they had a gallery there then (spring 1991?). But when I found out there was a gallery in 2002 or so, having a show there became a goal which was realized in March with a 2 person gig alongside Liverpool's own Ken Nichols. Some twenty-two years in the making, that was.
What the gallery represented to me was a motivating spark to improve my game, push myself to be a better painter and allround more effective artist, with a realistic goal of having my work represented there. It was an invaluable source of inspiration! and I'll be treasuring the experience for the rest of my days. Plus utilizing what I learned to craft my own approach to "curating", a discipline I have zero formal training in. But I catch on quick, have had some great shows to observe when visiting Caroline's gallery, and got to be friends/colleagues with a wonderful collection of humans.
Here's one last look around.
The throng assembled as I wandered in.
My favorite piece from the exhibit! Marvelous creation by painter Fred Wellner, whose love of science fiction imagery has branched out into the physical world almost on its own.
Best materials list ever!
The husband & wife artist team of Fred and Laura J. Wellner.
Focus fail but a fantastic picture, left to right: Fred Wellner, Steve Nyland, Laura J. Wellner, and painter Ken Nichols.
Photographer/artist Jason DeBose and his friend Christina.
With painter Phil Parsons, whose barn paintings taught me about the color red.
Photographer Barbara Conte-Gaugel and friend.
Syracuse area artists Kristina Starowitz and Michael Moody.
Bill McGowan, the other half of the Szozda-McGowan unit.
One down ...
Oswego contingent artists Isaac Bidwell, Cayetano Valenzuela, and his soon to be airborn daughter -- A zombie painting fan. Yes!
The esteemed Mrs. Szozda and Caroline's intern Nathan Wellner.
Christie Iamsuki & friends.
Left to right: Isaac Bidwell, Steve Nyland, and artist/photographer Eddie Colelli.
Two down ... there was a third also from the back room stash.
Szozda Gallery did good for this cowboy.
With my newest patrons! who took home "Toxic Zombie Sentry Duty". I'll be doing more Toxic Zombie cleanup suit guys! thats 3 out of 4 sold, hot.
Photographer/artist Ray Trudell, and he whom I only know as Harmonica Guy.
Caroline's sister & Ray sporting one of the Art On The Porches 2013 shirts. YES!!
Ray's a good sport, looking forward to a studio visit with him soon.
Artists Eddie Colelli and Phil Parsons.
Musician/artist Andrew Gunter, aka Charlie Cee.
I got to show my paintings with Wendy Harris.
With the smashing Kristina!
My informal advisor Angela Arrey-Wastavino, and Charlie Cee.
With painter John Fitzimmons, who will be having a show of his work at the Hamilton Center for the Arts in August!
Artists Steve Nyland and Michael Moody.
With Nate the intern! He'll go places.
And with curator Caroline Szozda-McGowan ...
... though this is the one that will end up on the mantlepiece.