Ft. Myers Magazine Jan-Feb 2016 Issue: SWFL Art Gallery Guide, cover story. www.ftmyersmagazine.com
ArtSWFL.COM by Tom Hall
Local artist David Acevedo art jamming in Hong Kong in September (08-11-15)
Fort Myers artist Marcus Jansen has closed his gallery to the public this summer as he prepares to launch a two-year worldwide musuem exhibition tour. But he’s not the only local artist building an international resume. David Acevedo has recently announced that he will be joining forces in September with artist Vera Chiu in a collaborative project taking place at Hong Kong’s popular 22 Degrees North mega store.
The event is being called Acevedo/Chiu: Worlds Collide, and involves an art jam during which the two artists will create works of art live using their distinctive styles, which coincide in terms of vibrancy and intuitiveness. “With lots of acrylic paint, a bit of found objects from their own culture, and echoes of laughter, the two artists battle through art jam to show you their abstract art style,” states the Hong Kong press release announcing the show. “Whether you are an art fanatic or just looking for some weekend fun, you are welcome to drop by and join in the splat and splashes.”
The artworks made by the art-jammers will remain on exhibit at 22 Degrees North from the September 12 art happening through October 2.
Vera Chiu is an abstract artist and educator living in Hong Kong. Acevedo is known throughout Southwest Florida not only for his energetic pop art compositions, but for the transcendant impact he has exerted on the local art scene since relocating to Fort Myers from his native Puerto Rico in 2000. He not only owned and operated the transformative daas Gallery with his partner Xavier Brignoni, Acevedo co-founded Fort Myers Art Walk and The Union Artist Studios in the Williams Building on the campus of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts.
Chiu and Acevedo not only share complimentary artistic styles and sensibilities, they are both friends with Scottish artist Ronnie Ford. Ford and Acevedo co-founded the Vibrant Arts Movement and it was Acevedo who introduced Ford’s art and VAM to Southwest Florida during a 2009 show at daas Gallery. “Having this international connection has been crucial to my artistic career,” says Acevedo. “Thanks to Ronnie, I have been able to show my work in Scotland, Germany and now in Hong Kong, not to mention the blessing of having such an experienced and amazing artist as a friend and mentor.”
Acevedo also advances the arts in Southwest Florida as an avid arts writer for TOTI Media, which publishes Gulf & Main, Bonita & Estero and the international RSW Magazine. For more information about David and his work, please visit http://www.acevedostudio.com. The Union Artist Studios is located at 10051 McGregor Boulevard, Suite 202, in Fort Myers.
ArtPoems comes to BIG Arts New artists and poets expand trans-media collaborations By: Yohana de la Torre, Chief Editor
ArtPoems, the collaborative trans-media poet and artist project of Southwest Florida, will celebrate its eighth year at BIG Arts, Sanibel on Friday, February 28, 2014.
Ranging from Peace River to Sanibel, from Cape Coral to Fort Myers and Naples, the group of 12 artists and 12 poets has collaborated to produce poems inspired by artworks and artworks inspired by poems.
Each artist and poet selects names at an initial meeting in November. Poets bring 5 poems for the artist to choose from to create a new work of art. Artists, in turn, bring 5 works of art for the poet to choose from to create a new poem. Twenty-four ArtPoems are created and presented live on stage with digital photos of each piece enlarged on screen. Poets will perform their poems, sonnets, ballads, and free verse while the paired paintings, sculptures, photography and mixed media artwork are shown.
“ArtPoems always surprises with a fresh look at what inspires creativity,” says the events Chair, Lorraine Walker Williams. “Each year the serendipitous pairing of poet and artist moves me to make it “new,” to work with superbly talented individuals and to bring ArtPoems to a wider audience. A kind of magic has evolved over eight years when ArtPoems’ members step on stage, and I’m so proud of that.”
A reception will be held prior to the performance in Schein Hall where poems and art will be displayed and the audience will be able to meet and mingle with the artists and poets.
Each year, ArtPoems presents a diversity of talent and subject matter, which reflects not only the culture of Southwest Florida, but reaches out to the world. The goal of ArtPoems continues to be “shaking the muse loose” moving artists and poets out of their comfort zones to stretch creativity and move in new directions.
Award-winning artists Myra Roberts, David Acevedo, Andrew Corke and Jonas Stirner will join last year’s collaborating artists, Peg Cullen, Mary Ann Devos, Cheryl Fausel, Sheila Hoen, David King, Andi McCarter, Jan Palmer and J.R. Roberts.
“It is my very first year participating in ArtPoems and I am very impressed with the incredible talent involved,” says artist David Acevedo. “The combination of art and poetry makes for a powerful method of expression and these collaborations are simply magical. Can’t wait for the publics reaction to our works.”
New poets Gary MacLouth and Megan Davis will join last year’s poet members Dorothy Brooks, J.D. Daniels, Carol Drummond, Sandy Greco, Joseph Pacheco, Marsha Perlman, Sid Simon, Larry Stiles, Pat Washington and Lorraine Walker Williams, Creator and Chair of ArtPoems. Many poets have published extensively and authored a number of books.
Harpist, Methel Gale and dancers from Dance Alliance will accompany several of the ArtPoems presentations.
Visual Arts: Views from dark side
Artist David Acevedo explores it in 'Protest/ Proposal' at the Arts for ACT Gallery.
In other words, say goodbye to the old David Acevedo.
At least for now.
The popular Cape Coral artist is trying something new and unexpected: Moody, black-and-white paintings that shed his usual style for something starker and darker.
“It’s a complete rebellion against what I used to do, all that colorful stuff,” Acevedo explains. “Everybody was always focused on the colors, and they’d always say, ‘Oh, it’s so vibrant and colorful!’”
The public sees Acevedo’s new art for the first time tonight during the fifth anniversary celebration of Art Walk in downtown Fort Myers. His “Protest/Proposal” series debuts at Arts for ACT gallery and continues through Oct. 28.
“I’m actually nervous!” Acevedo says. “I’m anxious to see how people are going to react.”
It’s the latest stop in an artistic journey Acevedo has been taking since he was a child growing up in Puerto Rico, fascinated by comics, coloring books and the illustrations in the family Bible. That fascination led him to art college in his home country, art exhibits in Southwest Florida after he moved here for a job, and later the founding of Art Walk and his former art gallery, daas Gallery, in downtown Fort Myers.
And now this.
Arts for ACT Gallery curator Claudia Goode saw Acevedo’s new work for the first time on Monday, and she loved what she saw. She thinks art lovers will love it, too. This is Acevedo’s third or fourth exhibit there, she says.
“You can still see David in there,” Goode says. “There’s still some color. But there’s a darker David in there, too. I think it’s going to be a pleasant surprise (for people).”
Acevedo says he’s always had a darker sensibility – for example, he loves heavy metal bands such as Testament and Dream Theater – but somehow he ended up getting typecast for his more colorful work. His previous style is full of bright colors, bold lines and simple, powerful images – something he picked up partly from his early love of comic books.
“I’ve always had a dark side,” he says. “I’ve just never really let it out.”
Goode asked Acevedo to appear at the exhibit for tonight’s big Art Walk celebration. It makes sense, she says: Acevedo and business partner Xavier Brignoni helped start the monthly art event five years ago. They operated their downtown daas Gallery from April 2008 until they closed it in July 2012.
“They were such an important part of our little downtown community here,” Goode says.
Now Acevedo and Brignoni share art space at Union Artist Studios with six other artists. The second-floor space on the Alliance for the Arts campus features five mini-studios and a central lobby/gift shop area.
Acevedo says he struggled trying to make art after closing daas Gallery last summer, but he just couldn’t find inspiration.
Then a chance encounter in an Arcadia antique shop sparked a change. He discovered some black-and-white high-school graduation photos from the early 20th century, and something about those images spoke to him. The young men sat straight and stoic, and Acevedo knew what he wanted to do: He wanted to free them from their portrait-studio bondage.
So he took those photos and plopped them, collage-style, in the middle of new settings: Riding a pitch-black galloping horse, for example, over a field of gray. Or perched above a triangular swath of black that resembles a graduation gown … or a dress.
Acevedo hates to say what these silhouette-like images “mean” – that’s up for the viewer to decide. But when pressed, he says the dresses are meant to subvert our ideas of religion, society and traditional masculinity. And the horses symbolize combat, strength and rebellion.
Then again, Acevedo admits he’s kind of guessing here. He usually paints in the heat of the moment with a crystal-clear idea in his head. But once he puts the paintbrush down, the original inspiration evaporates.
“At the moment, it makes perfect sense to me, the symbolism,” he says. “I guess I let it out in that moment, and when it’s done, it’s done.”
All he knows for sure is this: Once he started working in this new style, his creative block magically lifted. He began painting with passion again.
“All of the sudden, it started flowing,” Acevedo says. “One after the other.”
Acevedo doesn’t know where his artistic journey will take him next. Maybe this will be his “black period,” and then he’ll return to his usual bright colors and whimsy.
Either way, he says this is the art he plans to make for the time being.
“This is what I’m doing for now,” he says. “I can’t tell you if I’m going to stay on the dark side.”