If you visit the Felder Gallery on Friday, April 20th and Saturday, April 21, 2012, don’t be surprised if you find yourself dreaming of grass skirts and flower leis.
Marine artist Wade Koniakowsky will be visiting, and bringing art with a definite Hawaiian aesthetic. Like much of the art exhibited in Port Aransas, Wade’s work is inspired by a lifetime of living near and loving the ocean. “My art is about a tropical lifestyle — the Gulf, Caribbean, the Pacific, Polynesia,” he says. “It’s about warm breezes and being restored by the ocean. It’s about the fun you always have at the beach.”
“I’ve been around the ocean all my life- but this obsession with the sea began in Texas on the Gulf,” he says. The inspirations that fuel his art began in Corpus Christi, but since he now lives in Carlsbad, you’ll also see the California coast in his paintings. A surfer, he’s traveled a lot to Hawaii and the tropics so Polynesian influences are reflected in his work too. “I learned to surf in Port A and have surfed all my life. I spend a lot of time in California and Hawaii, but love to come home and surf Port Aransas,” he says.
For about 25 years, Wade has worked as a commercial artist, becoming the creative director of an ad agency and then running his own agency beginning in the mid 90’s. Around 2004, he realized that his focus had become business and he wasn’t doing much that was creative, so he began painting. His oils were well received. It was all the validation and encouragement that he needed. He sold his business and pursued fine art in earnest.
Since he’s a surfer, surfing themes often appear in his oil paintings: board riders, curling waves and surf-kissed beaches with swaying palms. He likes to think of his landscapes as “dreamscapes” because he challenges himself to do something unusual. Since water and sky are blue, ocean landscapes usually use cool colors. “My color palette is unique in marine art because I use predominantly warm colors rather than blues,” he says. “I depict the tropics in the way they make me feel — the tropics warm the soul and body- the best colors to depict this are warm hues.” So while his paintings are of watery subjects, the colors he uses are sunny reds, yellows and flaming oranges. His skies, even the water sometimes appear to be on fire.
The show at the Felder Gallery, “Impressions,” will feature Wade’s original block prints. “I spent many years as a designer before I became a ‘fine artist’,” he says. “Block printing brings out my graphic side. But I mix it with painting and keep it very organic. This mix of media is perfect for the island subjects that inspire me.”
The two day event will begin at 5 p.m. Friday evening with an aloha-style party featuring Wade’s mixed-media pieces such as “Aloha Port A.” There will be a variety of original mixed-media pieces for sale and an important part of “Impressions” will be having Wade personalize something for a buyer. On Saturday, Wade will be doing block prints live at the gallery from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The set-up beings with water-based ink and handcarved block prints. Each shirt takes about five to seven minutes to print, about 15 minutes to dry and each is signed by the artist. Several blocks can be combined to make a design, and the front or back of the garment can be printed. Tee shirts and beverage Koozies will be available to be adorned with block prints of your choice in a variety of colors to create a one-of-a-kind custom artwork.
A portion of the proceeds of the event will benefit the Anglers on Wheels fishing tournament to be held in Port Aransas in May. Anglers on Wheels provides a free fishing trip for people with disabilities, their friends and family members. The vessel for the trip is a converted ferry boat that is completely wheelchair accessible and covered to protect those aboard from the sun. Visit www.dittexas.org for more information about Anglers on Wheels and the upcoming tournament.
For more information about the “Impressions” weekend event or the Felder Gallery, call (361) 749-2388 or (361) 944-0167 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Web site at www.feldergallery.com or just stop by at 1726 State Highway 361, Suite F. I’ll see you there.