Modest modernist 

Artrageous show profitable for local painter Scott Johnston

Local artist Scott Johnston sold five works at this year’s Artrageous.

Artrageous, the annual visual arts showcase sponsored by the Whistler Community Arts Council, was held July 6 at the Underground, at the Whistler Conference Centre.

Johnston’s booth gallery was tucked in at the rear of the first floor, but his locale didn’t matter as the buyers were quickly attracted to the brights of his canvas.

"I sell a lot of work in Japan, so it was nice to sell some pieces in Canada," says Johnston, whose large acrylic with oil stick work, Cleft Palette, was sold to one keen couple.

He also sold a small piece featuring an outline of a giraffe, and a large scale black and white piece of women’s faces done in oils on paper with spray paint.

He sold another image with "some faces," as well as a sketch of reggae godfather Bob Marley.

All Johnston’s works are impressionist, akin to the works of late New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

"People often tell me that," he quips.

His work is displayed on www.portfolios.com , and he is currently developing his own Web site.

The artist has been painting since he was a child.

"My paintings are influenced by children’s art, which my mum, a grade school teacher, used to bring home."

Johnston won a scholarship in fine arts to Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University in Ontario, but switched majors when he found he "didn’t like being told what to paint."

Artrageous had lots of potential buyers milling with artists.

"It was cool because all the other artists were walking around the sale," says Johnston.

Johnston has shown work at the Kaede Gallery and Underwater Gallery in Niigata, Japan, where he taught English as a second language for several years.

His work still hangs in venues around Japan, where his wife resides.

"I’d like to do some more work in Japan," he says, "but I’ll keep painting anyway, whether I sell or not."

Chili Thom says "the response (at Artrageous) was sick. I was swamped with people all night. I sold a ton of prints and only one painting this time, but I got several commissions out of the show."

The networking opportunity for artists seemed just as satisfying as sales.

Dave ‘Pepe" Petko sold Out to Pasture to a staffer at Lotus Art Supplies, where the painting has hung for the past two years.

Petko says the lost art of screen printing is something he tries to revive.

"I talked to Scott about doing some screen printing, so we might work together on that."

Meanwhile Andre Doucet says he sold seven of his wooden folk figures the day following Artrageous at the Farmer’s Market. He sold one at the show, but adds "the best part was that it was really important to meet everyone, (including other artists) I had not met even though I’ve lived here for three years."

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