Painting

Q & A - Wayne Propst on William Burroughs

Q: When have you been most proud of yourself as an artist?

A: “I did a show at the Bottleneck, some years ago, where I really felt like I rocked the house…having a room that size, full of people.  {It was} performance art…more towards ranting.  That was also driven by the person that I used as my gauge…I didn’t have a script, no paper, no cards, nothing, I’m just going.  I was using William Burroughs, who was sitting right where I wanted him, I’m watching his reaction, and based on that, that’s how the performance unfolded.  I felt that he was my great teacher, I felt like my teacher was really helping me.  It’s hard to know what was really in his mind, what he was doing, he’s a really smart guy, {he} was trying to get me revved up - what his true thoughts are, who knows?  I wouldn’t have any idea.  But he did a good job of working me, and then I in turn felt like I had, over the years, learned something from him.  This was like a really friendly room.  This is the kind of show they wanted.”

Q: I understand that you were a close friend of William S. Burroughs – how has that relationship impacted/inspired you as an artist?

A: “I didn’t realize he was my teacher until he was dead.  We were just hanging out, and then after he was gone, I said wait a minute, he was my teacher.  I was fortunate enough…some people would say {I’m} lucky, that’s bullshit.  I had a couple – 3 or 4 – people like that, that I was fortunate enough to hang out with, including Bill.  He was a super smart person if nothing else, of course he’s a maniac in a lot of ways.  Williams was very inadept with anything mechanical, and so a lot of his art, people helped him get ready. One of the ironies of marketing and working rooms, is…people who were famous for something or other, and then took up something more like painting…that’s been a debate…wait a minute, is William really a painter?  There is some truth to that, however, what if you’ve spent your whole life hanging out with artists, or being in gallery after gallery, and museum after museum, and being right there in the room when people are making stuff, and you’re a writer and then at age…north of 70…and then you take up something like that…well shut the fuck up, why not?  Well, this doesn’t look like much.  Well, what do YOU know?  The critics, the artists, I can see the way they might be bitter.  The last few years of Bill’s life, he made more money selling art than he did for all the books, everything.  For a while there, the gallery shows…unbelievable.”

Photo by  Jose Ferez

Photo by Jose Ferez


Artist in Focus: John Sebelius

John Sebelius is a local Lawrence artist who uses his interest in people and their expressed individuality to create artworks inspired by human diversity.

John Sebelius is an interdisciplinary artist currently living in Lawrence, KS. John earned his Masters of Fine Art from the University of Kansas, as well as a Bachelors of Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been featured in such magazines as: Harper’s, The Washington Post, and DETAILS, as well as mentions on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has exhibited his art internationally and locally, including: Gallery Two in Sydney, Australia, Woods-Gerry Gallery in Providence, RI, Kansas City Artists Coalition, and the Chicago Art Institute.

 Not only is he a prolific painter and illustrator, he is also a successful filmmaker. His documentaries have been shown at major film festivals, like the Austin Film Festival and the Free State Film Festival, and at The American School of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to his achievements and skill as an artist, Sebelius has been voted the Best Artist of 2014 and 2015 in Lawrence, KS.  Currently, John teaches art at Washburn University and he is the Artist-In-Residence at The Stress Disorder Treatment Program, where he teaches art therapy to those suffering from PTSD.

For this week’s artist profile, the Cider Gallery interviewed the artist about the artistic direction for his most recent work. In this Q&A, the artist provides a personal reflection on his inspirations and his goals as an artist, as well as his current projects. During our discussion, he detailed his sources of inspiration, his current exhibition’s narrative, and his passion for teaching. Following this paragraph is the email correspondence, with minor grammatical corrections, between the Cider Gallery and the artist himself.

 

"Smooch." 2015.

 

CG: What would you say is your primary source of inspiration?

JS:       “One of my largest inspirations is people. A majority of my work focuses on lived experience amongst individuals from unconventional communities. This all began when I followed around Providence cab drivers for a year while at RISD. There was something unfamiliar and intimate about that type of investigative work I was drawn to. That process has continued in my work with investigation of residents of Slab City, CA, the American Biker, and Greek Life at KU.“

John Sebelius and Chris King, "You Had Your Chance," spray paint, acrylic, pen, ink on watercolor paper.

 

CG: Is there an underlying narrative that your current pieces follow?

JS:       “My upcoming show at Cider Gallery this April Final Friday is "Superfans", a collaborative and experimental exhibition with artist and friend Chris King. We were both intrigued by the mania surrounding sports and political fans. It is a “with us or against us” mentality that we all experience, especially in today's caustic political landscape. Merging those two worlds together with color and texture was exciting for both of us. We didn't plan any of the pieces, shipping our large paper works back in forth from KS to Louisiana gave them a life and spontaneity that couldn't be planned.” 

Dorothy XI, spray painting.

 

CG: Is there anything you wished to tell our readers about you or your work? Any recent recognitions you wished to discuss?

JS:       “I am currently teaching Drawing and Design at Washburn University, but my real passion is teaching art to veterans suffering with PTSD at the VA. I created an art course "Artistic Expressions" at The Stress Disorder Treatment Program in Topeka a 7-week inpatient program for veterans who have experienced trauma. Over 200 veterans each year will participate in the course. It was important to provide the veterans with a non-verbal form of expression and establish a safe mental and physical space to explore their emotions and stories through a creative healing process. "Artistic Expressions" was recently awarded ARTSConnect TOPArts Access Grant to expand the program and create a gallery on the unit.”


We wished to thank the artist featured this week, John Sebelius, for this glimpse into his creative process. If you wished to see more of his work, he is featured in collaboration with Chris King in the up-and-coming Cider Gallery exhibition “Superfan,” opening this Friday the 28th. Come by between 5-9pm on Friday and enjoy the show!

All information provided by the artist. Check out his website for more information on his current projects. http://www.johnsebelius.com/index.html

Fragments// Susan Grace & Kyle Batson

One of our favorite aspects of this month's show is the unique way Susan Grace's paintings and Kyle Batson's photography compliment one another. Both artists have successfully captured fragments of everyday life, from images of ordinary places to capturing moments of human interaction. There are many connections that can be made while viewing the entire show. Although they differ in subject matter the connection of color and line allow these two works to be uniquely cohesive. Kyle Batson's photo on the left is titled Santa Carne (Holly Flesh) and Susan Grace's painting on the right is titled Watermark #1.

Stop by the Cider Gallery Tuesday-Friday, 1-5pm. This show will be up all October long.

 

 

Goodbyes and Hellos

The end of September is full of goodbyes and hellos as we say goodbye to the summer heat and Jen Unekis’ Playing with Pauses this week. Stop by today during our gallery hours to see this incredible body work one last time.

Join us next week, during Final Fridays, to say hello to our next show Fragments: Works by Susan Grace and Kyle Batson. As the month comes to a close we are also eager (and a little bit impatient) to welcome the crisp fall air and East Lawrence's new neighborhood cafe Bon Bon.

REDIRECT: Images with their own life

Atavistique    Oil on panel   Aaron Brown

Atavistique 

Oil on panel 

Aaron Brown

Got any bright ideas?  How about down time?  Pay the Cider Gallery a visit and check out artist Aaron M. Brown’s exhibit, “Redirect.”

"Brown has a keen eye for the way painting can remake the world, even when the artist's style is predominantly realist.  He also knows how to join the ordinary to the exotic, in ways that make one linger with a picture.  In the end, even the most ordinary things begin to look strange and novel in these paintings." - Robert Pincus, San Diego Union-Tribune

Gallery hours are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.