An electric fusion of two local artists will be available for public viewing at Lake Wales Arts Council’s upcoming exhibit entitled, Music on Canvas. The exhibit brings together painter Robert Morrissey, and photographer Calder Wilson, with a common theme in their work–music.
Starting with crayons, Robert Morrissey has been interested in art since childhood. The self-taught artist remembers, “We didn’t have any art classes or anything like that. We didn’t have any type of art all the way through high school, there was nothing there. Everything I did until I got to college was on my own.”
Though he has done work with a variety of subjects from oranges to nature scenes, the work that will be displayed for Music on Canvas will be music icons. The first icon he painted was Jennifer Lopez. “That’s what I was doing, called a hard edge painting where the edges are pretty distinct and separate between colors. Almost like a paint by numbers,” he explained about the painting.
When he started doing softer edge painting, his first subject was Jimi Hendrix. “I like doing things like that with Jimi Hendrix or Bob Marley or Rod Stewart–people that are kind of wild,” said the painter.
An accomplished artist with a Double Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, Mr. Morrissey has shown his work from Winter Park, South Miami, Festival of the States, Gasparilla Art Festival, Butler Art Institute, and the Society of Four Arts in West Palm Beach. He has also exhibited one-man shows from Naples, to Tampa, and Chicago. His background with the Arts includes being the Director of a cultural arts center, as well as President and Vice President of different art associations and even founded his own art festival which he oversaw for twenty years. A frame and gallery shop owner, Morrissey also taught art at Polk State College for many years.
Morrissey’s counterpart for Music on Canvas, Calder Wilson, captures music icons and shows in a different way. Born and raised in Winter Haven, Wilson studied at Skidmore College in Upstate New York as a business major with a minor in photography.
“Photography quickly became a passion freshman year,” he explained. Wilson started with traditional photography and eventually transitioned into digital. After this hobby began taking all of his free time in college, he knew that upon graduating, he wanted to make it a profession.
Wilson quickly found opportunity in a niche of photography that he saw as underserved. “You have this explosion of music festivals happening since 2011, with electronic music, in particular, being the driver of it. There’s a lot of money going into it–sponsors pilling in, a lot of fans. At the exact same time, we’ve had the advent of Instagram and Facebook flooding people’s smartphones and they’re constantly scrolling through their phones. They need more content every day,” said Wilson.
“What was missing that I saw,” said Wilson, “was the marketing directors themselves at festivals didn’t really have a good source of photography.”
In response to this underdeveloped area, he created a company, aLIVE Coverage, that has grown to include 12 photographers and has become the premier photography team worldwide for music festivals.
When Calder was approached by the Lake Wales Arts Council to show his work alongside Robert Morrissey, he liked the idea. “Obviously you get a shot on Instagram or Facebook and it reaches a lot more people maybe, but the ability to actually put art into the community and into the city is awesome. I always take every opportunity with that,” remarked the photographer.
The juxtaposition between the two artists couldn’t be starker, but looking at their work side by side is an interesting peek into the mind of both creators. Wilson commented on their contrasting pieces, “He’s got these really cool paintings of classic rock stars and I have kind of what I would think is at the opposite end of the spectrum for that which is these metallic, metal prints of electronic music–it’s just completely different.”
The exhibit opens on March 5th in the Michael Crews Gallery, running through April 13th. Both artists will be in attendance at the opening reception on March 8th from 5 pm to 7 pm. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and there is no admission charge.
Lake Wales Arts Council
Address: 1099 State Road 60 E, Lake Wales, FL 33853
Phone: (863) 676-8426