While the definition of art is widely controversial in itself; Asheville is one of those rare places that defines its own eclectic culture and culture of art. Art in Asheville is from the ground up; literally. Art of a garden, a gate, driveway, the hand made home with no electric tools, or only from items of the property in which it rest. Or yes that typical piece in the park, in your living room but expanded in Asheville to dinnerware, furniture, clothing and everything you touch or touches you from head to toe. Asheville allows the individual expression of art in every aspect of life.
So walk (read) with us in this column as we experience everything Asheville has to offer in “Art Asheville Style”. The typical Asheville resident takes everything into account when choosing to live here, and those who settle here for life take on the Art Asheville Style starting at their driveways. Gate or no gate we all enjoy the beauty of each welcoming entry as we take in the views from our cars driving in our mundane work life from place to place.
Thus I start our walk at the driveway! Any drive way… so today we search for those who make gates for those whom express art to the very edge of their domain. Although the most widely known metal artiest of Asheville is no longer with us, Mr. John Payne; his apprentice, his art, and his work scattered around Asheville and still travels from city to city today.
Tina Counsell was the assistant and apprentice of John Payne. Tina’s large studio in the River Arts District, Wedge building, on Roberts street, is amazing, and like our homes, her touch on the property starts immediately at the fence work in the parking area. Tina works with other blacksmiths in the area as well as glass and wood workers. She is the open door to collaboration with other artist and other mediums. Tina happy in her medium (metal) is exploring more than just outside large pieces, down to the garden trowels and even to the belt buckle in an outfit. What ever moves her as long as it is functional or architecture, the one thing as a consumer we must remember is the art of someone changes and grows over time. So expect everything to be different, never be exactly repeated and consider when you are looking to purchase that time will change a vision of the same piece.
For those of us who have wooden gates (or any other needs) there is the studio of Mr Mike Hester and while he is an artist in his own wright his life is about helping the average person with a vision to create something … most anything EXCEPT the kitchen cabinets or chairs. The name of his shop is iconic Lothlorien on Swannanoa River Road.
These are only two names of the many artist in the area that are incredibly talented and eager to assist you or refer you to the others in their community that are willing and able to assist you create or find your dreams in Art the Asheville Style.
*Mr. Payne is also known for his moving sculptures that are a traveling art show still today. Check out the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdnVkVJXEPU