An interview with this week’s Featured Creative:
Collin Noortmann Chandler has always been an artist at heart. As a child, he could walk to the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he spent many hours in the company of Monet, Rembrandt, Picasso, Wyeth and the anonymous artisans of ancient Greece, Rome, Asia, Africa, Pacifica. At age 43, he was visiting galleries in the French Quarter, to escape the heat, and had the notion, “I think I want to paint.” It might have ended there, but Shanna Kunz invited him to her Introduction to Watercolor class. “It went well,” Collin says. He credits Shanna saying, “Shanna Kunz (Ogden’s own national treasure) taught me how to paint and how to be a painter. Not what to paint (we don’t really overlap much there), but the nascent skills, theory and insights needed to channel desire and effort into quality creative output worthy of recognition and commercial success. In this, I was very fortunate.”
As for his own style and inspiration, Collin says, “I suppose inspiration, beauty, meaning, and expression are where you find them; I generally find them by fitting little things into big ideas – particularly rusty little things.”
Collin says of himself, “I’m an artist. I turn talent, education, skill and effort toward personal expression (for me and personal experience for others. When painting, I use three different signatures so I can be a professional artist not limited by a single “brand” or expectation. I spend my time both dancing and wrestling with watercolor, oils and concrete, but also with light, garlic, furniture, friends, books, chrysanthemums, existentialism and other demands to create novelty, or balance, or epiphany, or unease, or beauty, or comfort, or challenge, or other demands for both myself and for anyone I can reach. Some of this, people kindly pay me for.”
His favorite medium is watercolor. Collin says, “Its simplicity is a lie. Its truths are ruthless. It is both intuition and meditation, both discipline and daring.” Oils and concrete come in second place.
Collin, getting his start in #Ogden, gives the community due credit. “I’m proud to be part of a resurgent art community in what once was called the “Junction City”, home to grand theaters, opera houses, jazz clubs, boutiques and galleries. Ogden’s arts community is re-budding and working hard to blossom again. Legitimate talent resides here– some that’s realized and acknowledged, some that’s striving hungrily and deserving of attention, and some that’s in want of challenge or nurture – but new opportunities and new work appear almost daily. It’s an auspiciously pregnant moment for Ogden and its creatives. Luckily, that includes me.
“Scott Patria (#O1ARTS’ Acting Executive Director) is both a friend and a minor force of both will and nature. He (and his dynamic wife, Amy) came to Ogden from art markets like Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, and they opened Ogden’s first avant-garde contemporary gallery, whether we were ready or not. Sadly, we were not. But, my first meaningful solo show was held at Whitespace Contemporary, and it changed both my career and pried a wedge into Ogden’s status quo. I admit some pride in that. O1ARTS (www.ogdenfirst.org) is the both inheritor and progenitor of what we, Ogden’s artistic avant-garde, claim and aspire toward. Art definitively answers very few questions, but asks many of the best. Anywhere, at any time in history, someone or something has pressed their local artists and thinkers toward expression and innovation beyond comfort and convention. Today, in our small corner, that someone or something is O1ARTS. “
Collin will be having a showing in the main gallery of Ogden’s Eccles Community Art Center in November, opening on November 2nd First Friday Art Stroll. This show, called “Relative Truth,” will be in combination with fine art photographers Mark Seawell and Chris Miller, will focus on a single day in and around the historically iconic (and about to be renovated) Exchange Building on the City’s west side. Collin adds, “It was the same place on the same day, but this show is a venn diagram of what and how we saw and interpreted that place at that moment. It’s fascinating.”
As for the future, Collin has big plans. He quips, “I plan to explode onto the international art scene as the most exciting and bankable emerging artist in recent memory. I plan to have a yet-to-be-determined, cultural-heavyweight coincidentally attend my November 2018 show Relative Truth at the Eccles Community Art Center and purchase it in its entirety, only to resell them for hundreds of thousands of euros the very next month in Cannes. Whereupon, I will be offered numerous artist-in-residence positions with exorbitant stipends from institutions all across the globe.” He also adds, “I like my plan, don’t mess with it.”