"Neutron Dance" by Roger Hutchison
c 2008 acrylic painting
Roger Hutchison is a relative newcomer to the Columbia SC visual art scene. Even so, he is an active painter and has sold an impressive 15 paintings this past month. I know other artists always want to know how someone accomplished such a feat and with that in mind I set out to meet Roger myself.
Roger struck me as a very friendly person with a strong passion for painting. Naturally; I wanted to write about him as he had done something I have never seen any new artist do in Columbia.
I asked Roger to tell us about himself and here is what he had to say:
"I have always been a creative person, but it has only been in the past couple of years that I have really started "putting the word out" about my work. I use acrylics and I paint with my fingers. I also use business cards, nails, pieces of wood, and other "found" objects. I was inspired to move "out of the box" by my 9th Grade Civics teacher. He introduced me to artists like Cy Twombly, Tapies, and Mark Rothko. Seeing their work changed my life. "
(JB) Roger; You often use bold pure colors; are colors the inspiration for your work?
"I love color. Instead of looking at the sky and seeing a blue sky...I see pinks, purples, oranges, reds. I try to convey this in my paintings. I never know what I am going to paint...I just know that it will be saturated with deep and dancing color. I guess that describes my vision of the world around me. "
(JB) Who and where have you studied art with?
"I took a couple of basic art classes in college - Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC...but other than that, I have not really painted or studied with anyone other than my seven year old daughter and dogs, Scout and MaeBelle. "
(JB) Are there any artists that you would say played a major role either in mentoring you or in inspiring and shaping your career?
"I respond to so many artists - some of my favorites - Picasso, Van Gogh, Mark Rothko, Niki de Saint Phalle, and folk artists, Woodie Long and Eric Legge...I also admire the work of local artists Mike Williams and Laura Spong. "
(JB) How have you handled the marketing of your art; getting in shows, selling art, creating a web presence?
"It has been a very interesting and exciting process for me. I have a website that is hosted by "Other People's Pixels" and I market much of my work on facebook. I do think that you can never underestimate word of mouth." My website is at Roger Paintings.
"I have found success in spreading the word about my art via verbal contact with people, facebook, setting up a user-friendly website, and making connections with the local art community. I have also entered several contests both here in Columbia and in Charleston (Piccolo Spoleto). You have to be your own best marketing team.
I also think that when you are having fun and it shows, people want to be a part of that joy. I do not count on selling my art to survive...I have a full-time job...so the pressure to sell is something that I do not have to struggle with - although when I do sell something, I find myself over the moon. I know that is not the case for most artists. I have such respect for artists who live this struggle/celebration every day."
(JB) Is there anything else you would like to share?
"Painting is a holy experience for me. It is my prayer time...my God time. I work with children during the day...I experience their joys and their sorrows, their laughter and their tears. It is this joy and this energy that I hope comes through my work. It is also a reflection of the joy I feel as I move through this life as a husband and father.
I am also stunned and very grateful for all of the amazing response that I have experienced - especially over the past year. My heart is full with thanksgiving and respect for the local businesses who have supported my work - Mr. Friendly and Frame of Mind. I am thankful for you and the other artists in this community who have surrounded and supported the new kid on the block. "
(JB) Do you have any other careers beside being an artist?
I serve on staff at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia as the Canon for Children's Ministries and as the Director of the Trinity Center for Mission and Ministry.
(JB) In an ideal world where would you see yourself and your art career say ten years from now?
"Oh...I hope that I am still having a blast...experiencing joy...laughing and celebrating with each new piece that comes forward. I hope that people continue to be inspired by my work and my story. I hope that this community will continue to support the arts...and that I might be a small but important part of that journey.
...and to those of you who have welcomed one of my paintings into your home...thank you. You have become a part of me - and I hope I have become a part of you. It is my hope that my artwork brings a bit of hope, peace, and joy to to your world. "
(JB) Thank you Roger; I have really enjoyed sharing your art and art career with the Internet world. I wish you much success for the coming New Year.