Best of Seven

Best of Seven

Clark named artist of the year

Penticton artist Glenn Clark has been named Okanagan Visual Artist of the Year by the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan.

Glenn Clark said his first reaction on learning he was receiving a major award was a visceral one.

“Fear, because I was going to have to do some public speaking,” said Clark.

On March 26, Clark was named the Okanagan Visual Artist of the Year by the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, the first Penticton artist to win in the visual arts category.

“It’s a humbling experience getting an award like that,” said Clark.

Clark has been a force on the Okanagan arts scene for over 25 years, having painted some 20 murals and shown his work in more than 50 exhibitions.

Clark said that as part of the award, the judges take into account the artist’s career path and their community involvement. But he admits his works, including the Wackem Sackem kinetic hockey sculptures, helped secure the nomination.

“I know I have shown some of my best work in the last few years, but you never expect to be given a regional award,” said Clark, adding, though it’s a huge honour, winning awards is not why he is an artist.

Marjolein Witteman, chief curator at The Lloyd Gallery, which represents Clark in the South Okanagan, said his work is in demand.

“We have been selling Glenn’s plein air paintings for over 10 years and demand for his work has increased steadily,” she said in a release. “Over the last few years, we have seen him push his boundaries. His hockey sculpture that was installed at the Kelowna International Airport in 2014 is just one example.”

Clark said he is hoping to package the hockey works and find galleries to show them across Canada, though he still wants to add a few more pieces to the collection.

“There’s a Gordie Howe elbow I want to do,” said Clark. “You’ve got to have that in there and a few other infractions.”

Clark said the Wackem Sackem pieces, which feature moving parts, are a bit of a collaboration with his friend and neighbour, Mike Turley, a heavy duty mechanic and blacksmith.

“His partnership was invaluable in making my art leap and it has been an incredible amount of fun working on this across the alley from my shop to his and back,” said Clark, adding that Turley has now found a new artistic side to his work.

“Mike has found that his mechanic skills are perfectly aligned to make art, and in fact, his natural and until lately unfound talent to make art has absolutely jumped to life and he now makes incredible metal sculptures on the side.”

Clark also mentors young artists through his work at the Penticton Art Gallery and often contributes to charitable organizations by donating his paintings for auction.

“I think it’s important to help young artists,” said Clark. “Being creative is a lot of fun for kids, but showing your work can be terrifying. Supporting them throughout the entire process is a must.”

Clark said he is going through a bit of a quiet period right now, but is hoping to get outdoors and work on landscapes. That, and building a golf green in the backyard to help him work on his putt.

 

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