2012-02-23 / Arts & Entertainment News

ARTISTS AMONG US

Brian Kirkpatrick
BY MOLLY DOE
Special to Florida Weekly


Kirkpatrick Kirkpatrick Brian Kirkpatrick found his passion for art while on vacation nine years ago to Venice, Italy. He says the trip changed his life.

“I had never seen so many colors in one place. The next day, I went to an art store and bought supplies. I haven’t stopped painting since that day.”

Today, location still plays a big role in his artistic inspirations. Mr. Kirkpatrick is a seasonal resident of Southwest Florida, spending the winter and spring in Naples and summer and fall in Martha’s Vineyard and Connecticut. In Florida, he enjoys painting the Naples Pier, various beaches, the Everglades and especially people. When not making art, he enjoys flyfishing and walking the beaches, camera at hand in case he sees something that inspires his artwork.

His art-rich hometown of Mystic, Conn., has also influenced his subject matter. He spent many childhood days hiking the trails, fishing the waterways and horseback riding through the great outdoors. Today his paintings, handbags and cigar boxes usually include vivid and youthful depictions of wildlife and nature.

His neighbor was an artist. “We were told not to look in her studio window. But, one day I did,” he recalls. “The walls were covered with beautiful paintings.” That might have been his first introduction to the art world, but he got more practical lessons as a teenager.

“At age 14, I worked in my family’s painting business and began mixing colors to match clients’ wallpapers and fabrics. It could take hours to match a color”.

Those lessons about the values of color stuck with him; the color in his paintings is one of the first things people notice and remember. He has painted with watercolor and oil, but he prefers the more vibrant color that acrylics give him.

Although others have described his style as anything from folk art to “coastal pop art,” Mr. Kirkpatrick doesn’t define himself by any specific style.

His “BK” signature was recommended by James Dixon, the agent for Comedy Central TV personalities like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Mr. Dixon was the first buyer of Mr. Kirkpatrick’s artwork from his first art show, which was at Tree House Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard.

“Dixon told me I should write BK at the bottom of my works, so I did. And I still do on every piece,” he says.

Today, Mr. Kirkpatrick’s artwork can be seen in Redbone Gallery in Islamorada, Fla.; Tradewinds Gallery in Mystic, Conn.; and Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. He also participates in the Naples Art Association’s monthly Art in the Park. ¦

—Artists Among Us is provided to Florida Weekly by the Naples Art Association, which operates The von Liebig Art Center and serves artists, students, art lovers and fellow nonprofit services through education, festivals, exhibitions and community outreach. For information call 262- 6517 or visit www.NaplesArt. org.

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