Studio Proof: "This Inspired That" is inspiring

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

“This Inspired That,” the current exhibit at Open Door Art Studio in Grandview, is now in its fourth incarnation and absolutely needs to continue until reaching its 40th — and beyond.

For “This Inspired That,” 14 local (staff and guest) artists found inspiration by connecting with Open Door members and their art. Open Door is a studio dedicated to providing support, education and services to artists with developmental disabilities. It’s also a place to find compelling and exciting work, especially in this exhibit.

For the first two “This Inspired That” exhibits, local creative groups Mother Artists at Work (MAW) and Creative Arts of Women (CAW) created pieces inspired by the work of Open Door members. The last two exhibits invited individual local artists to participate.

“This Inspired That” has become so popular, said curator/Open Door staff member and watercolorist Cody Heichel, that “a bunch of artists came up to me at the [opening reception Saturday, April 11] and asked to be kept in mind for next year.”

When viewing the work it’s easy to see why so many want to be involved. For the invited artists, there’s an embarrassment of riches to mine for inspiration. The pieces range from captivating — Jessica Wallace’s abstract “City Lights,” which features a complementary painting by fellow abstract painter Michael Bush — to whimsical — Stephanie Beshaw’s “Ladies ’80’s” enthused Mary Barczak’s, as they share a love for (space) cats.

While every work in the gallery is astounding in imagination and style, I gravitated to two pairings of artists, Larry Doyle and Wallace Peck and Claire Smith and Carissa Aikman.

Smith created the three-dimensional “Blushing Cosmos” out of hot-pink vinyl and copper, inspired by Aikman’s vibrant and chaotic painting “Self-Portrait of the Artist’s Mind.” While the pieces are vastly different in execution — Aikman is a quadriplegic who paints with a stylus on her head — and material, each conveys the tireless spirit of a creative mind.

It’s not surprising I was drawn to the collaboration by Doyle and Peck — both are wildly talented. But I was most impressed with how Doyle incorporated elements of Peck’s style in “She’s Old” (pictured) while letting his own aesthetics shine.

Jesse Tigges photo