A diverse crowd gather Friday evening at the Parkersburg Art Center to see two diverse worlds come together. Tad “Fat Daddy Tadpole” Gallaugher brought a bit of the Harley Davidson biker world to the fine arts world.
“I think this is really cutting edge for Abby to do this, because as you can see, it’s quite the contrast. But dealing with a motorcycle as a piece of art work, thinking of the bike as a medium to create these wild paint jobs and the creative things you can put on a bike to express the individual rider’s personality, it clearly is art. It’s great that they can expose this kind of stuff to a different slice of society and maybe kind of patches up bad mends if you will,” Gallaugher said describing the exhibit.
After acknowledging the sharp contrast of biker culture being showcased in the fine arts world, Gallaugher went on to describe this contrast from it’s flip side, how the fine arts are viewed in the biker world, “That’s an interesting question, I think they can respect things for what they are. Since my work is a different kind of subject matter, with a lot of it is skulls or racier kinds of things that aren’t your traditional subjects in art, they might not get all art, but this is their art and they get that.”
The Main and South Galleries featured Harley-Davidson posters, apparel, and memorabilia, as well as a number of custom painted bikes by Gallaugher and others. In addition, but just for opening night, a special police Harley was exhibited outside, in front of the Art Center.
Complimenting this gallery was a youthful exhibit in the Esbenshade Gallery by art students of Washington State Community College. Fine Arts professor, John Crum, said he was proud of his students work, “It’s a really good feeling, we do this for the students, none of my work is in the show, it’s nice to see them produce something that we can show off to the public and I think we have a pretty strong art group at the school.”
Crum, a 2007 Alumni of WSCC showcased his own work at the Art Center in 2010. Now his first year as a professor at Washington State he oversees the Fine Arts program which includes two subsets, Graphic Design and Studio Art. Crum said 16 students work were involved in this show, “We just went through and set up some parameters for the work and we selected the most successful work that fit those parameters.”
When asked about his students and the school’s art program, Crum explained, “Some of my students are actually already working as graphic designers, some of them just take the classes for giggles because they need a credit for it in school. So it is really remarkable for them to have work in the show, kids that were just taking a class.”
17-year-old high school senior and PSEO college freshman, Kayla Christman, of Fort Frye described her work, “I mainly just have always liked to draw ever since I was really young. There really aren’t any specific artists that I’m trying to follow, other than maybe our professor John Crum. I think he’s really inspirational, he’s a really good teacher.”
19-year-old Studio Art major, Missouri Brown, said, “I just kind of do my own thing. I pretty much just use things in my life, like the one with the knife and the grinding wheel because my boyfriend does a lot of black smithing and it was something I saw and I just thought well I’m going to paint this.”
Now in it’s seventh year of showcasing work from WSCC students, Art Center Director, Abby Hayhurst, said she always looks forward to the students work, “The student work is edgy, bright, and new. It’s a good bellweather of what will be the new trends in art. John’s work was exhibited here several times as part of this show. This has a certain nice continuity.”
When asked if there was any specific theme or reason the two groups were being exhibited together, Hayhurst said, “There is no correlation really, it just happened to work out that way! However, I do believe they go together because of their inherent edginess, they are both loaded with brio. Tad’s work is extraordinary, the bikes are highly individual artistic statements, reflections of the personalities of both the bike’s owner and the artist.” Professor Crum agreed, “I think its an interesting juxtaposition, but in some sense there is a lot of overlap. You look at Harley Davidson and it is a great example of graphic design and how it is really a type of art itself.”
“I really want to thank all the people for coming out to see this because I know it’s different than what they are use to seeing in the past at art shows. So with this being a really new idea, I think its really creative for Abby to take the initiative and put it out there for people to see and it looks to me like people here are really enjoying themselves,” Gallaugher said.
The two exhibits will be on display through April 28th, Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:00am to 5:00pm and daily admission is $2 and no charge for children under 12.
(Tad “Fat Daddy Tadpole” Gallaugher and one of his custom paint jobs)
(Missouri Brown and friends)
(WSCC Arts Professor, John Crum)
(Mayor Newell and friends modelling their biker gear on the runway)