Lights burning in Brad Schwartz’s garage until midnight or 3 a.m. are not a sign of forgetfulness. Chances are he’s still up working on several collages, prints, or paintings.
The Spokane mixed-media artist will be bringing some of that work to a new show opening Thursday, June 2 at Trails End Gallery in Chewelah. He’ll talk about his art the previous evening at the Quartzite Brewery, an event also open to the public.
“My wife Helen and our kids (Olivia, 14, and Rowan, 10) will notice maybe five new pieces on my work bench some mornings and say ‘when did you do these?’ The answer is usually ‘last night’,” Schwartz says.
A website and graphic arts designer at KHQ, Schwartz finds time to create art by adding hours to his work day. He’s been doing that ever since completing his degree in printmaking and painting at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1994.
There was no doubt he would return to Spokane, where he was born and raised, he says.
“Not only is Eastern Washington a great place to live and raise a family, it’s also a landscape that’s inspiring to an artist.”
Leading his Cub Scout den on weekend hikes, he makes quick sketches or photos of flora and fauna that may become subjects for prints or paintings: a mullein weed, a wildflower, a burned tree, a knotted rope.
The resulting art is “a brief snapshot in time that puts a viewer, just momentarily, in my place. I lend others my vision—an insight into my feelings for the landscapes that surround us,” Schwartz says. The title of his Chewelah show, “land(e)scapes,” hints at that experience.
The show will feature prints made with Schwartz’s favorite techniques: intaglio and relief printing. With intaglio, the artist carves marks on a metal printing plate, forces ink into the grooves, and prints either by hand or with a press. Relief prints are usually made on wood or linoleum blocks and produce a high-contrast black-and- white image without the broad range of tones possible in an intaglio print.
Scrolling through images on his website, www.baschwar.com, you’re struck by the variety of subjects that interest him—some art-related, some personal. There are local landscapes, magnificent cloud formations, VW Beetles, a pulled-pork sandwich, a raven, and dry flies from his tackle box, to name a few.
“I do more fishing than catching,” Schwartz jokes, “but for me the repetitive motion of fly-casting is a mind-clearing process. It allows me to refine ideas in my head about art I’m working on.”
The Schwartz home is overflowing with art, much of it made by fellow artists in a “Baren Forum” he belonged to. Schwartz would make 30 identical prints, send one to each of the other 29 members, and receive back a version of the same theme by each artist. The ideas generated by their techniques and approaches have been valuable, he says.
Schwartz says he’s looking forward to showing his work in Chewelah.
“I love this little town, it’s so beautiful the way it nestles under Quartzite.” He also looks forward to eventually making the transition to full-time artist, but that’s another story.
For information on the 5-8 p.m. opening at Trails End Gallery, June 2; and Brad Schwartz’s 7 p.m. lecture at Quartzite Brewery on June 1, contact Tim Nielsen at 503-516-8355. The gallery is located at 101 N. Park Street. Trails End Gallery, 101-B N. Park Street, will be open during the June 16 Taste of Chewelah Art Walk sponsored by Chewelah Arts Guild.
By Robert Nein/Chewelah Arts Guild