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Art Fx #2: "Sinking Into Saturday" by Beverley Hawksley – Huntsville Doppler – Huntsville Doppler

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Art Fx is a year-long series on Huntsville Doppler featuring Huntsville-area visual artists.

“Sinking Into Saturday” by Beverley Hawksley measures 40” x 40” and was created in acrylic, graphite, and gesso.

“This piece is from a new series I am working on called ‘Undercover’,” she writes. “It is the result of plenty of time and consideration devoted to the wearing of masks and our current experience of solitude and isolation. My intention is to reflect on the silent communication, and the discoveries we make while examining our own interiors… with a lean toward a comforting perspective.”

“Sinking Into Saturday” by Beverley Hawksley

Artist bio: Beverley Hawksley is a self-taught, multidisciplinary artist. Primarily a painter of bold visceral images, she also creates sculpture, textile, installation and performance works. Her subject matter considers our most basic, wild selves, the forces that shape us and the ongoing tension between what we know in our cells and what we wear on our skin. For over twenty years Beverley has been exhibiting in solo and group shows. Knowing the value of “making”, and how the creative process contributes to every aspect of human health, Beverley facilitates art sessions with children and adults in groups and private sessions.

Find Beverley online at beverleyhawksley.com which includes links to galleries representing her work, on Twitter @bhawksley and on Instagram @b.hawksley.

See more local art in Doppler’s Art Fx series here.

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'He stood out': The art, life and struggle of Hamilton artist and outcast Philip Stone – Toronto Star

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He was born on Feb. 29, an unusual day for an unusual man.

Philip Stone would grow to become both a gifted visual artist and a flamboyant outcast — known as much for his ability to stand out as for his coveted art.

Stone saw magic in the world. He delighted in birds and butterflies, flaming flowers and swirling clouds. He explored femininity on the pages of drawings, as if femaleness was a side of him that needed to emerge. He found fantasy even in the surreal ways the mixture of colours change their hues. It all came out through paints on his palette, or the inks of the ballpoint pens he used.

“His passion was expression,” a friend recalls. “A sheet of paper, on a canvas, on his person.”

Living in an industrial city of starched collars and blue uniforms, Stone wore feathered caps and French berets, dramatic capes over patterned shirts with peacock blue pants held up by rhinestone studded belts. He was 6’2,” and made taller still by his metallic platform shoes. One pair had goldfish in the heels.

Some knew him as a dramatic, excitable and proud gay man, to others he was timid, quiet and shy. But they all say Stone was like a shooting star; a twinkle in the starry night, delightful in the moment but all too brief.

Stone would be dead at age 24, dying hours after he was beaten by two men in a community that had long made him feel as though he didn’t belong.

Yet even now, if you ask around, it’s not uncommon for someone to remember and ask about whatever happened to Philip Stone.

Hamilton was booming in the 1950s. Manufacturing giants Stelco and Dofasco were pumping out steel and ambitiously growing, while neighbouring operations produced everything from Studebaker cars to Lifesavers. With such growing business, Hamilton was called the “lunch-bucket city,” a place for industry, not art.

“So what? There are quite a few cities in Canada that wish they had what we have,” former mayor Victor Copps once wrote. “A good industrial base means jobs.”

Stone was born in 1952, the first child of Wesley Stone and June Little, a local couple who lived on Hamilton Mountain, a rapidly expanding suburban area atop the escarpment. Four more children — Steve, Marguerite, Marie and James — would follow. Wesley Stone worked for a bread company, while June stayed at home to raise the children.

Their house, situated on Mohawk Road East, was surrounded by expansive fields, giving the Stone children a vast space to play. It was there Philip Stone developed his fascination with nature. While his siblings were off jumping in the nearby creek and getting dirty, Stone would amble back and watch butterflies flutter about, the flowers dance in the wind and the bees gather nectar. He’d quietly consider what he saw and reproduce it all in a sketchbook with wildflowers he collected tucked inside. He did the same thing on family trips to conservation areas and the Canadian National Exhibition.

In the bedroom he shared with his brothers, Stone took up a corner to draw and paint. A crawl space was converted to a spaceship with boxes, tinfoil and paint. He would later paint spaceships and galactic scenes on another wall. Art and the act of creating seemed natural for him with a mother who painted water colours and did pottery. He was gentle and quiet, also like her. His voice was soft and effeminate.

Philip Stone, left, with his first brother Steve. Philip would grow to be a visual artist who identified as gay. Steve would become a police officer who struggled with his colourful brother's persona as he worked in a police force that was not friendly to the gay community.

As the boys turned to men, Steve Stone thought his brother Philip could not be more different from him. Steve was outgoing, athletic with a strong rapport. Philip was a loner, shy and docile. The difference was confusing for two so naive to the world.

“I felt my brother was a bit strange,” Stone says of his thinking at the time. “My friends would describe him as a fairy.”

While putting words to his sexual identity took time, Philip Stone was gay. His parents, sisters and younger brother accepted that but Steve did not understand him and he was not kind. In a heteronormative world with narrow social norms, he “didn’t know how to interact” with Philip. The two “disconnected,” he says. They went separate ways “like a fork in the road.”

Philip’s road took him to Hamilton’s downtown core, where there was more diversity and vibrancy than on the Mountain. He commuted daily to Central Secondary School, where he took up an intensive arts program and was thought to be “unassuming … but leagues ahead of (other students) because he already had a defined style.”

Primarily using bright ecoline inks, tempera paint and watercolours, he would craft surrealistic nature scenes and figures on thick stock paper. The scenes were often crammed with recognizable elements, such as birds, flowers, plants and insects, or abstract shapes with emerging humanistic touches. Often a female figure would be incorporated as a figure hiding or emerging from the rich matrix. It was as if he was portraying a female’s reflection on life, or exploring the perceptions of a female person.

As his art emerged and was noticed, Stone signed his work “North Troll.” He never explained the alias, but siblings and friends thought it was a result of a negative self-perception or a wish for discretion.

Still, Stone believed art was his future. There were “not a lot of avenues for an artist to make a living,” friend David Byers remembers, but there was no doubt being an artist was who he was.

Stone didn’t pursue any post-secondary training and instead found himself visiting coffee shops, studio spaces, galleries and even hair salons where creative types were known to hang out. He loved science fiction movies, listened to Led Zeppelin and was a dramatic storyteller. He devoured fashion magazines and went extreme with his personal style. The shirt and pants were colourful, the accessories were glittery and he was known to carry a black portfolio or decorated hat box. Paint was not limited to paper or canvas. He painted his shoes and his belts, designed rings and he stylized hats, once designing one as a gift for entertainer Liberace when he made an appearance at a bookstore.

“Phil was always flamboyant in his dress,” friend Lynne Powell recalls. “He stood out. … We were still a pretty redneck kind of town.”

Hamilton didn’t have much of a gay community scene. You could be “out” in artistic circles, a union hall was known to host gay dances and there were areas for cruising. There were a few discreet gay bars, but attendance could be dangerous. Hamilton was known for gang activity, where two dominant gangs staked turf over much of the city and were noted by law enforcement as “a constant problem.”

Police also were a concern. LGBTQ people largely saw officers as a threat, not allies. Stone and friends noted police seemed to hang out near the gay bars and thought they might accost them.

Among officers was Stone’s brother, Steve. He joined the Hamilton police force in 1972 and it was common for him to see Philip out downtown while he was on patrol. Steve tried to avoid him. The force was unfriendly to gay people, he says now, and he felt vulnerable to be seen as an ally to his outwardly gay and flamboyant sibling in front of ignorant colleagues or the gang members he was tasked with policing.

“Hamilton had a tough and rough side,” he says. “There was no tolerance for people who were different. It’s like there was an unspoken standard and if you were outside that standard, there could be trouble for you.”

Hamilton artist Philip Stone with friends David Byers and Pat O'Neill (both of the bands Simply Saucer and The Shangs) in the early 1970s.

Stone did not specify if that trouble came from police. In Toronto, it is well documented police often haunted gay venues where they harassed and intimidated members of the gay community. LGBTQ people were charged with various offences, even though same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1969. Police activity culminated in the 1981 bathhouse raids that kicked off demonstrations in a fight for rights and a place to safely belong.

The conclusion for many was that “anyone who was gay might as well not (have) lived here.”

James Stone says Philip “didn’t care what anyone thought of his sexual identity and style. He didn’t like Hamilton.”

Philip Stone made regular visits to New York, Montreal and Toronto, living briefly in all of them. In Toronto, he hung out in the hippy bars of Yorkville and worked at a bathhouse mere blocks from the busy gay beer halls along Yonge Street.

All the while Stone continued to make his art and he began to sell some of it. Word spread quickly of his talent, including to prominent and powerful Hamilton families such as the Fortinos and the Brockers who all bought prints. A key friendship was with Bill Powell, an artist and entrepreneur who was, as The Hamilton Spectator reported, “a big-talking booster who was convinced that a city known for steel and gridiron also had a heart of artistic gold.” Powell would later co-found the Festival of Friends, a summer event for the arts. It continues to this day.

In the early 1970s, Powell and his wife Lynne ran a coffee house and art gallery on Augusta Street. They wanted a place for artists who, Lynne Powell says, had “a hunger (among artists) for a place to belong.”

The couple took Stone under their wing, framed his prints, displayed his work, hosted his first exhibition and got the word out. Prominent philanthropist and patron of the arts Irving Zucker caught on, bought many prints and championed Stone’s talent.

Powell came to see his creative process, as Stone was almost constantly drawing, painting and creating. She describes his method as intricate, “the most incredible process to watch. … It was almost like birth.”

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“By placing a human face centrally, Phil Stone then proceeds to introduce his almost baroque cornucopia of the fertile, almost hothouse environment, where everything is teeming with life, energy and growth,” a 1974 article in The Hamilton Spectator read. “His mannequinlike faces that emerge and recede from painting to painting may indeed present some new, escape world that has a life of its own.”

Another review said his art “may just be considered brilliant, without qualification.”

His prints eventually sold for up to $500. That would equate over $3,000 today.

Spending so much time together, Powell says Stone “had a way about him where everything was bigger than life. He went to Montreal, saw the Notre-Dame (Basilica) and talked of weeping at its beauty. He looked at things with wonder and amazement, almost childlike.”

The Powells also saw his drug addiction. Stone frequently used drugs — “you name it, he took it,” one friend said. On agreement with him, the Powells withheld his payments and divvied it out in rations to keep him from indulgence and excess. His drug use worked into his art. Later creations were increasingly described as fantastical, surrealistic and hallucinogenic, but they still sold like everything else.

Hamilton artist Philip Stone with friend David Byers, founding member of the bands Simply Saucer and The Shangs, in the early 1970s.

Stone seemed more certain of himself. He surrounded himself with artists, including artist Allan Oddly, figure skater and painter Toller Cranston and Byers, a musician and founding member of the bands Simply Saucer and The Shangs. Stone also dropped the name “North Troll” and began signing his work with his real name.

Even with the support he had from figures like Powell and Zucker, Philip Stone and friends in the arts felt opportunities were limited in Hamilton.

Discouraged, Stone briefly abandoned his work and took up working nights at a post office. But the call to create remained and he quit to return to his art. By September 1976, the drawing he was working on was intended as a wedding gift for his brother Steve even though they were still estranged.

“All he ever wanted was to exist for his art,” his father said.

His sexual identity and flashy fashion continued to make him a target for gangs and homophobic people. Someone called him “the strangest bird in town.” It was not uncommon for him to be denied service in stores or restaurants for how he looked and to be called derogatory names walking down the street. He was robbed and beaten up. Stone’s own brother Steve says it must have “been like torture.”

Stone told his sisters he was deeply depressed. He felt like an outcast.

“I can’t live anymore because society won’t accept me,” he told his mother.

It was late at night on a weekend in September when Stone and a friend were walking downtown and encountered two men outside a bar who taunted them and threatened a beating. A chase ensued, and while the friend was able to escape into a nearby hotel, the men caught up with Stone and he found himself at the brunt end of a violent altercation, unable to fight back. The Hamilton Spectator reported that in the scuffle Stone had been pushed into a moving car that didn’t stop to offer help.

Badly hurt, Stone walked the few blocks to the emergency room of a Catholic hospital. It was a fruitless effort. He said he was denied care and surmised it was because of who he was, while a nurse reported the department was busy and he was impatient.

“It was not a priority case,” a hospital spokesperson said at the time.

Stone’s parents visited him the next day and insisted he see a doctor. He said he’d wait it out. Calling police to report the incident did not seem like an option, even if his brother was an officer.

That was the last time anyone saw him alive.

Stone was found dead in his bed by friends late the next day, Sept. 20. The exact cause of death was not clear. It could have been an accidental overdose of pain medication, as the newspaper reported. It could have been suicide after his distress of the situation and years of harassment. But given the violent beating he sustained, Stone’s parents and siblings quietly believed he died as a result of his injuries. His death warranted investigation, but it was not to be.

James Stone remembers police visiting his parents in their Hamilton Mountain home and encouraging them to accept Philip’s death as a suicide. An investigation or autopsy would only prolong their grief and pain, they said. The Stones did not push but quietly kept their own conclusion their son died because of the attack and being who he was.

“He just wanted to be himself but society wouldn’t let him,” Bill Powell told the Hamilton Spectator in tears. “They hassled him, they beat him. And he never did anything to anybody.”

Steve Stone, brother of Hamilton artist Philip Stone, has kept numerous prints and newspaper records relating to his brother. Six of Philip Stone's prints are framed and hang in Steve's apartment.

Four decades after Philip Stone was killed, Steve Stone remembers his brother with wonderment and regret. The circumstances around Philip’s death and their disconnected relationship weigh on him.

“That time was not the most compassionate,” he says.

Stone would spend over 40 years as a police officer, and work his way through different rotations, including a long stretch with the vice and drug unit. He was once named officer of the year. One project he headed was 1997’s Project Rosebud, tasked with putting a stop to cruising by gay men in an area of Royal Botanical Gardens.

“It was not something I wanted to do,” Stone says now.

He understood LGBTQ people had few places to go in the city. There were few bars, no community space, minimal social groups and no internet dating. But, police received complaints and he could not turn down the assignment. The project was executed relatively as planned and, out of Stone’s control, a list of those arrested ran in the local newspaper, outing them. Hamilton’s gay community was in uproar and an already tense relationship between the community and the police was increasingly aggravated.

“I’m not proud of (the assignment) now,” Stone says.

Time has a way of allowing people to reconsider. There are things we do in ignorance that are corrected with experience, education and sometimes consequence. Stone looks differently on his brother Philip now. Philip’s life and work is one of Steve’s biggest sources of pride. Framed prints of Philip’s work dominate the walls of Steve’s home.

“He was a walking, talking piece of art,” Stone says, believing their relationship would be different today. “He didn’t fit into our world then.”

With files from Mark McNeil and The Hamilton Spectator

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Artist Akie Nakata Sells Her Stone Art Almost Instantly Through Facebook – Forbes

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It takes less than 10 minutes, and sometimes as little as two, for Japanese artist Akie Nakata to sell her hand-painted stones on Facebook. Mere seconds after sharing a photo of her latest creation, a fan will step up to buy it.

Although Nakata sells her work through the Seizan Gallery in Tokyo and Tokyo’s Ginza Mitsukoshi Department Store, Facebook has provided a way to expand her audience outside Japan. Her Facebook group currently has nearly 85,000 followers.

Nakata’s pieces are palm-sized river stones featuring detailed images of lifelike animals, which she paints with acrylic gouache paint. Her pieces have sold for between $300 and $1,500.

Letting the Animal Emerge

Her artistic process doesn’t start with an intent to paint a particular animal, rather, the rocks she sees guide her. “I paint the animal that I feel is inside the stone, following the backbone and the body structure that is visible on the stone,” she explains. “I believe it is the stone that decides what is to be painted, rather than me deciding…I color the animals that I feel inside the stones, so as to let them manifest on the surface.”

“What I aspire to draw is something that gets newly born in my hand, through my dialogues with the stones. I want to paint the ‘life’ of the animals that I felt in the stone,” she says. “At the end of my painting process, when I put my brush onto the stone to paint the eyes, there is this moment I feel it is completed, when the eyes look back at me.”

“As a work mode, it’s important for me to never alter the shape of the stone at all – no polishing/sanding, or no application of any undercoat material,” Nakata says.

Her work has included animals ranging from dogs to birds to lions, cats, owls, lambs, fish, elephants, opossum, turtles, koala bears, and polar bears, to name a few. Although she has been painting since 2010, she says she has “encountered only five stones harboring an octopus.”

Nakata collects her stones on several favorite riverbanks in Saitama, where she goes to look for “good encounters with the stones.” Through those encounters, the animal images emerge to her. “The stones are not canvases to me; they are more collaborative partners that I encounter on riverbanks,” she says. “More often than not, I am blessed with good encounters and take home with me several stones, but on other days I might not be so fortunate,” returning home empty-handed.

A Born Artist

Nakata’s foray into painting stones happened almost by chance, when she was walking on a riverbank during her university days and “encountered a stone that simply looked like a rabbit,” she recalls. “I loved it and took it home, and I painted it as the stone led me.”

“I’ve always loved drawing, natural stones, and animals – all living things,” she says. However, her university training wasn’t strictly in art – it was in art education. “I studied in the department of education, to become a junior high school teacher,” she says, studying “the general range of art curriculum.” However, her painting process is self-taught.

Today she dedicates herself to her craft full-time. This year her goal is to create more than 100 pieces, though she says her workload, or productivity, varies depending on whether she has gallery exhibitions scheduled.

In addition to Facebook, Nakata has an account on Instagram and Twitter, where she posts her work as they become available. She has not used any form of paid advertising and has organically amassed 105,000 followers on Instagram and 15,000 followers on Twitter, on top of her tens of thousands of Facebook fans.

“I always hope that each and every piece of my work reaches someone who values the encounter with the stone, just as I appreciate my encounter with that particular stone,” Nakata says. She suspects that her social media fan base has grown because her audience “feels empathy” for the connection she feels with the animal, the stone, and the earth from which it emerged.

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No More Rules: How Boccara Art Galleries Came Full Circle Online – Forbes

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While the arts industry is struggling to cope with the post-pandemic rules of public engagement, there are also examples of institutions adapting well and even thriving under the New Normal. Throughout 2020 my reporting highlighted the rise in demand for video art and transition to virtual reality formats as well as establishment of curators as arbiters of culture at large. Recently, I came across a story that at first seemed counterintuitive: a network of contemporary art galleries specialized in physical pieces expanding into new markets despite international movement restrictions and volatility of global financial markets. How does one secure a creative business in our turbulent times? Since 2007, Boccara Art Galleries has been fostering a type of organizational model previously reserved for larger iconic institutions like Louvre Abu Dhabi or Guggenheim Bilbao: several branded locations co-managing multiple agendas. With presence in eight major cities on three continents, Boccara is becoming a known force of intercultural diplomacy. I reached out to the Boccara Art Galleries founder Liubov Belousova and Julia Bogichevich, co-founder of the Boccara Moscow outpost, to see how current cross-industry conditions are impacting their vision, strategy and daily operations. 

Many art institutes are closing. You are opening new locations. Tell me, what kind of magic do you practice?

Liubov Belousova, Boccara Art Galleries founder (LB): There is no magic. I’ve never done anything but sell art since I was 18. You just get better at your job with time. It’s the only thing I know how to do and the only thing I want to do. 

How does an 18-years old start to sell fine art?

LB: It was destined, I think. [Laughs] In 2001, in my second year at the university, I had to create a website to pass my computer science exam. Most people made personal pages but decided to use photos of art works from several artist friends. Out of the blue, I received a phone call from an international development company with a huge office in the heart of Moscow. They wanted to buy four featured works! My student project, in fact, became one of the first fully digital gallery in Russia. Now everyone wants to take art business online, but we’ve been doing this for twenty years already.

Is the art market embracing e-commerce as readily as the fashion or music industries?

LB: Sure, it’s possible to buy art which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars from your sofa. The Internet has reduced the distance between the artist and the collector. People don’t need galleries, because they can find whatever they want. However, art collecting is not about transactions. In today’s world “trust” is the most precious commodity. Most people need to understand what they are buying and why before they make their decisions. People need emotional connections, so physical galleries become important in a different way. We don’t expect all who come in to buy something immediately. Most people follow their curiosity first. They may discover an artist and buy their works online later. 

Did multi-space approach prove to be a liability or strength during the pandemic?

LB: Since our first place opened in 2007, we invested significantly in following the collectors and engaging local art scenes in popular destinations. I said early on, “We want to be everywhere!” It is our strength that you can look up a Boccara gallery in most major art cities and find one. Every gallery of the group shares their local talent with the other branches. It helps to give a better visibility to our artists who can be seen literally around the world. We also participate in a dozen international art fairs each year. Having our own space in some of those host cities is another plus! I think that’s part of a much deeper question. How do we see the future of the art business? In this new reality is there a reason for physical shops? For us, so far, the answer is absolutely yes! 

How do you see the global art scene changing post-pandemic?

LB: I have spoken with many colleagues over the last months and the only thing everyone agrees on is that there are more buyers today than ever before. We have a lot of new buyers who have never bought art online before. Buyers today have much more freedom to choose and they are much less influenced by trends and headlines. It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with works for under $5.000 or competing in the $500.000+ niche. Overall, the market has become much more affordable and transparent. 

Is art still considered a risky investment?

Julia Bogichevich, co-founder of the Boccara Moscow outpost (JB): Quite the opposite! There is a growing recognition of art as an investment asset class by investors as well as people becoming more educated and sophisticated in their estate planning. Not so long ago, there was a perception that fine art was reserved for the rich and the very rich. Now a much larger and more diverse community has started to be interested in collecting. The art market is not as sensitive to collective panic cycles. During the 2008 financial crisis, for example, art indexes fell by 4.5% while those of the S&P 500 plummeted by 37.5%. The current socio-economic climate also creates a demand for ‘real assets’ because many see the ups and downs of tech industries or bitcoin as unreliable. 

How do you choose the artists to represent?

JB: It is a matter of personal taste and understanding global trends. We are working a lot with Korean artists right now. Traditionally, Korean art was about harmonizing with nature and refraining from expressing extremes. The new fusion wave from the Gangnam Style hit to last year’s Oscar winning Parasite is consistently challenging the conventional boundaries. We introduced Hyun AE Kang to American audiences with an exhibition at Muzeo Museum in Anaheim, California and now bringing the show to Russia in March. Kim Seungwoo’s work with coins and buttons is a fascinating critique of monetary relations within the arts. We love the dreamlike installations by Kim Jeong Yeon, too! The fantastic mother- daughter Cha Yun Sook & Hayeon create beautiful textile and paper-based pieces. Meanwhile, Krista Kim is a founder of a revolutionary new art movement called ‘Techism’… There is so much to explore there!

Any advice for emerging artists trying to succeed commercially?

JB: Concentrate on growing your name and becoming better and better in what you do! Find your unique vision, your own techniques and cultivate them to perfection. Important to have an international way of thinking because in our days there are no borders for art and collectors are able to find you everywhere in the world. The attention will come.

LB: Remember, there are no more rules! [Laughs]. There is absolute freedom for creating and finding new ways to connect with audiences. Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to different galleries to ask their opinion. Keep on re-inventing yourself. It is our business motto, too!

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