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Art: Elizabeth Ann James, Columnist
December 2007
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Sean Christopher Gallery
Young artists: influences and awakenings

Lefty, by Chris McCutcheon

The year grows old, the year grows young, and there are joyous happenings in art! Especially at Sean Christopher Gallery @ Health Perspectives in the Greystone Building, 815 N. High St. “Father and Son: Influences,” an exhibit by John and Chris McCutcheon, will open December 1 and run through January 26, 2008.

John McCutcheon, a visual artist, holistic life coach, and addictions specialist, is the founder and director of Health Perspectives. His suite of counseling offices includes the attractive Sean Christopher Gallery, a space used exclusively for the exhibition of art. Five years ago McCutcheon named his gallery after his two sons, Sean and Christopher. Chris, the younger, is an artist.

John McCutcheon, aka, Johnny Aquarius, is a talented and engaging artist whose offbeat and pleasing sculptural creations are often tributes to the natural world. David Maywhoor had a successful one-man show at the gallery in 2006 and has lately created line drawings which will be exhibited in February along with his daughter’s art in an exhibit entitled “Father and Daughter: Awakenings.” Thus, in honor of the winter holidays and a new year, I decided to interview the artistic offspring of the two established artists and to base my December article on those conversations.

Father and Son: Influences
Chris McCutcheon, 15, is a sophomore at Fort Hayes High School, and at this point there is no doubt in his mind that he wants to be an artist.
“To teach art, or whatever, making art is important. I want to be an artist,” he says.

At Fort Hayes, Chris is allowed to take advanced placement studies that include sculpture, taught by his favorite mentor “Mr Walton,” Greg Walton. He describes Mr. Walton as very laid back, “but the students really respect him, and he’s great at sculpture.”

Tree, by Chris McCutcheon

As well as advanced placement art classes, Chris is studying biology, math, English and Italian – his mother, Cathy, is half Italian. Chris is so motivated and organized that he is often able to use study hall for art work. However dedicated he is to his art assignments, however much he appreciates and learns from them, Chris believes that the art he makes outside of school is his best because it’s “in his head,” what he really wants to do.

“I’ve always made art,” he says. “I can’t remember when I didn’t – doodling, having crayons and pencils. Dad would take me to the studio, and although he was busy, he’d let me play with paints, coffee filters, whatever. My mother’s a therapist too. She’s a sensitive caring person, and when I was quite young, she and I drew flowers together. I began to draw seriously in fifth grade and I was able to go to AIM, Arts Impact Middle School.

“I think I profited from that time with Mom and Dad. Both of my parents let me feel free to make art. In a way, it’s rough to have two parents who are therapists.
It’s an unusual situation, but, yes, I think I’ve learned communication and relationship skills from them and that’s been helpful outside with friends and teachers. I have a lot of friends. We get together, hang out, make art together, listen to music. We’re pretty supportive of each other, not very jealous or competitive. Music? I love the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead.”

The McCutcheon household includes two going-on-13-year-old cats, Playful and Shy, and (in a large aquarium) a pink albino Corn Snake who arrived as a birthday gift four years ago. The serpent’s name? Ringo – after the famous drummer, of course.

When asked to describe his art, Chris replied, “Well, it’s kind of a mix, realism with a touch of the psychedelic and surrealism. No, I definitely hate computers, that is, I don’t much like computer art, and I guess computers do influence me in that I’m kind of anti-technology.

“I usually work in colored pencils, markers, watercolors, white-out high lighters and Sharpies.

“My dad has definitely influenced me.

I think just being around him, seeing him create art and take art seriously remains an influence. Mother’s sensitivity influenced me, and that very early experience when she used to draw with me. The late Bob Ross and his “happy trees” is an influence. I liked him a lot. (Bob Ross taught the “how to” TV art series The Joy of Painting for years), and I like Andy Warhol, especially the famous pictures of the Beatles.”

In early November, Chris said that he and his father were still working on the December show and would maybe do an installation together. The emphasis of his paintings will be surrealism.

Chris McCutcheon wants to go to CCAD and study “teaching, designing furniture, design, whatever. But an artist.” When I asked him the rather trite question, “If you won a million dollars in the lottery what would you do?” he answered briskly “Bank. Car. College.” When I asked him “If you could make the world a better place, what would you change?” he responded that “ideally, there would be world peace, but that seems unlikely to happen.” He considers himself somewhat of a libertarian, and he believes that people should “respect the morals, beliefs, and values of others.” Good luck, Chris. Can’t wait to see the show!

© Photo by Erin Maywhoor 2007

Erin: Awakenings
Erin Maywhoor, photographer, is the daughter of David Maywhoor, a visual artist. The title of their joint February 2008 show at Sean Christopher is “Father and Daughter: Awakenings.” Erin is a junior at Fort Hayes, and like Chris McCutcheon, she takes advance placement classes, which means “photography every day.” Theresa Weidenbusch, curator of the Shot Tower Gallery at Fort Hayes is Erin’s admired photography teacher. A love of nature, love of being outdoors, even on the Fort Hayes campus, is a passion for Erin. She remembers lovely annual visits to Connecticut and also enjoys the Outer Banks of North Carolina. While visiting there when she was in eighth grade, her favorite uncle let her use a camera and later gave her one, and she was hooked on photography. Erin sometimes uses a 30 millimeter camera, and yes, sometimes she shoots in black and white.

“I notice people,” she says. “I love being outdoors, and I love shooting on Fort Hayes Campus. I notice the small animals, all animals. I still remember the beauty of our summers in Connecticut.

© Photo by Erin Maywhoor 2007

“I don’t really use the computer for images. But, of course, Photoshop is on the computer. Mostly I crop and try for solid composition. Yes, I like to photograph people. My friends are terrific. On a normal day, I probably come home from school and talk on the phone with them, sometimes go out to dinner. I agree with what Chris said about his friends not being too competitive. Recently, for fun, I shot a series of three friends dressed in black-and-white outfits and kind of chasing each other. ‘Chase’ is the title.”

Erin’s mom passed away two years ago. “Mom did love art and taking photographs, that sort of thing.” Erin’s father, David, works for Buckeye Forest Council, which may be one reason Erin loves the outdoors so much. David tends toward fantasy in his paintings and has recently been creating some “great line drawings” that will show with Erin’s photos.

“I loved the huge photos I saw at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan),” Erin says. “I can’t remember all of them, but they are terrific and I bought the book.”

As to music, Erin’s father is influential there too. Erin considers herself a fan of alternative rock and new bands, but also a fan of sixties and seventies music because of her father.

What would she do with a million? Put it in the bank. How would she change the world? “Well, I wish more people knew more and cared more about art.”

More people will learn more about art if they check out “In Monet’s Gardens, The Lure of Giverny,” currently showing at the Columbus Museum of Art through January 20. It’s a beautiful multi-documented show that includes as many different painting styles as a map of the universe includes planets and constellations. Up close, Monet’s paintings seem to be wild if gentle color smudges. Yet, ponds and landscapes emerge as you step back. At the Riffe Gallery Downtown, “New Horizons” will bloom with such varied Ohio luminaries as Paul Emory and Linda Gall until January 6.

The best things in life are free at the Riffe Gallery – in the case of the museum, almost free, especially on Sunday. Liz’s message for the New Year? “Art is always a bargain. Invest your time and attention. The dividends will be immeasurable.”

Sean Christopher Gallery @ Health Perspectives is located at 815 N. High St. Call 614-291-5890 for more information.

© 2007 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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