Opening Reception 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Friday, March 2.
I grew up in a small town in Central Massachusetts and spent many summers in Coastal Southern Maine. Nature has always played a huge part in my life. From sunrise to sundown I was found in the woods building forts, flipping rocks, or laying on my back staring at the sky through the canopy of branches. When I smell that deep earthy aroma floating from the woods I am taken back to a time when reality would be left behind as I entered the imagination rich world of the forests. When asked where my art comes from a specific day always comes to mind. I remember waking up that morning in our old damp tent in the middle of a forest along the banks of the Natty Brook in Hubbardston, Massachusetts. When I looked over to the empty sleeping bag, I jumped out of the tent and ran to the banks while still pulling a sweatshirt over myself. Winter was still fresh on this early spring day. With my Cortland rod and a vest so large it kept sliding off my shoulders. I could hear the clicking of his hardy reel from what seemed like miles away. It was the only sound in the forest besides the low call of the morning doves. I found him knee deep in a rifle focused on his Caddis fly floating past those spots he always taught me to notice. The smoke from his pipe swirling like a nimbus around his head. eyes squinting following his fly down the current. I saw his hand tighten on the cork of his Fenwick, fingers wrapped around the orange line dangling near his thighs. Then with the grace of a dancer he pulled the line taught just as the water exploded. He would turn to me like he knew I was watching the entire time, in his hands one of the jewels of the mountain streams a beautiful brook trout. Something clicked in my mind that day, I found my calm, my place of serenity the struggles of my 10 year old reality faded in the early morning fog. I would need that serenity again during the winter of 2015 when I came down with another case of pneumonia, my 13th time but this time it left my lungs ravaged which I still struggle with today. During that time I needed the calm of the river, that place of contemplation. The steroids made my hands shake and my mind ran so fast I couldn’t hold an idea or thought for very long. I had been given a travel watercolor set for Christmas that year, the medium my mom had taught me over 30 years prior.. It had been maybe a decade since I had painted last, I had become a full fledged sculptor doing large scale installations in alternative spaces from storage containers to old steel blast furnaces. I started combining the passions my parents shared with me. In no time, instead of sitting in a hospital bed I found myself under a tree sketching with my mom and holding my first rainbow trout with my dad. Art became my escape, a time machine to an era where all problems were left on the banks. I painted my first piece of angling art that day, a simple feather wing fly, and I never stopped. My works echo that mixture of chaos and serenity that all fishermen understand. That tingle in the elbow as you wait for that strike, in anticipation of the dance. This journey has lead me to not only reconnect with the fly fishing world but also to the rivers and streams I fell in love with. Website: www.rakart.net Instagram: rakart_pgh Facebook: rakart fli