Monday, January 29, 2018

Jerry Lawler gets an A

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 7:12 PM

click to enlarge Agnes Stark and Jerry Lawler at  Incognito! - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Agnes Stark and Jerry Lawler at Incognito!

Instead of dropping Hulk Hogan in a pile driver at a wrestling match at Madison Square Garden, Jerry Lawler talked about his art teacher with potter Agnes Stark at the Incognito! art show at Memphis Botanic Garden.

Lawler was one of the artists in the art show, where guests bid on artwork not knowing who actually did the artwork. All the work in the show, held Jan. 26, was unsigned; guests learned who the artist was after they bought the work.

Lawler and Stark talked about the late Helen Stahl, who was Lawler’s art teacher at Treadwell High School. She also was a friend of Stark’s.

“I’ve drawn all my life,” Lawler said. Stahl was his teacher in the 10th, 1th and 12th grades. “I majored in art. And then when I graduated in 1967 she had put together a portfolio of my work I had done in her class and submitted it to Memphis State (now University of Memphis). I won a full tuition commercial art scholarship.”

Lawler is an amazingly talented artist. Years ago, I drove to Waterford, Mississippi to his art opening at a little gallery, which was jam packed when I arrived. He draws and paints in a variety of styles.

“Crazy Mixed Up Kid” is the title of his painting in Incognito!. “It was sort of a comic book art piece,” he said. “I’m just a fan of that style art. Last year, I did a panel from a Batman comic book. And this was actually a panel from a romance comic book.”

Lawler, by the way, now can be seen on Memphis billboards with the words “Product of Public Schools.”


click to enlarge Miles Tamboli and his dad, Roy Tamboli, at 20 Under 30 reception - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Miles Tamboli and his dad, Roy Tamboli, at 20 Under 30 reception

Memphis Flyer’s Twenty Under Thirty Class of 2018 was honored at a reception Jan. 24 at Old Dominick Distillery.

Each year, the Flyer devotes an issue to the best and brightest Memphians under 30. Readers nominated more than 50 exceptional young people. They were introduced and given plaques during the reception.

“It’s a huge honor to be with these people who are doing really cool things in this city where you can make a huge impact as someone under 30,” said Molly Wallace, who is building libraries in KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools.


click to enlarge Memphis in May poster unveiling featuring art by Erin Harmon, right. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Memphis in May poster unveiling featuring art by Erin Harmon, right.

I’m half Czechoslovakian (my mother’s maiden name was “Strunc”), so I’m ready for this year’s Memphis in May International Festival salute to the Czech Republic.

The celebration kicked off with the unveiling of this year’s commemorative poster Jan. 25 at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Memphis artist Erin Harmon, a professor of art at Rhodes College, is the artist. “The picture depicts multiple aspects of, basically, the visual culture of the Czech Republic,” Harmon said. “Art, architecture and design were things that I just got real inspired by when I was doing research on the country and culture.

“I couldn’t narrow it down to one image. It’s a collection of images in circles. The circles are interconnected. There’s a lot of motion in the picture.”

The viewer can read the images as if they’re coming out of this silhouette of a woman’s head done in Art Nouveau style in the bottom left hand corner. “I think the Czech Republic is known for Art Nouveau in its architecture and great history of graphic arts and design. And artists like Alphonse Mucha.”

The silhouette is a link to Mucha, Harmon said. “He would include a lot of heavily outlined profiles of women’s heads in his paintings. The silhouette is the actual head of a soprano. She was an actress and a singer and the first Czech star of the Metropolitan Opera - Jarmila Novotna. I found a profile shot of her from a record of hers. I traced her portrait and put her portrait in the style of Mucha.”

The pink and gold halo around her head is taken from the arches of the facade of the Jubilee Synagogue in Prague. Other sites included in the painting are Our Lady Before Tyn (Prague), The Rock Castle (Sloupe), Tepla Monastary (Tepla), The Altneuschul (Prague), San Nicolas Cathedral (Prague), and the Strahov Monastary (Prague).

Harmon also pays homage to Czech toy designer Libuse Niklova, Czech artist Egon

Schiele and graphic designer Ladislav Sutnar.

Her artwork actually is a painted paper collage. “So, it’s all painted and paper and then put back together. You can see that in the original, but it may be difficult to detect in the poster.”

20 Under 30 from Michael Donahue on Vimeo.

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