Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

NOV-DEC 2018

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CATCHING FLACK Urban folk art comes indoors. Written by Neil Charles The vivid and visceral work of contemporary folk artist Paul Flack owes as much to his chosen medium as it does to his subject matter. Beginning with a wooden frame, the Atlanta-based Flack applies several coats of Venetian plaster, which is later stained to resemble weathered stucco. Employing a variety of applications, including water- soluble graphite, airbrush, acrylic and found objects, the artist creates complex layered scenes based largely on iconic images found in popular culture. Flack calls his preferred method of painting Neo Fresco. A native of Brooklyn, Flack was attracted to drawing and painting as a child, but he received little encouragement, and such pursuits were set aside. ough he daydreamed of life beyond the city, the future artist was in his early teens before he first encountered a real-life cow. At the age of 18, he arrived in Upstate New York, where he lived on a farm west of Schenectady, before moving to Atlanta in the late 1970s. ere his career path meandered; despite success in a number of fields, Flack found himself yearning for a more pure, idyllic version of America than the life he was experiencing in the midst of unchecked urban sprawl. Attending a folk ar t exhibition for the first time in the early 1990s, Flack was introduced to the art of Robyn Beverland, and was deeply impressed by what he viewed as "the unobstructed, pure, soul-bearing communion between the art and artist." In an effort to come to grips with his general state of ennui, he decided to try painting—something he had abandoned 30 years before—on scraps of wood left over from suburban construction projects. As his career blossomed, and success followed through art fairs, exhibitions and private commissions, Flack became enamored with graffiti and street art. "You can either pay $40 to see artwork suspended in a gallery where it was never intended to hang," explained the painter, "or experience it in its full beauty in its natural environment on the sides of buildings and trains." Of course, exposure to the elements and societal disapproval render graffiti and street art temporary at best; Flack brings the verve and excitement of these forms indoors to a permanent, safe environment where his work can be enjoyed for many years to come. Flack can be found each year at the Penrod Arts Fair. Otherwise, you can catch some Flack at flackart.com. sl For more information, visit flackart.com. slmag.net 67

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