The Red Piano Too Art Gallery is full of excitement and anticipation as new art has started coming in for the 23rd Annual Summer Show. The theme this year is “creating in the spirit.” Gallery owner, Mary Mack, told the artists that their work should reflect where their spirit has taken them. There is no central theme to this show. Simply put, each artist’s work will be reflective of how they were moved by the spirit of creativity. All gallery artists were invited to participate. The featured artist this year is Pawley’s Island native, Asher Robinson.
More about Asher Robinson
About six years ago a Pawley’s Island resident, visiting Beaufort, made a side trip to the Red Piano Too Art Gallery. She wanted to talk about an artist that she thought had real talent. She had met him selling his work outside of the grocery store. She brought a painting of a folksy fish to prove her point. That introduction led to an ongoing relationship between the Red Piano Art Gallery and the very delightful Asher Robinson.
When Asher Robinson began marketing his folk art along the beach, he took the advice of his mentor and friend, Ernest J. Lee (another Red Piano Too artist), who encouraged Robinson to paint what made him feel good and what he loved. Lee believed that if Robinson followed his passion and painted the things he loved that success would follow.
Robinson does paint the marine life, the flora and fauna of the South Carolina Lowcountry, which surround his home in Murrells Inlet. He paints what he sees in his backyard which just happens to be the ocean. “Just look around you….I will never run out of things to paint,” Robinson said. Asher paints everything from sea turtles to giant Gerber daisies that grow outside of his outdoor gallery. He also accepts commissions and paints other genres of art as well.
Robinson gets a kick out of watching people gaze at his art. He knows that some people turn their noses up at his work. Some collectors of “high art” have no appreciation for what he paints, but when told that his art makes people happy, Asher says, “that is why I do what I do, people love it.” It doesn’t bother him that his work appeals to a more basic audience because he paints for the love of the art. Robinson knows he has a niche because people return year after year to buy his art. People choose his work for their own reasons but they all seem to make some sort of connection with the paintings. Many people buy the work for their children. Robinson’s creativity does not stop at the end of his paintbrush. He has taken his paintings and brought them to life in a children’s book entitled, Willie the Wren, which is about a sour-pitched bird in search of life, music and love. Willie is trying to sway a lady bird to take an interest in him and seeks the advice of an older wiser bird that sings with a strong voice. Buddy the bluebird advises Willie to “sing with more soul, sing what you feel inside.” Willie gets the girl in the end, and tells her something characteristically Robinson, “Someone told me today to be sincere and to just sing from my soul and so here I am.”
Other participating artists
Monique Cooper has also promised lots of work, such as a large collage of a woman and paintings ranging from shrimp to cows to cats to barns to boats and more. Zayid Majid, recently completed work on a children’s book. He has also created a new collection of Gullah paintings featuring children at play.
Many of the gallery regulars tell us they looked around their studios, found materials they meant to use at some point, and let the spirit move them to create new work, outside of the box, and to create things that were previously only ideas. Meet the artists at the show, Saturday, August 8th, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Free and open to the public, the gallery is located at 870 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island.