When GAS Gallery and Studio held its last February, the paths of two local artists collided. Gerard Amsellem and Mikel Frank became fast friends at the gathering, connecting both through the desire to produce collaborative paintings and over the death of loved ones.
“It was the weekend after my father passed away, and it was the year anniversary of his brother passing away,” Frank said. “We bonded, and we were able to talk about things that… went to a higher level”
Both Frank and Amsellem pointed out that collaborative art is quite rare. “We can make paintings together and not kill each other,” Frank said, laughing a bit. Amsellem said “artists are very egotistical… and when they do something, they want to do it alone and they want full control… so we’re going against that.”
Frank and Amsellem’s cathartic and creative processes came full circle Saturday at GAS, when they spent the entire afternoon producing a large-scale painting they have titled Passing*.
“The process of making the creation, this is really what’s so interesting,” said Amsellem. At 11 a.m., a blank canvas was hit with the first brush strokes of paint, and the two artists worked together until a little after 6 p.m., when they signed their names to the canvas, and celebrated with the community in which they found each other.
*From the artists' statement:
The title "Passing" has many levels of significance for us. First, there is the literal meaning of passing the "baton" of creative energy between two artists to create a shared experience. Second, it is taking place between Passover and Easter representing the passing of one religious holiday to another, both holidays having significant passing references in them. And most importantly, we cemented our friendship with something we had in common, the passing of loved ones close to us.