Arts Alive Gallery in Breckenridge showcases work by Jon Hans and Deborah Young
if you go
What: Featured artwork by Jon Hans and Deborah Young
Where: Arts Alive Gallery, La Cima Mall, 500 S. Main St., Breckenridge
When: Artwork will be on display throughout the month of September; Gallery is open 7 days a week
Local artists Jon Hans and Deborah Young will be showcasing their work at the Arts Alive Gallery throughout the month of September. What is normally a debut for a single featured artist of the month wil be a shared experience for longtime friends Hans and Young. Hans believes the individual style of their work will complement each other within the gallery. Both Hans and Young participated in Meet the Artist in Breckenridge earlier this summer, and Young will be participating again at the event in Frisco Sunday, Sept. 13. She has also been a part of the Arts Alive Gallery before and said this is her fourth or fifth time featured. Some of her work can also be found at the Apothecary in Frisco. For Hans, the first gallery he was featured in was a little place called the Red Crayon that is no longer a part of Summit County.
Young first approached Hans about joining her in the gallery and Hans agreed, knowing it would be a fun experience to do the show together. Hans recalls a time where he had painted a violin in watercolor and hung it in his home. Soon after, a purchase of one of Young’s paintings decorated that same wall as a complement to his painting. Sharing the Arts Alive Gallery is taking their pieces to the next level for everyone to see.
Being lifelong friends, Hans and Young reminisce on how they met.
“We worked at a restaurant together in Breckenridge,” Hans said. “She was a waitress and I worked in the kitchen.”
Young said the restaurant is no longer a part of Breckenridge but the two remained close.
“We ended up, over the years, living in the same neighborhood,” he said. “We do holidays together sometimes.”
Both are excited to be in the gallery together and neither one of them has seen the finished product of their work on the walls yet.
The artists are doing a diptych painting and putting it together at the gallery with several other works branching out like a tree. Hans gives credit to his son.
“My youngest son, Ian, came up with the idea. He said, ‘Why don’t you take a picture and cut it in half and each of you do that side.’”
Hans admits it was a process when it came to choosing the right picture, then who would get what side. The picture was one that Young had taken and all that was left was to choose a side.
“I would feel bad because I would pick a side,” Hans said, “and then I thought, ‘Well she might really like that side.’”
As far as who eventually did get which side, you’ll have to see their work at the Arts Alive Gallery Saturday.
Once the sides were chosen, the artists worked independently on their paintings.
“This was something we’ve never done before,” Young said.
Hans added that it was a new idea for both of them.
“We did have some ground rules that we discussed,” he said. “We tried to stick with a basic palate.”
He said he’s very excited to see it come together. Both artists used watercolor for this diptych painting which was a different kind of challenge for both of them.
“For me it was difficult because I do a lot of flowers,” Young said. “I’m really inspired by art and nature. I do some architectural work but I’m not as comfortable with the lines per se so this was a whole new experience for me.”
Although the diptych is the same picture, it’s been recreated by the two artists, separately, but Hans believes it will still work well together.
“It’s kinda cool doing the branches thing with Jon because it really inspires me,” Young said.
Hans said the two pushed each other.
“We kick each other’s butts,” Hans said, as Young laughs beside him. “But we needed that.”
Hans has a card with two painted trees on it and one of them looks vaguely familiar. Pointing to the familiar tree, Hans said, “We knew about the show a while ago so we were looking for subject matter. I went into Starbucks in Breck and I was sitting there and I noticed that sign, ‘Please do not climb on trees,’ and I go, ‘That’s perfect.’”
Young adds that their diptych is only her second bristlecone painting.
“They look like they’re still not living but they are alive. They’re amazing. We’re connected to all of that,” she said. “Working from photos for me is a challenge more so than working from real life. I have that connection, when you sit in front of a flower, you can study it and you can be with it.”
Any time Young decides to work off of a photograph, it’s always one of her own. Working from photos is more of Hans’ niche and he said it’s because he likes to work from old black and white photos.
“I find it easier to find time because I can always have a photograph with me,” he said.
When asked when they really engulfed themselves in their art, Young can pinpoint the day.
“I’ve always been interested in art and loved art but probably my 25th birthday is when I really opened up to mixed media,” she said. “That was kind of my awakening to pursue art. Then I honor every birthday with a painting.”
Young said her mixed media contains everything from eggshells to simple paper. Although Young can count the days since she’s been creating art, both her and Hans are just as passionate about it.
Hans started with advertisements and doing work for other people.
“I’ve done music and art and I do acting,” he said. “I was just in ‘The Jungle Book.’ I just want to make art and get better and better at it.”
Both artists have kids and a family and admit that it is difficult sometimes to focus on their art and juggle these two important roles.
“Sometimes motherhood has put being an artist on the back burner,” she said. “Definitely painting and motherhood has taught me the most patience.”
You have to be selfish with your art, Hans said.
“Our kids are getting older so it’s going to get easier, I think,” he said.
Do the artists ever think about giving up art?
“Oh, yes. Always,” Young said, laughing. “It’s such a healing thing. Some people might use different elements to help relax whether it’s a bottle of wine or whatever it is and painting is almost like another form of breathing. It’s that connection that you have with nature. Sometimes when you feel that frustration in life and you sit by a tree or you watch the tree moves and; look at fall. Everything lets go and surrenders and it’s a lesson. Nature inspires me and teaches me so much without words, it’s incredible.”
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