Summit County artists donate inspiring pieces
September 30, 2009
Two art pieces up for live auction at the 26th annual Wine in the Pines provide an eyeful of encouragement.
Anthony Terrazas’ bronze sculpture, “Jack,” represents an angel with an under-developed wing. His friend’s son, who was born with cerebral palsy, inspired Terrazas to create the 22-inch-high piece.
Gina Klawitter’s multimedia artwork of Josh Blue depicts his creative spirit, widespread talent and joy for life. Blue hasn’t let cerebral palsy stop him from gaining success as a comedian (who won NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2006), a fine artist and a paralympics soccer team player.
When Terrazas looks at his friend’s son, Jack, he sees a strong 4-year-old. His bronze sculpture, by the same name, represents the young boy’s fortitude.
It took Terrazas 20 months before he felt “Jack” portrayed exactly what he wanted. The asymmetrical wings were hard for Terrazas to accept, or even like. In fact, when people initially view the angel, they often feel uncomfortable, he said, but upon deeper examination they see that the angel has a “positive, forward-moving pose,” with a well-developed core strength.
While the little boy with cerebral palsy inspired the artwork, the angel represents every human being.
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“In a lot of ways, we all have a tattered wing we battle each day,” Terrazas said. “Our traumas we go through in our life – if we embrace them – help us become greater people. That’s the only way we’re allowed to become the people we’re called to be.”
The piece garnered so much praise that Terrazas decided to do a series of seven angels with slightly under-developed wings.
Terrazas began studying figures at Kansas City Art Institute at age 13, then went on to teach art to high school students. Four years ago, he devoted himself to his art, full time. He mostly shows his work through art shows, which is how he met Liz Neafus-Stenzel, director of public relations at United Cerebral Palsy Colorado.
“I just saw his work and I loved it – the disabled angel that portrays strength,” Neafus-Stenzel said.
When she asked if he would be willing to donate the piece, he jumped at the chance.
“That’s where my heart was from the very beginning, and to have that piece work for the (nonprofit) – it’s so cool to give back,” he said.
Klawitter began incorporating clothes into her paintings in 1993, when she decided to buy kids’ clothes at a thrift shop and create a multimedia piece.
But almost as soon as she created it, she discounted it, thinking she had “cheated” because she didn’t draw or paint the entire piece. She “shelved it” – on her wall – and suddenly, everyone from the plumber to friends started complimenting her work.
A decade later, she committed to creating a full body of work, and began attracting commissions from families who wanted their children illustrated in a piece that included a special item of their clothing.
After working on several commissions, she began to think, “why not use celebrity’s clothing, to benefit charity?”
She began with Ellen DeGeneres’ shoes, since Hospice of Peace in Denver had an indirect connection with the personality.
Then she moved onto Blue, after following the Denver resident’s progress on “Last Comic Standing.”
She got in touch of his agent through Comedy Works and requested a few pieces of clothing. When the agent saw her proposed drawing, he sent Blue’s collectible Mercury Cafe T-shirt, shorts, shoes and signature headband.
She also attended the Josh Blue Parade in Denver, where she got her hands on the last Blue mask to add to the project. All the while, she intended to donate her work to United Cerebral Palsy of Colorado.
Within the piece, Klawitter blends all of Blue’s main talents, from comic to fine artist and soccer player.
“I was just so impressed with his talent; I consider him to be an excellent fine artist,” Klawitter said. “When you look beyond the humor, there’s so much there. I wanted to communicate his joy and whimsy. He’s just a real spirited, imaginative, confident, get-out-and-do-it kind of guy.”