LAKE CITY, S.C. – A man’s bust of wire, a sheep of spark plugs and other car parts, a blanket of sweet-gum-tree seed pods sewn with yarn and a full-size bed of paper are garnering a lot of attention at the seventh annual ArtFields in Lake City.
There is something at the nine-day event for all art lovers who appreciate imagination and creativity. The art is displayed throughout downtown in businesses and art galleries.
“The whole show is fabulous,” said Bonnie Stanard of Lexington as she walked through downtown Lake City on Tuesday. “We are so lucky to have this to come to. We appreciate what Darla Moore [Lake City philanthropist] has done for this town.”
Stanard said she came late to the event and has only been attending a couple of years.
She and her friend, Nila Rawls, take their responsibility of voting for their favorites seriously. They rate each piece of artwork as they view it. Those earning a rating of five will be considered worthy of their vote in the competition.
“Bend The Knee Dragon,” a textile by Raeus Jae Cannon of Knoxville, Tennessee, on display at TRAX Visual Arts Center (122 Sauls St.), was one favorite of Stanard, along with a drawing, “Storyteller,” by Alyssa Thompson of Tampa, Florida. Her work is on display at the East Main Market at 139 E. Main St.
What Stanard does not like is art with obvious “in-your-face” political statements.
Rawls liked an outdoor installation, “Passenger” on Church Street. Andrew White of Columbia is the artist. Rawls said there are too many to choose just one favorite.
Rawls said this year’s event is “the best I’ve seen.”
Aida Rogers of Columbia was attending ArtFields for the first time on Tuesday. In the R.O.B. gallery on Church Street, she said one of her favorites is the “Comfort.” a blanket sculpture made of 2,950 sweet gum tree seed pods sewn together with yarn. She also likes one made of dryer lint.
The pair of chairs also on display in the R.O.B. are getting a lot of attention, said one of the volunteers working in the gallery. She said visitors were invited to try the chairs out.
Susan and Bobby Jordan of Florence were impressed with the comfort and coolness of the chairs.
The exhibit is “Tete-a-Tete” by Cindy Wynn of Key West, Florida.
Dorothy Montgomery of Charleston was a participant last year. She had a piece in the art competition. This year she came to view the works of others.
“This is my third time here,” Montgomery said.
Her favorite work of art in the Crossroads Gallery at 124 W. Main St., her first stop of the day, was “Luminous,” a 3-D sculpture of a man’s face and bust made entirely of wire. The artist is Noah James Saunders of Athens, Georgia.
“Where else can you go and see so much artwork and can shop, too?” Montgomery said.
One of the businesses displaying artwork for ArtFields is Miles of Style salon on Sauls Street.
Owner Milton Miles said several hundred people have been in his shop since opening on Friday.
“We anticipate 25,000 to come through before the end of the show,” he said.
Miles said he got first choice of artwork he wanted displayed in his shop. He said the business owners who agree to display art in their shops go to a breakfast and pull numbers at random to determine the order in which they get to select the artwork to be displayed in their businesses. He drew No. 1, he said.
Miles said his pick last year won a People’s Choice award. He thinks he might have picked a winner again this year.
One of his selections was the sculpture by Dennis Nelson of Moncks Corner called “Babbey.” It’s a sheep made out of 2,600 spark plugs, representing the sheep’s wool. The face is made up of two trailer hitch couplings and a '57 Chevy rear fender trim. There are cam shafts, pistons and rocker arms forming the legs and hooves.
“I couldn’t find a car part for the ears,” Nelson said.
Those are made of golf clubs.
Nelson said he got his inspiration from “the monastic life of the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey.”
Nelson said it took him about three months working on weekends and after work to complete it.
The sculpture weighs 300 pounds and is three feet tall. Nelson said he transported it in the building on a water ski attached to skateboard wheels with a motorcycle lift.
“I like working with car parts,” Nelson said. “I am an industrial mechanic.”
He works for Alpek Polyester in Moncks Corner.
Nelson said he is getting ready to embark on the next phase of his life, and art will be a part of it.
“This is peaceful,” he said.
“This is my first time here,” he said. “My wife has been here three times, and she kept telling me about it.”
He said the response to his work has been overwhelming.
Another work getting a lot of attention is “Model Home,” an installation and performance. It's a 3-D work that includes a bed, pillows, rug, lamp, night stand and other parts of a bedroom made entirely out of paper.
It is at Bold & Sassy Boutique.