|Bruce Brayton with "Jackpot"|
I wasn't in on the conversation when Robert threw down the gauntlet to a group of art-loving friends from Sarasota. "There's art in Arcadia," he purportedly proclaimed. "Would you be willing to make the drive to visit an artist's studio?" The response was yes, but I can only guess there might have been some trepidation. Art in Arcadia?
Happily, I joined the Museums, Galleries and More Meet Up Group before their trek to visit Bruce Brayton's studio. A retired auto mechanic and machinist, the self-trained artist seems to have never met an art form he's not willing to try. When we stepped through his Pollock-like front door, there were sculptures and paintings everywhere.
I was surprised to learn one of these musicians was Janita Hauk, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's former maestro. To her ear, Bruce's creation didn't sound as nice and sweet as a wooden violin, but it was more than satisfactory. She ventured that the main thing the violin needed was some kind of amplification. Her opinions were shared by a bluegrass fiddler. Interesting.
Then we noticed a marble sculpture of two hands. It's an homage to Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam." Unlike Michelangelo, Bruce used power tools to carve the sculpture. "I figure he would have used them if he had them," he posited.
|"Creation of Adam"|
In case you're thinking Bruce's work is limited to sculpture, think again. Paintings adorn his walls, including this Dali-esque "Self-Portrait with Open Mind." You can actually see the wheels turning in his head. Bruce declined to provide an explanation of this work.
Bruce held back the sculpture that was the group's collective favorite until the end -- the stainless steel "Bourree." When asked what inspired him to create the ballerina, he confessed to having been to the ballet once. "I couldn't believe how long they stand on their toes and hop around," he said. The dancers' athleticism clearly made an impact.
|Side view of "Bourree"|
Taking off his hat to reveal his bald head, he admits to having been stumped by the dancer's bun. His tutor on this point was a neighbor girl who gamely swept her hair into a nest atop her head. In Bruce's recreation, there are even stainless steel bobby pins to hold the bun in place.
Our outing to Bruce's studio was surprising and fun. And the next time the question comes up, we can now all say with authority that yes, there is art in Arcadia.