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Chatham Studio Tour highlights artist stories

By Forrest Greenslade
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008

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Siler City, NC - Behind every piece of art at the Chatham Studio Tour there is an artist’s story.

Roger Person will never forget the day in 1990, when he was standing on a ladder cutting a limb from a large tree. The branch released, knocking him from the ladder resulting in a crippling spinal cord injury. In that instant, this physically active engineer and adventurer was fated to life in a wheel chair. That instant also was the beginning of the career of an important artist.

Roger Person considers himself a mixed media artist whose work often reflects his off-beat sense of humor. “I try to incorporate different materials in each piece that I create,” he explains. “I enjoy the challenge of designing large metal sculptures that are simple to build with standard materials and are visually different from the materials I use. For 25 years he worked in the engineering and construction business, and at one point, he ran a company specializing in building domestic elevators. Along the way, Person picked up a substantial knowledge of many materials and processes.

Over the years, Person lived a very physically active life. He was a horseback rider, skier, tennis player, sailor, golfer and runner. But, that all changed that day on the ladder.

As Person recovered, he began to work with stained glass, as his artist wife Linda was working on stained glass projects at the time. To satisfy his curiosity, Roger started incorporating ceramic sculpture into his glass projects which produced unusual glass pieces. Working from a wheelchair presented special challenges for an emerging artist. “I actually enjoyed figuring out how to accomplish complex fabrications from my wheelchair,” he remembers. “I wanted to turn large wooden bowls, so I designed a special lathe that accommodated working from a wheelchair.” No matter what art project he undertook, he did it with great enthusiasm. “We are only limited by our desires,” Person stresses. As time went by, Person developed a network of skilled crafts people who fabricated the elements of his large assemblages, always working according to his designs and engineering specs.

Forrest Greenslade, President of the Chatham Artists Guild, comments: “When you look at a painting, sculpture or print by Roger Person, you can’t help but be impressed by the humor expressed in every piece. Person explains that, “When I was in the hospital, I had to find a way to make things lighter for myself. I met a lot of disabled people there, and I wanted them to know that you can have a really fun life.” Person began working with Very Special Arts (VSA), an international, nonprofit organization founded by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts. “I especially like working with kids,” he says. Ambassador Smith was given one of his carved glass vases for her work by VSA Wisconsin.

Another hallmark of Person’s art is vibrant color, influenced by Native American themes. “I had a winter home in Tucson, Arizona, where I studied the work of Native American artists. I began incorporating their themes and colors into glass work, and it evolved into much of my sculpture, paintings and prints,” he explains. The art that tells Roger Person’s story will be featured at the 16^th Chatham Studio Tour December 6 and 7; 13 & 14. Person now lives and creates in Chatham’s Siler City. His work is displayed at his studio and gallery, Person to Person Art, at wife Linda’s gallery The Other Person, and at the sculpture garden at their home.

The stories of more than 50 artists will be told through their art in their own studios scattered throughout scenic Chatham. Visitors to "TheTour" are guided by a tour map and brochure available at restaurants and shops through the Triangle area, and on the Guild’s website at: Specifically, brochures will be available at:

-North Carolina Museum of Art in the Raleigh Visitor Information Station located behind the Information Desk;
-DurhamArts in Durham;
-Aria Spa at Chatham Crossing in Chapel Hill;
-The ArtsCenter in Carrboro;
-The General Store Café in Pittsboro,
-Alamance County Arts Council in Graham.

Tour visitors will enjoy discussing art, the artists’ personal stories, and the process of creating unique art in the artists’ own environments..

Art-lovers can see a sample of each artist’s work at a _free_ public Opening Show at Carolina Central Community College (CCCC) in Pittsboro on Friday December 6th from 7 to 9PM. The highlight of the program will be the judging of the Show by nationally renowned painter Jane Filer.

Each artist’s work will also be on view from November 17-December 15 at The ArtCenter in Carrboro.

The Chatham Artists Guild is a non-profit organization of regionally and nationally recognized visual artists. Each year, Guild members open their studios to the public through the Chatham Open Studio Tour. Visitors travel throughout lovely rural Chatham County to meet artists in their own work spaces, and share their ideas on art and the creative process.

Related info:
Roger Person Art
e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page

Related info:
Roger Person Art
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