On Saturday, July 13, from 2–5 p.m., Grovewood Gallery will host an opening reception for Street to Studio, an exhibition of graffiti-influenced, mixed media art and furniture by Neil Carroll. The exhibit will remain on view through August 18.
Carroll studied painting and printmaking at the Cleveland Institute of Art and is also a graduate of the Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Program in Wood. His long and varied career as a working artist includes many years of landscape design on Hilton Head Island as well as a long stint building telescopes. “I come from an extremely design-oriented education,” says Carroll. “Designing landscaping, painting, drawing, building telescopes, graffiti—what ties it all together is my attitude towards design. The way I approach all of these different things is this notion of layers and building and destroying and building up surfaces.”
Carroll first became influenced by graffiti and street art by one of his painting teachers at Cleveland, Moe Brooker. “He combined what he viewed as grafitti and his love of jazz music,” says Carroll. “He taught me that you make a mark and it changes everything and you react to that. You build things.” For Street to Studio, Carroll will sample from some of his graffiti mural pieces in Asheville’s River Arts District and use those images to create both large-and small-scale paintings and drawings, which he describes as “light-hearted and almost cartoony.”
The furniture is a more recent addition to Carroll’s artistic repertoire. “I like but I don’t consider myself utilitarian things very much, a woodworker,” he says. “I’ve been a designer all my life and this is just another medium to me.” Carroll sources his wood from lumber yards, specialty shops, dumpsters and old buildings, selecting pieces to fit his design needs while also ensuring a quality final product. Furniture on offer at Street to Studio will include handmade tables, chests and cabinets. “Hate it or love it, I hope it’s not ignored and walked past without notice,” says Carroll. “In terms of an art motive, I’m an artist. It’s what I do. It’s compulsion. I can’t do anything else.”
Grovewood Village is located at 111 Grovewood Road, adjacent to and below the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. To learn more, visit Grovewood.com or call 828.253.7651.