Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Success in St. Augustine

We took down the show at the St. Augustine Art Association today.  They were gracious enough to extend it through November and December.  By any measure, the show was a great success.  We sold 10 pieces, including my favorite, Mona Lisa in a Packard.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The solo show is ready.  Thirty seven pieces of Bruce's fine art will be displayed at the St. Augustine Art Association gallery.  Here is the press release:


St. Augustine, FL (Oct. 2) - The St. Augustine Art Association will showcase a solo exhibition of works by the late Bruce Minney, October 4 - 27, 2013, in the Marguerita Phillips Permanent Collection Gallery.

A past member of the Art Association, Minney was an established commercial artist whose illustrations were featured in countless men's adventure magazines and paperbacks. During his 40-year career, Minney experimented with collages, paintings, ceramics, mixed media and mobiles. 

Born in California in 1928, Minney earned an art degree from California College of Arts and Crafts in 1951 and established himself as an artist in New York during the 1960s.  After retiring to Florida in 1989, he became successful in the craft show circuit, winning awards for his pottery.  Within hours of his death in August 2013, several of his illustrations were featured on the TV show "American Pickers." 

Minney's life and work are the subject of the book: "Bruce Minney: The Man Who Painted Everything," by Tom Ziegler.

The St. Augustine Art Association is located at 22 Marine Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.  To learn more call (904) 824-2310 or go to www.staaa.org.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Spontaneity of Collage

Since Bruce's passing, his daughter Carole (my wife) and I have been going through the art work that he left behind.  We've been finding some gems.
Bruce's early career was dedicated to doing commercial illustrations for the men's adventure magazines as featured on American Pickers.  When the men's adventure magazines faded away in the 70s, Bruce was able to pick up work doing paperback covers.  Paperbacks paid more than the men's adventure art and the deadlines weren't as tight.  There was often down time between jobs.  During this down time, Bruce concentrated on his fine art.
His favorite medium was collage.  Here's how Bruce described it:  I create collages because I like the spontaneity. As a result of my illustration experience, if I paint a landscape, a still life or a figure, I can’t turn away from the reality. With collages, I don’t have to worry about that and it’s liberating. Sometimes, I have an idea of what I want to create but usually, I’ll be inspired by a piece of something in a magazine. A bit of writing looks like mermaid hair or potato chips look like
feathers. I will tear out things that interest me, but I never know where it’s going to take me. Halfway through, I may change the whole idea. If I can’t find what I want, I paint it or if I don’t like something, I can paint over it. Distortion doesn't bother me either as sometimes it’s essential to the composition and it’s also the antithesis of realism, which is what is so freeing.  My collages are sketches for possible paintings. I can reproduce anything I see because of my illustration background so it doesn't hold me back as far as what I cut out. I enjoy doing the paintings because it is a challenge to work on a larger scale; scale changes everything. They have a solidity and purity of color that is only possible with paint. The collages and paintings inspired by them give me so much more freedom than I ever found in any other medium. Opening a magazine and finding a seed of some inspiration or an image that triggers another idea is fascinating to me. I never know where I’m going and it still excites me after all these years.

Heartbreak Hotel - Collage

Heartbreak Hotel - Painting

Heartbreak Hotel done in 1981 is an example of a collage that was turned into a painting.  We were familiar with the painting.  It hung in Bruce's house for a number of years and was included in the book.  It is whimsical, ironic, and haunting and a great composition.  We had never, until recently, seen the collage.  It was fascinating to see what he changed when the 18x20 inch collage was transformed into a 4-foot wide painting.  On the original , the singer's face is from 3 different images.  In the final, the face is uniform, but distorted.  He also changed the license plate number to HAG-1 (in reference to Merle Haggard).  As with most of his collages, Bruce didn't just use images he found in magazines and colored paper, he also painted large sections (e.g, the parking lot, the hotel roof,  and the sky) and smaller sections (e.g., the train tracks that merge with the hotel and the train smoke) to improve the composition.  For Bruce,  it had to "look right."  He never really articulated what that meant.  His technical skills enabled him to change things as he saw fit.  In my next post, I'll explore some of the recurring themes of Bruce's collages.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bruce Minney - 1928 - 2013

Bruce suffered 2 strokes in May and August.  He passed away on August 5, 2013.  Ironically, he was featured in an episode of American Pickers on that day.   He didn't live to see it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ormond Beach Observer Blurb on Illustration Article

An short blurb about Bruce and the Illustration magazine article appeared in the March 28, 2013 issue of the  Ormond Beach Observer, our local paper.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bruce to be featured artist in Illustration magazine

Bruce will be featured in the latest issue of Illustration Magazine, which will be available in March.  The article is a condensed version of the book with some new illustrations from the Rich Oberg collection.  It looks great.