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It's a bird! It's a doodle! It's ... abstract paintings by Andy Iverson

August 03, 2011|By CHRIS COPLEY | chrisc@herald-mail.com
  • By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer Washington County native Andy Iverson paints in a stylized, colorful expressionism. His paintings typically begin as a doodle, and he often includes blue in his paintings.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer Washington County native Andy Iverson paints in a stylized, colorful expressionism. His paintings typically begin as a doodle, and he often includes blue in his paintings.

Andy Iverson is a painter with a vision. He wants people to engage with art and with the act of creation.

“Art can be very therapeutic. It can heal. It can be a powerful force,” he said recently during a visit to The Herald-Mail.

Iverson will pursue his vision at a new exhibit of his paintings, opening Friday, Aug. 5, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Washington County Arts Council gallery. The public is invited.

Iverson’s colorful, stylized paintings are eye-catching. The variety of shapes, lines and patterns draw the eye and imagination. The paintings are well-executed, but have a stream-of-consciousness quality to them. The contrast of chaos and composition is compelling.

“People ask me, ‘What do you call this?’” Iverson said. “I called it Shapism for awhile. Picasso had Cubism. I have Shapism.”

But mostly, Iverson doesn’t try to categorize his artwork. He simply tries to paint authentically.

Iverson said he has always had an instinct for drawing. In first grade, he won a cookbook-illustrating contest. When he was 10, he spray-painted art on the back of his parents’ house, which his parents mostly tolerated. As he grew up, he drew on his clothes. He drew on his arm. He drew on his car.

His art interest faded in high school. He attended Highland View Academy near Hagerstown and put more attention on playing sports.

Eventually, he returned to art in college, earned a teaching degree and now teaches art at Pangborn Elementary School in Hagerstown.

But his dream is to make a living as a professional painter.  

His paintings resemble random scribbles. Which, Iverson said, is how they are born.

“I’m always doodling while I’m on the phone or in a meeting. I draw on newspaper or a cookbook,” he said.

Some of his doodles remain scribbles, but others inspire something bigger. Iverson takes the interesting doodles and transfers them onto canvas, then develops them, fills shapes with color and adds the final outlines.

“If I try to make something good, it’s usually not as successful. But when I’m on the phone or listening to something, I shut down part of my brain,” he said. “I come up with my best stuff when I’m not trying to.”

One of Iverson’s inspirations is his faith. He’s a Seventh-day Adventist.

“I’ve always thought, ‘How can I serve God?’” he said. “You serve God by the way you live life and the things you do. (My faith) is not in the artwork itself, but in the creation of the artwork.”

Which brings him to his purpose. Iverson tries to pass his love of art to the next generation in his day job as art teacher. But he also wants to engage adults in making art.

“So few people get to experience the power art can have,” he said. “So I encourage people to make art. That’s kind of my purpose.”

Iverson will have a piece at his show open to contributions from visitors. He’ll make markers available for people to write or draw on his interactive piece. He hopes people will add to the interactive piece.

It’s all a part of Iverson’s intent to help people expand themselves by making art.

“I believe there is a power in art. I’ve seen it in my art and my students’ art,” he said. “The power is in experiencing it.”


If you go ...
WHAT: “The Power of Art,” paintings by Andy Iverson

WHEN: An artist’s reception will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5. The exhibit continues through Tuesday, Aug. 30.

WHERE: Washington County Arts Council, 14 W. Washington St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: Free

CONTACT: Call 301-791-3132 or go to www.wash ingtoncountyarts.com. For more about Iverson, go to AndyIverson.com.

MORE: A portion of painting sales will go to Operation Smile, which provides free operations to heal children born with cleft lips.

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