San Antonio - USA
Organizer - Vigini Studios,
Click for Salon pictures
After what seemed a decade of organizing, the dates of Salon
2002 approached quickly. The organization of Salon 2002
began in 1999 at the Swedish Salon after a whirlwind request
and acceptance on our part. It was an exciting and daunting
task and all those who have hosted feel the sense of relief
once the date arrives.
preparation began 10 days before with so many new and old
friends coming to San Antonio to help organize the
studio. Nicola and I were overwhelmed and are deeply
thankful for all the help and support that we received from
Salon members, new and old, and a committee of our
students. Our floors were painted, doors wood grained
(special thanks to Cathy Conner, Inge Andres Visnes, and
Benny Carlsson), demonstration areas were prepared and
donated materials laid out in orderly fashion. We began the
set up of the Southwest School of Art and Craft on
Several days before the
Salon, a large beer truck came to donate Belgian beer in
honor of next year's host, Curd Vercruysse. Twenty cases in
total and we later found that these cases each had 24
bottles of Leffe inside. 480 bottles of beer!
Most members had arrived by
Thursday and were greeted by a snake in our courtyard.
That of course caused a stir but we convinced them that it
was non-venomous. The Craft Center came to life that
day. Each country chose an area to represent their work.
Lucretia Moroni's beautiful exhibit of a Persian carpet held
center stage. That evening, we enjoyed an informal opening
cocktail where everyone relaxed, introduced themselves or
caught up on old friendships. Afterward, dinner was held at
one of our favorite restaurants on the river, "Dolores del
Rio", where belly dancing was the highlight.
Friday began early with
members and participants in both locations, our studio for
private events and the Craft Center for the public
exhibition. Yannick Guegan, on his premier visit to
the United States, worked at the Southwest School of Art and
Craft during the entire show. Benny Carlsson and Susan
Arnild assisted him on his magnificent wood grain panel.
Benny, the host of Salon 2004 in Oslo, Norway is a great
friend and wonderfully talented artist. He is a master in
the old fashion sense. Susan, from Denmark, a gifted artist
on her own, completed the fabulous Delft style tiles on the
Scottish calligrapher, Ron
Gordon, set up a great exhibition area in the central
hall. He presented us with an ornamental illustration of the
doors of the Alamo surrounded by his masterful calligraphy
highlighting the Salon.
Pierre Finkelstein, in his
usual charismatic way, held court not only with Salon
members but the fascinated public as well. His section was
packed with on lookers watching his demonstrations of trompe
l'oeil ornamentation and purchasing brushes.
We were thrilled to have
Jean-Luc Sable and Michel Nadai both winners of the Best
Craftsman of the Year Award in France attend our
Salon. Jean-Luc, the most recent recipient, demonstrated a
perfect arabesque, trompe l'oeil panel in the public
area. Michel and his beautiful wife Kyoko exhibited a range
of works from a trompe l'oeil wood graining to a lifelike
demonstrated her unique talent and whimsical style in a
panel entitled "Les Cloches". Vincent, her father, rented a
Harley to cruise around San Antonio and the Hill Country.
Grottesca seemed to be the
common motif in allot of the works. Laura Lester and
Annabelle Armstrong both exhibited the finest samples which
included some decorative themes from Texas. The theme of the
Salon was the Alamo and San Antonio missions which each
artist used in their panels. Annabelle creatively
incorporated the river walk along with cactus, a longhorn,
and an armadillo. Everyone loved both panels!
Paris host Pascal Amblard
blew everyone away with his exhibition piece. No one
would disagree that he is an absolute genius. (We found out
later that the little girl portrayed in his murals is his
niece!) His demonstration piece (see above left) showed his
mastery of perspective and architectural trompe l'oeil.
The formal opening began
with mariachis and margaritas followed by dinner.
Michelle Santilli gave a moving speech in honor of her
friend and partner, Keith Warwick, who passed away. Two
memorial plaques were given out to Keith and our young
friend Lars Grano, to whom the Salon was dedicated. Patrick
Kirwin gave the highest honor of all to Lars by his drapery
rendering. The concept, colors, and generally
everything about the panel shows Patrick's passion and gift
for trompe l'oeil. The evening ended with a cascarone fight
(to the horror of the hotel) and music supplied by fresco
master and harmonica expert, Michael Hearn.
Saturday was by far the
most busy day. We opened the studio for the general public
to get a glimpse of what has going on in the private
area. Sean Crosby showed his mastery of the human figure by
working on a Michelangelo inspired fresco panel. A mural
completed in our 10 day workshop decorated our studio
walls.(see part of the 24 foot x 14 foot mural below with
the humorous addition of our pug "Blue") Laura Lester and
Cathy Conner completed a magnificent grottesca that was
featured in the Faux Finisher Magazine article by Rebecca
Parsons. Almost everyone worked on the common projects. One
of which is a panel of many types of marbles. The
other, a marquetry panel was worked on by Mats Carlsson and
Lotta Olsen. The Swedish contingency was huge this
year. Their force, including Tommy Orbing, was ever present
at the public area where their work ranged from trompe
l'oeil to their unique marbles.
Talent for art is
hereditary in Benny Carlsson's family as his son Thomas
demonstrated his talent for airbrushing. Everyone was amazed
at the speed an intricacy of his work. Frenchmen
Christian Martincourt, Pascal Rodriguez, and Patrice Krietz
kept us all entertained with their humor and fantastic
panels of marble and wood.
Saturday evening began with
a tour of the historic river walk on a barges. Sunday,
the last day, was a more quiet day. The lectures were
enjoyed by all. George Zaffle gave a hilarious and very
informative lecture on his earlier days as a decorative
artist biking through America. Doreen Sharabati spoke of
Syria and her experiences working there. Ina and Allen Marx
gave a wonderful lecture on a series of restoration
projects. Some of the items were in such disrepair that all
were amazed at the final outcome. Robert Woodland gave a
stirring presentation on his projects in London, mainly the
Palace of Westminster and Big Ben.
The closing evening was by
far the most fun of all. Guests were greeted with a
replica of the the famous fountain in Brussels, the manequin
pis. Dinner was delicious at Club Giraud, a private
dinner club along the banks of the sleepy San Antonio River.
Ina and Allen Marx were this years recipients of the
Achievement Awards for their tremendous contribution to
American decorative painting and restoration. Two mementos
were also give to Nicola's teachers from the IPEDEC,
Christian Martincourt and Yannick Guegan. We were honored to
have a group from the Worshipful Company of the Painters and
Stainers as well as the American consulate to England and
his wife who now reside in San Antonio. Robert Woodland
auctioned a 19th century London Times with an article on San
Antonio to Pierre Finkelstein, raising money for our friend
Lars Grano's family. Andre Ritin paid hommage to this years
Salon with a poem to the tune of a famous western
ballad. The Swedes presented us with Swedish marble shot
glasses complete with a variety of Aquavit.
The handoff to Curd was
complete with the signing of the Salon Manifesto and a
toast. Artists from 14 different countries attended the San
Antonio Salon making it a great success. Over 1000 people
came on Saturday alone for the public event which was made
possible by sponsors, especially the International Painters
and Allied Trades. For the next week, many participants
stayed on for post Salon site seeing and relaxed get
together. We missed many friends this year who could
not make it and thank all of those who attended.
Salon 2002 is dedicated to the memory of our
'Sincere Brother of the Brush'