Inside the artist's studio

 
 

Not all artists are solitary creatures. Some work extremely well in pairs, as evidenced by Friday night’s Artists at Work fundraiser at Art Center Sarasota.

Sarasota artists split up into teams of two Jan. 15 to create pieces of art to be auctioned off to benefit the 60-year-old arts organization. Now in its third year, the fundraiser, which turns the Art Center’s back gallery into a painter’s fishbowl, offers art-lovers a chance to witness the creative process while it unfolds — messy as that may be.

Patrons noshed on dinner and dessert, mingling with artists while they brainstormed concepts, color and design. The back gallery was so packed with works-in-progress that it was difficult to focus on just one.

On one end of the room, partners Anita Wexler and Jo Proietti split their canvas in half, each artist designing one half of the work in opposite but complementary styles.

“We decided to go with a day-and-night theme,” Wexler said. “That way, we could divide the canvas and each work on one half. If we had to paint over each other, I’d go crazy.”

On the opposite end of the room, Ray Peper, armed with a black Sharpie marker and his partner, Sarah Ford, crouched behind a sewing machine, worked on a unisex kimono inspired by graffiti and crossword puzzles.

Asked where he would wear the kimono if the garment belonged to him, Peper said, “I’d put on a tux and wear it to a black-tie party.”

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