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Longboat Key Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021 1 month ago

APRIL FOOLS: Artist finds his new direction edgy, arresting

Longbeach Village tenant captures the "outlaw moment" in works inspired by police reports.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

APRIL FOOL -- Working alone is what Longboat Key artist M3 likes best.

It suits him, in the same way his alpha-numeric handle suits him, and in the same way his artistic pseudonym Marcel M. Marcel makes far-better sense for the work he does than his legal name, Leonard Lipshitz of Downers Grove, Ill.

“My friends call me 3,’’ he said. “I wanted to call myself 3M professionally, but there’s apparently some kind of company by that name, and their lawyers, well, let’s just say everything is OK now.”

Marcel, or Lipshitz, came to Longbeach Village as a tenant last summer, intent on making an artistic break from a previous phase of expression that included stark, contrasty yet slightly out of focus black and white photography of clowns holding balloon sculptures.

It didn’t take him long to find a new direction once settled in Longboat’s quaint north end, though doing so required a level of sacrifice he heretofore had not experienced, he said.

 Living by himself, eating in and having grocery delivered, he sought a new calling. Along the way, he refused a six-figure commission from actor Samuel L. Jackson to profanely satirize the arts and crafts staple of rustic signs proclaiming inspirational messages such as “The kitchen is a home's true heart’’ and “A bad day fishing beats a good day working.”

“Came pretty close, though,’’ he said.

He says his new venture is still dangerous and avant garde but finds “its real truth in the outlaw moment.’’

Marcel said he was paging through local newspapers looking for the previous night's baseball scores and was struck by the Longboat Observer’s Cops Corner feature, a recap of police incident reports from the previous week.

“The pain, the angst, the raw human emotion of a person who chooses not to speak to an officer but is compelled still to report children squealing in a nearby pool at 9:30 at night,’’ he said, his voice trailing off. “Well, I knew right there, it would be a challenge to capture that. All of it. Maybe I was meant to be here. Dogs on the beach, verbal warnings, a snake in a mailbox. They say Banksy’s art is a crime, but that’s only because it’s graffiti. My art IS a crime.’’

He never did find the ball scores.

Marcel said he eagerly awaits each week’s new edition but doesn't always find something to "artify." He said he is driven by the print version exclusively, not the digital presentation, because of a “grittiness” impossible to replicate in pixel form. “I just don’t get the same feeling, it’s just  . . . ," he said, waving his left hand softly and dismissively in the air.

Marcel, 27, said he aims to sell some of favorite works at fine art fairs once the pandemic lifts, though he said he’s not sure of the public reaction. And he knows it won’t be long before he’ll have to seek a new direction, and possibly a new home from which to divine it.

“This is powerful but, hey, this is southwest Florida,’’ he said. “No one is doing what I’m doing. It’s controversial, it’s edgy. It's raw. It's of the moment. I’m sure there will be people who won’t want this out there.’’

The art market is changing, Marcel said, as it always has. What’s divisive and out there today is being done by fans of Oprah on Etsy tomorrow. And he’s not interested in that.

“It’s only avant garde once,’’ Marcel said. “Then, it’s just garde.’’

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