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The Brothers Van Kirk has juried exhibit accepted at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center

By Staff | Jun 17, 2020

The Brothers Van Kirk at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. PHOTO PROVIDED

In addition to teaching free music exploration classes at the Beacon of Hope on Monday nights from 6-7 p.m., the Van Kirk brothers have now entered into a new realm of the art world.

Warren Van Kirk said he likes to begin with what he calls a blank digital canvas when he creates artwork, just as he did with the piece he recently completed for Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in the Fort Myers River District. Local artists agree being accepted into the juried exhibit is no small feat, as the art center is likely one of the biggest venues for artists in our area.

For the series, named “Rumors or Reality?”, Warren said he came up with the title, the “Growing Artist,” due to both the nature of the work and the flow of this particular exhibit. He said he begins with the idea that the piece should look as though it’s somehow growing.

“From there I’m messing around with effects — just crunching and expanding until something hits me that I enjoy or that I like,” said Warren.

Although he said he uses some plug-ins to render the roots, the work is his original digital creation. He’s been exploring this particular medium for over 10 years now, but admits it’s become more serious to him over the past three to five years. His goal as far as being an artist is not money or fame, but simply the idea that his work might be an inspiration to encourage people to be more positive.

Gregory Van Kirk with his "Sun Bee/Flat Earth" artwork. PHOTO PROVIDED

“Just enjoy it and if you sense emotion in the work great,” said Warren. “It’s really just there to spark an interest in people.”

“The Fleur Aveugle Blind Flower,” said Warren of his digital piece, regarding “Rumors or Reality?”, “has been spotted growing in Southwest Florida. The blind flower has been used throughout history by various cultures to aid in crucial decisions, believed to assist in clearing the mind, and harnessing universal energy. The roots can be chewed or ground and made into a powerful potent thick paste used in a number of ways, including ingestion, applying to the skin or dried and smoked. While the leafy portion is typically smoked in ceremonies and often casually enjoyed in a tea like beverage.”

When it comes to Warren’s brother, Gregory Van Kirk, who created the “Sun Bee/Flat Earth” for the same exhibit, a camera was used. For this piece, Gregory took a picture of a sunflower in the midst of a garden. He began creating approximately a year ago, he said, when he got his new camera. Gregory attributes his and his brother’s desire to create art to familial ties, crediting their grandparents for having the same artistic bent.

“My grandmother was a painter,” said Gregory. “She also knitted and did all kinds of art that she passed on to us.”

When it comes to artistic goals, much in the same spirit as his brother, Gregory says he just wants to make people smile.

Warren Van Kirk with his art creation “Growing Artist.” PHOTO PROVIDED

“If they think it’s beautiful they might have a better day,” he said.

He confessed the creation of various artistic mediums is the future for both brothers, whether the work ends up hanging in a gallery or is simply sketched on a piece of paper. His piece “Sun Bee / Flat Earth,” is described for the exhibit as “unique photography taken in 2020 by Gregory Van Kirk who for over 10 years has been compiling an extensive and convincing catalogue of evidence to prove the Earth is flat, and how in actuality our reality has been altered.”

The exhibition will be displayed in the Grand Atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center at 2301 1st St., Fort Myers, through June 25. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.