What would it be like to step out of your current, comfortable life – leave your career, pack up your stuff, say your goodbyes – for a life that you barely dare to dream of? This is exactly what two of Lowertown’s newest resident artists have done.
|David Lucht and Stefanie Graves
Stefanie Graves, a nurse and health care administrator, and her husband David Lucht, a graphic designer, lived for 15 years in the Chicago area before deciding that they were going to take a shot at living their dream life as professional artists. The journey started with six months on an “art intensive” -- a rigorous residential art study program where participants expand their artistic skills, liberate their imaginations and enrich their artistic talent. With their eyes newly opened and appetite whetted, Stefanie and David spent the next three months traveling the world, eating life and drinking inspiration.
It was mid-2005 when Stefanie and David landed in the mountains of Central Mexico. They found their artistic retreat. And it seemed that a growing arts community in Western Kentucky had a lot of potential as a home base for their gallery.
They painted; they built a retreat; they painted; they built a house and gallery. They created their new life.
On July 13, 2007, artists Stefanie Graves and David Lucht opened Cowango Studios at 517 N 8th Street in Lowertown, Paducah. Stefanie, creating vibrant watercolors, and David Lucht, with his finely crafted batiks, bring their interest in world culture to the Lowertown Arts District.
Working exclusively in watercolors, Stefanie’s paintings reflect her interest in the beauty and simplicity of different cultures. Stefanie’s beautifully rendered paintings capture both the subject as well as the feeling of that subject. “The spirit and feel of a subject are essential qualities that help to bring out the “life” of my paintings rather than merely copying what I see” says Stefanie.
David Lucht brings the traditions of batik painting alive, mixing contemporary realism with the ancient craft of batik in a style he calls ‘World Batik’. “I came to batik painting through my love for its magical qualities of obscurity and revelation” David says. The image is developed through repeated dyeings and waxings, gradually becoming almost entirely covered in wax. The finished work is only seen in its entirety at the very end of the process, when the wax is removed and the image revealed. David’s final pieces are a combination of the intricate batik style and painting, used to create wonderfully multifaceted paintings.
Cowango Studios is open by appointment, but you can check out Stefanie and David’s work around town. Stefanie is currently exhibiting her watercolors at the new location for J Cafe and Bistro from January through March. The restaurant is in the old Ritz Hotel building on Broadway. Both Stefanie and David will have their work on display at The Egg and I Gallery, at 335 6th Street (across from Jonny Giraffe). The Egg and I Gallery will be hosting an opening reception for Stefanie and David’s first official show in Paducah on April 12th, 2008 from 6:30 to 9 pm. Stefanie Graves will be showing her watercolors and David Lucht will exhibit his batiks. The show, entitled "Port of Entry" will examine the themes of cross-cultural influence that animate the art of Cowango Studios. Both artists will have new work to exhibit, plus the very best pieces from the past few years.
Contact Cowango Studios at 270-908-0755 or visit www.cowango.com to learn more.
by Erica Moore