by Peter Freyne
So I dropped into Speeder & Earl’s down on Pine Street around 4 O’Clock Thursday afternoon. The coffee and the NY Times-in-hand ritual. Better late than never.
A gentleman was hanging his new art show. They change monthly. Plus this is the big South End Art Hop Weekend.
The brick walls at Speeder’s are huge and usually the monthly art show comes off as tiny...lost in space. This stuff was different. Oil paintings. Big ones for a change. And these paintings were an eyeful - double-take material. Heck, triple-take and more!
Definitely an eye-catching and thought-provoking collection of a dozen or so warmly-textured, intensely-colored oils that subject-wise spanned a range from Vincent Van Gogh, to George Bush & 9/11, the Buddha and much more.
As he hung his works, Philip Hagopian, 48, of Montpelier, explained one as being “about living on a planet where we’re held hostage where we’re all enslaved by the cost of living, meanwhile I’m trying to make a living doing artwork and so the golden calf is false religion. This gold Buddha symbolizes wealth.”
“Oftentimes people trade happiness for wealth,” he explained, “but for me it would be just having enough so I don’t have to stress out making a living and doing what I love to do.”
Hagopian has lived in Vermont more than 20 years. He’s been painting since childhood. And he was particularly delighted that yours truly had picked up right-off on the variety of subject matter and style in his work. [Told him about the artist sweetheart who led me to Vermont back in 1979. Jeannine’s gone, but her paintings will always be in my eyes.]
“I’m glad you appreciate the diversity,” said Philip with a sigh of relief. “In the art industry they oftentimes try to pigeonhole artists to one style that can be identified as the thumbprint signature style.
“I’ve run into a lot of closed doors and obstacles because I refuse to do that. But I’m going to continue to refuse to do that,” said Hagopian. “A person’s richness of self-expression should not be limited by what’s commercially marketable.”