At the Bend Visitor Center, we want people drawing on the walls.
Well, not just people. Artists, specifically, and talented ones at that.
Visit Bend launched the Pillars of Art program to introduce tourists to Bend’s unique arts and culture scene, and to support emerging local artists. We pick one local artist every three months to create unique chalk drawings on the cement pillars in our lobby. The artist also has his or her framed work displayed and sold in the visitor center, including First Friday Art Walks.
With Art Walk scheduled for this Friday, February 3, we’d like to introduce you to our latest artist, Kevin Schwarting. A native of Chicago who moved to Montana for college ten years ago, Kevin migrated to Bend last spring. He specializes in winter landscapes, and his artwork on the pillars has drawn rave reviews and gasps of approval from visitors.
Here’s what Kevin had to say about paint, beer, and what it’s like to be an emerging artist in Bend:
Visit Bend: Tell us a little bit about your artistic background.
Kevin Schwarting: I always enjoyed drawing as a kid, and that is half of what I do today. Designing new ideas all stems from sketching. I worked with charcoal for awhile until colors took me into another realm. Pastels, oils and acrylics are what I enjoy most, but I still sketch for fun. It’s the fastest way for me to feel good about my artistic passions.
Visit Bend:Why did you choose to specialize in painting winter scenes?
Kevin Schwarting: There has always been this sense of peace and stillness in cold, snowy winter landscapes. My work either obeys that calming feeling or it breaks it. I get excited to invent new pieces. I try to create the movement in a skier, flying in snow, breaking through thousands of frozen crystals and throwing that majestic spray of snow on each turn. I dream of a never-ending ski run because the way it makes me feel is beyond compare. Since that will never happen, I’ll keep painting.
Visit Bend: Your art is clearly very influenced by winter recreation and the great outdoors. How has living in Bend impacted you from an artistic standpoint?
Kevin Schwarting: Bend is very diverse. If there’s a town that could take on another outdoor sport, it’s this one. Outdoor enthusiasts definitely feed my passions and living in Bend has made me feel more connected to those types of people. Bend has inspired me to keep pursuing those passions.
Visit Bend: What do you love best about Bend?
Kevin Schwarting: The breweries on The Bend Ale Trail. Boneyard’s RPM is my favorite beer. I think it’s the best IPA in Bend.
Visit Bend: What do you like to do when you aren’t painting?
Kevin Schwarting: I enjoy skiing, fishing, travelling, and enjoying the outdoors.
Visit Bend: Tell us your impressions of the art scene in Bend and how Pillars of Art fits with that.
Kevin Schwarting: Bend attracts so many artistic people because it has created an atmosphere that suits an artist. From the festivals to the art walks, Bend has a wide array of talent. The Pillars of Art program is great for emerging artists like myself, and I’m absolutely honored to be displaying my work here.
Don’t forget to stop by the Visitor Center from 5-9 p.m. this Friday, February 3, to check out Kevin’s work and say hello to this talented young artist! We’ll also have chocolate by Jem Raw Chocolate and Volcano Vineyards wine on hand to celebrate!