Colin was born in the small Western New York Communityof Jamestown. His emersion into the arts started naturally, his mother was a designer and his father an art and antiques collector. As a child his parents encouraged his artistic exploration and training. At the age of 10, Colin was diagnosed with the incurable degenerative eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa, which attacks the peripheral vision and light recepting rods of the retina, rendering him completely night blind. His sight did not stop him from pursuing his art, but it continues to inform his work today. You can see this in his use of contrast with strong sources of light and shadow and his thin layers of speckled paint which mimics the persistent flashes of light and color that encompass his visual field. This is representative of how he sees the world. By high school he was fully engaged in his classical art training and began thinking about pursuing a career in the arts. He was showing his work publicly and started to gain notoriety in Chester Co. Pennsylvania where he attended high school.
It was his high school art teacher, Jeffery A. Wheet that pushed Colin to the next level. Under the tutelage of his mentor and friend, he and Jeff would travel between New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. visiting galleries and museums, discussing art and breaking down the techniques of the masters. This exposure to such great art was a big factor in his multiple awards and scholarships he would receive throughout his high school career. While in high school, he was recognized for his talent when he won Sophomore, Junior and Senior art awards along with the Christie Loving Fine Art Scholarship. He also was given the University of PittsburghFrick Fine Arts Scholarship to attend the university.
Colin attended Pitt and pursued a Fine Art and Business dual major. After a few semesters it became clear that heneeded something different and left the University to reevaluate his future. He moved back to Chester Co. set up a studio in the basement and was left on his own to create art outside of the formal art education that got him to this point. He became consumed with going back to college and getting into a topnotch art school. It was during this time that he began exploring a more surrealist and narrative style and created a body of work specifically for the purpose of submitting to art schools. Colin was extended numerous acceptance and scholarship offers to some of the most elite East coast art schools, including Maryland Institute of Art, Tyler School of Art, and the Savannah College of Art and Design, but his heart was calling him west. After a trip to visit a little arts school in Santa Fe, NM, he fell in love with the mountains, expansive skies and light found in the Southwest. He accepted an offer to attend the College of Santa Fe and the next five years were a bit of a blur. This little school didn’t look like much from the outside, but he would be exposed to and have an opportunity to work with some of the most successful working artists alive today.
Santa Fe has hundreds of galleries and draws artists from around the world. Colin spent his first few years in Santa Fe struggling to find a balance between his classical training and the new experimental techniques to which he was being exposed. He believes you need to know the rules before you can break them and he found it increasingly difficult to break those rules… One day his painting instructor Robert Sorrell handed him a canvas and said “you have two hours to paint something, anything”. He wanted Colin to get out of his head and just paint. This exercise unlocked something in him and the focus on subject matter and technique turned toward expression and using the medium of paint to tell the story. This shift away from painting tight, methodical and blended brush strokes would impact his work into the future. As he continued to develop his style as a painter, his artistic vision and voice would become clearer and more focused. By his final year at CSF he had tapped into an artistic vein that would propel him out of academia and into the life of a professional artist.
By age 25 Colin was showing his work at some of the most exclusive galleries and art venues in and around Santa Fe. He held positions at two prominent galleries, Van de Griff and Joyce Robbins, and was selected to attend a weeklong master class in painting with the Cuban born artist Flavio Garciaendia.He was exposed to the gallery scene as an artist and when not painting he worked part time installing art and as a studio assistant. This inside look taught him much about the art business. This was a crazy time for the young artist and he was unprepared for his early successes. The demands of being in three galleries, Expressions in Fine Art on Canyon Road, Range West in Madrid, NM., and The Oval Gallery in Albuquerque, NM. and working to supplement an art career and the pressures of life, he decided to hit the road and explore other parts of the country with the intent of going back to school for his MFA. This would start a ten-year odyssey, moving between Port Orange, FL., Austin TX., and Scottsdale, AZ., where he would follow a path of self-discovery. He followed the work and at each stop along the way set up a studio and continued to paint, but never found himself back in the academic world. He continued to show in galleries and would paint commissioned pieces for valued collectors and even found himself showcasing his painting techniques on TV, but never let the art business take control of him as it once did.
Colin has continued to paint and show his creations across the Southwest, but over the past decade his other interests played a more prominent role. After stepping back for a time, he has recommitted himself artistically and as a painter, exploring new subject matter and challenging himself stylistically. His latest work, The Urban Dream series, explores the beauty and isolation of our industrial past. Time Before is the latest show in this series opening July 16th 2021 in Westfield, NY near where he was born. This will be Colin’s first East coast show of new work in almost 20 years.
Series: Urban Dream.
Title: Time Before
The urban dream series focuses on the artist’s intense and long-time interest in abandoned industrial buildings and structures. Rail yards, steel mills, old factories and warehouses offer limitless beauty and inspiration. The subject matter compliments Colin’s painterly exploration of surface, color, texture and the psychological implications of space and our place in it. He see’s this world through thin layers of paint that combine to build a solid structure. The viewer is reminded that these structures are as thin as the memories of a time before.
The often-haunting emptiness of once vibrant centers of industry create a naturally surrealistic scene that picks up on common themes shared throughout Colin’s work. Themes of how we find and perceive ourselves in the spaces we inhabit, the spaces in which we exist or could exist and the places we dream to be.
Time Before, focuses on the industry that is and was Chautauqua County, NY. Colin, who was born in Jamestown and has deep family roots in Westfield and Chautauqua County has set his focus on capturing glimpses into what was a vibrant industrial past and the promise of what could be. During his annual trip to Westfield in the summer of 2020, Colin sought out interesting structures he could add his perspective to. There is immense beauty in the old factories, buildings and railways found throughout the County which has culminated in his latest chapter in the urban dream series.
Time Before. Opening July 16th 2021 4pm-10pm. The show will run through October 2021 at the Annex 25, 25 E. Main St. Westfield, NY