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Monthly Archives: February 2013

The artwork and shared thoughts of Gary Borkan.

Gary Borkan,

Q: What first compelled you to become an artist? Who/what were your influences?

A:  I have always loved art, but never felt I had talent to do it. But after many years of hearing “you don’t necessarily need talent”, I started to go to various art classes around Boston: painting, drawing, sculpture and really enjoyed it.  I always was interested in learning to blow glass, I don’t know why. The opportunity came through Hourglass Gifts in Melrose which had a glassblower, Walter Prince, who offered a workshop that I took. There I met Ken Ostrow who it turns out I already knew from being antique dealers…and Ken and I started to work together. It has been ten years now.

Q: What is your current work about? What are you trying to explore and how has that evolved since you started

A:  Although I am still trying to perfect my forms and techniques in glass blowing (and often despairing of ever getting it right), I like to make pieces that invite picking up and studying… not just forms that look the same from any angle. Lately I enjoy wrapping color on the outside of glass vessels to make a rather abstract and irregular pattern, and see if interesting effects happen. Most glass has layers of color sandwiched between layers of clear glass, but lately I enjoy putting the color on the outside and have found this can have surprising effects quite different from “cased” glass.

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Q: What is your connection to the Melrose Arts community?  Is it important to you to be part of a creative community?

A:  I really enjoy knowing other artists in Melrose, it is a close community, and much centers around the Hourglass shop run by Lorrie DiCesare. I have been active in the Melrose Arts group, and also putting on monthly art shows at Beebe Estate.  It has provided a lot of close friendships with common interests that feel very positive.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working on art?

A:  I am a full time antique dealer specializing in antique posters and prints, especially military posters. My entire business is based on my website: rare-posters.com

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Q: What advice do you have for younger artists, particularly local ones?

A:  I think it is great to get involved with the local community of artists. Melrose Arts is a great organization, but it is always challenging to bring in new artists, especially younger ones in early adulthood.

Q: What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?

A:  I just feel good knowing that among all the things I have done in my life, perhaps there will be a few pieces of “Gary Borkan Glass” sitting on shelves and being enjoyed, even 200 years from now.

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The art work and shared thoughts of Thomas Savage.

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Q: What first compelled you to become an artist? Who/what were your influences?

A:  As long as I can remember, there was always this unfulfilled “creative need” within me.  While I have many creative interests, my technical abilities as a painter or musician were never satisfactory enough to fill the creative void.  I had always enjoyed photography, and over the years had received favorable comments from friends and family about my photos.  After much gentle prodding and encouragement from close friends, and from local artist/teacher Christine Riccardi, I began to look at photography in a more serious manner.  It has filled the creative void beyond my expectations.

Q: What advice do you have for younger artists, particularly local ones?

A:  If you have a passion for art, you owe it to yourself to indulge that passion.  Take chances.  Don’t be afraid to be different; there is nothing that anyone can say about your art that’s life threatening, and caving in to discouragement only stifles the development of your creativity.  We live in an area that is so supportive of the arts, and that has so many resources available.  Reach out.  You’ll be rewarded if you do.

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Q:  Do you have any formal training?

A:  I am a 2007 graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, and I continue to add to my training through a variety of on-line sources.  There is a wealth of information available on the internet to enable anyone to keep current with technology, new techniques, etc.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working on art?

A:  Regrettably, fine art photography doesn’t pay the bills…yet.  I’ve worked as a commercial credit manager for a variety of corporations since the late ‘70’s.  It may not be exciting, but there’s no heavy lifting : )

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Q. What is your connection to Melrose? How has the area shaped your art?

A:  Though I now reside in Lowell, I lived in Melrose for over 30 years, and much of my portfolio consists of photos taken in Boston and surrounding communities.  Melrose’s proximity to Boston and the North Shore, along with its wealth of Victorian architecture and scenic green spaces has contributed greatly to the development of my art.

Q: What is your connection to the Melrose Arts community?  Is it important to you to be part of a creative community?

A:  I have been a member of Melrose Arts for seven years, and have participated in the annual Melrose Arts Festival for the past six.  I am presently on the Steering Committee for the Festival.  It is very important to me to be involved in a creative community, and the art community in Melrose is very supportive.  Through Melrose Arts I have met many talented artists both locally and throughout New England.