Selling a painting isn’t about the money for Joe Horvath. Instead, it’s about sharing his eye for natural landscapes with others who value the artist’s vision.
“That’s nice when someone buys one, but I don’t get excited,” said Horvath, a long time member and past president of the Trail Art Club. “Because I never do anything to make money. It’s really nice to do for a hobby, and I try to make it better all the time.”
Horvath’s “A Life of Painting and Drawing” showcase of 28 oil paintings and pencilled sketches opens with a public reception today from 4-6 p.m. in downtown Trail’s VISAC Gallery.
Born in Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary, Horvath studied art in his native city before immigrating to Canada in 1957.
Landing on the east coast shore, pursuing art wasn’t in the picture for the first few years when Horvath took a job on southern Ontario’s railroad line. After toiling 10-hour days, six days a week for a 90-cent paycheque, the young man joined a friend and moved northeast to work the mines in scenic Val-d’Or, Quebec.
It was there that Horvath could further his creative education by studying commercial art. Though he’s continued to nurture his artistic talent over five decades, Horvath said putting brush to canvas wasn’t a means of raising six children alongside Dolly, his wife of 57 years.
“I couldn’t make a living at it because my family is six, and you have to have plenty of money to put on the table,” he said.
But that didn’t stop Horvath from painting on the side as well as taking on a few commissioned pieces.
“Art is not something he chooses to do,” said Dolly. “He has art inside him so it is something he has to do.”
Horvath has been part of the Trail art scene since the family relocated to Salmo in 1972.
He commuted from the village to Trail for 24 years before retiring from Cominco.
Now, he runs Joe’s Art Gallery on a 26-acre property located just outside Salmo on Highway 3.
“We’ve been open for about four years now,” said Joe. “And over 300 people have signed our guest book. People from Switzerland sent me a letter saying it was a nice place. And I’ve had people in from Vancouver Island to New Zealand.”
Besides running his gallery, Horvath often visits VISAC, teaching watercolour pencil drawing workshops the third Saturday of each month.
The interactive sessions focus on sketching techniques, and are open to beginners, advanced artists and everyone in between.
“Doesn’t make any difference (level of art) because I have the layout for everybody,” said Horvath. “Even if you miss something one day you can make it better the next time, that’s why it’s advancing.”
He encourages all level of talent to give the class a try, because learning how to draw gives a sense of accomplishment and boosts self esteem.
“You come in and sit down and you will learn something the first workshop,” he explained. “If you do something that was no good one year and keep coming back – you will see how far you can come (the next) year.”
The drop-in fee is $25 for a three-hour morning lesson, but Horvath donates all proceeds back to the gallery.
“I give my time to VISAC,” he said. “Anything we make is for them, something like a fundraiser.”
For information, contact the gallery at 364.1181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Horvath’s show is the last of the season, but a first for new gallery artistic director Kristen Renn.
Originally from the States, she has an extensive history in art culture extending from Seattle, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
Renn now hails from Rossland and brings youthful energy and vision to the non-profit space.
“We are in a transition of a new exhibition this week, and the passing of the torch is going smoothly,” said Renn, referring the Ursula Abresch’s retirement from the position.
“I think the VISAC has created a really good pillar and bone of infrastructure within Trail,” she said.
“Ursula has really raised the bar bringing in different, interesting exhibits. At first this was a place for people who do have an interest in the art world to collaborate and feel a sense of belonging,” Renn added.
“Now I feel they are more interested in spreading the culture instead of just maintaining it. That is my hope with the gallery – to bring in new people and support new artists as well as the established ones.”
VISAC Gallery will close July 4 following Horvath’s show. The space re-opens in September with “Atomic Sculptures,” and exhibition by Howard Roo.