PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An Aroostook County artist whose work has been internationally collected is set to be the first to show his work in the new art gallery at the soon-to-be-reopened Wintergreen Arts Center.
Tim Gagnon, a 29-year-old Castle Hill resident and the owner of GagnonStudio, will exhibit his paintings in the new Barressi Financial Art Gallery at the Wintergreen Arts Center during the grand opening ceremony March 6.
Gagnon’s paintings will be available for sale, with 20 percent of all sales donated directly to the arts center.
“I was honored and immediately accepted the invitation to showcase my work at Wintergreen Arts Center,” Gagnon said recently. “I couldn’t think of a better cause than promoting Maine’s up-and-coming artists through the Wintergreen Arts Center. The Wintergreen Arts Center fills a huge educational void for Northern Maine’s youth when it comes to obtaining art-oriented learning at a pre-university level, and we’re really lucky to have it available to our children right here in Presque Isle.”
Gagnon was born in northern Maine and spent his childhood in Washburn. He paints mainly landscape scenes, Maine wildlife and some abstracts. He has sold more than 1,000 paintings in the last three years, and Gagnon’s paintings grace the walls of homes in all 50 U.S. states and in 20 foreign countries. He has received offers for representation in galleries in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
“I get a lot of inspiration from the landscape in this area, but I don’t do a lot of paintings of it,” he said. “I paint mainly from my imagination.”
Gagnon takes a nontraditional approach to both selling his artwork and teaching his craft to others.
He relies on the Internet to sell his work and do his own self-promotion, using sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Google, and blogging about his daily artistic endeavors. He said that he feels the Internet eventually will replace most galleries by allowing people to more easily view and purchase art from artists all around the world.
He also relies on the Internet to broadcast his own 12-week courses that teach the basics of landscape painting. The course also is available on DVD.
“I started the online courses to continue bringing in money, because a lot of people have stopped buying paintings during the recession,” he said. “I have a high-definition camera and I upload my lesson onto my Web site. People can sign up for lessons and get a password and download the lesson onto their hard drive. They e-mail me pictures of what they have created and I critique them by e-mail and also offer instruction in that manner.”
Over the past year, he has had 300 students from 18 different countries enrolled in his course.
“By teaching online, I can really instruct a lot more people than if I just had groups of people come to my studio for lessons,” he explained last week.
The Wintergreen Arts Center, a nonprofit organization, set up shop in the Aroostook Centre Mall in 2006. The center offers art classes, performances and other events for children and adults. Officials announced in November 2008 that the center would move to 149 State St. Tony Burgess and Glenn Capp purchased the two-story State Street building and offered the Wintergreen Arts Center a 10-year lease. Under the proposal, the arts center will not have to pay rent for 10 years, and the building owners will pay the utilities for the entire term of the lease.
The center has been closed while the new space was being renovated. The new arts center will be wheelchair-accessible and will provide visitors with a quiet place to relax, read and write. A playhouse will be used for small theatrical and puppet performances, and a fully furnished art studio will be located in the rear of the building. The studio will feature a chalkboard, white board, easels, art supplies, a children’s gallery with a window seat and other equipment. Officials also hope to outfit the center with a snack bar, a landscaped walkway and other features.
Gagnon said he will exhibit 10 to 12 paintings in the inaugural show.
“It will be a mixture of everything that I have done,” he said.
Gagnon’s work will be on display from 7 to 9 p.m. during the grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 6. The show, which is open to the public, will run March 6-31. Gallery hours are 2-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Gagnon’s Web site is www.timgagnon.com.