New art show at HAC fea­tures unique folk pieces from lo­cal artist Will Linn

Calhoun Times - - GORDONLIFE - By Joni Harbin

Two south­ern artists are be­ing fea­tured in the self- ti­tled Butch Anthony and Will Linn Art Shows run­ning through Oct. 19 at the Har­ris Arts Cen­ter. While Anthony is an older, more es­tab­lished artist do­ing business from his fam­ily farm in Alabama, Cal­houn na­tive Will Linn is steal­ing the show with an eclec­tic col­lec­tion of his own art, in­clud­ing paint­ings and con­struc­tions. One piece in par­tic­u­lar— “Just Out­side of Dahlonega”— caught the com­mu­nity’s at­ten­tion and gen­er­ated some lo­cal buzz as res­i­dents vied for in­clu­sion in the paint­ing.

“Folk art is hard to de­fine, but you know it when you see it,” ex­plains Linn, a self- taught artist with no for­mal train­ing. “It’s a quirky, sim­plis­tic genre and it’s not un­usual to see many of the bet­ter- known folk artists be­com­ing pop­u­lar as much for their per­son­al­i­ties as for the art they pro­duce.” Linn is self- taught artist who uses lay­ers of ply­wood to cre­ate col­or­ful land­scapes and an­i­mals cov­ered in a mul­ti­tude of dots. Much of his work in­cludes very small ver­sions of fam­ily mem­bers and friends dressed as they choose do­ing var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties. Such was the case with “Just Out­side Dahlonega,” which fea­tures fifty- five peo­ple from Cal­houn- Gor­don County shown in minia­ture.

Linn grew up in a home filled with art and lit­er­a­ture, so it’s lit­tle sur­prise that he was drawn to art and that his brother be­came a writer. His par­ents, Bob and Lee Linn, are avid folk- art col­lec­tors with pieces from ma­jor artists in­clud­ing the Rev­erend Howard Fin­ster, R.A. Miller and Clyde An­gel. He was al­ways in­ter­ested in art and com­pleted a few art classes in high school, but af­ter fin­ish­ing his fresh­man year at the Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia, he ac­cepted a job work­ing with Ameri­corps and moved to Texas, where his in­ter­est in art re­ally took root. Af­ter two years, he left Ameri­corps and took a job in con­struc­tion with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity. Since he was work­ing in con­struc­tion, he found him­self drawn to build­ing and dec­o­rat­ing small fur­ni­ture pieces. His first project was a cof­fee ta­ble con­structed for his wife from a har­vested head­board and scrap lum­ber.

Linn has per­formed well in a se­ries of shows and con­tests, win­ning best of show with his first en­try at the Na­tional Arts Pro­gram-HeART of Ed­u­ca­tion con­test at Har­ris Arts Cen­ter in 2011 for a piece en­ti­tled “Treehouse For­est.” He won first and sec­ond place hon­ors in the North­west Ge­or­gia Re­gional Fair Art Con­test in 2012. He won sec­ond place in the Rome Shake­speare Fes­ti­val Art Com­pe­ti­tion with “A Mid­sum­mer’s Night Dream” cre­ated as a gift for his fa­ther, who had al­ways in­cluded that play in his se­nior English class. This is his sec­ond solo show at Har­ris Arts Cen­ter.

Linn is mar­ried to his high- school sweet­heart, Ni­chol Sainato Linn, and has two chil­dren: Clara and James. He main­tains a full- time po­si­tion with All­good Pest So­lu­tions and con­tin­ues to pro­duce and dis­play art through­out Ge­or­gia and sur­round­ing ar­eas. His am­bi­tion is to de­velop and re­fine his tal­ents so that he can be­come a ca­reer artist. When asked how he cre­ates his work, he says “one dot fol­lows the other.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

LEFT PHOTO: Will Linn with Clara and James in front of his piece en­ti­tled “Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream.” RIGHT PHOTO: “Just Out­side Dahlonega,” on dis­play now at the Har­ris Arts Cen­ter in down­town Cal­houn. The show will run through Oct. 19.

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