Curt Clonts

Art Commentator

Curt Clonts was raised in Wichita, Kansas. He left in 1977 for Los Angeles where he spent time surfing, making art, and immersing himself in the punk music scene. He then moved to Okinawa, Japan, where he met, married his wife, Taeko, and they had the first of their three children. After leaving Japan Curt moved with his family to New Orleans where he started the monthly punk rock musical publication Public Threat, and also created and sold art. Curt then took a job in the coffee business in Dallas, Texas, where he also made and sold his art. After a move to El Paso, Texas, Curt then decided to relocate his family to his hometown of Wichita where they have lived since 1991.

After moving back to Wichita, Curt founded the College Hill Coffee Company, which he eventually sold. He then began to paint and create art on a daily basis. Curt became a member of Wichita's Famous Dead Artists (a Wichita art co-op). He founded Art Soup in which he would curate art exhibitions featuring working artists of the '90s. He co-founded The Tractor Factory, one of the seminal art studio/exhibition sites in Wichita's explosive '90s art scene. Curt also regularly contributed articles on art and music for Wichita alternative newspapers SEEN and F5.

In 2006 Curt became the Artist-In-Residence at Friends University and held this position until 2013. He also founded The Ginger Rabbits arts co-op during this time. Articles on Curt have been featured in The New Orleans Times-Piccayune, The Dallas Morning News, The Wichita Eagle, Juxtapose Magazine, and Punk Globe Magazine, among others.

Curt's art is included in the collections at the Wichita Art Museum, Emprise Bank, Center for the Arts, and many personal collections.

Curt paints daily in his College Hill home studio while listening to music at blaring decibels. He exhibits his work on a regular basis. He enjoys scotch, cooking, collecting art and books, grandchildren, and having regular coffee and discussing art with artist friends. He has a disdain for politicians, broccoli, and spending any money with national chains. He avoids telephone conversations at almost any cost.

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A friend of mine called me last week and said she was at an estate sale and had found something that caught her eye. She texted me a quick photo and I agreed she should buy it. She paid $200 for what is a signed Peter Max lithograph worth $3000.

If an artist is influenced by other artists, and I believe we all are, I would say that my biggest influences over the last decade have been painters and sculptors who happen to be women. 

The Fiber Studio is preparing an intriguing show of two of Wichita’s great artists, Richard Thomas Siegman and Ginger Tarrer.

Wichita painter Charlotte Martin possesses great power, earthiness, and a sharp wit that flows into her work. These qualities show in the line and color that combine to make a Martin painting memorable and engrossing.

Curt Clonts

I have a solo show at the Sandzen Gallery in Lindsborg this November. So here’s a typical week for me in preparation for that gig:

Curt Clonts

Local artist Mike Miller is a super-prolific force. Possessing the work ethic of a 19th-century farmer, and a deep feeling for nature, Miller takes old farm machinery, discarded motors, gears, tree limbs, and hundred-pound rocks, then sculpts them into fully powered, automated works of art. These finished machines, combining man-made with nature, are both highly sophisticated and profoundly artful.

Curt Clonts

Before there was Final Friday in Wichita one could go out and experience art exhibit openings in local galleries at least three weekends per month. And there was time to take in the show and really enjoy the work because we weren’t fighting to get to all the exhibits before they closed. There might be an opening on Friday night and then another on Saturday night. And it meant constant openings throughout each month. It was exciting!

visitwichita.com

The City of Wichita has released its vague budget-cutting plan and CityArts is presented as a prime target. In the plan, buried on page 41, is a simple paragraph, under the heading “Cultural Funding” which states that arts in Wichita have evolved since CityArts was originally opened. And that one option is to restructure CityArts operations. Estimated savings: $100,000 to $300,000.

My interpretation of the paragraph is that city government feels the arts in Wichita have evolved past a place like CityArts so it’s no longer needed, vital, or necessary.

Well, the City of Wichita is planning to take a chain saw to Wichita CityArts—that beautiful three-story complex in Old Town next to the Warren Theater. They want to close the gallery space and the small boutique inside for starters, and who knows what else. CityArts is a 20-year-old entity and it is the rock and cornerstone of the entire Wichita arts community.

When a gallery in New York City has been in business for 15 years they say, “Wow, what a great run.”  A 40-year gallery run in New York is almost unheard of. Now, when a Wichita man opens up a gallery and it lasts for 40 years he must be referred to as “Senex Artis” - the Latin for “The Old Man of Art.”

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