On the Move with Artist Laurence Gartel

Posted on 12 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Figuring out where local artist Laurence Gartel is right now is a little like “Where’s Waldo?” After all, he is not one to sit around Boca Raton; he is more likely jet setting half a world away. Recently, this “Father of Digital Art” was in Italy for an extended stint for his Hyp Pop show showcasing his work next to Andy Warhol’s. But he came back to SoFla with a vengeance.

Gartel explained, “Since my traveling exhibition in Europe, “Warhol vs. Gartel Hyp Pop,” which has gone to several Italian cities, as well as exclusive book signings in Switzerland, I have been working on a new book and preparing for this upcoming exhibition in Pompano. Additionally, I created three new ART CARS for Art Basel and will be displaying them at various venues throughout the New Year, like at Art Ft. Lauderdale (Jan. 24-28). SuperCar Week in West Palm (Jan. 6 –14), Foto Fusion (Jan. 23-27) and other locations. People will get to see one at the Pompano showcase.”

Yes, touring all around Art Basel showing off dynamic art cars and being on the scene wherever he could, Gartel garnered quite a lot of attention. Next, he will be speaking at Art Ft. Lauderdale. And, after that, he is bringing his artistic creations right back here to Pompano Beach for a special exhibition that is going to bring not only a lot of attention to the area and his art, but also will bring in dignitaries from all around. The show is slated to run Feb. 22 – March 8, 2018 (pending approval) at the new Pompano Beach Cultural Center, but the date has already changed once, so it could be shifted again (More details soon).

After visiting all these grand locales around the world, “Why Pompano?” I asked, to which he responded, “Pompano has committed itself to be a new arts region. There will be artist housing, artist studios, the cultural amphitheatre and the new cultural center. There will be an exhibition space, a lecture/multiple use environment (hopefully, having diverse programming and cross cultural events). Included there is going to be a Digital Media Center. This is, of course, my area of interest and I hope to have great input into the direction this area goes in. As a visionary and pioneer of this field, I have clear concepts which I hope to implement. The goal is to further enrich lives through the development of art and technology.”

He added, “When I started, Digital Media did not exist, so the world has come a very long way in 40 years. It has literally taken a lifetime but it is worth the effort to change the shape of our civilization.”

Back in the day, it was Gartel who introduced Andy Warhol to digital art, after meeting him at Studio 54. His work was the official artwork for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, part of an Absolut Vodka campaign…He has created work for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears… The list goes on and on of what he has accomplished through the years.

His upcoming Pompano exhibition, he said will “include a variety of images, as well as processes that have been explored over time. From electronic images that have been photographed off the video monitor screens with a still camera mounted on a tripod, to black and white orthographic prints, Iris prints, thermal graphic prints, large scale ink-jet prints, as well as 3D ‘sculptural’ works. There will also be works created with a 3D drawing pen, so there will be a variety of images. The other ‘surprise’ will be a wall of media created from the history of my career…This is most unique.”

The title of his exhibit is a name he used 30 years ago as the title of his first book, which was published in 1989: ‘Laurence Gartel: A Cybernetic Romance.

The ‘romance,’” he explained, “is between ‘Artist and Machine,” adding, “Early on, it was questionable how a creative person could use a computer to release aesthetic ideas and concepts, as Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet and every other artist through the centuries did. This was a revolution to be sure which the entire world now embraces. It is mind blowing when you think of it — to change an entire culture through an artist’s vision.”

After this, what could be next for this artist who is always on-the-go?

What’s next,” he said, “is to work on several concepts of books. I have so much work. Meeting new people around the world helps stimulate the artistic mind. I have been most fortunate to travel to Australia, India, Spain, Russia, Austria, Japan, Switzerland and Norway, to name a few. Travel is definitely in my future and so are the ART CARS that I love so much.”

For more on the Laurence Gartel, visit https://gartelmuseum.weebly.com/commissions.html.

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