Rust and gold combined for artistic purpose

MG100 paintings by Joel Armstrong opened to the public at John Brown University last Tuesday.

Armstrong is an associate professor of visual arts and teaches illustration and drawing at the University.

He teaches his students to remain consistent with their work, which in turn helps him to stay consistent with his own pieces.

“It’s very rewarding,” Armstrong said. He loves working alongside and learning from his students.

He started painting when he was in junior high and has not stopped since.

“I either had the choice of taking violin lessons or painting lessons,” said Armstrong, “I always knew that painting was something I wanted to do.”

He started working with wire in graduate school and wanted to show that he could do more with other materials such as wire, sticks and rocks.

“It was a challenge,” said Armstrong.

His familiarity with the rust and love for the color inspired him to contrast that with the use of gold, which compliments the blue in his paintings.

“With instillation, you get it in your head what you want to do, but then you have to put it all together,” said Armstrong.

“The in-between part of that is just activity. The creative part is what I love.”

Terri Wubbena, an attendee at the gallery opening, loved picking out the different shapes and figures seen within the paintings.

“Each piece was made out of instinct,” said Armstrong. “The whole idea of just putting down paint on a piece of paper was all I intended.”

“It’s like a world within a world,” said Ian McCloud, an illustration alumna. “Each piece is unique, but something will always catch your eye.”

“I’m really happy with it,” said Armstrong. “I wish more people could see it, it’s sort of hidden.”

Alyssa Duckworth, a senior art and illustration major, said she has known Armstrong from her classes over the years.

“He is one of my favorite professors. He’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to improving yourself as an artist, and he always has really good ideas,” Duckworth said.

“A lot of people don’t realize this because he’s such a quiet guy, but when you take the time to talk with him and get to know him you find out he’s really cool,” she continued.

Duckworth said she loves Armstrong’s paintings, “They’re so small and such a simple concept, yet each one is unique and complex in it’s own way.”

After attending opening night, Duckworth felt like there was a really good turnout and she said she thought people received the artwork really well.

The gallery will remain open until tomorrow.