The Small Things art show, sponsored by Berlin Arts and Entertainment Committee and hosted by the Globe, opened to a great crowd last month. From photography and mixed media to watercolors and acrylics, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Two of the artists showcased are Mark Huey, a local photographer and occasional mixed media artist, and Patti Backer, a locally known surrealist painter. Both agree that with dozens of artists featured and support from both a committee dedicated to the arts and a beloved local business, this show is anything but small.
“The Berlin Arts and Entertainment Committee developed the Small Things concept as a way to force artists to create something new”, explained Huey. “For me, I’m inspired to create in unique and fresh ways. I’m always seeking ‘what’s next?’ Maybe, it’s the hipster in me.”
Upon further investigation, Huey’s piece entitled Microwaves isn’t strictly photography or acrylic. The photomosaic explores the curves of a shell and an ear attempting to listen to its sound, abstracted almost unrecognizably. Huey’s photomosaics have been a reaction to the sheer quantity of photography available now that it’s become such an accessible medium. Many in the area are familiar with Huey’s photography, but these photomosaics are something he’s been experimenting with on and off for the past few years.
Backer also explores more artistic outlets than meets the eye. In addition to her stunningly out of the ordinary paintings, she plans to one day illustrate a “strange little children’s book.” Patti’s husband Jason builds furniture from reclaimed wood and Patti paints the recycled furniture. The couple are also currently renovating an old farmhouse “slowly, but it’s really fun,” said Backer.
Backer has been creating for a living for the last fifteen years and has no plans of stopping. “…Birds, bugs, and plants…the ocean and its mysteriousness, food, and funny things people say” all motivate Backer’s work, along with her giant cat Totoro. She finds inspiration for her pieces in the simple things around her, and has her hand in many channels to stimulate that creativity.
Backer grew up locally in Berlin. “There are so many artists in the area and I really think it’s the perfect spot!” Backer commented eagerly. She was especially excited about the fact they are so close to other major cities.
Huey agreed, “We’ve got our work cut out for us to reach artists [elsewhere], but being ‘centrally located in the middle of nowhere’ as I sometimes refer to it, positions Berlin only a few hours from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and D.C., which is pretty epic if you think about it.”
Through the Internet and social networking, word of the Small Things show reached beyond the immediate area and one artist, Brianna Pleasant, came from Towson strictly for the show. Huey was ecstatic. “Hopefully, we’ve created an ambassador that returned home with a great experience in Berlin to share with friends and family,” Huey explained. “So when they ask her ‘why in the world would you go to Berlin?’ she has a formulated response that brings both her and her friends back to future events.”
With such exciting participation and quality of work, the Small Things art show is a platform for both local artists and the community as a whole. Berlin is certainly declaring itself as a town anchored in the arts.