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Making Their Mark

These Local Artisans Apply Bold and Unique Styles to Familiar Media

The southwest region of Ohio may not be internationally known for arts and culture, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of it. I didn’t have to look far to find three local artists who work in three very different media; and I found that their passion, coupled with a style all their own, makes for some truly beautiful work. My favorite part of meeting these artists was learning how they each take familiar media—wood, pastels and photography—and put their own unique mark on them.

Matt Spitz

WOOD

A former two-time All-American football player at Capital University and 2018 inductee into its Athletics Hall of Fame, Matt Spitz is now the founder, owner and primary builder for The Matthew Tamerisk Collection. For over 10 years, he has evolved as a woodworker, craftsman and functional artist. He has had the privilege to custom build projects for Ohio Wesleyan University, Old Scratch Pizza, Warped Wing Brewing Company and more, as well as several custom residential pieces in the Dayton area.

“When I set out to craft the next piece of The Matthew Tamerisk Collection, my ‘why’ kicks into overdrive,” Spitz said. “I think about how this piece of furniture will help the client elevate their favorite space. I think about how this piece will help our client to cultivate relationships, how businesses or communities will grow closer together because of the bonds that will form around our tables. The same goes for the next generation that will be ushered into the world, gathering for meals, holidays and family celebrations.”

Spitz lives in Springboro with his wife, Kara, two children, Elsie and Jackson, and their German shorthaired pointer, Belle. You can learn more about The Matthew Tamerisk Collection at www.MatthewTameriskCollection.com.
 

Roxann Patrick

PASTELS

Roxann Patrick is a self-professed animal lover, nature devotee, caffeine addict, artist and photographer. “When I was just 5 years old, I knew I wanted to be an artist,” she said. “My dad realized my passion and, when I was in grade school, gave me my first art supplies. He bought me a set of pastels, charcoal sticks and holder, and fine drawing paper.” This foundation began Patrick’s lifetime passion for creating art, which evolved into a career in graphic design and, in recent years, painting, photography and pottery. 

Patrick has used her renewed interest in working with pastels, along with graphite and colored pencils, to paint people and pet portraits. “My goal for each painting is to convey the essence of the subject’s personality and give the portrait ‘life,’” she said. Patrick typically works from photos to do her portraits. She asks her clients to provide several photos of the subject, as each photo contains unique nuances of detail that she uses to complete the piece.


 

“I begin the portrait with a light outline of the subject and then add color and depth by layering the pastels from light to dark,” she added. “I use my fingers to smudge, blend and smooth the pastels as I work. I apply the most detail to the face and around the eyes, as this is where the portrait really comes alive.” 

Roxann Patrick can be reached for inquiries via email, at Roxann@LittleDirtyBirdyFeet.com.
 

Laura James

PHOTOGRAPHY

Laura James is a homecare physical therapist with a passion for photography. “Photography for me is a tribute to life. Fresh air and sunlight on my face are the perfect muses,” she said. James became interested in photography 12 years ago and has always shot digitally; but has been honing her skills both behind the camera and on the computer, to create unique works of art. 

Recently she discovered a new technique utilizing a process called platinum palladium printing, whereby the photo paper is chemically developed with platinum and palladium in a darkroom. “The darkroom exudes a spirituality of color, smell, sound and touch that feels more personal and creates a more personal and deeper connection with my art,” James said. 

The platinum palladium process was developed in the late 1800s and requires patience and exactitude, yielding the most stable and durable prints of all photographic processes. Unlike gelatin silver prints, in which the metal is suspended above the paper, the platinum palladium deposits are absorbed in the paper. “The tonality and depth that the platinum palladium process produces are astonishing,” James said.

Although each print is a duplicate (meaning that they are created from the same negative), they are each original, due to the variances of humidity, temperature, coating technique and the age of the chemical affecting the final result. James’ work can be viewed and purchased at the Bellbrook Photo Gallery, located at 15 W. Franklin St., Bellbrook, OH 45305.

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