Photos by Christopher Winston
By Heather Regula, Correspondent
The Artist 2 Artist Showcase took place at In The Mood Ballroom in downtown Temple, from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturday, February 3.
“I’ve never had an art show here, so this is a new experience for me,” said Karen Keith, owner of In The Mood Ballroom.
This event, organized by local photographer JohnJohn Montelongo, featured 22 artists, six vendors, and a fashion show. Sammy Fox was the night’s Master of Ceremonies and DJ Big Ant, of Rockdale, filled the air with music.
“In The Mood Ballroom is a fantastic venue for the Artist 2 Artist Showcase and the turnout has been incredible. We were anticipating at least 250, but a total of 315 people came through the doors tonight,” explained Montelongo. “Our artists had a successful event – 90 percent of the participating artists sold at least three of their pieces, including a couple of high-end priced original works.”
Johnny Huang and Kristen Whetstone manned the Comic-Con table at the Artist 2 Artist Showcase.
“We’re here to support and encourage local artists, and to get the word out about this year’s Bell County Comic Con, scheduled for August 4-5. We learned a lot during last year’s Comic-Con and this year; things will run smoother. The Artist 2 Artist Showcase is a great networking opportunity,” said Huang.
Phillip Salazar, a Temple-based artist at Comic-Con last year, plans to be at the 2018 Bell County Comic Con. The mainly self-taught artist has a unique approach to art as he blends two concepts into one piece of art.
“I’ve been doing shows for the last 5-6 years, and I’m honored to be part of this Artist 2 Artist Showcase. I took art classes in high school and realized that it’s challenging, in a class full of students, to get individualized instruction. After graduation, I went to art school for about a year and encountered the same difficulties – I was one of many art students, and I didn’t stay in school for long due to the lack of individualized instruction,” explained Salazar. “I left school and started teaching myself. I love art, and I love cars – and I love putting the two of them together.”
Vendors enjoyed being a part of the Artist 2 Artist Showcase as much as the artists did. Kancy Degrate, the owner of Fancy Kancy, had some of her original tee-shirts for sale Saturday.
“I love being able to showcase my personality through the style of my shirts. A lot of shirts that I design have a self-love message – we are in the midst of an era of bullying, cyberbullying even – and people spend needless time comparing themselves to others… the message of self-love is so important,” stated Degrate.
Art enthusiasts enjoyed mingling with the local talent. Coyo Hudson attended Saturday’s Artist 2 Artist Showcase.
“I’ve never been to an event like this – I love seeing all the local talent. I had no idea how many talented people there are in this area! My friends invited me to come with them tonight, and I am glad they did- it’s great that Temple is expanding its’ outlook and trying to be more of a metropolitan area. It’s so nice to see be able to appreciate the arts in downtown Temple,” said Hudson.”
Local artist Jessica Jarolik brings a unique touch to her work as she makes the frames by hand, and even stretches the canvas herself.
“This crowd is amazing – I love watching people experience the different types of art,” remarked Jarolik.
The next Artist 2 Artist Showcase will be at Picker’s Paradise in Crawford, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., on Saturday, March 10.