by Debbonnaire Kovacs
by Debbonnaire Kovacs
submitted January 9, 2014
Perhaps it’s a statement that could be made of many, if not most artists, but Greg Constantine definitely has a quirky sense of the world. He also has an eclectic taste in art, having experimented with an amazing variety of techniques and subjects during his decades as a working artist. You can read about some of his wide array of works on his website at https://www.andrews.edu/~gregcons/pages/career-narrative.html. You can also see samples of quite a few of them.
By his own account, Constantine has been teaching “painting, drawing, and art history at Andrews University for forty-three years while conducting sixteen art history summer sessions for students in Europe. As my exhibition record reveals, I began exhibiting nationally in 1969, and since 1975, numerous one man shows including seventeen in New York City that have dealt with Art about Art.”
He has become quite well-known over those years, his work being displayed all over the US and Europe.
He first came to our ears at Adventist Today because of an innovative exhibit that ran from October 10 to December 15, 2013, at the John C. Williams Art Gallery at Southern Adventist University. This exhibit was based on three books Constantine wrote during 2009-10, imagining the childhoods of well-known artists from Leonardo da Vinci to Andy Warhol. As Constantine describes it, he studied actual biographical information about the artists, then imagined not only how these events affected their childhoods, but how they might have affected the art produced when they grew up. The books are called When Big Artists Were Little Kids, When MORE Big Artists Were Little Kids, and When Big Architects Were Little Kids.
“On the left side of the spread,” explains Constantine, “the book reveals an incident from the artist's childhood, and on the facing page it shows how that may have influenced their adult work. It helps to be somewhat informed about what the artist ultimately achieved, and if not, one will learn even if one doesn't realize it.”
At Southern’s gallery, the art from these books was on display, and Southern invited 40 schools in the vicinity to come to the exhibit. They were hoping to inspire young people to see that their childhoods could be used as inspiration for their futures, whether those futures included art or not. (After all, most kids are artists until they’re told they aren’t!)
"I enjoy Greg’s sense of humor about art," said Giselle Hasel, gallery coordinator and assistant professor for the School of Visual Art and Design. "Our childhood memories are important in forming the people we become. In a college setting where we are all busy ‘growing up’ and making a career for ourselves, it is important to consider that we all have been children once. The games we played and memories we formed became the dreams we attempt to accomplish today." [https://www1.southern.edu/news/10-23-2013-constantine-art.html]
[Note: I am attempting to contact Southern to see how the exhibit went. Watch for more details later.]