Clark will showcase pieces at Buchanan Center

Robert Blackford/Editor
This piece by Michael Clark of Walt Whitman will be on display at the Buchanan Center for the Arts from Feb. 28 to March 28.

Aledo Artist Michael Clark will showcase his talents with an exhibit at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth from Feb. 28 to March 28. Clark plans to exhibit about 50 pieces of art at the gallery. Clark will be available to meet with the public Feb. 27 from 5-7 p.m. at the gallery at a special “meet the artist” event.

Clark said about a year and a half ago he approached Mike DeFuccia, the Buchanan Director for the Arts, about the possibility of having a show there. Clark is originally from Monmouth.

Clark has painted two large murals in Monmouth, one on the side of Vaughn’s Jewelers and another across Main Street with a Monmouth College theme.

DeFuccia agreed but told Clark the next opening wasn’t until February of 2009. DeFuccia has passed away since but in October the new director, Susan Twoomey, made a follow-up call to Clark.

Clark admits to forgetting about the show somewhere between the two contacts but will be ready Feb. 28. “The past few months I’ve put it into high gear. I’ll have the entire gallery to use. It will be somewhere close to 50 pieces. "

Clark said he would have pen and ink drawings there, pencil sketches, oil paintings and sculptures.

“I just felt it was one of those deals if I didn’t do something I might look back on it and maybe regret it,” said Clark. “I want to show people what I’m capable of doing.”

Clark added that he is still completing some of his pieces for the show. “I am not by any stretch of the imagination done.”

While several pieces will be for sale at the show, Clark knows he has four pieces that will not be for sale to the public — four pen and ink drawings of his children that he presented to each when they graduated high school.

Sign painter

 “I think a lot of people think you are a sign painter. They don’t equate that with being an artist always,” said Clark. “I want to make people aware of what I am able to do.”

Clark added, “It will be interesting. The hometown boy comes home. I was born and raised in Monmouth.”

Clark started painting signs in 1983. “I started while I was still farming,” said Clark. “Since 1993 I have been here in this building. We moved to town in 1987 and painted signs out of the garage.”

“Art always seemed to come easy for me as a kid,” said Clark. “My mom encouraged me.”

Clark was one of the first students to take four years of art in high school. Clark took two years of art at Monmouth College where he majored in biology and minored in art. He transferred to Illinois State where he dropped the art and got a degree in animal science.

“I wanted to be a vet,” said Clark. “My dad was a vet.”

Clark is well known for his signs in Aledo. His work is visible in the city as well as other spots in the county.

Clark said he started a career in art because of J.W. Dellitt. “I blame everything on him,” joked Clark.

“It’s tough to be a full time artist. I found out that it was best to express my art through signage.”

Clark said his art is “something a little bit different.”  Instead of painting the car he will paint the grill of the car.

Clark is collecting pieces in his office to display at the showing. “This is Ronn Dillavou’s tractor. Here is a junk car from Delouth Auto Parts. Here is a barn on U.S. 67.”

It’s like a trip around Mercer County.

The pieces that stand out may be the sculptures, which include the head of Walt Whitman and two abstract pieces “Corn” and “Pulled Opposite directions.”

Clark said he is not nervous about the showing but added, “it’s just all the other things I have to do.”