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Hastings artist takes his art to the streets
One Hastings artist is not afraid to let his work take him to new places. NEWS 5's Dennis Kellogg has the story of this artist who you may have already seen on the streets of Hastings.
Michael Neary is an artist whose studio stretches as far as the eye can see. You can find him on a street corner with his paints and brush.
"It is a nutty way to paint, but it is how I decided to do it for awhile," said Neary.
Michael came to Nebraska last year from Indiana. He has had to make some adjustments — starting with his sturdy easel.
"This I call the 'Nebraskan.' I built it the second day I got here when I encountered my first 45 mile–per–hour sustained wind on site," said Neary.
His decision to set up and paint outside on the streets is not based on style, but subject. Michael said he tries to challenge himself with very down–to–earth and real scenes.
"I would say once you start looking, just about anything you are looking at becomes interesting," said Neary.
What others see, and what Michael sees and paints, though, are not always the same. Take this painting he is currently working on. Michael's focus is the three road signs off in the distance.
"Right there you have your three basic geometric forms. I thought that was kind of interesting to have them laid out there in a kind of symbolic way. I am using that as a kind of starting point of my picture," said Neary.
Most people looking down the street would not even notice those three signs with such a large windmill in the foreground.
"I think most people see what they are looking at. Right? And they do not see much else, right? If you are looking at the windmill that is what you see, but if you are looking at the signs, you do not see the windmill. Right? So the picture is not so much about what you see, but the way you see it," said Neary.
And Michael will spend weeks on this street corner trying to get the "way" he sees the scene onto his canvas. And he does not mind a bit if you watch, or talk to him, even if it slows him down a bit.
"Nah. I am out here for the long haul. If I do not get to it now, I will get to it ten minutes from now," said Neary.
Since Michael's studio is so public, as you might guess, he gets interrupted from time to time, but for him, it is all in days work.
"It is great. Part of my mission, to be out there, be accessible, learn from them. If they have got questions, you know I am happy to tell them whatever I think I know," said Neary.
And those who stop and talk with him usually are not afraid to share their thoughts either.
"One of the things I really like about this work, the way I have chosen to work, is that I meet some really nice people and I always get the history of the places, you know the buildings that I am painting," Neary said.
Michael has painted other city scenes around town, from empty fields to a grain elevator. He is on an adventure — and cannot wait to find out where his art will take him next.
"I am kind of more along for the ride than I am driving the bus now," said Neary.
And the street he is riding on, may just be one he ends up painting.
Michael and his wife will be helping with an art camp for students in Hastings this summer.
For more details — and to see more of his work — you can stop by Graham Gallery in Hastings.
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