This is a reprint of the article that was originally published in The Chickasha Leader. Â Reprinted with permission.
Local Man Webcasts Art Classes
By KAREN BRADY
“We have a college in Chickasha with an art department, but Chickasha isn’t an art community,” he said.
Manning is one of the featured artists whose work will be on display in the lobby at the 2012 RIAF Movin’ to the Arts fundraiser gala which will be held Saturday, April 28 in the ballroom on the USAO campus. Tickets for the event are $25 and may be purchased at Jay’s Jewelry until Saturday, April 21.
Manning is doing his part to help bring more art to Chickasha on what he calls his “Blunt force journey through the art world.” He is on the board of directors for the Chickasha Area Arts Council and he is actively working on his own art gallery at 6th and Illinois Ave.
But it’s going to take a lot of work.
Vacant for 15 years, the 100-year-old building, which has been home to a number of businesses, including a grocery store, leather shop and a pawn shop, was in poor condition when Manning and his wife Melissa purchased it in 2009.
“The building was in bad shape and the roof was caved in,” Manning said.
Manning has already done a lot of work on the old building, and every time he can scrape up $200 or so, it goes into the gallery. But there’s still a long way to go.
A visionary, Manning can see past the cracked plaster and chipped concrete and sees instead, the Oasis Gallery, complete with art on the walls, beautifully stained concrete floors, a new front porch and balcony, outside seating areas and studio spaces upstairs for local artists to come and paint or sculpt to their heart’s content.
He also envisions black tie art openings with a string quartet playing in the tea garden outside the building.
In the meantime, however, Manning, also known as “Blade,” works at the Oasis Gallery performing live webcasts on USTREAM (www.ustream.tv/) giving art lessons every Tuesday evening from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and presenting “The Artistic Biker Live”
(http://oasisgalleryOK.com) program Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“In the art class, I actually teach basic art concepts, all on an introductory level,” Manning said. “Each is a stand alone class and I teach how to shade a sphere, or how to paint in perspective; each class is different.”
The webcasts are free and remain available for free for two weeks after they are broadcast. After that, they may be purchased for $5.
“The Artistic Biker Live” is not a teaching program, but is a webcast with a live audience who can and do give Manning live feedback from all over the world.
“We paint and tell stories about all the craziness going on and we encourage people to pick up a pen or a pencil and try to do something,” Manning said.
Once repairs to the building are complete, Manning wants to open the Oasis Gallery up to the public.
“They can buy a low cost membership and we can rent space out to artists to come and show their stuff,” he said.
Manning has in mind offering the young budding artists who attend the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s art classes and the people who paint at home for their own enjoyment, an opportunity to show their work in a real gallery setting.
“We could hang their work in a gallery just like in a gallery in downtown New York,” he said. “With wine and cheese, black ties and a string quartet in the tea garden. We could do that about four times a year.”
In addition, Manning wants to bring in artists from around the world to show their work and speak at the gallery.
“Midnight at Oasis”
Another activity at the Oasis Gallery is “Midnight at Oasis” where Manning and his artistic friends gather to paint or draw, listen to music, munch on snacks and drink coffee laced with rum, Kraken being the current favorite.
“We all put in a topic for discussion and vote on the most interesting one,” Manning said. “Sometimes it’s a one-on-one discussion, sometimes it’s a group round table discussion. It can be about anything in the world as long as we can relate it back to creativity. People try to pigeonhole artists into talking only about their art, but artists are whole people.”
Although Manning, 41, has been drawing and sketching all of his life, there was a time when he was 12 years old that a family member told him he wasn’t very good at it.
“I didn’t pick it up again for 20 years,” Manning said. “I became a closet sketcher. I’d buy a sketch book, draw and put it away thinking ‘no one wants to see this.’Â Then my grandfather died and I realized how short life is and I started drawing again.”
Manning said when he began drawing and painting again, he found out he was “pretty good at it.”
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I practice every day so I can develop my style.”
One way Manning practices his art, and encourages others to do the same, is his “100 Days of Art” program in which he takes a sketch book and draws five minutes a day for 100 days.
“Whether you draw, paint or write, whatever you want to do, do it five minutes a day and you will improve,” Manning said. “You’re not doing it to show anybody else, you’re doing it for practice; and you will get better at it. Whether it’s nudes, faces, hands, feet or perspectives for landscapes, you can’t worry about what it is.”
In May, Manning is planning a fundraiser hot dog cookout at Oasis Studios & Gallery, with live music, artist demonstrations and art classes.
You may join artisticbiker.com for $10 a month, to receive unlimited access to all downloads and art classes. Plus, if you are listed as a friend of the studio, you will also receive a subscription to the newsletter. You may also make donations at artisticbiker.com.
For more information, contact Manning at jmanning@oasisgalleryOK.com.
Oasis Studios & Gallery is located at 327 N. 6th Street in Chickasha.