“Provoking a Response”
© East Liverpool Review, Sunday, June 17, 2012. Used with permission.
By STEPHEN HUBA
EAST LIVERPOOL —
Craig Wetzel’s place is hard to find — and it’s probably just as well. He’s an artist, after all, and artists are supposed to be hard to figure out. If the artist’s ways are inscrutable, why should getting to his house be any easier?
When Wetzel gets visitors, he usually has to “talk them in” on their cell phone and take them down the brick alley behind his house. He hasn’t used the street out front in years.
And so it is with art — the obvious way is often the least rewarding.
“For me, a painting is only interesting if there is something left unspoken,” Wetzel said. “Ambiguity, mystery, insinuation — it doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t convey an obvious conclusion. I want people to see a painting and think, or wonder.”
Wetzel, 47, has been provoking a response from people with his art for decades now. A 1982 graduate of Beaver Local High School, he started to get serious about his art around 1985. For years, he played the part of the struggling artist. It’s only been more recently that he’s been able to make a living from his art.
“I definitely would not recommend it as a career choice,” he said in a recent interview. “For those years, it’s been nothing but a struggle. My wife has been my enabler for a good many years.”
Locally, Wetzel is known for his public murals at places such as Nentwick Convalescent Home and the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, but they’re far outnumbered by his private commissions. Wetzel figures he’s done more than 100 private commissions — everything from large murals to small portraits. Read the rest of this page »