BY BRIAN RIGGS
Director Fort Madison Area Arts Association
FORT MADISON – Ft. Madison Area Arts Association (FMAAA) welcomes hometown artist Anthony Franklin to the feature gallery the month of May. Anthony was born and raised in Ft. Madison and specializes in graphite and charcoal mediums. A reception occurs May 7th from 5-7pm. Ft. Madison Community Hospital is the sponsor for the exhibition. FMCH is thanked for sticking with the month of May at FMAAA, as their feature show last May was pre-empted by the Covid shutdown.
Anthony was born in Ft. Madison and moved to the other side of the Mississippi when he was a toddler. He moved back to Ft. Madison as a teenager. He sites Jim Knapp as his mentor and his best art educator. He remembers that Jim taught his student many mediums. Jim had his students make charcoal sticks in high school. Anthony has an Eagle piece in the show that he made with charcoal 39 years later. He also credits John Bybee for his direction, saying that classes with him “kicked him back into realism”. Prior to this reversion Anthony had been seriously pursuing comic books. He participated in many challenges digitally, in particular the Anthro Challenge, where you had to draw animals doing human things. He was part of an on-line group called Deviant Art. He did his last comic book cover in 2013 and made a move to begin developing his “Hyperrealism” style.
Anthony explains that Hyperrealism is the ability to still read and make out details in a composition no matter what the distance. This can be seen clearly in his Avenue G piece, where you can read the business signs far into the perspective. Anthony is a history buff and will spend up to 15 hours of research on his train or Native American compositions. He loves doing the research on subject matter prior to creation. Time intensity is apparent in the pieces. The drawings can take anywhere from 20-80 hours.
He also designed the Simple Table outdoor sign and did their chalkboard for the first 9 months for the business. Another project he will showcase is the tourism coins he created for the points of interest in Ft. Madison for the tourism director. He researched the history for 9 months before creating the tourist wooden coins. 12 differing tokens were created encasing the historical memorabilia of Ft. Madison and are for sale as collectibles in the show.
The month of May also brings the return of the Member Artist Gallery to the east side while the Yart Sale winds down. Also piano lessons return with Teri Wellborn! Perhaps a return to normalcy has come upon the FMAAA, as wine and cheese return to the reception event this month. Peruse the new renovations at FMAAA gallery open Tues-Thur-Fri-Sat from 12-7pm at 825 Ave G.