TAYLORVILLE — Donald Gruber, a native of Decatur, is a Viet Nam era Air Force veteran with a thirty-year career teaching art at the middle school level. He was the Illinois Middle/Junior High School Art Educator of the Year for 1996 and has worked with Dick Blick Art Materials and Amaco (American Art Clay Company) as educational consultant and workshop development manager. Gruber is just one of the 34 artists who will be displaying pieces such as the one pictured at the Art on the Square art fair event on June 1st. Submitted photo
Dave Hixenbaugh Breeze-Courier guest writer
TAYLORVILLE — The Taylorville Area Arts Council will be hosting the thirteenth annual Art on the Square event Saturday, June 1, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Christian County Courthouse lawn. This annual event brings together local and area artists to display and offer original works of art to local art enthusiasts and community members. Artist will be showing their work in many mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry, pottery, mixed-media, paper and woodturning. In addition to the display of a variety of art work, a children’s area is being planned that will allow children to create art and participate in an assortment of entertaining activities. Musical entertainment will be performed throughout the day by area musicians.
Each year the arts council encourages area artist to submit an application to be considered to show their work at the art fair. This year there will be twelve new artists displaying their work. One of those is Donald Gruber from Clinton, Illinois.
Donald Gruber is a Vietnam era Air Force veteran with a thirty-year career teaching art at the middle school level. He was born in Decatur, IL, graduated from Millikin University, the University of Illinois, and Illinois State University. He holds a doctorate in education and has been semi-retired since 2004. He was the Illinois Middle/Junior High School Art Educator of the Year for 1996. He has worked with Dick Blick Art Materials and Amaco (American Art Clay Company) as educational consultant and workshop development manager.
Gruber has received numerous awards for his work including Best of Show for the October International Exhibit, 2010. He officially began his art career in high school when one of his block prints won a national competition and was displayed at McCormick Place in Chicago. His background includes stints as an Air Force photographer, TV art director, industrial training supervisor, sign company art director, sign painter, commercial artist, graphic designer, and now, since retirement, professional artist. He operates out of his Moon Dog Studio in Clinton, IL. When not creating art he writes and currently has two published thrillers available on www.smashwords.com. For fun, he is a licensed private pilot and rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Although he works in nearly every media, he currently prefers acrylic painting and what are called “paper cuts”, images cut from black paper. Sounds simple but “It takes some planning because the images are cut in reverse on the back of the paper,” he explains. The stark black and white images are all cut from a single piece of paper and are reminiscent of the art deco design movement in their style. His color-filled acrylic paintings reveal a Hispanic influence, which he freely admits to.
“I have developed a personal iconography that shows up in nearly every one of my works whether a painting or a paper cut,” he explained. These include images of spacemen, tree houses, airplanes, flying saucers, speeding steam locomotives, skyscrapers, people and a dog he calls “Dog Zilla.” His artist’s statement explains the philosophy behind his art: “My images express my view of the world as it presents itself to me. In my work, my attempt is to portray the humor, absurdities, and insecurities found among the chaos and confusion that defines modern life.”
Donald Gruber is just one of the thirty-four artists who will be displaying their work at the Art of the Square art fair, Saturday, June 1, 2013. For information about the art fair, contact the Taylorville Area Arts Council at 823-2664.