Who: Robert Genn
When: Wednesday, Aug. 8, noon
Where: Pemberton Valley Vineyard Restaurant
Admission: $30, includes lunch
When artist Robert Genn first started publishing an artist newsletter he was worried he might run out of things to write about.
Almost a decade later, artists from all over the world now look for his bi-weekly newsletter sent to their in-box every Tuesday and Friday, and his website — painterskeys.com — now logs in five to 10 new subscribers every hour. More than 242,000 members have signed on to a backstage look at artist survival 101.
“I used to be on a lot of theatre boards,” said Genn who sat on the board of the Emily Carr Institute for numerous years. “I really didn’t like the idea of doing that. I like this idea of communicating by Internet and having this connectivity. It’s a brotherhood and sisterhood of artists who have the same problems, with new ones coming up all the time.”
This out of the textbook look at the artist’s way will be shared off line at a Pemberton Arts Council luncheon hosted on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at noon at the Pemberton Valley Vineyard Restaurant.
“He really opens the world of creative art to people,” said event organizer and artist Lynn Pocklington. “He is donating his time and expertise for the event. He makes everybody get inspired and gets everyone going.”
The painter, who formally trained at the University of Victoria, University of B.C. and Art Centre School in California, and his Group-of-Seven-inspired works are coveted all over the world. In addition to being known for his West Coast and Rocky Mountains acrylic portrayals, he also authored numerous books including In Praise of Painting, The Dreamway and The Painter’s Keys , also the name of his successful, free-to-subscribe website.
“(My newsletters) are concerned with creation, inspiration and work habits of artists,” he said. “It’s information that will make the difference between the professional and the amateur.”
His newsletters and public speaking engagements cover everything from trips, such as recent adventures to the Queen Charlotte Islands, to a resource of artist quotations to help get artists’ mojo flowing, to practical break downs on health and commercial issues.
“I am trying to help people understand what they do is complex and yet beautiful and simple,” he said. “It takes a degree of audacity to pull it off and courage is important; work habits are important. I don’t really tell people how to do it. Artists are rugged individualists. They need to march to their own drum.”
March to the Genn drum at the Pemberton Arts Council fundraiser. Tickets are $30, which include the artist talk as well as a three-course lunch.
Only 30 seats are available. Register by contacting Lynn at email@example.com or 604-894-5335.