Artist Scott Niemi
By Christine R. Walsh
Niemi, an assistant art professor at Becker College, recently entered his painting “Where the Streets Have No Name” into the highly competitive 2012 Blanche Ames National Art Exhibition. The juried art show had 380 pieces submitted by 121 artists from 26 states. Only 49 pieces total, including “Where the Streets Have No Name,” were selected for this year’s exhibition.
And this honor came 20 years after the concept’s original inception.
While reviewing a portfolio of his early work, Niemi, 48, unearthed a drawing that would ultimately become very important. Using it as a starting point, he developed it into what would become the final painting.
“Although the design/structure of the initial lay-in of paint retained most of the properties of the original sketch, the painting began to evolve and go in a much different direction,” Niemi says.
“Where the Streets Have No Name” includes four main characters, each quite obviously struggling. They look beaten, trapped, defeated. Gray, non-descript buildings line the street they dwell on. The sky above them is blue, the mountains far off in the distance look clean and give hope ~ if hope is possible in this place. But as engaging and complex as the piece already was, Niemi felt something was missing.
Finally, in the early hours of a winter morning in 2012, the muse touched him.
“I quickly added what popped into my mind at that moment ~ the clown, or elf-like feet hanging down from the sky in the upper right, the nude, or semi-nude woman on the street lamp on the left, the tuxedoed man running on the right-side rooftop, and the odd, white, mask-like face in the window on the left,” Niemi says. “The addition of those 4 things gave me a good feeling about the piece and after adding them, I hit the sheets. The next morning I arose and immediately went into the studio to see if what I had done so late at night was of any value. I liked it very much.”
Acceptance into the 2012 Blanche Ames National Art Exhibition is just one of the many honors Niemi can boast about.
Niemi, who grew up in Fitchburg, has participated in many shows both on the local and national level. His work can be seen in corporate collections and in hundreds of private collections from Beverly Hills to Australia. And he never intends to stop creating.
For more information on the exhibit, go to www.friendsofborderland.org/banjae.html