IN the Spotlight: Oddball Art Hall
Avant-garde breaks new ground at Oddity Bar’s unusual monthly art exhibitions, held this month on July 20!
During the third Friday of each month, things get particularly weird at 500 Greenhill Ave.
Oddity Bar, an already offbeat Wilmington pub, manifests its eccentricities with an emporium of strange delights, where there’s just one rule: to celebrate the atypical without restraint.
The monthly event, Oddball Art Hall, is an art exhibition free to attend, featuring works for sale by local creatives with an inclination toward the bizarre. You won’t find landscape oil paintings for sale here — unless phantom-like apparitions punctuate the rolling hills. Depending on the month, you may come across décor items like lamps and wall mounts that function as gorgeous accents for anyone who prefers decorating a home with animal skeletons.
If buyers are looking for unusual, handmade art including books, comics, jewelry, digital art and sketches, look no further.
The next installment on Friday, July 20, indicates that Delaware’s avant-garde are nowhere close to running out of weirdness. The exhibit includes artists whose pieces will be available for purchase, a DJ spinning vinyl and a model known simply as Charme. Guests are encouraged to paint or draw her portrait throughout the evening; anyone is invited to participate.
Featured artists include Julia Jay Hardman, Sean Flynn, Kelly Murray, Dennis Smith Jr., Clay Appleby and Frank Zhang. Hardman, a Delaware illustrator, has participated in the Delaware Fun-A-Day project in which artists pick a theme and create a work of art each day during the month of March. Her abstract work can be found on Instagram at @juliajayhardman. Artist Sean Flynn is known for the eclectic murals he painted at nearby barcade 1984.
Included in the lineup are Pat Higgins and Kristen Margiotta, both illustrators and hosts of Oddball Art Hall since its founding in 2014, when Oddity Bar co-owner Pat McCutcheon approached the two friends. He suggested launching an art night, and soon the circus began.
“It’s not your normal art,” says Higgins. “Anything goes. Everyone who participates has their own odd take on art.” Higgins and Margiotta have been solid fixtures in the scene for more than a decade.
Higgins, inspired by cartoons, comics, sci-fi and horror, recently illustrated beer labels and packaging for Abita Brewing Company in Covington, La. He recently released two comic books The Android’s Bewildering Conflict and Elroy’s Big Adventure, as well as a brand new comic book font called PH Sequential, all available on pat-higgins.com.
Margiotta, a painter and art instructor in addition to illustrator, is regularly featured during Wilmington’s monthly Art on the Town, at Talleyville Frame Shoppe and Gallery and more. She teaches at Center for the Creative Arts in Hockessin, too, and has the largest number of private visual art lesson students in the area. Her work is available here: kristenmargiotta.com.
“For me, teaching art and being an artist couldn't exist one without the other,” says Margiotta. “My goal as an instructor is to get students to see and think differently. I live and breathe art, and my students are not shy to ask me questions about it.”
This past spring, Margiotta participated in Delaware Fun-a-Day by painting 18 alla prima portraits. In Italian, that means completing a painting in one sitting. The portraits will be on display Sept. 14 at RH Gallery in Hockessin. She’ll also live-paint at the Philadelphia Oddities Expo on Nov. 3.
Margiotta points back to Oddball Art Hall as a source of constant motivation.
“We all inspire each other,” says Margiotta. “It has been the catalyst that has helped to forge so many relationships in the area. Delaware is full of talent, and this unique event has been a way to get artists of different levels out there more.”
“Expect a fun night,” he says. “Some people like to watch everybody draw and paint, some people like to browse the art, some people like to come and talk to friends.”
Mainly, he says, everybody likes to be an oddball.
For more information, go to facebook.com/oddballarthall. The event is from 8 p.m.-1 a.m.
Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment