By Deana Meredith
What does an artist do when his collection of artwork is nearly 3,000 miles away and he’s got a solo exhibit coming up in a matter of weeks?
Well, for one 1993 Louisa County High School graduate, that means it’s time to get to work in his Virginia studio.
At the end of last week, Monty Montgomery could be found in the basement of the home of his parents, Steve and Dianne Montgomery of Holly Grove, putting the finishing touches on the art he will exhibit.
Montgomery is painting 10 abstract geometric pieces that he’s created especially for his exhibit, titled “[dih-vurt”], at Kardinal Hall in Charlottesville on Friday, April 7. The pieces will be available to purchase during the show.
It’s been a whirlwind year for Montgomery, who has been on the road since September when he left his San Diego home and drove across the country to meet with various clients.
Halfway across the country, he picked his parents up in Oklahoma City, where they flew in to meet him, and they enjoyed a two-week family vacation that took them to numerous state parks on their way back to the East Coast.
When he reached Virginia, he began working on the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, of which he’s a member of the board. The event drew 6,000 children to Longwood University, Montgomery’s alma mater, where it is held.
For the festival, Montgomery worked with Todd Parr, a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator. Montgomery drew a mural in his own style, and drew in characters from Parr’s book, “Be who you are.” Nearly 400 kids helped work on the mural together.
“We finished it,” Montgomery said. “I am installing it permanently in two weeks at the Children’s Hospital in Richmond.”
Although the mural was completed in October, the artist’s schedule has been extremely busy and he had not had the opportunity to get it installed at the hospital.
After the festival, he fulfilled multiple projects along the East Coast and participated in various exhibits before heading to Costa Rica to New Summit, a boys’ boarding school.
This was Montgomery’s second year visiting the school and donating his talents. Last year, he painted a geometric mural in the mathematics room, this year he did a mural in a three-wall music room.
After Costa Rica, he was in Orlando at a collaborative exhibit, “Kaleidoskull,” with Tony Philippou at Redefine Art Gallery. While there, he ordered the supplies he’d need to prepare for his Charlottesville exhibit. He had everything delivered to his Virginia studio.
“I’m working on these literally as we speak,” Montgomery said on Friday. “It’s going to be fun.”
Along with the 10 new pieces, part of the exhibit will incorporate others that he’s completed to show a progression of his work over the years. He keeps a few pieces from other series’ he’s done at the Virginia studio.
“There will be a couple of old school paintings in there that are or may not be on sale,” Montgomery teased. “I would love to share it with family, friends and anyone from Louisa who can make it.”
After the exhibit in Charlottesville on Friday, he will soon head back to San Diego to work on the Rabbitville installation project in downtown San Diego. The project involves various artists, including Montgomery, who have been invited to paint rabbit sculptures to be displayed throughout the area’s historic gaslamp quarter.
Then after a bit more painting in his San Diego studio, Montgomery will jet off to an exhibit in Whistler, British Columbia, then it’s off to Nashville in July where he will paint a mural on the wall of a place country artist Dierks Bentley is opening on Honky Tonk Row. Joining him on that mural is Jason Feather, with whom he creates murals all over the world as part of a duo known as “Kreashun.”
Montgomery admits that he truly loves what he does every day. His enthusiasm boils over when talks about all the projects that he is involved in.
“I hate going to sleep and I can’t wait to wake up,” he said. “That’s just how I feel. And art is definitely my life.”
He has genuinely enjoyed being back home in Virginia, where he paints in his basement studio or on the back patio of his parents’ home. The bonus, he said, is that he gets to see his parents, friends from high school and college, and teachers.
“The older I get and the busier I get, it’s more precious being here,” he said. “I want to keep working harder to keep it unfolding.”
And he’s really excited about Friday night’s solo exhibit, where he hopes to see all his old friends stop by to visit. The exhibit is from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kardinal Hall, located at 722 Preston Ave., Suite 101, in Charlottesville.
“It’s going to be one of those venues where the energy is awesome!” Montgomery said.
To view his work, visit www.montymontgomeryart.com [website address has been corrected since earlier post]