Ocean Galleries is delighted to welcome back rock ‘n roll legend, photographer, and painter Graham Nash as he brings his latest collection of artwork to the Stone Harbor gallery.
Nash was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – once with Crosby, Stills & Nash and once with The Hollies. He has also been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame twice – both as a solo artist and with Crosby, Stills & Nash. In 2010, he was named Officer of the British Empire (OBE). His company’s original IRIS 3047 digital printer is now housed in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of his revolutionary accomplishments in the fine arts and digital printing world.
Born in the coastal town of Blackpool, England, and raised in Salford, near Manchester, Nash was drawn to photography at a young age by his father, an amateur photographer. Taking pictures of his family at age 11 proved life changing for Graham. Those early days behind the camera were an integral part of Nash’s artistic development. “That formative experience behind the lens teaches you to see in a particular way,” explains Nash. “It teaches you to think about composition, framing, and light. Truly what it has taught me has never left me to this day.”
Last summer, the founding member of The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash offered a glimpse at another artistic passion, debuting his never before seen artwork at Ocean Galleries. The multi-talented artist describes his artwork as the manifestation of his love for music and art over the past 50 years. In fact, Nash feels that his music and artwork share a strong correlation. “I don’t see any difference between taking an image and composing music…Much like any piece of art, writing a song starts with wanting to say something. With songwriting, you aim to express an experience. That is what I do with every piece of my art,” he explains.
In his early teens, he decided that music was his calling, which led him down an award-winning career path. Currently on the Crosby Stills & Nash 2013 World Tour, Graham’s jam packed schedule and jet setting has done little to hinder his artistic urges. “I honestly want to create every single day,” he asserts. After meeting the time demands of his whirlwind music career, “I want to utilize whatever time I have left in the best possible way,” he states.
“We are thrilled to have Graham Nash back at the gallery,” commented Kim Miller, owner of Ocean Galleries. “Last summer’s debut of his artwork was incredibly well-received and the new art is every bit as spectacular. Although Graham has been painting and creating artwork for many years, he kept the pieces for his own pleasure and never shared them with the public until last year. It is amazing that such a humble man could be blessed with a multitude of artistic talent. We are very proud to have played a small part in convincing Graham to share his art with the world and can’t wait to share his new collection.”
Graham expresses similar excitement about his return to Ocean Galleries and sharing this highly personal exhibition with anxious Cape May County fans. Prior to his premiere public exhibition last summer, Graham Nash had never visited Stone Harbor or the surrounding area. “I really found it to be a delightful community,” he states passionately. He is wholeheartedly pleased with his decision to embark upon what he has described as an entirely new journey with the able assistance of Ocean Galleries. “I’m new to this business we call the ‘art business’. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know if yellow goes next to purple,” he jokes. “I’m just having a great time.” His 2012 debut exhibition and the upcoming “Graham Nash: The Art of Visual Harmony” have been much appreciated opportunities for Graham “to test the waters”.
The “Graham Nash: The Art of Visual Harmony” exhibition will include nearly 100 of the artist’s exquisite paintings, pastels, and artistically enhanced photographs. Nash’s artwork incorporates a variety of techniques, many of them a natural evolution of his experimentation with photography. Several of his pieces incorporate block print or newsprint, mixed with photography, each piece more unique than the next. Most of the artwork tells a memorable story about occasions in Nash’s life; hearing the artist share his recollections and inspirations is arguably as special as the artwork itself.
“My artwork is a manifestation of whatever I feel that day,” he states. “For me, creating is a process of getting something out of myself that needs to be out there.” Because his range of subjects and materials used remains wide and varied, Graham finds it difficult to singularly define his artistic “style”. “My artwork will always be a marriage of everything that goes on in my life,” he explains. “My life is totally crazy, and I am very grateful for that. Yet for that reason, I’m not yet sure that I have a style. I’m not sure that when someone comes across one of my pieces twenty years from now, they will be able to say, ‘Yes, that’s a Nash’.”
Yet one particular piece of the upcoming Ocean Galleries exhibition can be, without a doubt, easily identified as “a Nash” original. A self-portrait taken in 1973, the photo depicts Nash shooting an image of himself in the reflection of a mirror. Nash feels an especially profound connection to this image as it will run as the cover of his autobiography titled “Wild Tales” coming out this September.
Over his history-making life ensconced in the music industry, Nash has captured many memorable occasions and special moments with photographs. The compilation of these poignant artistic records has led to the creation of “Love, Graham Nash” – a handmade fine press book that is a sublime celebration of the artist’s photography, music, and life. The collection focuses on the 1960s and 1970s, a period that Nash’s era-defining artistry helped shape. Portraying friends, family, and fellow musicians, they capture the essence of a momentous time in American culture. The collection includes Nash’s photos of band mates, other famous singers from Johnny Cash to Joni Mitchell, and handwritten notes of lyrics that are now second hand to generations of fans. A few copies of the coveted book, which was released as a limited edition keepsake (80 copies), will be available for purchase during the exhibition.
“Graham Nash: The Art of Visual Harmony” opens Thursday, July 25, 2013 and runs through Sunday, August 4, 2013. Nash will be at the gallery to sign purchased artwork from 7 PM until 10 PM on Saturday, July 27. Graham anxiously awaits his second ever Ocean Galleries appearance. “I hope the Ocean Galleries audience does enjoy the exhibition as much as they did last time,” finishes Graham. “With my work, I like touching people’s hearts. I like opening people’s minds,” states this living legend. “The Art of Visual Harmony” promises to do just that.
By Megan Kummer