April 30, 2017

So, Are You An Artist?

So, Are You An Artist?
By John R. Greenwood

Artists Matt Chinian (left) and Fred Neudoerffer (right) 
"So, are you an artist?" This was the question posed to me by, "The Artists' Space" Gallery Director Fred Neudoerffer one evening at the Spring Pop-Up Art Show at the National Bottle Museum in Ballston Spa. 

"No," I said, "But I do support them." 

On this night I had come to support and say hello to painter Matt Chinian. Matt is an artist who lives in Cambridge, NY. We met in August of 2015 when I visited his gallery during the Cambridge Valley Fine Arts Tour. We finally had another chance to sit down and talk last year when I went to his home to purchase two of his paintings. We became friends on Facebook and when I saw he was going to be one of the featured artists at the Pop-up Art Show just a few miles away, I wanted to stop in, shake hands, and say hello. After speaking with Matt for a few minutes, Fred Neudoerffer, the gallery's director, came over and introduced himself. Fred is not only the Artists' Space director, but as I would discover when I got home and had a chance to look up his webpage, an extremely talented, and experienced photographer. It was after Fred first introduced himself that he asked me if I was an artist.

The Jan Rutland Memorial Artists' Space is located on the second floor of the           National Bottle Museum

I admire, respect, and appreciate artists and their craft no matter what form it takes. I am mostly drawn to their passion to create. Matt Chinian and and others like him have no shut-off switch. They can't fathom a day without art in their life. Whether it's creating it, savoring it, or supporting other artists, they must nurture their mind and spirit by engaging that internal drive. I too have this insatiable need to be in, "art" search mode. Whether it's something shiny, or black and white, crafted from barn boards, or baked in a kiln, I'm drawn to it like a big fat moth to a backdoor light on a hot July night. 

The internet has opened up the world to anyone with a creative bone in their body. I can exhaust myself watching videos by artists and craftsmen. What is clear in the end, is that watching is not doing. If you want a drink from the well, you have to roll up your sleeves and start cranking. Your thirst won't be quenched by staring at the ripples below.  

It is easy to get caught up in the spirit of being an artist. I become so engrossed in looking at and enjoying the work of others that I wander off my own path and have a hard time finding my way back. You can't master a skill watching. It takes practice and hard work. I admire those who stay the course and won't be deterred by roadblocks. Often a person creates by instinct and passion not knowing the joy they may be providing others. My goal, and my own joy in life, and in this blog, is to mine those precious snippets of artistry and place them in my ever growing bag of life-treasures. 

"Beautiful History" 

There is a wonderful place less than ten miles from my home called the National Bottle Museum. It is located at 76 Milton Ave in Ballston Spa. I have been passing by it for years yet never took the time to find a parking spot and venture in. Tonight was different. The visit was short but rewarding. I will return soon. You should too. Treat your appetite for history and art. Make it a point to visit one of Ballston Spa's main street treasures. I'm glad I finally did! 

National Bottle Museum T-Shirt


  1. Those bottles are gorgeous. I love walking small historic towns and wandering through the art and craft stores. My husband tries to keep me moving :)

  2. My father and I discovered an old bottle dump one day when we were hunting back in the 70's. We dug hundreds of vintage medicine, and spring water bottles out of there. The area is now the site of a rock quarry. At the time we had no idea that was coming. All those bottles we dug would have been unknowingly destroyed. This museum has many examples of ones we found.