By Bonnie Gangelhoff
What inspired your winning entry? The light inspired it. It came about the way most of my paintings usually do. My camera is my sketchbook. I frequently walk around town looking for striking images. This one is near my home in downtown Durham. It’s a train overpass, and the way the light struck it made a terrific composition.
Do you come from an artistic background? Not really. I have a blue-collar background. My dad is a machinist—but he is an artist in the machine shop.
Where did you study art? I was trained as a draftsman at the Worcester Boys Trade High School in Worcester, MA. I learned how to draw with a T-square and triangles. I had always wanted to paint, but I was scared away from art school because I couldn’t afford it. I remember bringing catalogs for the Rhode Island School of Design and California Institute of the Arts to my guidance counselor, and I never saw them again. Instead he got me a job at a gallery with motel/hotel art. But after a couple of years I learned how to stretch canvases and mix paints. I bought supplies and started working. The thing that really launched me into art was a book I found at the public library—Photorealism by Louis K. Meisel.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? These days it’s city scenes, because that’s where I live, and that’s where we interact with each other in a manmade environment.
What is the best advice you have ever received? If you want something done right, do it yourself.
What is the one thing people will never see you paint? Pets. I’m not interested.
Future goals? To continue painting full time and get gallery representation.
Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010