GRAFTON— As Gallery 62 West gears up for their July showcase, they are calling on not only art lovers but motorcycle enthusiasts, as well.
According to Taylor County Arts Council (TCAC) member Vicki Aucremanne, the upcoming exhibit entitled “Bikes and Ink” will showcase the work of the late John Panek, an artist who grew to love motorcycles later in his life and used them as inspiration for his art.
“Whether you ride, enjoy watching races or just love the beauty and sounds of a custom-built bike, the month of July is yours,” she exclaimed.
Panek was a resident of Shinnston, WV, was an accomplished painter whose preferred medium was colored pencil, but also enjoyed working with oils and watercolors.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1940, he went on to graduate from Arlington Heights High School just outside of Chicago in 1958, and his passion for the arts led him to earn a fine arts degree from the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
It was after Panek received his degree that his love for motor bikes began to grow. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he spent time flat track racing in the Midwest, and rode Triumph and BSA motorcycles including a Gold Star and later became the owner of his own 1960 BSA Gold Star racing motorcycle.
And in 2008, his love of motorcycles led him to work with Tom McKee's Vintage Motorcycle show, which was featured as part of Morgantown's Mountain Fest.
As a man of many talents, throughout his life, Panek worked in the printing industry, utilizing 4-color processing and silk screen printing, built muzzle loading rifles and belonged to the Northwest Territory Alliance, a Revolutionary War living history reenactment group.
For some locals, the name may sound familiar.
“Some may remember that his work was an integral part of our July 2019 "Art of the Ride" show. We are honored to be showing John’s work again,” Aucremanne expressed.
And in conjunction with the display of Panek’s brilliant works of art, the Gallery will also be exhibiting photos of a type of art that is often time overlooked: tattoos.
“While the biker scene is rich with amazing tattoos, skin art is popular everywhere, and we will be featuring posters from an article in NextLuxery, entitled ‘The Top 73 Biker Tattoos Ideas,’” revealed Aucremanne.
The show will open on Friday, July 2, during regular gallery hours, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and will also be open for public viewing that evening for the town’s First Friday event.
“As an old classic rock song from the late 60's said – ‘get yer motors running',and then head to the Gallery 62 West on July 2,” she encouraged.
In addition to hosting this unique show, Gallery 62 West will also be hosting family fun for all with a special patriotic windsock class for children that is set for 4:00 p.m. on Friday, and then will be teaching folks the art of tie dying beginning at 6:00 p.m. There is a cost of $20 associated with the tie dying course and pre-registration is required.
As a reminder, Aucremanne shared that the gallery will be closed on Sunday, July 4, in honor of Independence Day.
With a full schedule of events and more on the horizon, the arts continue to be alive and well in Grafton and are sure to be celebrated for years to come, with the groundwork that is being laid by the dedicated current members of the TCAC.