If you’ve been stuck in traffic along Kings Highway on the way into Lewes lately, you may have noticed some colorful art displayed on a fence near Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty. These paintings are just some of the work of Lewes artist Vincent Griscavage.
He calls his work outside art. As he puts it, “Life is messy — and art is messier. So I took it outside,” which is where he prefers to spend his time.
Eight years ago, Griscavage began rehabbing a small cottage with a large yard on Clay Road near Lewes. That project yielded a shoulder injury that ended his work on large sculptural pieces, but also left a lot of scrap wood and metal. So he turned his attention to smaller pieces. He tried his hand at whirligigs, but few of those could hold up to the incessant Lewes wind. After a few more experiments, he discovered the perfect combination of curves and color, painting and sculpture. His yardies are cutout wooden shapes painted or stained in vibrant colors for placement around the yard or in the garden. Smaller yardies bring year-round color and a joyful presence to the garden, as well as serving as charming plant markers. Larger ones punctuate the landscape like totems. And birds love to perch on them.
The paintings on the fence were inspired by the barn quilt artwork Griscavage saw when traveling in Kentucky and Ohio.
He loves the idea of a similar beach blankets project for local artists of all ages. Griscavage makes clear that he is not what’s known as an outsider or folk artist — terms used to describe artists without formal training. But he believes that one thing most artists share is a compulsion to create. And he would like to see more public, non-juried venues for artists to show their work.
“I’m fortunate to have an eight-foot fence that is visible from the road. In Honolulu, they have an informal outdoor display called Art on the [Zoo] Fence, where local artists hang their work from a chain-link fence. It’s very popular and well attended. I would love to see something like that here in Lewes. There’s so much talent in Sussex County; it would be nice to become known as a cultural coast as well as a Culinary Coast. I believe, if you see something, make something.”
Griscavage’s work can be seen from Kings Highway, but keep your eyes on the road. For more information, go to itsoutsideart.com.