Full Circle

Bill Barrell has a new show that opens on Friday!

 …. I have a show in Provincetown, Massachusetts that begins this week at the PAAM (The Provincetown Art Association & Museum).  The show is titled “Full Circle”.  

Why? Becasue Provincetown is where my life as an artist began. In the summer of 1956, at the age of  just 24 years old, I had the feeling there was something special I was meant to do but I could not figure out just what it was.When I arrived in Provincetown, I was made aware of not just art, but artists and a way of life that an artist led. Bingo! It all came together for me. I knew exactly what that special something was that I wanted to do. I wanted to be an artist.

There were no obstacles to cross and nobody I had to ask for permission. I was an artist from that moment on. I saw things in a different light and understood things that had puzzled me all my life. It opened not only my mind and a way of seeing and thinking, it also broke down barriers that had stunted me all my life.

I met people I would never have met before – collectors like Walter Chrysler and Hudson Walker, artists like Bob Beauchamp, Red Grooms, Hans Hoffman, Bob Thompson, Myron Stout, Tony Vevers, Yan Muller, Franz Kline and many more. People of all classes give artists respect. There is a mystique about the life they live and how they dare to challenge old ideas and venture into new domains.

It is a difficult path to take and is not for the faint of heart or for those who see it as a way of earning a living. I knew from the first brush stroke it was going to be a long and often disheartening journey. But with fire in the belly there is nothing that cannot be overcome. Money is one of the biggest obstacles – without it there are problems. If you want to marry and raise a family one has to make a few sacrifices. I have stinted on clothes, food and rentals but never on material for my work.

The work in this show is the tip of an iceberg of all that I have painted. It was hard deciding just what to put in the show. With the help of Robert Henry and my wife, Marilyn, as well as my sister-in-law, Susan, I was able to get it together. I hope you get to see the show. (Opening Friday, May 27th)

Bill Barrell’s Painting -JZ – Playing Music

In 1978, Bill Barrell’s son Joshua (JZ) wanted to buy a guitar.

JZ Playing Music
…. Joshua was sixteen at the time and had never played any music to my knowledge. He had seen an electric guitar that he wanted for $200, so I told him that I would pay half and he would have to come up with the other half. I felt if he paid half he would be more committed to it. Well…. he got that guitar and it did not leave his hands for months. I think he even slept with it. He and his friend, Joshua Milder, formed a band later on, called on “The Alter Boys”. I had a big old station wagon and would ferry them to gigs.
It was a coincidence that my neighbor at that time, Yann Weymouth, had guests, his sister Tina and her boyfriend Chris Frantz along with two other guys, one of whose names I remember, David Byrne. He had just graduated Rhode Island School of Design and went on to form the band “The Talking Heads”. Joshua became friends with Chris.
That guitar was the best investment I had made towards his education. It is truly his calling. He and a partner have formed a company that does recordings for television, but he still gets together with his friends and plays gigs. He started teaching at Parsons in New York City and has earned himself a professorship. He has also been nominated for two Emmys.
JZ has a lot of technical equiipment I have never even seen. Here he is in this painting that I did of him working as I see him, impassioned in his work.