When you learn something about an artist’s background, you might learn that they have been following a straight path in their artistic lives that they knew they would follow all along. They’ve always been passionate about painting, or have had their hands in clay since childhood. Sometimes you’ll learn that a particular artist has honed and mastered their craft while following many other creative pursuits.
Accomplished photographer Art Grice, whose retrospective show, A Walk in the Dark, runs through May at BAC, is one such artist. While he has had a camera in his hands for most of his life, he’s always had his mind and hands involved in other creative ventures, too.
Growing up in the Bay Area of northern California, and drafted into the U.S. Army in 1964, Art’s early creative life was largely technical. From electronics school at The Presidio—the Army base in San Francisco, to drawing infographics as a “battalion artist” in an Alaska missile base, Art finished his service and was hired as an illustrator for a machine company, painstakingly drawing machine parts in “exploded” views. Art convinced his boss that photographing the parts rather than spending a week drawing them would be much more practical, and thus he became the company’s photographer. That was the last time he worked for someone else.
Throughout a life of designing and building houses, furniture and boats; starting up a photography gallery in Vancouver, B.C.; hosting speaking engagements with world-class photographers; and teaching and speaking about photography himself, Art kept his eye focused through his lens.
“There’s something about photography,” says Art. “It’s like an excerpt of reality, with the viewer standing in your shoes in the scene. Believability is the most powerful tool in photography.”
Art’s retrospective show features images and writings from an upcoming book to be published later this year. Describing it as a personal history of his photographic journey from the 1960s to the present, Art says, “I’d like my kids and grandkids to see what I’ve been up to all these years.”
Art has no intention of putting the camera down, however. He says, “I like to understand how we humans interact with and perceive the world. We mess with everything and manipulate things.” Keep a lookout for Art Grice on Bainbridge Island, documenting excerpts of reality, and see what you might see from his shoes.
A Walk in the Dark opens at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts Friday, May 5, with an opening reception from 6-8pm.