Kyle Jensen / The Record — Photographer Ed Evans looks over the collaborative exhibit, “Pasticcio,” on Wednesday evening. The exhibit, held at Bayview’s Front Room Gallery, showcases five artists who learned of each other’s work through their love of pool.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Photographer Ed Evans looks over the collaborative exhibit, “Pasticcio,” on Wednesday evening. The exhibit, held at Bayview’s Front Room Gallery, showcases five artists who learned of each other’s work through their love of pool.

South Whidbey artists go from competing pool players to contemporaries

In an area with so many artists and creative types, it’s not uncommon for people to discover their friends’ artistic abilities long after meeting them.

For a group of guys who regularly meet to shoot pool, that was the case.

Their discovery led to a fully-functioning art exhibit now on display.

“There are a lot of us artists here on South Whidbey,” sculptor and multi-media artist Frank Rose said. “You can ask almost anybody what they do and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I paint a little bit, do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.’ We’re all over the place.”

Rose, chainsaw wood carver Dexter Lewis, photographer Ed Evans and painters Adam Bly and John McMahon are all accomplished artists in their own right, but for a while they had no idea.

Instead, they knew each other as competition on the billiards table.

The creative quintet met while shooting pool weekly at Hong Kong Garden in Clinton, also known to locals simply as “the top” due to the view of Puget Sound from the bluff the restaurant is near. Pool players come around to take advantage of free pool on Sunday nights, and through countless games the five realized they had similar skill levels. They found each other to be natural adversaries on the table.

As expected, small talk, post-game gloating and changing hands followed. Those conversations led to a realization they shared similar backgrounds and interests.

“As we were shooting pool regularly, we got to know each other not just as players, but also as artists in one way or another,” Evans said. “I saw the space in the Front Room Gallery was available, and I told Adam we should do a two-man show. Then we got to thinking; why not do a show with all five guys?”

The side conversations resulted in a quality smorgasbord of an art exhibit named “Pasticcio.” The exhibit is aptly named; Pasticcio means an eclectic collection of things in Italian, similar to words such as hodgepodge, potpourri and mélange. The show combines the quintet’s varied body of work in honor of the exhibit’s name. Sculpture, wood carvings, paintings, multimedia art and photography litter the gallery space.

The Front Room Gallery, located on the second floor of the Bayview Cash Store, is hosting the exhibit through the end of December. The gallery’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rose said one of the artists should be present to handle transactions, as most of the pieces on display are for sale.

Rose estimates there are close to 100 artworks featured.

“It’s funny, because I refer to these guys as hoodlums,” Evans joked. “We shoot pool at the dive bars, and now here we are showing our art in an exhibit.”

The artists went outside of their comfort zones in honor of the exhibit’s theme. Rose, primarily a sculptor, is showing some of his Langley-centric photography as well as stencil drawings. Evans went outside the box and tried his hand at abstract photography, although his forte is “literal, linear work.” Lewis also creatively used his wood shavings to decorate around his sculptures.

“The diversity of the show is terrific,” Evans said. “I’d also say the quality of the work has exceeded my expectations, even though I knew we were all good artists in our own right.”

Rose and Evans weren’t too surprised to find out their billiards buddies are working artists. The discovery can be a common experience on South Whidbey, with “so many artists hidden away in the woods or studios,” according to Evans. Whether retirees with artistic outlets or career artists, the sheer number of artists on the South End is striking.

Your opponent on the pool table might even be a renowned artist.

“There are so many artists on South Whidbey, it’s a major part of our economy,” Rose said. “As the chairman of the Langley Arts Commission, I’m aware art and artists are everywhere, but art is often not accounted for in the greater economic picture.”

Kyle Jensen / The Record — The exhibit showcases a range of mediums, including wood carving from Dexter Lewis. Lewis uses a chainsaw for his carving.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — The exhibit showcases a range of mediums, including wood carving from Dexter Lewis. Lewis uses a chainsaw for his carving.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — “Pasticcio” showcases paintings, photography, sculpture and multimedia art.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — “Pasticcio” showcases paintings, photography, sculpture and multimedia art.

More in Life

Freeland artist not just dabbling in lots of dots

Renee Boyce rocks the trendy mandala market

Gathering to praise the peacemakers

Freeland event to celebrate Martin Luther King

Rose Rydeen and David Gregor (Photo provided)
Exploring love’s mystery and memory

Late-life romance subject of David Gregor’s latest book

Making dolls to make a difference in Mexico

Sewing bee focuses on moms, infants in rural Chiapas

Farmer and Vine offers more than wine

The hosts of a new wine bar on Whidbey invite guests to… Continue reading

New owner buys Freeland’s popular Whidbey Art Escape

Do-it-yourself craft spot bids good-bye to Tina Beard

‘Bearing’ it for New Year’s Day tradition

Polar Bear Plunge attracts hundreds on sunny day

Art & About gallery shows for January 2019

FIRST SATURDAY Langley Art Walk is 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5.… Continue reading

LeRoy Bell plays at Whidbey Center for the Arts Jan. 19. (Photo provided)
LeRoy Bell back on Whidbey Jan. 19

Popular performer at festivals takes to WICA stage

Sound Waters University set for Feb. 2 in Langley

Registration begins Dec. 28 for all-day classes on Salish Sea

‘King of prime rib’ wins state honor

South Whidbey Legion Post chef is named Volunteer of the Year

Watch out for polar bear plunging Tuesday

Double Bluff tradition dives into 2019