Minturn artist Gel Clemmer exhibits paintings at Avanti Tattoo through March 8 | VailDaily.com

Minturn artist Gel Clemmer exhibits paintings at Avanti Tattoo through March 8

Minturn artist Gel Clemmer will exhibit about 20 of her paintings at Avanti Tattoo in EagleVail. A reception for the art, which will hang in the shop until March 8 takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. Minturn favorite musician Scotty Kabel will be playing at the event as well.

Avanti has been wanting to host local artist receptions since it opened in November 2019. Melissa Pall, who owns the shop with her husband Aman, is the main coordinator of the event and hopes to keep showcasing new talent from month to month.

Clemmer’s art often depicts surfing or alpine motifs, which represent two things she loves: surfing and snowboarding/snowskating. As an artist, her career started in the surf world. She grew up at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and surfed all the time as kid. A producer at Radio Disney XM found her work online and she got a sponsorship from BodyGlove, where she’d paint pieces for the BodyGlove office. Eventually, surfing brought her out to San Clemente, Calif., and she kept up with her artwork, doing art on the beach at sponsored tour events with surfing brands.

“I did that for about 5 years and I really wanted to grow as an artist. I felt that I really can’t be doing this forever,” she said.

She started branching out on her own and opened a small art gallery in Rehoboth where she sells her art. Now she occasionally sells her friends’ work there too, but mainly it’s her space.

Speaking of in person, Vail Valley locals can see Gel’s art on the streets of Minturn. She painted the bathrooms at Little Beach park and the Saloon letters on the street-facing side of the Minturn Saloon. Her art was also on some early models of Weston snowboards.

Word of mouth is the main way she gets jobs now that she’s no longer touring with surf events. She still heads out every summer to either California or Delaware to surf, but she loves being in the mountains.

“I did a whole series of animals: elk, deer, bears, mountain lions,” she said. “If I’m not painting, I’m thinking about it.”

While the subject matter of her pieces can range from animals to surfing to Buddhist motifs to portraits of iconic musicians, one thing remains common throughout all Clemmer’s art. That thing is color, and she uses lots of them: bright shades of turquoise, pink, yellow, greens of all kinds. But she doesn’t just throw color on a canvas just for fun, she thinks hard about which shades to include, which hues to leave out and how everything will fit together. 

“I believe that colors can change somebody’s mood. I want to paint things that are happy and I want people to feel happy when they look at my painting,” she said.

The bright colors are something that comes from inside herself, and that’s also from where she draws her inspiration. As far as artists she admires, she gravitates towards older work from Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.

“A lot of people say to me, ‘it’s always so authentic and original, how do you find your inspiration?’ And I just live my life doing the things I love. That’s all inside. When I have to paint, I look inside and it just comes out,” she said.

If you go …

What: Gel Clemmer artist reception

When: Saturday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.

Where: Avanti Tattoo, EagleVail

Cost: Free

More information: Visit Avanti Tattoo’s Facebook page for more information about the event.