Happy art | VailDaily.com

Happy art

Cassie Pence
Preston Utley/Vail DailyArtist Matt Rinard recently opened Gallery Rinard in Edwards. He moved to the Vail Valley from New Orleans after riding out Hurricane Katrina.

EDWARDS – Since the time artist Matt Rinard could lift a pencil, he would draw on every piece of paper in the house.”He would even draw on toilet paper when he couldn’t find anything else,” said Elaine Rinard, the artist’s mother. Elaine was in town this past weekend to celebrate the grand opening of Rinard’s latest endeavor – Gallery Rinard, in Edwards.The New Orleans artist recently relocated to the Vail Valley with his family after riding out the category 5 hurricane Katrina, which he doesn’t recommend anyone doing. Rinard, his wife, Cam, and their two four-legged miniature pinschers – Sophie and Sam – lost just about everything in the storm.

Cam was offered a position at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. She worked for the company in New Orleans. The couple had visited the valley once before for Rinard’s birthday and loved it. With all signs pointing to the Rockies, the couple packed what little possessions they had left into their car and drove out of New Orleans, safely escorted by a military convoy carrying soldiers with machine guns.”It’s amazing how overwhelming the situation was,” Rinard said. “It makes you simplify and really appreciate things.”One of the only possessions that survived the storm was their Oreck vacuum. Rinard dried it out, plugged it in, and the vacuum now stands upright, proud and functional in the new gallery. The irony of the vacuum’s survival isn’t lost on Rinard. He notices all things funny and satirical about life, then renders it in his art.Peculiar sells

Rinard creates art with a sense of humor. It’s evident in the gallery as viewers release quick, uncontrollable giggles in front of every piece.”People underestimate the importance of art that makes you happy,” said Rinard, who often hears his wife say, “Can’t you ever be serious?” Matt finds humor in pets, taking note of their human characteristics and the relationship they share with their owners and other animals. He takes these ideas and exaggerates them with cartoonish paint strokes and vivid colors. At the bottom of each piece there is a punch line, tying together the work’s theme.”I’ve always loved animals,” Matt said. “It’s amazing how these little creatures can govern your life.”He recalls a pet love bird, who, like a typewriter, would shred bits of paper lying around the house to build her nest.

“Of course, they were usually critical pieces of paper with numbers I had to call to get money,” Matt said.Matt plays up the differences between cats and dogs in his art, expressing how cats are much more cunning and dogs are inherently goofy. In one of his pieces, Matt paints a cat reading “The Art of War” and a dog reading “Green Eggs and Ham.” A tagline underneath the picture reads: “The literary differences between cats and dogs.””Cats are very smug,” Matt said. “Intellectuals that don’t have time to explain.”Other creations are just plain bizarre, like the painting of a dachshund (the wiener dog) eating a foot-long hot dog. Underneath it reads: “I am what I eat.” Matt admits that he’s always been a weird kid, and when he began sketching and selling his art, the more peculiar drawings sold better.

Spontaneous mediumMatt paints primarily in gouache, an opaque watercolor. He likes the medium because it’s fast and easy to control at the same time.”I like the spontaneity of it,” Matt said. “It dries quickly, so it’s more intuitive. You’re forced to make a decision. You don’t sit and agonize over it, like with oil.”He paints in bright colors simply because colors are enjoyable.”Buy art for your eyes, not your sofa,” he said. “Colors evoke emotion and happiness.”

And according to Matt, happy art is good art.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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