MAHOPAC, N.Y. - For Scott Garrette, it’s all about the synergy.
Originally from Kansas City, Mo., Garrette relocated with his family to Mahopac in 2008. Since then, he’s been balancing a managerial job with UPS with aspirations to become a full-time artist. He also has a business idea conceived to teach kids about business. And there’s his work for the Brieant Youth Alliance in Westchester County—it all ties together.
Garrette is looking to break into the local art scene with a full body of recent work for sale and viewing at the Loft Gallery of Ramiro’s 954, the Latin-fusion restaurant on Route 6, with an opening reception on Friday, Oct. 6.
Garrette discovered he had a passion for art at an early age.
“When I was a kid, I loved those ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ cartoons,” he said. “We had these craft paints around the house and I would use them to copy the landscapes [in the cartoons]. But it was in high school when I realized I really liked painting and got a lot of satisfaction from it.”
He said the natural beauty of the Hudson River Valley has been an important influence on his creativity and his work has been directly affected by experiences on a hiking trail, swimming in Lake Mahopac, and driving on the area’s scenic roads. But even though he gets his inspiration from the natural world, Garrette describes his painting style as “abstract,” and says his favorite medium is acrylic.
“I don’t have a lot of patience for the realistic. For me, it’s more about composition and color,” he said. “When I drive down the Taconic, I see blocks of green and gray and blue sky and when I look at the canvas, the inspiration and beauty that was captured in my mind begins to reveal itself onto the blank page. I can see the colors reveal themselves on canvas or a piece of wood or plexiglass. From there it’s just a journey and what I love most about that is that it can be relatable to our lives. I have to make thousands of decisions for each piece of artwork. What kind of brush stroke? Will it be red or blue or green? All those decisions lead to the finished piece of work. It’s what I love about relating artwork to life—it’s a culmination of decisions to create an outcome.”
Some of Garrette’s work is three-dimensional in appearance—almost sculpture-like. Some are displayed in shadow boxes.
“I did a stint in pottery for a while and it was great and one day I would like to get back into that,” he said. “I like to get off the two-dimensional plane once in a while and that’s where the plexiglass has been very exciting. I like kind of bringing [my art] into the world of sculpture.”
Garrette graduated from Baker University in Kansas with a liberal arts degree. He said that enabled him to not only improve his art skills but also learn about the business side of things and discover he had a penchant for leadership.
“The college had a work-study program and I was managing the ceramic studio in the art department,” he said. “And the school owned an art gallery and I was the director for two years. That’s how I learned that I like to have a managerial role.”
Garrette has a managerial job with UPS but says that is not ultimately where he wants to remain.
“UPS is my job and I work overnights,” he said. “But to be honest, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
But, he says, his two kids inspired an idea for a business opportunity that he’s been trying to put together and it combines his passion for art and business leadership.
“I would love to create an opportunity where kids get to experience budgeting, managing, human resources, design, marketing, all those things,” he said. “I developed a product where kids can create using a painting kit and then they have to figure out how to market and sell it. That’s the backbone. It’s a big project and needs some support. I just joined Putnam Arts Council and they said it would make for a great class.
“Some people are lucky and find their passion right away and some are not really sure what they’re good at because they haven’t experienced a lot,” he added. “I am 41 and I like designing things and I’m good at leading people and helping people. This idea combines both.”
A percentage of the sales from his show at Ramiro’s will go to Brieant Youth Alliance, an organization that works with at-risk kids and whose motto is “finding the leader in every child.” Garrette learned about it through his job at UPS.
“I went to one of their events and learned about what they did,” he recalled. “That was when I had the idea to teach kids about the aspect of business—some of their programs have the same qualities such as peer mentoring and teaching about leadership. I have been trying to figure out a way to work together with them and create something that would complement their program. I thought having an art show would be a great opportunity to get them more exposure.”
Garrette met the owners of Ramiro’s through a mutual friend and when they learned of his work, they invited him to display it at the restaurant. The show will feature about 50 pieces. A reception will be held Friday, Oct. 6, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. There will be local musical entertainment and some free refreshments.
Visit www.scottgarrette.com to see Garrette’s work and to learn more about the Brieant Youth Alliance go to www.brieantyouthalliance.org.