Captivating audiences with art

Sculpture artist WIlliam Kolok chips away at a piece in progress on Sunday in his studio, located at 2901 Veach Road. Kolok held his sixth annual gallery and studio open house this past weekend.

William Kolok seeks to engage audiences with his art.

Kolok, who has been making art for 50 years, primarily creates abstract pieces out of wood and stone. He retired in 2013 from Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he worked as an art professor. Since then he has been working full time out of his studio, located at 2901 Veach Road, which is where he held his sixth annual studio and gallery open house this past weekend.

On Sunday, he had several individuals stop by to visit, see his new work, and purchase pieces.

Kolok said he tries to sell pieces at reasonable prices because he wants his art to be accessible to as many people as possible.

“I make 25 pieces a year, on average,” he said. “I’d rather have all of this stuff somewhere rather than sitting here.”

Something he enjoys in particular about his annual studio/gallery open house is speaking with people about his pieces. When he can tell the story of his art — whether it’s an assemblage piece constructed from old film reel boxes, rusted fishing hooks, or an aged mirror — he captivates patrons.

“Some people want to buy, and some people just want to come and see what I’m working on, and all of it is fine with me,” he said. “I tell people not to buy something unless they love it. Some people come and look at a piece several times before they purchase.”

Some people, he said, will return to his studio and inquire about a piece they saw weeks before that they couldn’t stop thinking about.

“That’s always good because it means I’m engaging them,” he said.

Kolok works nearly every day in his studio, located in the back of his gallery. The amount of time he spends on a pieces varies, depending on what medium he is working with. Sometimes he will work on something, and not pick it back up to finish for several months, or even years.

There are also times he will complete a piece, but decide he isn’t satisfied, and then he starts it over again.

Most of the pieces begin as a drawing in a notebook. If he likes the idea, he will then transfer to drawing to the large white board he has hanging in his studio.

Pieces morph and change throughout their creation process, which is always an interesting thing, Kolok said.

Kolok has lived in Owensboro for more than 35 years but grew up in New York City. He moved to Georgia to study at Berry College, later completing a master of fine arts degree in sculpture at the University of Georgia.

He has pieces in private collections, and he also sells work in galleries in Louisville and Lexington.

Michael Pike, of Owensboro, visited the studio and gallery on Sunday. He has been friends will Kolok for many years, and always enjoys coming to the open house.

“I like to come over and support Bill whenever possible,” he said. “He has some really interesting pieces, and it’s always fun to see what he’s done. I think it’s all incredible.”

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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