It’s been said that creative types have “the artist’s eye.” They can visualize form in the formless and color in the colorless.
And while they can picture full works before they actually take shape, they’re also keen on recognizing that artistic nature in others.
That’s precisely what happened for Kevin Pullen and Ute Kleemann-Sportschuetz. The two are both exceptional artists — a painter and sculptor, and abstract painter, respectively. But they didn’t first meet in a gallery or at a workshop, instead, they met while taking a stroll on the beach.
“... just walking along St. Simons. We didn’t know each other’s families or that we both did art,” Pullen recalled. “We didn’t know each other at all.”
“Yes ... we were walking and he had his kids with him. I remember saying, ‘you have such pretty kids,’” Kleemann-Sportschuetz said.
“But my husband and I have lived all over the world, so we know that when you meet people you should invite them over for wine and cheese, so we did.”
Kleemann-Sportschuetz, who is German, opened her home to Pullen and his family. That’s how the two discovered they were both artists. Over the past several years, their friendship blossomed. Pullen, who is a retired educator, also helped Kleemann-Sportschuetz, who was also a teacher, secure as job in the local school system. Eventually, the two started mulling the idea of a joint exhibition. And both had an inkling of where they’d like to stage that show — the real state office of Engel and Völkers on St. Simons.
“I was looking at the building and was thinking about how wonderful it would be to have art there, but Ute is the one who suggested doing a show there. I think it was about a year ago,” Pullen said. “It’s been a long time ago,” Kleemann-Sportschuetz agreed.
“The building, which is in Redfern Village, is just very modern and it goes well with my stuff.”
Kleemann-Sportschuetz actually had a connection to the firm. Her husband, Martin, works there. So they were able to speak with the franchise owners, John Hallman, who got right on board. In fact, they already had some of Kleemann-Sportschuetz’s work displayed in their space.
“He had another artist’s paintings there before ... it was a really big painting behind his desk. I came in there and asked, ‘John, why are the walls so white’ and he said, ‘the artist just wanted to have the painting back, do you know anyone who could put any paintings on the wall?’ So I did some paintings for the office in red, black and white,” she said.
But soon both of their work will appear there. The office’s entire upstairs floor will be converted into a gallery with Pullen’s sculptures positioned around the room, while Kleemann-Sportschuetz’s paintings hang on the walls. The opening of their show, titled the Art of Flow and Form, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2 at Engel and Völkers. And the artists are so excited to see it all come together.
“I love Kevin as a friend and as an artist. I love the sculptures and what he does,” she said.
Pullen feels the same. And relishes the fact that, though they have many differences, their art proves cohesive.
“On the surface, we’re so different. We’re from different cultures and we do different art. But we connected over design and what works,” he said.