Zak Barnes

Frank) Yea, Mickey Mantle, isn’t that something? (Deb) Oh, it’s a great story. You know and I got to meet, we were in St. Louis, just happened to be in St. Louis, Heather and I were, when Yogi Berra died. So, we were eating in the neighborhood, the Italian Hill in St. Louis and we went by and paid our respects to Yogi’s niece who lives in the house where he grew up and of course, legendary player Joe DiMaggio…not DiMaggio, I’m sorry, Joe Garagiola grew up in the same neighborhood. But DiMaggio and all those guys were all friends and it’s just an incredible, incredible legacy. (Frank) Yea, yea, yea. So, we’ll kind of do away with baseball til next year, and then we’ll do a whole bunch more baseball stories of people who were big stars out of Kansas. There’s several from Topeka. (Deb) Then we’ll get into the basketball. So, we’ll do Wilt Chamberlin and all those guys. (Frank) Basketball legends. But let’s talk though a little bit about art again. (Deb) Art. Oh my goodness. And of course, we’ve got this wonderful arts district where Frank sits in the middle of every day, up in NOTO. But we’ve got art all over the state and just galleries everywhere. They’re just cropping up and we’re producing some amazing artists from Kansas who are getting regional and national recognition. Well due recognition. And one of the those is Zak Barnes and this young man is so impressive. I remember the first time I saw his art, I was blown away and then I met him actually at Beauchamp’s Gallery over in west Topeka. Just an amazing, an amazing young man. So, you’re gonna love getting to know Zak. Videographer Michael Goehring and I had just stopped in Cottonwood Falls to visit the Chamber Office and the Symphony in the Flint Hills Office and Gallery. They were in the midst of a planar exhibit and some of the artists were still in the field. We found Zak Barnes in the front yard at Pioneer Bluffs, the restored territorial homestead at Matfield Green. A more picturesque setting could not be imagined. The farmhouse, imposing barns, large trees, stone walls and the artist at work in the midst of the scene. Zak paused only moments from his work, a painting of a vintage tractor. He would have shaken hands but his hands were splattered with paint, and he had little time to leave the canvas. He worked quickly with bold, thick strokes of color. It was a piece of art in itself, just to watch Zak create. The work of this Kansas native has proven to be popular at exhibits and galleries throughout the region. “I feel a deep connection to the prairie landscape and to the people of this land. These are the face and anchor of my work,” Zak has said. “They set the emotional tone for any narrative that plays itself out in the paintings. My strongest influences are my immediate environment, life experience and the way my mind interprets this information.” Zach lives alternately between remote and cosmopolitan settings, which allows him to explore a wide range of experiences. “The landscape work is challenging, constantly changing.” Zak explained. “I attempt to capture the fleeting moment in paint, texture, and color and mood and measure. The scene changes with each passing moment, demanding a concentration of attention and quickness of hand. I paint with brush and pallet knife often limiting the pallet, using earth tones to accentuate moments of color.” With an artist’s skill and insight those moments are forever captured on canvas. Gary Blitsch, owner of Southwind Gallery said, “Zak Barnes is one of the most innovative artists to come into the Kansas Art Scene in the last ten years. He conveys interesting otherness in a style which almost requires the viewer to spend more time in front of the canvasses than you had planned. You will see beautiful women packing six shooters, 18 wheelers where they don’t belong, and St. Bernards everywhere. If you had any money, I recommend you invest in Zak Barnes. I think it would be a blue chip deal.”