“It’s a lot of emotion,” Bryan Hinkle said of his art on display at the Community Arts Center in Williamsburg.

For several months now, the Whitley County Extension Fine Arts Program has been featuring an artist of the month. June’s artist of the month is Bryan Hinkle, of Corbin.

Cortney Moses, Whitley County Extension Agent for Fine Arts, said more than one artist mentioned to her that Hinkle needed to be featured as the artist of the month.

Moses said artists are falling in their laps, which is a good thing. The mission of the Extension Fine Arts Program is to create and support opportunities in the arts for citizens. Their programs stimulate creativity, promote participation and recognize artists, art educators and art supporters at all levels and mediums.

Hinkle’s works soak up the small gallery space in downtown Williamsburg. Colors burst off canvas and invite community members and visitors alike toward a closer look.

“A lot of his stuff is really conceptual,” said Moses. “It’s coming from a lot of emotion. It’s fascinating. Every piece has a story.”

Hinkle, who has only been working on his craft for approximately three years, said it’s his form of therapy. When his father passed away, he was needing an outlet, his wife suggested painting.

“I sat down and I haven’t really stopped since,” said Hinkle. “I gave up drinking also and it’s became a great therapy for me.”

Hinkle said painting has literally turned into therapy sessions. Jobs and life in general can often be stressful, but for Hinkle being able to come home and paint for a few hours helps him look positive toward another day.

Unconsciously, Hinkle learned to mix color as he grew up in the printing industry but didn’t realize he was slowly progressing to his passion. With over a hundred paintings under his belt, Hinkle said he typically finishes each painting in one sitting.

“I don’t really know anything about this,” Hinkle said. “And that’s kind of what’s fun for me — I’m not put in one box.”

Hinkle is slowly learning, exploring his own boundaries mixing different paints and exploring in his own time.

With a lot to say, a lot of emotion and opinions, Hinkle doesn’t let the fact that he hasn’t painted his entire life or studied painting stop him. He’s humble yet ambitious when he talks about his passion.

Each piece of work that Hinkle has created comes with a story.

For example, the Mason jar painting on the wall to the right when you walk in titled "Summer Night" was inspired by memories on Hinkle’s grandparents' farm. Every summer was spent shucking corn, breaking beans and canning in Mason jars. There’s so much symbolism in Mason jars, according to Hinkle, even from his days drinking moonshine out of them. A Mason jar is home for Hinkle.

Hinkle is especially fond of the painting titled, "She Is Woman."

The canvas displays a woman standing on a beach ready to leave and make her mark on the world. The woman's silhouette is made up of hundreds of different shapes, colors and markings.

Hinkle tells the story of a woman standing on the edge of a bleak and barren landscape looking for her future while carrying the marks of the past.

Hinkle’s pieces are for sale and will be priced by the end of the week. Without much intention, Hinkle has sold approximately 25 pieces to date. For Hinkle it allows him to buy more paint, more canvas and essentially more therapy.

Unlike a lot of gallery spaces, the Extension Community Arts Center doesn’t take any commission from the artist. Hinkle is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from any of his purchases to the White Flag Ministry at First Baptist Church in Corbin.

Hinkle is grateful for what the Extension Community Arts Center is providing.

Having programs such as the artist of the month is a great opportunity for people to do something different that they might not normally do and open up their minds, he said.

“We have so many great artists around here and there’s not really a platform for them,” he said. “I think what the center is doing is wonderful.”

Moses has received positive feedback from these events.

“It’s really good for the community because they can come in here and see art,” Moses said. “Visitors can come in off the street and there’s art up.”

The artists are so appreciative to have a place to show their work, according to Moses.

Hinkle’s work will be on display now until June 28. A reception for Hinkle will be held from 6-8 p.m. on June 21 at the Community Arts Center. Everyone is welcomed to attend.

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