Touched By An Angel
Andy Lakey's angel paintings offer visual and tactile access to another world.
Thursday, July 30, 1998
Some 10 years ago, Andy Lakey walked into his boss'' office and told him that he would no longer be selling cars. With no prior art training or experience, Lakey was giving up his job as a car salesman to paint angels. "My boss thought I was crazy," says Lakey. He may or may not have been crazy, but 1,998 angel paintings later, Lakey''s work has met with phenomenal success. Lakey collectors order paintings sight unseen, he has been featured on shows such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and television personalities, past presidents and the pope now own his work. Some Lakey fans even fly great distances to see Lakey, and on Saturday they will be descending on the Dyansen Gallery in Carmel to see Lakey and his newest show.
Lakey decided to begin painting during a drug trip gone bad. Hoping to quell his overdose-induced fear of death, Lakey got into a cold shower and began to pray. In a videotaped interview, he recalled the experience. "I prayed to God that if he would let me live, I would never do drugs again." Lakey also promised that he would "do something to serve the world."
Apparently, God heard the prayer and sent a swirling fleet of angels in response. "It was very intense," Lakey explains. "It was like a little miniature tornado. They wrapped their arms around me and lifted me into the other dimension." They also told Lakey that he should begin to paint. As he explains it, the angels'' last message was, "We want you to paint 2,000 angels. We''ll teach you to paint and we''ll take you where you need to go."
While no two of Lakey''s angels are identical, their representational form is constant. Lacking both wings and a halo, a Lakey angel looks like a cross between a swaddled baby and a gingerbread man cut-out. All of Lakey''s angels (and other paintings) are textured, and he encourages viewers to touch them. Worm-like structures push up from beneath the paint both on the bodies of his angels and in the backgrounds of his paintings, and he creates combinations of smooth and sandpaper-like surfaces to render the images tactilely interesting.
And Lakey has made good on his promise to serve the world. He believes that his paintings can contribute to developing a viewer''s spirituality, and he donates 20 percent of his earnings to charities for the blind. Lakey also has donated a number of his paintings--which enable the blind to "see" paintings through touch--to homes for the blind, and he holds a special reception for the blind at each of his shows. He will welcome the blind at the Dyansen Gallery on Thursday.
Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, angel number 2,000 is set to be unveiled sometime in the year 2000.
A reception for Andy Lakey will be held on Saturday, 6-9pm, at the Dyansen Gallery, in the Carmel Plaza, Mission Street and Ocean Avenue, Carmel. RSVP: 625-6903.
Ansel Adams Gallery "Landscapes of the Spirit." Color landscape photographs by William Neill. Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach. 375-7215. Reception: 8/1, 5pm. Through: 9/15.
Valley Art Gallery "Travels With Steinbeck." Works by members of the VGA. 218 Main St., Salinas. 455-1706. Reception: 8/1, noon. Through: 8/23.
Carmel Art Association "Monterey County: A Colorful Past." Recent work by CAA artists depicting MoCo''s historical landmarks and artifacts. Also, works by Eileen Catbagan, Mary FitzGerald Beach, Frieda Golding, Susan Jordan and Wilda Northrop. Dolores Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 8/5.
Carmel Valley Manor "The Canals of England." Color photographs and stories of English canals by Mary Adair. 8545 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel. 626-4711. Through: 7/31.
Carmel Valley Manor "An American View of the Orient." Watercolors by William F. Stone. 8545 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley. 626-4711. Through: 8/31.
Center for Photographic Art
"Roadworks." Photographs by Linda McCartney, the late wife of Paul McCartney. Sunset Cultural Center, San Carlos Street and 8th Avenue, Carmel. 625-5181. Through: 9/11.
Chapman Gallery Works by SC Yuan, Hank Ketcham, Ron Elstad, Keith Lindberg and Colden Whitman. Also portrait artist Gail Reeves will be painting in the gallery every Saturday. 7th Avenue, between San Carlos and Mission streets, Carmel. 626-1766. Through: 9/6.
First Murphy House Turn-of-the-century summer dresses from the Gallery of Historic Costumes. Lincoln Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 624-4447. Through: 7/31.
Galeria Tonantzin "Journeys Real and Imagined." Works by Ruth Fash and Kathy Vargas. 115 Third St., San Juan Bautista. 623-ARTE. Reception: 8/8, 5pm. Through: 8/30.
Grove Homescapes Marilyn Barrett''s "up-close photo studies of rock formations" and Melissa Lofton''s paintings of the coastline. 472 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 656-0864. Through: 7/31.
Henry Miller Library "The Alchemy of Possibility." Paintings and art work from Carolyn Mary Kleefeld''s book of the same name. Highway 1, just south of Nepenthe, Big Sur. 667-2574. Through: 7/31.
Monterey Museum of Art "Jo Mora: Artist and Writer." Collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures. Also works by Marie Brumund. Through 8/16. 559 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 9/6.
Morgan''s Coffee & Tea "Living and Breathing." Abstract paintings by Shane Ridenour. 498 Washington St., Monterey. 649-4613. Through: 7/31.
Pacific Grove Art Center "Four Points of View." Plein air paintings by Delia Bradford, Mary Lou Correia, Geri Keary and Shirley Nootbar; "Future Memories," abstract paintings by Psy; "Day''s End," coastal sunset photographs by David Gubernick; "A Diary of Near and Far," paintings and prints by Kristin Hayward. 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 8/21.
Pajaro Valley Gallery "Collective ''98: New Works by PVAC Members." Works in many media by members of the Pajaro Valley Arts Council. 37 Sudden St., Watsonville. 722-3062. Through: 8/15.
PG Museum of Natural History "Leaping Elk, Dancing Men: Prehistoric Art of the Russian Altay." Photographs by Christopher Hulse. 165 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. 648-3116. Through: 8/16.
Rox Arcana Group show by members of Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild featuring jewelry and other small metal works. Carmel Plaza, Ocean Avenue and Junipero Street, Carmel. 624-3122. Through: 7/31.
Sculpture House and Gardens "Spirit of the Human Form." All new works from Gay Gordon, Christopher Moon, Mark Bava and Jane Morba. Four miles south of Rio Road on Highway 1, Carmel Highlands. 624-2476. Through: 7/30.
Searle Art Watercolors by Mark Farina and works by his students from Carmel Adult School. 639 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 373-0126. Through: 7/31.
Seaside City Hall "We Color Outside the Lines." Works by Seaside Art Commissioners, past and present, including Walter Avery, Merlin Brown, Sandra Robinson Gray, Gloria C. Mattos Hughes, Patsy Hughes Irvine, Ed Krankshaw and Colleen Lingenfelter. 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside. 899-6270. Through: 8/1.
Shallcross Gallery Abstract oil paintings and prints by Mira Kamada. Inside Galerie Monterey, 499 Calle Principal, Monterey. 655-0642. Through: 7/31.
Venture Art Gallery "I''d Rather be Sculpting." Abstract sculptures in several media by Ken Wiese. Resin-casting demonstration. 260 Alvarado Mall (in the Doubletree Inn), Monterey. 372-6279. Through: 7/31.
Village Pub Oil paintings by Sofanya. Highway 1, near the Big Sur River Inn, Big Sur. 626-2876. Through: 8/8.
Weston Gallery "Selected Artists." Photographic works by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Irving Penn, Yousouf Karsh, Paul Strand and Imogen Cunningham. 6th Avenue, between Dolores and Lincoln streets, Carmel. 623-4453. Through: 8/31.
Woman''s Wellspring Polaroid transfer photographs with hand painting by Clare Lerner. 575 Calle Principal, Monterey. 649-2320. Through: 7/31.
Zantman Art Galleries Figurative paingings by Jie Mei Wang. 6th Avenue and Mission Street, Carmel. 624-8314. Through: 8/14.
Call for Artists Monterey Museum of Art is seeking submissions for a juried art show to be presented 9/26-11/29. Deadline for submissions is 8/24. Call for details. 372-5477. Through: 8/24.