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Artist John Flowers discusses his regional art philosophy and his upcoming show @ 125 AC

When we think about art in Buffalo, we tend to think about our locally born and bred artists. The local art scene is getting hotter and hotter due to so many art venues around the city (with new ones opening all of the time). It was only upon receiving an email from a Rochester artist that I stopped to think, “Oh yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been to our neighboring city -I wonder how the art scene is doing there?”

It was artist John Flowers (J.I. Designs – a fine art design company) who reached out to me, to tell me about an upcoming show that he had in Buffalo, at 125 Art Collective. In his email, John described himself as a connector – someone who was attempting to bridge the short gap between regional artists. I found this intriguing, because the concept of drawing together regional artists in some sort of art collective support group sounded promising. So I wrote back to John (it turns out that he’s a Buffalo native) and asked him to expound upon the idea.

What are the upcoming plans for your Buffalo show?

I am hosting an unveiling event on July 1st for my latest collect “The Signature Series” at 125 Art Collective. The upcoming show will be open to the public with complimentary bar, music and a great way for the people of Buffalo to come check out local art. Along with my Signature Series I will have many of my Buffalo photography pieces printed on canvas for display as well.

What’s the overarching idea behind your company?

The purpose of my company is to grow and unite the art community from young thriving artists to the well established. I also connect with interior designers to make custom art pieces for their projects.

Connecting and uniting artists, regional effort?

My goal from starting my own design company is 1. Pay tribute to the past 2. Influence the future and 3. Give back to the community.

I think the best way to connect artists is to host fun events for all artists, clients and art enthusiasts in one place to network and collaborate. From going to many art shows, I personally have many many great artists that have influenced my work, who helped me grow when I was a young artist, and to become well established. I want to be able to do the same for any artist, both young and established, to help pave a path in the community. I want to make it a regional effort at some point, and have it grow – I think this is a great way to start. Get as many artists on board with my mission.

How did you choose 125 Art Collective in Buffalo?

A few years ago I met up with the owners of 125 for breakfast for a networking meeting, and instantly grew a connection with owners Ted and Aimee. We shared a lot of the same business models and tattooing ideas. Over a short amount of time the relationship grew and they soon opened up 125 AC on Elmwood Avenue – it was a community I wanted to be involved in. Ted soon started hosting monthly art shows sparking an interest in the art community for local artists to come display themed pieces during an evening of music, drinks and networking. I have had several pieces displayed and I thought it was time to host an independent art show displaying my newest collection “ The Signature Series” among my Buffalove photography pieces on canvas. My collaboration hosting it at 125 will hopefully spark the interest of current and new traffic for young and experienced artists to come check out local art, collaborate and network with each other in a social environment. 125 AC has the capacity for my art and the community, and it’s in the heart of the Elmwood district.

Who will be showing at the venue?

This art show will be all of my own artwork shown. It is my first show as a design company and I want to be able to show everyone the ability that creativity has to offer for young artists in the community. I will be unveiling my latest series and showing off some great captures of our fine city of Buffalo NY. Depending on the success of this show I would love to host collaboration shows featuring other artists through the community, to help to inspire and, once again, pave a path for other individuals.

How do we strengthen the artist relationship between Buffalo and Rochester?

I guess this is where I have to step it into overdrive and expand my vision and work hard in both cities. If this all works out between us collaborating in Buffalo and spreading the word and making artists thrive in Buffalo then we will do the same in Rochester and unite the two great cities. An expanding community where all artists can collaborate and innovate with each other. Having art exhibits in both cities where all artists can unite and take a trip, to combine styles and ideas.

Do you find Buffalo artists showing in Rochester? How is the Rochester art scene?

Being in Rochester for just under a year I have come to the conclusion it is not as a saturated market as Buffalo. Besides the jazz fest and Corn Hill fest you really have to dig deep for events or shows. It seems in Buffalo they pop up all the time and everywhere you walk there is some type of local art. In Rochester it seems as though you have to know someone or dig deep through countless Facebook pages and Google searches. All the local artists seem pretty hidden and mainly advertise per their personal Instagram accounts and such. There is a large opportunity to bring artists together in the Rochester area. I personally don’t see any Buffalo artists in Rochester, I think its time to bring the Queen city to the 585 if you ask me.

Thoughts on the Buffalo art scene?

One thing I absolutely love about Buffalo is the opportunity for local talent. Having many districts for local artists to show off their talents such as Hertel Ave, Elmwood Ave, Theatre District and many more. Over the years I have grown connections with local commercial real estate companies, restaurants, bars, local community and business owners which have given me opportunity for my work to grow and be seen. Buffalo is a very saturated market (in a good way) for artists of all kind. Being in the tattoo industry it has opened many doors to meet a lot of artists of all mediums. Being a saturated market, I want to do something different than try to just sell art. I want to influence and grow the community so artists can collaborate with each other instead of working individually. It will allow seasoned artists help pave a path for others, through fun events and by building relationships.

Anything else?

I hosted my first art show a few years ago “Johnnyink Art Gallery Blast benefiting Hunter’s Hope”. I was able to raise a little over $2,000 for a local cause by auctioning off some of my art pieces. This time around it is time to give back to the day to day community. The young artists that are going to be the future of our community and great cities. My creative vision goes past the canvas and into the community of this city (Buffalo) that I love so much. It’s nice having this mindset and starting my company – I have collaboration ideas and projects with other artists lined up that will hopefully inspire and create kick-ass art!!!

“Mark it on your calendars….. July 1, from 6pm-10pm at 125 Art Collective in Buffalo!”

“The Signature Series” at 125 Art Collective

Artist: John Flowers

125 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo NY 14222

(716) 248-1155

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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