Cool people I’ve met – Sam Wild

© John Gellman

I first met Sam Wild at a Full Moon Gathering, a huge monthly party held in or near Asheville, on the weekend closest to a full moon. I wanted to photograph him as soon as I saw him. Sam is a musician, producer, performer, and a DJ. He can be a little, well, wild, but always fun. He is apparently better known around town than I was aware.  When I left my Flatiron Studio after the photo shoot, the elevator operator asked me “Did you photograph Sam Wild?” I told him indeed I did, and got an approving nod. Over the years, the elevator operators in the Flatiron Building have become oblivious to the cast of characters, rogues, and scoundrels that visit me on the fifth floor. For any of them to mention one of my subjects to me is highly unusual. But Sam is awfully hard not to notice.

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Busker of the day – Mikey

© John Gellman

Mikey has a last name but he prefers to use only his first. After a two year period spent farming in Massachusetts, Mikey can again be found busking on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville. Thursday was a bit rainy, so it was no problem for him to visit my Flatiron Studio for a photo session. Though he is the spitting image of George Bernard Shaw, if George Bernard Shaw had fought in the Civil War, (he didn’t, and neither did Mikey) I don’t believe he includes any songs from My Fair Lady in his repertoire of traditional music.

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Busker of the day – Shawn Alan Hurd

© John Gellman

I was at home Sunday afternoon when I got a text message from my busking friend, Billy Scribbles. He asked me to come downtown and make a portrait of his friend, Shawn Alan Hurd, of Portland, OR, who was busking in Asheville today. Shawn is a singer/songwriter who performs beautiful folk/Americana style music. Billy brought him up to my Flatiron Studio where he played me a song and posed for this portrait.

 

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Ike Stubblefield – an artist with soul and grace, and what a face

© John Gellman

How cool is it to have a great guy like Ike Stubblefield agree to sit for a quick portrait session, to appear on the seventh anniversary of this blog? He has the coolest face this side of Morgan Freeman, with a lifetime of music and art etched into his cheeks and glowing from his eyes. An American Master on keyboards for sure. I’ve known Ike since I shot an album cover for him almost four years ago. He happened to be performing in Asheville last night, and immediately agreed to visit me at my Flatiron Studio when I asked him if he would pose. I’m grateful he took the time from his busy schedule to spend a few minutes and let me do my thing.

And yes, this is the seventh anniversary of my blog. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for so long. It has been a lot of work, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Many thanks to all those who have followed the blog since I started in May 2010, as well as to those who have discovered it more recently.

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As far out on a limb as I get

© John Gellman

This is what can happen if I get bored and start looking through random old images. I found this pic from October 2015 that I took at the Biltmore Estate and thought, what if? So I played with a Photoshop filter and came up with a perfect image to stare at after you drop acid. Click HERE to see it really big.

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Cool people I met – Ben Phan

© John Gellman

Some of the most serious hikers in Asheville choose to trek the entire Appalachian Trail. Not Ben Phan. He hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail with his backpack and a small guitar, entertaining hikers and others along the way, while writing songs inspired by his experience. Now he lives in the Asheville area and records his music with his band, The Soul Symphony. We have been Facebook friends for a couple years, but had never actually met until today, when Ben stopped by my Flatiron Studio for a portrait. Ben Phan & The Soul Symphony are releasing their second album, “fear is the teacher” very soon. An album release show is scheduled for June 10th at Isis Music Hall in West Asheville.

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Nine toes were enough to get me here

© John Gellman

The weather is warming up, and my foot is fully healed, so it’s hiking time for me on the trails near Asheville. This view is of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. As you can see, the mountain was extending into the clouds and it was a little foggy.

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Cool people I met – Michael Provard

© John Gellman

Trade & Lore is a very nice little coffee house on Wall Street in downtown Asheville, just behind my Flatiron Studio. Their coffee and snacks are good, but that’s not the reason I like to go there. Most days, Trade & Lore is the work space of artist Michael Provard. He can usually be found sitting at a table, nursing a cup of coffee and drawing, surrounded by his art supplies. Michael’s drawings are relatively small, so he can produce one or two a day. He rarely has more than the one he is drawing on hand because they always sell relatively quickly. Michael specializes in drawing religious icons that look like they could have originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. I told him he should sell his art to churches and he said, “Well I would, but if I stop by a church I can never get past the secretary. I think it might be because of the nose rings.” So, here’s some free advice to the clergy of Asheville… stop by Trade & Lore and have a cup of coffee or tea.

Not all of Michael’s drawings have religious themes, but they are all beautiful, and made in a style that is uniquely his. Since he almost never has a selection of drawings to choose from, the best way to get one of his creations is to sit down and talk with him. He will tell you what his latest ideas are and you can ask him to reserve one for your purchase. Whether or not you buy a painting, you will meet one of the most interesting artists in Asheville, and probably enjoy a good cup of coffee too.

This is the first in a new series I am calling “Cool people I met.” It turns out buskers aren’t the only cool people in town.

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