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Snellville Artist Charly Palmer in Prestigious New York Art Fair

His powerful work features spiritual and historical themes.

Snellville artist Charly Palmer will exhibit his paintings at Art off the Main in New York at the Javits Center Oct. 19-21.

He will also participate in an art show called Stories at the ZuCot Gallery in Atlanta beginning Sept. 7. 

Born in Alabama and raised in Milwaukee, Wisc., Palmer, 52, has lived in Gwinnett County for twenty years. After graduating with a BFA from The American Academy of Art in Chicago and The School of the Art, also in Chicago, he and a business partner opened an art design firm.

“We were very successful,” said Palmer, “but my love was always fine art.”

Slowly, he shifted over from the business side of the arts to becoming a full-time fine artist.

His work is constantly changing and evolving. At one point, it was more historical in nature, focusing specifically on the African American experience. In the past two years or so, it’s become more spiritual. One of his latest series is called Beautiful Destruction and focuses on tornadoes, forest fires and other natural disasters.

His latest shift in subject happened around the time his mother passed away. 

“Things were going well prior to that,” said Palmer, “but around that time I lost my desire to create for a while.”

When he did get back on the wheel and start working again, a lot of his work had to do with flowers.

“I wondered, ‘where are these images coming from?’” he said.

As an artist, according to Palmer, whether you’re a writer or musician, some of the best work comes from pain, and working with that pain until you understand it. Palmer said that he didn’t understand why he was painting what he was painting until he created a piece called Not Enough Flowers.

“It didn’t seem to really communicate what I was feeling at the time,” he said. “I took the time and sectioned off a third of the painting and painted a little boy. Then I realized that little boy was me. I keep creating these flowers as a way to pay homage to my mom, but I'll never be able to create or paint or give enough flowers to do justice to losing the one you love like that.”

Art is so much a part of his life that when he’s not painting, he’s thinking about painting. His teaching experience ranges from the High Museum Young Masters program to a range of classes at the Drawing and Painting Art Station. He will also be teaching at Morehouse. 

His paintings are in private and public collections and he has been honored by awards and commissions ranging from the U.S. Olympics and USA Track and Field Association to Southern Bell/Atlanta 1994. 

Art Off the Main showcases art which ranges from "the intuitive to the modern, the traditional to the experimental, the realist to the surrealist, the political to the religious," according to their official website

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