Todd Koelmel's Enamel Pin Paintings | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

A self-taught artist, Todd Koelmel spent a good deal of time in museums when he was in the process of developing his own artistic style. In addition to worshipping at the feet of the masters on the walls, Koelmel was also struck by the artistry of some of the items for sale in museum gift shops. “In museum gift shops, they often sell enamel pins of the art. It was at the Andy Warhol Museum that I first noticed them and began collecting them,” says Koelmel. “Some of them were so cool, in terms of Pop Art, that they deserved to be in the museum themselves, not just in the gift shop. That’s how I got the idea to blow them up and make wall sculptures out of them.”

Koelmel’s enamel pin paintings cover a lot of Pop Art territory, from a portrait of Andy Warhol in a fright wig to a Roy Lichtenstein-like explosion to a reproduction of Keith Haring’s Crack Is Wack mural. There’s also other cultural ephemera in the series—a Damien Hirst-inspired shark, Van Gogh’s bed from his painting Bedroom in Arles, a portrait of Grace Jones, a cheeseburger, a Mondrian grid. “It’s really a vehicle for me to pay homage to the art history that I studied that got me to where I am,” says Koelmel. “And a whimsical way for me to engage things that I wouldn’t paint otherwise.”

In a definitive nod to the gift shop aesthetic, the paintings—which measure 28-by-36 inches—are wrapped in cellophane, commercialized art trinkets.

Koelmel’s enamel pin paintings are on exhibit through the end of April at Level 2 Art Gallery, a pop-up space at 56 North Front Street in Kingston. An opening reception will be held on April 9 from 4 to 8pm.

Brian K. Mahoney

Brian is the editorial director for the Chronogram Media family of publications. He lives in Kingston with his partner Lee Anne and the rapscallion mutt Clancy.
Comments (0)
Add a Comment
  • or

Support Chronogram