When it comes to sharing his artwork, MSU professor Karl Gude never has been a fan of the gallery process.
“You make a painting that takes you, say, 30 hours, almost a full work week, put it in a gallery, and someone says, ‘That should sell for about 600 bucks,’” Gude said. “They keep 40-60 percent of the profit from that painting, that leaves you with 200 bucks … So you walk away with basically peanuts for all that work.”
After 22 years without showing his work in a gallery, MSU’s graphics editor-in-residence decided to take his life-sized paintings out of hiding and display them in MSUglobal’s innovative space at the Nisbet Building. His exhibition, which will include about 30 paintings, will kick off at 4:30 today.
Chris Geith, MSUglobal’s executive director and a good friend of Gude’s, approached him with the idea after a painting project the two shared at the MSU Student Organic Farm.
“We showed up one morning at 7:30, it was a gorgeous day (with) all this greenery and the smell of pig dung, and it was like, what an amazing day,” Gude said. “(Geith is) really an interesting person and an amazing artist in her own right, so they just redesigned this gallery space.”
Gude said he and his wife have been considering moving to a smaller home, leaving less room to display his work, so he agreed to take part.
“I paint some really big paintings, and they won’t fit,” he said. “So my wife and I had a really long talk, and I really like and respect Chris Geith, and she’s got this new gallery space, so for the first time in 22 years I was talked into taking my stuff out.”
Since he is known mostly for his infographics work at Newsweek magazine, as well as his cartooning skills, Geith said the exhibition will show a new side of Gude’s creativity.
“Not a lot of people have seen Karl’s paintings,” Geith said. “People know his infographics and talent from that area, we haven’t seen more of the fine art side of Karl’s talent.”
The exhibition also will incorporate Layar, an app available on iPhones and Androids that creates virtual counterparts of real-life events through audio and video components. Rashad Muhammad, MSUglobal’s instructional technologist, said viewers who use the app will be able to listen to audio of Gude telling the stories behind each painting.
“I wanted to play around with the augmented reality concept for a long time,” Muhammad said. “It adds to the overall experience of discovery, to be able to have the artist tell you why he chose these colors or what inspired him to do this part of the painting or piece. Karl Gude has some very interesting stories … That concept adds depth to the painting.”
In the end, Gude does not see himself as an expert painter, but an artist exploring outside the realm where he is most comfortable.
“I’m not really a painter, I’m just a dude who likes to paint once in a while,” he said.
“If I see something interesting and I wanna capture that, it’s some sort of a challenge.”