Author: Richard Marti

Drawing Class with Mat Gonzalez

Drawing. We draw for so many reasons. We create drawings to record history. From very on in our evolution humans used drawings on caves ( and probably other places that did not stand the test of 200,000 years.) We draw to capture and understand the world around us and how different things relate to one another. We draw to study things. We draw simply for the pleasure of creating new things. We create drawings to map our places and how to get from here to there. We create drawings to plan ahead when we are creating new things like buildings or even things as small as tiny microchips. We draw to create…Art.

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Drawings can be simple like a child’s early stick figures. Even though they are simple, we know they are communicating the idea of people. Those early drawings are simple because a child just lacks some vocabulary. Many of us think that. “I can’t draw.” The truth is, of course we can. We just need to learn a little more vocabulary. ( no, there will be no vocab tests!) Many artists continually draw to sharpen not only their skills of creating a likeness but also refining the skill to see. While drawing we have the opportunity to really observe edges, values and shapes.

Join us for some fun drawing. You will probably surprise yourself discovering that you can draw, better than you think.




Beyond Reality: Surreal Visions of 5 Contemporary Connecticut Artists

550 Gallery and Studios, 550 Main St. South, Bethlehem, CT  is proud to announce the Beyond Reality show with an opening reception on Sat. Aug. 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. running through Sun. Sept. 8 when there will be a closing reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The artists will be present at the opening reception. 

The exhibit features the artworks of Salvatore Gulino of Southbury, Stewart Wilson of New Hartford, Matang Gonzales of Bethlehem, Joseph Copija of Torrington and Clinton Deckert of Southington. The show highlights the unique vision of each artist as they all share a common theme of providing artistic expression and unique context to familiar images brought to a different reality by incorporating elements of color and design to create new visual experiences.

Clinton A. Deckert is an award winning artist whose Dada-esque influences merge abstract thoughts with surreal imagery to create a primordial stew where infinite possibilities evolve into works of fine art. Clinton’s work has been exhibited all over the world and he is represented in the permanent collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art. His work is held in many collections including the Jack and Susan Warner Collection of Alabama, noted to be one of the greatest privately held art collections of American art in the world. 

The paintings of Salvatore Gulino have been exhibited in many of the finest galleries in Connecticut and elsewhere, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Mattatuck Museum to name a few. He has received the Williams College Purchase Award (permanent collection) and eight awards from the Silvermine Guild’s Art of the Northeast USA exhibitions as well as several other awards and has been featured in several art periodicals. His work features abstracted images of master art works superimposed with contemporary iconography. 

Matang Gonzales is a 4th generation artist who works from his studio in Bethlehem, CT. He graduated from Western Connecticut State College with a B.A. in Graphic design after which he pursued a career in illustration and fine art. He found an interest in mixed media and kinetic sculpture and is responsible for many amazing art installations which have been displayed in New York City and Connecticut, garnering a favorable review in the CT section of the New York Times. Before embarking on his current course of freelance art and design he served as Design Director of Marvel Entertainments toy division. 

Stewart Wilson has been creating his iconic Personamen for over 40 years and has created over 31,000 Personas, small sculptural people and animals. He has used them as the basis for paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and more. The personas have been exhibited nationally and internationally in Canada, Mexico, Austria, Germany, Italy and Japan and are held in many collections worldwide. In addition to being a prolific artist Stewart co-founded and was executive director of Public Image Gallery in New York City from 1981-1984 and Artwell Gallery, Torrington, Ct. from 1995-2011. Stewart’s most recent project is the creation of an online arts community gallery called Personaland,, where artists from all over the world can share their creative visions. 

Joseph Copia is a young up and coming artist with a unique vision and style. Joe grew up in Torrington, CT. He took his major in graphic design and visual communications at Northwestern Connecticut Community College and Hartford Art School. His art is informed by his bi-racial heritage and he is influenced by African tribal art and masks. He also draws inspiration from artists such as Jean Pierre Basquait, Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso and contemporary ‘street art’. 

Live music will be performed at the exhibit opening by Preston Parish of Django’s Reserve. Preston will be playing acoustic jazz guitar and other acoustic favorites. Beyond Reality will open on Sat. Aug. 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will run through Sun. Sept. 8 with a closing reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m

For further information contact Dale Amber at or the 550 Gallery at 203-266-6995 or visit and 550 Gallery and Studios

Press contact: Dale Amber  203-558-2900

Nurture by Clinton Deckert 

Icons (after Ghirlandaio) by Salvatore Gulino

Cat by Matang Gonzales

Owl by Joseph Copija

Personaman by Stewart Wilson

Pop Up Shop – July 2019

Arielle Matthews Shore is visiting Connecticut from Hawaii with her husband and daughter. Using natural materials, Arielle carefully creates bespoke fabric ware and jewelry. Fabrics are created with silk and natural botanicals to add color. Eco Printing is a handcrafted process that yields subtle and unique results.

Jenna Gonzalez loves to play with different materials and is unafraid of trying anything to see what happens. Don’t sit too long or you might find that you have been painted into her latest installation. Like her work, Jenna wears many hats here at the 550 Gallery and Studios. Come see some of Jenna’s work for sale during the Pop Up Shop on July 12, 2019

Masque Family Theater, Peach Orchard Inc. and the 550 Gallery will be celebrating and or reinventing the relevance and lifeblood of an artist. For more than three decades, mask maker/performance artist, teacher and scholar, Larry Hunt and his family surrounded themselves with a cavalcade of characters ranging from comical to cynical. Family audiences delight in the clever, quick vignettes that can keep a youngster’s attention while challenging the imagination of the adults. Thousands of schoolchildren across the country revel in the lively, interactive assembly programs, mask making opportunities and improvisation workshops that follow.

Our Trunk Show is one day only, Friday July 12, 2019 from 6:30 – 9:30

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