Watercolor and Greasepaint / The Gallery at 350 Bleecker

Submitted By Tug Rice


The title of my solo exhibition at The Gallery at 350 Bleecker in Manhattan’s West Village was Watercolor and Greasepaint: Illustrations Inspired by the Theatre. The collection featured watercolor and ink sketches based on my experiences as an actor.


When I was asked to create an exhibition for 350 Bleecker, I knew the subject should be the theatre. Before becoming an illustrator, I trained as an actor at Carnegie Mellon University and played major classical roles in productions across the country. I often found myself — and many of the actors I worked with — obsessing over the audiences we played for. Did they like us? Were they bored? I was inspired by the 18th century artist, William Hogarth, who depicted theatrical spectators in his own time. Pulling back the curtain, I wanted to give viewers an examination of audiences from my accustomed perspective: the stage.

Technical Challenge

Creating a cohesive collection of 16 pieces proved an exciting challenge. I used some of my earliest pieces, most of which were inspired by the theatre, and created new ones from more recent experiences. I was informed early on that the gallery preferred G-rated pieces, so I needed to find a way to evoke a sense of an often indecent backstage world while appealing to the gallery's intended clientele. I believe I achieved this by working in a style that, while true to myself, also nodded to a kind of childlike innocence.


The Gallery at 350 Bleecker




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Tug Rice




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