Bill Cook, Jr. and Other First Friday Moments

Bill Cook, Jr. exhibition at Emporium, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012

I suspect it was me. I came home from work tired and my First Friday partner (Urban Woman) declared a night at home on that most active of nights downtown. So I left home alone, tired and a little bummed. Not in the spirit at all. And surprise, surprise, nothing really excited me. I did have a few moments I’ll throw out for thought.

Lisa Kurtz Pottery, Joe Parrott Oils, Art Market, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012

The Art Market hosted two artists: Lisa Kurtz who works in clay and Joe Parrott who’s oil paintings are currently on display. I liked the clay, but really liked Mr. Parrott’s work. I’d like to have some original art of downtown in my home and his is among the best I’ve seen. It’s also out of my price range, so I’m probably out of luck on that front.

Band at the Knoxville Visitor’s Center, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012

WDVX had a band playing live and they sounded a bit too much like Mumford and Sons, to me. Mumford and Sons is one in a long line of artists who seem to have all the ingredients I should like, but I just am not moved by them. And so it was with this group. I wandered through various galleries without getting too excited. UT’s Downtown Gallery always has something a little different and this month it was so different I just didn’t get it: Films of cut-outs being pulled by strings. I’m not sure why.

Casa Hola, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012

I visited Casa Hola in the Emporium and checked in on their altar for Día de los Muertos. I wish I’d thought more quickly and I might have placed something there for my mother, as the community was encouraged to add to the altar. Several people were doing so while I was there.

Bill Cook, Jr. Sculpture, Emporium, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012
Bill Cook, Jr. Sculpture, Emporium, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012

I really enjoyed the sculpture of Bill Cook, Jr. His stone carvings displayed on the main floor of the Emporium, where they will remain for the remainder of this month, flowed with power and grace. To produce that kind of motion, energy and power in pieces of stone takes an amazing skill and vision. I talked to Mr. Cook for a few minutes and found him to be self-effacing and soft-spoken, acknowledging that his art isn’t his sustenance as, in my opinion, it should be.

Bill Cook, Jr. Sculpture, Emporium, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012

I’d really encourage you to take a few minutes this month and explore his work. Some of the pieces seem very simple, though no doubt they are difficult to complete and then some are impossibly complex. I’ll probably go back, myself. In a perfect world he could support himself with his art and I could afford to buy some of it. Ah well, maybe there’s another life after this one and I can pick one up on that trip through.

Old City Buskers and Dancer at the Phoenix Building, First Friday, Knoxville, November 2012

Feeling my day catching up with me, I walked back up town and stopped into The Downtown Grind where I happily found my friend Cynthia. She always makes me feel better by the end of a conversation than I feel at the beginning. She served me up a great cup of coffee which I enjoyed in the lobby of the Phoenix Building while listening to the fun sounds of the Old City Buskers. People danced spontaneously, both young and old – and some of them really knew the moves. I always have to smile when I listen to fun music and watch people lose themselves in the sounds.

So, it was a pretty quiet, solitary sort of First Friday. Maybe not the splashiest, but just about right for that particular night. It’s funny how a shared experience, in this case with thousands of people, can be so different for each of us. It was a good night in the city.

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