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Shell Factory & Nature Park features area artists

By Staff | Aug 4, 2009

The Shell Factory & Nature Park, in its factory shops, has begun profiling local artists and their work.
The first artist is Andy Fowler. His work can be seen in the jewelry area in the middle of the shops.
“As promised, there is always something new and exciting at Shell Factory and Nature Park,” said Shell Factory owner Pamela J. Cronin. “Adding a bit of local color to the 60,000-square-foot store will give us one more interesting feature for our guests. We are so pleased to offer the artwork of Andy Fowler to be admired and purchased. You can get a piece now, so when he’s famous you can be one of the ones who says, ‘I knew him when … ‘”
“We have a lot of talented local artists who are undiscovered,” said Kathy Vanderjagt, head of purchasing for the Shell Factory. “A lot of times that’s because they have a hard time finding a venue for their art. Because the Shell Factory is so community-oriented, and we have the room, we would like to help these local artists get started and show their work.”
Fowler’s work is on display now.
“I do paintings, woodwork and carved bowls,” he said.
He is a carpenter by trade, but is not working in the field right now.
“I’m trying to make a living off of my art,” he said.
His niche is using recycled materials.
“The wood pictures are made out of old pieces of paneling, then I added lacquer and watercolor finish for sunsets on some. Everything is recycled,” he said.
His favorite piece is a big one that is not for sale, but on display.
It is a northern scene by the water, the water is a mirror. It took him several weeks to do. Pieces that are for sale are the workings, paintings bowls and prints.
He said he found a love for art at an early age.
“I started doing art when I was a little kid,” he said. “I never was educated in it. PBS was my education, including Bob Ross, a painter/teacher who is long gone but still on the show.”
He uses acrylic paints and does some watercolor.
“It used to fill my idle time, now I do a lot of it,” he said.
He is a North Fort Myers resident.
“I graduated from North Fort Myers High in 1976, and lived in area area most of my life,” he said.
Fowler said he is excited with the opportunity given by the Shell Factory.
“Absolutely,” he said of the chance to show his work locally. “Most of my things I’ve been selling at local businesses.”
He plans on visiting his display often.
Future plans at the Shell Factory include giving more space to local artists later in the fall, said Vanderjagt.
If you are a local artist interested in profiling your work, call after Sept. 1 at 995-2141, ext.n 128.
Cronin also reminds residents that the Shell Factory is a great place to visit locally for the variety of attractions and items for sale there.
The Shell Factory is located at 2787 N Tamiami Trail.
For general information abou the Shell Factory & Nature Park, call 995-2141.