Curtis Monroe is on a journey to create art that evokes emotion

Published 11:00 pm Friday, June 21, 2013


Curtis Monroe works in bright colors and geometric shapes to convey movement and feeling.

Curtis Monroe of Galloway Road wants to be an artist.

Maybe he already is an artist. Maybe he’s not. Maybe he will never be.

“But to know, I’ve got to get out there,” Monroe said, as he furrowed his brow and bit his bottom lip. “Got to get out there.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Monroe’s not sure how many drawings he has at his “studio” atop Galloway Road in Brundidge. He’s too busy drawing to count.

He does all of his drawing and “coloring” in a metal storage building behind his house. The building is both his workplace and his gallery.

“The ones I like the most I hang up and some of them I frame. I make my own frames. Do it all myself. Call my art ‘do it,’’ Monroe said, shuffling his to feet draw attention away from his smile and the inference to the shoe company.

“Just get it out there. Do it.”

For most of his years, Monroe has liked to draw and he has always been “drawn” to bright, bold colors.

So, when he became serious about his artwork, he developed his own style, which is characterized by dominant circles, other geometric shapes and bright, bold colors.

“I love color and I love circles,” Monroe said. “Just about anything that I want to ‘say,’ I can say with circles and color.”

Monroe’s canvases are nothing more than poster board and his brushes nothing more than “magic markers.”

He has had no formal art training. Everything he knows he learned himself. And, he can’t explain his fascination with circles.

“I just love circles but I can’t draw a circle by myself,” Monroe said. “So, I use whatever I can find to draw around. I use all different sizes of plates and bowls. I use coffee cans, pot lids, jar lids and lamp shades, anything round.”

Most of Monroe’s drawings are two dimensional with a lot of movement.

“They take you around,” he said. “They move.”

And, some of his artwork is 3D in motion.

“First, I draw and color a picture,” Monroe said. “Then, I cut another design in strips and use it as cover art. It’s a different kind of art.”

Monroe’s art could be described as abstract folk art “if there is such a thing.” But moreover, it’s Do It Art.

Monroe creates two kinds of art – inside art and outside art.

“For my inside art, I use paper and markers,” he said. “For my outside art, I use metal. But, when I make art it’s all about feeling. I don’t think when I’m drawing and creating art. When I’m thinking, I’m wasting time. I don’t want to waste time. I’ve got too much to do. I don’t think. I make art.”

Walter Black, Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center exhibitions coordinator, said Monroe takes traditional folk art and makes it his own.

“Rather than focusing only on human and animal forms, which is widely common in folk art, Curtis Monroe explores geometric shapes and patterns. He combines that abstract nature of shape, and the loose style of folk art. It is interesting to see the contrast that develops from that combination of styles.”

When he does use human and animal forms, Monroe has a story to tell.

“The Bible says that we are to give the Lord 10 percent of our money and our talents and our time,” he said. “Sometimes, people don’t want to do that and we have to shake it out of them. That’s what this drawing is about. Shaking it out.”

“This drawing” is more traditional than most of Monroe’s art but, traditional or not, it is folk art.

“Maybe I am a folk artist or maybe I just draw and color,” he said. “But I enjoy what I’m doing and there’s no greater love than that.”