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Colleagues of Robert Rauschenberg present artwork

December 14, 2016
By ASHLEY GOODMAN ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Local artists Janet Vince, Pam Schmidt and Vyd, close friends of graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg, will present a pop-up gallery in Suite 5155 at 9115 Strada Place at the Mercato shopping center Dec. 15-18 in Naples.

Vince, who will show her whimsical assemblages, lived in Maybelle Stamper's house on Rauschenberg's property for six years. After moving from Surrey, England, Vince lived on Sanibel and Captiva for 30 years. She credits a close friend, a previous tennis director at South Seas Island Resort, for beckoning her to move to the island in 1985. She currently works as a freelance painter and muralist. Vince has done many murals and faux finishes for many homes and restaurants on Captiva. She has even done murals for Cliff Williams, AC/DC's bassist and backing vocalist.

Throughout her lifetime, Vince has traveled to 43 countries and she has been to almost every state. Her color palette draws influences from the many places she's been.

Article Photos

“Map of my heart” by Pam Schmidt.


"Third world countries have a great use of color. They love color. Whether it's wearing color or painting their houses bright colors, they're happier people. I think that to me is an influence. I always try to make my colors bright and happy, even when I'm painting in people's homes, " Vince said.

Vince initally met Rauschenberg through doing various odd jobs for Daryl Pottorf.

"He (Rauschenberg) was always so nice every time I went over. As soon as he'd smile, the whole room would light up. He just had this energy that was amazing. When he'd talk to you, he'd touch your arm and if he liked you, he'd keep his arm there. If he didn't like you, he'd take his hand away," Vince said.

Schmidt, a sculptor, worked for Rauschenberg as his bookkeeper for 18 years. Her work mainly focuses on hearts made from paper mache, clay, glass and even lead. One year for Rauschenberg's birthday, Schmidt decided to give him one of her sculpted hearts for his birthday; this one would be made from pure gold.

"Bob always kept a pocket full of charms. So, one year for his birthday I made him a little tiny heart of solid gold. On one side I stamped "4 U R.R." and on the other side I my stamped my initials, "P.S." So before his birthday I said I was making something special for him and that I was giving him something that he already has. He added to his charms and always kept it in his pocket," Schmidt said.

Schmidt said that working for Rauschenberg is something she'll never forget.

"It was an experience that will never be topped in my lifetime. Bob was funny, sincere, generous, kind and obviously a creative genius. I'll never meet anyone as good as a person as he was," she said.

The third artist, Vyd, who works in collage, paint and sculpture, grew up on Sanibel. In 1988, he received a Rauschenberg Scholarship through BIG ARTS after obtaining his MFA from Florida State College.

"I grew up with some crazy artist who lived on Captiva and every once in a while, you'd see him at dinner, getting drinks or even an art show but he was just a local guy," Vyd said.

Vyd said that Rauschenberg never met anyone he gave scholarship money to. The two met by chance at a gallery exhibit one night.

"I was working with Henry and Jane Eckert at their Naples gallery on 13th and Bob was having a show that night. I was working it setting up the walls and it was the Wednesday night where all the millionaires come by for a preview. So, they were standing where I was working hanging the last piece and I counted to 10 and no one asked him a question so I started asking him all these questions and Bob went through the whole gamete of everything I asked. So, later on at dinner, as the story goes, according to the Eckerts, Bob asked who I was and when they told him I was the one who received his scholarship, he broke down in tears," he said. "He would mentor me and I would ask him questions about shows and art and he would give me time. That's what blew me away."

Vyd's art focuses on the pop culture aspect and most recently, comic book heroes.

"I take my comic books from my childhood and cut them up and tell new stories with the images," he said.

In addition to showing some of his art work, Vyd will also be doing some fortune readings during the opening reception. Vyd made five different cards based on super heroes that are each different shapes.

"I think it gives people permission to believe in themselves. It's real simple positivity," he said.

A meet-and-greet with the artists will take place Dec. 15, from 5 to 9 p.m. Drinks and appetizers will be served. All three artists plan to share memories and stories of Rauschenberg at the opening reception.



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