Artist Spotlight: George Cutting
If you’ve done anything arts related downvalley, you’ve probably encountered George Cutting. Besides running the Crack in the Wall Gallery on the road to Harvey Gap, he’s the president of the Bookcliffs Art Center in Rifle, an ambassador for the Rifle Chamber, and volunteer at the Silt Historical Park. He’s also an accomplished photographer, with work on display at the Cooper Corner Gallery in Glenwood Springs. He recently sat down with the Post Independent to talk about how he came to be so involved.
PI: How did you get started in photography?
GC: I picked up my first 35mm camera in seventh grade and worked in my school’s darkroom, and the creativity started to come out. One of my favorite artists to look at was Eliot Porter, who did color the way Ansel Adams did black and white. I gravitated to the color.
I tried black and white. Boy is it hard to get the right shades of gray and all of that. Now I shoot digital, which no longer loses resolution compared to a slide.
PI: What happened in between?
GC: I discovered Colorado after high school when I went to Mesa College to study forestry. Life happened, and I left college, went back to New York and started a bluegrass band. I’m a sound engineer, so I managed the band and did the mix. That was 1979, when the music of choice was Disco. We’d walk into a club with a banjo, guitar, upright bass and mandolin and unplug the jukebox. It was really well-received because it was an alternative.
Later I got hired on by a southern rock and roll band and toured the eastern seaboard for two and a half years. My fiancée and I moved to Washington, and I went back into the nursery field. That also meant I had time for photography. I’m still selling photos from my time up in the Cascades.
PI: How did you end up back on the Western Slope?
GC: I was brought out by a company called Cello Music and Film, which installed and maintained high end home theaters up in Aspen. I also ended up at Planted Earth for a couple years and then, in 2010, life took a major curve. That’s when I bought a house in Silt, started Crack in the Wall Gallery, became a Silt Chamber member, and didn’t stop there.
PI: Do you ever feel overextended?
GC: Yes and no. I think my drive is being involved in so many things, and I think doing it pretty darn tootin’ good is my way of working through the losses in my life. That’s my therapy.
Crack in the Wall is just absolutely amazing. There in a little shack 12 foot square I’ve got 34 local artists from pottery to jewelry to woodworking to my photography — and four other photographers, because I couldn’t say no.
PI: Tell us about the emerging downvalley scene.
GC: A lot of people and income left when oil and gas crashed. Upvalley sort of dismisses it.
There’s still a community of people that want to get out of their houses and bring their kids along. I think if you start by building your community, your businesses will flourish. I think we’re seeing it in Glenwood even with the bridge construction. The second Friday event this past week was absolutely amazing.
It’s all happening. It’s so much fun.
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This summer, the local arts nonprofit Voices will be debuting The ARTery, a tiny mobile space for theater and the arts, a news release stated.