Staff photo by Emmy Errante
Jazz Undy stands with his artwork at Rita’s Italian Ice in Wrightsville Beach.
Life’s obstacles prove to be an inspiration for an artist temporarily residing in Wrightsville Beach using Rita’s Italian Ice during the off-season as an art studio.
Jazz Undy, who was reared on Maryland’s eastern shore, reuses napkins, plastics, cardboards and sand found on local and other beaches to form 3-D pieces of art with canvas or wood backings.
He has been in Wrightsville Beach off and on for five years.
It was shortly after 9/11 when Undy quit working as part of a think tank and ventured into the art and acting arena. He said he started by painting a couple pieces with boats that he gave to his brother.
“Somehow I figured out a way to put them in the canvas … which just worked,” Undy said. “… It hasn’t really been easy.”
He dealt with his father’s death in October and was shot in the hip in downtown Wilmington on Castle Street in November following an armed robbery. So he painted while he recovered.
“It’s not fine art,” Undy said. “It’s fun. It’s whimsical. … I’ve met so many people, and they love to watch me work.”
He described his work as both a craft and an oil painting.
He said sometimes the ideas for what to do with the objects he finds will come to him within an hour or a day or two, but eventually it all comes together.
Boats, waves, turtles, Barbies, Volkswagen vans and other subjects dealing with motion, water and outdoor living are often the focus of his work.
“I do a lot of statement pieces just to make people think,” Undy said. “I want people to stop and think about others. We all have to be here together and let’s not be selfish.”
He started selling his work at festivals, but now primarily sells his pieces in art galleries. He traveled to New Orleans last week to put his art in Exagéré.
A constant presence of art like what can be found in New Orleans is what Undy would like to see in Wrightsville Beach.
“That really influenced me how much they supported and [art is] embraced down there,” Undy said. “I’d like to see that same thing here, because there are a lot of phenomenal artists here.”
He said he has talked with local business owners about creating an art walk where people could walk from restaurant to restaurant while viewing and purchasing local artists’ work.
The price of Undy’s artwork ranges from $175 to $4,000.
One piece he sold recently had “Really?” surrounded by bottles and other trash he found along Wrightsville Beach.
“They just go to a landfill, and they just sit for 80 to 100 years maybe,” Undy said. “They might decompose. Put them in a wave! … I know I’m not going to solve the problem, but if we look at things in a creative capacity rather than the way we’ve always done it we might come up with some new solutions.”
For more information, visit www.jazzyboyart.com