WILKES-BARRE — Georgie LeHoop’s booth begs a slightly far out question:
“Would you like to hear a painting?”
No, he isn’t selling mind bending chemicals.
LeHoop is selling his “drum art” this weekend at the Fine Arts Fiesta, which closes its 59th year at 6 p.m. Sunday.
A drummer of 50 years, the St. Clair man said the inspiration to produce “visual rhythm” struck him suddenly more than a decade ago.
“One day I was walking around and this idea popped in my head,” he said.
The idea? Dip his drumsticks in paint, drum on something, and the result should be art.
“When I first started doing this, they were purely random,” he said of his abstract beginnings. “They were whatever they were.”
Since then, LeHoop said, he’s spent the last 13 years honing his craft,
After a while, “I figured out how to make things look like things,” he said
Though many of his works are still seated firmly in the abstract realm, he learned to utilize different techniques and drumming tools — like mallets, brushes and occasionally chopsticks — to create shapes and patterns.
LeHoop now produces and sells paintings of splattered hearts and American flags, as well as music staffs and scenes of celestial majesty.
He said he paints only words and the odd treble or bass clef by hand, drumming absolutely everything else in a method he happily demonstrates.
One painting can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours depending on design and medium choices, he said. And canvas, LeHoop added, can endure a surprising rhythmic beating. Other surfaces, however, aren’t always so lucky.
Take vinyl records for example.
Only a few painted records hang in the booth, outnumbered by canvas, drum-heads and CD’s.
“These are the survivors,” he said laughing. “I break many of them.”
Also among his wares are t-shirts and stickers emblazoned with printed versions of some of his more popular paintings.
While his tent primarily displays his work as a visual artist, he said he still creates art using rhythm and sound as well. Next to a screen that loops a video of LeHoop painting sit a few short stacks of CD’s, copies of an album he recorded called “Rhythm on Canvas - Would You Like to Hear a Painting?”
LeHoop said he attends up to 40 art shows a year, but this is his first appearance at the Fine Arts Fiesta. So far, he said he’s impressed with both Wilkes-Barre and the festival.
“I love it,” he said. “There’s a really good music and art feel in this city.”
He said he finds the intimacy of the fiesta’s size preferable to that of larger events.
And though the art show circuit lacks the physical exertion of performing live music nightly, he said, his current touring regimen, sometimes spanning cities and coastlines, is exhausting in its own right.
“I still get tired. It’s a lot of driving,” he said. And besides, he said, “Now I’m a one man show.”
Learn more about LeHoop’s art at www.georgielehoop.com