Sparks fly: Artist Sparks shows work at River Walk

Published 7:03 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2013

 RIVER VISIT: Artist Destry Sparks is the featured artist of the month at River Walk Gallery. VAIL STEWART RUMLEY | DAILY NEWS

RIVER VISIT: Artist Destry Sparks is the featured artist of the month at River Walk Gallery.

Destry Sparks is a networker. He uses every opportunity to connect with artists and people in the art world.
Sparks’ networking led him to Washington artists Sam and Jayne Wall and being featured as this month’s featured artist at River Walk Gallery and Arts Center.
“Years ago, I entered one of the Beaufort County Arts Council juried shows,” said the East Carolina University graduate. “I met them and was really impressed by their work. I found them to be very talented, inspiring and encouraging over the years.”
Jayne Wall, one of the founding members of River Walk, recalled meeting Sparks about 25 years ago.
“Even then, Destry’s work was different, and he wanted to talk art,” she said. “He was using bright, primary colors in abstract landscapes. I won’t pretend that was the first of his networking, but it pulled us into his circle. Sam and I have been watching and cheering Destry ever since.”
Tackling subjects like mortality and faith, Sparks said he likes to work alone. He plays music to relax and clear his mind while hard at work.
“Really brilliant people inspire me,” he said. “From Johnny Cash, who is about as all-American as you can get, to British ’80s alternative rock bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure.”
The River Walk show is a reunion, of sorts. Sparks was a member of the gallery for a short period. At the time, Jayne Wall, said he was painting large organic abstracts.
“Today, he is in the company of many young experimental artists as well as older painters who continue the line of Raschenburg, whose work is loosely referred to as assemblage,” Jayne Wall said.
Sparks follows a lot of his contemporaries and aims to keep his career on a similar trajectory.
“I’ve been very determined with my career to measure myself against modern masters like Joan Miro and Paul Klee plus leading contemporary artists like Anselm Kiefer from Germany,” he said. “Art is a hard industry though, much akin to music or acting where a big break can make a huge difference in how one’s work is measured.”
Still waiting for that big break. Sparks said he has tried a steady climb through the art scene, branching out by first showing his work around eastern North Carolina, then branching out to Charlotte and Raleigh. He is now represented by Inkstone Gallery in Winterville, Carteret Contemporary Art in Morehead City and Studio 26 Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sparks has set a few goals for himself, including branching out with international fairs and dramatically upgrading his website The best place to learn more about him is his Facebook page, according to the artist.
Sparks will be part of a two-person show early next year at ECU’s Mendenhall Student Center Gallery with Jenny Hodges of Wilmington.
Sometime in April, he will be in another two-person show at ACME Studios in Wilmington with Michelle Connolly, who is director of the No Boundaries International Artists Colony on Bald Head Island.
River Walk Gallery and Arts Center is located at 139 W. Main St., Washington. For more information, call 974-0400. Reach the artist via email at