Afternoon beachgoers passing Annex Surf Supply at Wrightsville Beach Saturday, July 26, found themselves drawn in by the sounds of laughter and music and the smell of barbecue on the grill.
As curious groups of people wandered past the table of free food and into the Annex’s eclectic interior, they were met immediately by a row of canvases painted by Outer Banks artist Travis Fowler. Nearby, Mickey June and Evan Weinstein displayed their art, while the opposite wall featured the work of Volcom artist Jamie Browne.
The Annex and Volcom brought the four artists together for the Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones art show to benefit Hope From Helen.
Since its grand opening in 2013, the Annex has showcased local art, music and culture, with much of the proceeds from the events going to local charities.
“We try to keep to gear [the proceeds]toward the local charities in town so people can see where it’s going,” said Chris Batten, Annex managing partner.
Batten said that it was a natural choice to donate 30 percent of the proceeds from the art show to Hope From Helen because of everything that founder Tony Butler has done for the community.
“Tony is a good ambassador for our beach and for our community, so it’s a no-brainer to support him,” Batten said. “He’s been on the scene a long time … if we can chip in hopefully it goes a long way to keep him doing what he’s doing.”
Browne agreed, saying although it was difficult to part with the work he had put so much time and creativity into, he was glad the money could go to a worthy cause.
“This is the first time I’ve sold my work,” he said. “If I’m letting it go, though, at least it’s going toward something good rather than just in my pocket.”
The Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones show centered around ink drawings created by Browne, who is originally from Australia but currently resides in California. Volcom flew Browne, along with his art, to North Carolina for the show.
“It was an excuse to get out here,” Browne said. “I’m absolutely stoked, loving it here. I’m loving the humidity, the beach, the people. Everyone’s so friendly and laid back here and it really feels natural.”
Browne’s intricate ink drawings were sketched on anything from plain white paper to drink coasters and brown paper bags. Although his quirky style was inspired by the surf and music culture of Sydney, Australia, his art had a similar vibe to the three local artists who joined him in the Sticks and Stones show.
Fowler, Weinstein and June earned the right to show their art alongside Browne’s after submitting work samples to the Annex through social media. All artists in the region were invited to send in photos of their best pieces using the hashtag #SticksStonesAndBrokenBones.
“We were only going to choose one,” Batten said. “But there were so many good ones … we couldn’t really pass up any of these three artists.”
Fowler’s work featured a bright color palette, which created an interesting contrast with his darker subject matter of disjointed limbs, faces and skulls. June also painted skulls, using bold colors to create surreal, psychedelic images. Weinstein’s body of work included typography and calligraphy, reflecting his background as a graphic designer.
Batten added he was excited to give these artists the opportunity to show their work alongside someone like Browne.
“Some of them have never done art shows before so for this to be on their resume, it’s pretty killer,” Batten said.