Since Monsoon opened its doors in May of 2003,
it has amassed quite a collection of articles, photos, editorials,
interviews and appearances.
The Morning Call
Lehigh Valley Magazine
The New York Times
(click on the thumbnails to read the articles)
Read the full articles by scrolling below!
Monsoon Gallery Articles and Editorials 2008
The Monsoon Gallery Archives for 2008
We've gone through all the media surrounding the gallery and
created an archival collection of articles and editorials about the gallery,
its artists, and its employees.
If there's something in particular that you were looking for
and you don't see it here, then please don't hesitate to give
us a call or send us an email and let us know.
Paper: The Express Times - Easton, Pennsylvania
Date: July 11th, 2008
Artist: Herb Williams
"Herb Williams whimsical crayon sculptures stir the senses"
It's normal for the smell of wax to be permeating the Nashville studio of
Herb Williams. That's because Williams creates colorful, whimsical works
of wax using thousands of crayons he orders from Crayola. He gets his crayons
individually packed, 3,000 to a case, and cuts them down to desired length
using either double guillotine cigar cutters or large-breed dog nail clippers.
His crayon sculptures have found their way into national art galleries as
well as public and private collections. His creations include animals, household
items, and even famous faces - including a portrait of Marilyn Monroe comprised
of mostly peach crayons.
Williams earned his bachelor's degree in sculpture from Birmingham-Southern
College on an art scholarship and apprenticed under several off-campus professional
sculptors. He worked at a bronze foundry in West Palm Beach, Fla., casting
oversized fruits and vegetables for the artist Popliteo, and the last bronze
work by photorealist Duane Hanson.
Alabama, raised in Prattvillle
Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Cai Guo-Qiang, Sandy Skoglund, Liza Lu, David Mach,
Charles ray, Magritte, Anish Kapoor, Duchamp, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst,
Robert Rauschenberg, Banksy, Ai Weiwei
like to think of myself as a contemporary artist still searching for relevant
things to say. I love using the crayons in my work, because there is still
so much left to do with the medium. I don’t think I have a particular
style yet, other than trying to create the most iconic images I can in the
context I want to relay. Maybe post-post-post-pop?”
his roots:“I am a very grounded person. I was raised on a pecan
orchard in Autauga County, so I feel like I have some very deep roots to
keep my feet on the every-changing art market world…I’m always
looking for new things in art…always going to galleries and museums
wherever I travel to keep my eyes fresh.”
Magazine: Art Matters - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date: July 2008
Artist: Herb Williams
"More than Child’s Play"
The Lehigh Valley is home to Crayola Crayons and a logical choice for a
crayon art exhibit. While you might expect to see children’s works
on paper, this is a contemporary sculpture show by a young artist from Nashville,
Tennessee. Planned for July 11 through September 3, the exhibition is presented
by Monsoon Gallery, 11 East Third Street, Bethlehem.
Herb Williams is a breakout artist with a recent feature story in the American
Airlines in-flight magazine, another five-page spread in the national magazine
The Crafts Report and an appearance on network television on the CBS Sunday
Morning Show. To top it off, his recent “Wallflowers” series
was shown at a prestigious gallery in Washington, D.C.
His summer show at Monsoon Gallery will feature a new work commissioned
by Crayola Crayons. A giant version of the famous 64-color box, it will
help mark the 50th anniversary of this iconic Crayola product package. This
sculpture recently debuted on the Fox News network morning show, Fox &
“Herb’s work can best be described as pure
of heart,” says Ranjeet Pawar, Art Director at Monsoon Gallery. “His
elaborate and colorful crayon sculptures take us back to a time in our lives
when laughter was the focus of our days. An amazing sculptor that cannot
be missed, Herb Williams is on his way to being the country’s next
Williams holds the distinction of being the only individual who has a wholesale
purchase agreement with Crayola Crayons. He buys about a million crayons
a year in bulk, which come in 3,000 count cases that weigh about 60 pounds
each. Once he held pizza parties for friends who help him cut the crayons
to the required size for various projects, but now he has a custom designed
industrial bandsaw to handle the great volume.
Williams was born in Montgomery, AL in 1973. He earned a BFA in sculpture
from Birmingham-Southern College and worked at a bronze foundry in Florida
briefly before moving to Nashville, TN in 1998. In recent years, he has
completed life size sculptures of his heroes: Red Grooms, Elvis Presley,
Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, and Nashville folk artist William Edmondson, each
made from thousands of crayons.
According to Williams, his work can be humorous and even downright funny,
yet still be viable in the midst of what is considered contemporary art.
“I was classically trained in sculpture and the traditional mediums
– clay, stone, wood, bronze, and steel,” he said, “but
I’ve never been satisfied with merely painting an object to achieve
a color. I want to see the medium beneath.”
Williams began to use crayons after considerable experimentation with various
and exotic materials. “Repetition is beauty, to paraphrase Shakespeare,”
he said. “I use the simple act of epoxying a cut crayon onto a form
I created of fiberglass or other material and repeat it, thousands and thousands
In 2004 Williams created a room size (12 x 8 x 8 ft) sculptural installation
that was shown at a Nashville gallery. Titled “The Blues,” it
was made from more than 100,000 crayons in multiple shades of blue. He was
teaching an art class at a local center for troubled youth, and got his
students to assist with cutting crayons and assembling the piece. Viewers
could walk into the room and pose with the string bass, tenor sax, electric
guitar, or studio microphone, all full size and made of crayons. People
could interact with the art on different levels, and with different senses:
sight, touch, and scent – crayons have a distinctive smell. The piece
was purchased on first sight by a record company executive from Los Angeles,
in town for the Country Music Awards.
After 9/11, Williams was aware of the many American flags he saw each day
around the city and decided to create a red, white, and blue crayon flag.
“It’s sort of an homage to artist Jasper Johns,” he said.
“The granddaughter of the owner of Nashville’s Coca Cola Bottling
Co. saw it and purchased it. It now hangs in the main lobby of the University
School of Nashville.” “One thing leads to another,”
Williams said. “The Chancellor at Vanderbilt University saw my American
flag and got interested in my work. Later he commissioned my crayon figure
of country music great Johnny Cash.”
Early in 2007, Williams received a commission to create a life-size nude
image of Marilyn Monroe, after the famous Playboy Magazine cover pose. “A
local woman wanted it for a birthday gift for her husband,” he said.
Beginning with a 6 by 6 foot wooden panel, Williams created a three dimensional
wall-relief using 23 different colors, predominantly reds, pinks, and flesh-colored
Most recently, Williams has completed a commissioned work for a new boutique
hotel in Nashville. A sexy lady’s slip, the used dog toenail clippers
to cut the ends of thousands carnation pink crayons to create the sculpture.
“The hotel owners had seen my earlier work of men’s boxer shorts,”
Williams said, “and wanted something along the same line.” It’s
called Pink Slip. The artist enjoys word play.
When he first moved to Nashville, Williams worked at home in a basement
studio, but after three moves he now has a studio in the rear of a new art
gallery where he’s part owner. The Rymer Gallery, 219 Sixth Ave, is
the city’s largest at 3,000 square feet. “I’ve been very
fortunate to find someone who wanted to invest in my art and partner with
me in establishing a contemporary art gallery,” he said. “I
like to have studio space where people can visit and see my work in progress.
I also like presenting other people’s work.”
Williams now employs an artist intern to assist him in building the structural
forms needed to support his works and for cutting crayons. As his work has
become larger and more complex, the Nashville sculptor realized he needed
help in designing the support systems and has secured the services of a
structural engineer who works for the U.S. Corps of Engineers. “It
really takes a village to accomplish some of the things I want to do,”
There are very few artists who can claim they found their medium in a dream.
Williams tells of dreaming one night of attending a gallery show where there
were numbers of sculptures of stone, wood, clay, and metal on display. “There
was also one piece made of crayons,” he recalls. “When I awakened,
I wrote CRAYONS on a notepad, so I wouldn’t forget in the morning.”
He’s been working with crayons ever since.
Paper: Bethlehem Press - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Date: May 28, 2008
Artist: Nava Mentkow, Ann Schlegel, Kate Birch
"A Fresh Look at Flowers at Monsoon"
Flowers are in bloom, not only outdoors, but indoors at Bethlehem’s
Monsoon Gallery, where three artists are taking fresh looks at fresh flowers.
Nava Mentkow, a graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts who lives
in Florida, is displaying large 36 by 36-inch oils of six different colored
roses, along with a seventh of a second orange rose. They are close-up,
intricate views of the heart of the flowers, showing every fold and shadow
of each petal. Mentkow has six other oils at Monsoon with flowers in vases,
and one of a gingko tree. The flowers are not brightly colored and do not
dominate the pictures, as indicated by the titles “White Vase,”
“Blue Vase” and “Green Vase and Candle.”
“The environment is more interesting than the flower in many cases,”
she said. “I’m trying to understand the environment I created.”
These smaller works are studies in subdued colors, shadows and design. Mentkow
creates added interest by doing nearly all the work with palette knives,
giving a three-dimensional effect that adds to the tactile feel of paintings.
“It feels like I’m sculpting,” she said. “I like
looking at art were you can see the paint being applied.” She has
done other series like the roses at Monsoon and works on projects simultaneously.
“When I repeat, I see things I didn’t see before.”
Another endeavor has been paintings of Holocaust survivors, which have been
shown at the Florida Holocaust Museum. “My grandmother was a Holocaust
survivor and my grandfather was in a Siberian work camp,” she said.
This moved her to provide a visual record. “I was compelled to do
something about it. It was my duty as a granddaughter.”
Allentown painter Ann Elizabeth Schlegel has nine paintings at Monsoon of
flowers in vases, and one portrait. They include sunflowers, forsythia,
roses, daffodils, hydrangea, lilacs and daisies. Schlegel struggled to find
the right composition for each work, adding, subtracting and changing the
size of the petals in her flowers. She used rich colors, matching them for
balance and depth. Since the quality of acrylics has improved in the last
decade, she uses them as well as oil. Schlegel has been commissioned to
design this year’s Musikfest ceramic cup. She also did the 20th anniversary
Kate Birch, a resident of Salt Lake City, creates what she calls “abstract
floral tapestries.” Birch’s six mixed media paintings are reminiscent
of art deco, combining pastel flowers and patterns to create a wallpaper
effect. Birch studies fabrics, rugs and tiles from all over the world and
builds her paintings in layers, never knowing what the final results will
Paper: Bethlehem Press - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Date: April 17, 2008
Artist: Gary Kresge, Peter Krobath, Adriano Farinella, Melissa Bryant
"Escape to Pennsylvania Landscape at Monsoon"
With landscapes featuring many scenes in or near the Lehigh Valley, four
different artists at Monsoon Gallery show you the beauty of Pennsylvania.
Gary Kresge lives in the Stroudsburg area. He remembers growing up and taking
walks in the woods, and he is lucky enough to still live in a wooded area.
“So many of the vistas I have painted are gone – developed
and full of houses,” he said. “I find solace in nature. It keeps
us grounded.” Kresge’s oils on linen have a nostalgic, dreamlike
quality. His outlines are soft and calming, reflecting memory and feelings
as much as representation of a scene. He looks for what he calls the “extraordinary
in the ordinary,” revealing the effects of light or the discovery
of a secluded area. His paintings of water show deep reflections of overhanging
Adriano Farinella is fascinated with clouds. They reign over the flat planes
of land at the bottom of his oils, painted with brisk brushstrokes to give
them movement. “I’ve always related to clouds, since I was a
kid,” he said. Farinella began as a figure painter and transferred
his skills to clouds, giving them a life and personality of their own. Farinella
does like to over-think when painting, which he likened to a “musical
improvisation. I see what comes out, for the work to do what it has to do.”
Peter Krobath is a photorealist. His large watercolors and oils are incredibly
detailed. The waterfalls and farmlands exhibit an amazing precision, rivaling
the best photography, while conveying an emotional appeal that a lens cannot
Melissa Bryant’s impressionist oils are celebrations of color with
fantastic spaces of fields and woods. Her daubs of bright hues reflect glorious
times of the year.
Paper: The Morning Call - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Date: March 20, 2008
Artist: Gary Kresge, Peter Krobath, Adriano Farinella, Melissa Bryant
“Landscaping at Monsoon”
Monsoon is covering the waterfront – and the forest, and the field
– in an exhibit of landscapes by four greater Valleyites with similar
subjects and dissimilar styles.
Adriano Farinella, a resident artist at the Banana Factory, is the show’s
resident transcendentalist. The Easton resident’s oils are three-quarter
skies with silvery clouds and smoky shafts of light, subtle movement and
graceful stillness. Particularly notable is “Santa Fe Evening Study
II,” which has mountainous clouds singed by a purple/blue/orange fire
Gary Kresge’s creeks percolate with blue reflections. His wheat fields
have a creamy saffron radiance, a rippling rush. The wheat in the oil “Early
November” is too stiff; it could be mistaken for a hairy, brush cut
fence. But the shadows are nicely steeped and seeped.
Like Kresge, Peter Krobath can make a field dance. The meadow in “Pine
Groves II,” has the sweeping colors of a wildflower quilt. The Austria
native is even better at big, lacy waterfalls. His watercolors are better
still: lighter and crisper, without that photorealistic, pressed-glass giclee
quality. The water in “Headwaters” mimics sun-dappled, murky
Born in the Philippines, Melissa Bryant is the resident impressionist. Her
meadows, forests and shorelines are wet with candy hues, thick with firecracker
bursts of texture. The scene really pops in “Serene,” a seething
jungle of trees with leaves as light, as fizzy, as hydrangea flowers.
Magazine: Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist - National Distribution
Date: March 2008
Artist: Todd Reed, Thomas Mann, Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths...
“Spectacular Benefit Show”
It’s really too bad I have a mortgage. I would have bought the Harold
O’Connor granulated brooch for sure, and the Todd Reed raw diamond
bracelet, and the Marne Ryan fused metal cuff…not to mention the 500
other pieces of stellar jewelry I saw gathered together in early December
at “Artfully Elegant.” It was a perfect illustration of what
can happen when a hot young gallery joins forces with a long-established
group of motivated professional studio jewelers. The Pennsylvania Society
of Goldsmiths (PSG) joined forces with Monsoon Gallery to host the exhibition
and gala to raise funds for the Baum School of Art, both located in that
state’s Lehigh Valley.
There were stunning pieces by metalsmiths well known to readers of Jewelry
Artist – Charles Lewton Brain’s newest works in his electroformed
cage series, Michael Boyd’s intriguing architectural stone and metal
constructions, and the fascinating articulated mechanisms of Chris Darway.
I was delighted to see works by many of my fellow PSG members in a gallery
setting – Judith Renstrom’s commanding fabricated pieces, Lexi
Erickson’s organic “Conversations with Harold” series,
and Kirk Kozero’s cuff bracelets and fold formed works – excellent
works all; and many others by close friends.
One of the oldest art institutions in the region, the Baum School, founded
by artist Walter Emerson Baum in 1926, is a non-profit community art school
located in center city Allentown. Money raised at the gala will help fund
a series of merit-based scholarships, which the school awards to aspiring
local artists. The event was the culmination of two months of “Artfully
Elegant” exhibits at Monsoon, which included jewelry created by PSG
members as well as works by resident and visiting master metalsmiths who
have taught workshops for both the group and the Baum School. It also included
paintings and fashions by local designer Lara Bly. According to Kirk Kozero,
PSG Director of Development, sales “increased by 413.5 percent over
our 2006 show. In total, we sold 94 pieces of jewelry, and generated over
$4,000 for the Baum and several hundred for PSG. We were also featured in
eight different articles and editorials over several months. Not too shabby!”
Ann Lalik, Executive Director of the Baum School of Art said, “This
was a great collaboration. We all brought our own supporters and unique
gifts to the table. Monsoon’s beautiful gallery and financial resources,
PSG’s great group of artists, and the Baum School’s mission
to teach art to everyone who wants to study. I think the publicity was great
for all of us and any amount of dollars raised for scholarship is greatly
The bonds between Baum, the local metals community, and the gallery are
strong. Lalik, a Tyler School of Art alum, has carefully built a thriving
metals department at Baum. “Part of our initial success was that there
were no other metals programs around here back in 1984 when I started teaching.
That alone gave us an audience – there was a need. We were very small
back then. Now, I would not define us as a small school. We have former
students who went off to college metals or arts programs coming back to
the area, and so the metals community is growing with alum. There are people
like Kirk Kozero, and PSG gallery director Karen DeLarco who studied here.
They became passionate and are now bringing other community organizations
The bonds being created now stretch far from Baum. Thanks to PSG’s
busy workshop schedule, visiting master metalsmiths Julie Jerman-Melka,
Bruce Metcalf, Judy Hoch, and the others all contributed pieces to the silent
auction and for the exhibition. Also included in the show were works by
Thomas Mann, who grew up in Allentown, attended classes at Baum, and who
teaches an annual early winter workshop there each spring. The inaugural
launch of his “Project Object” - a metalsmithing take of reality
TV – was held and shot live at Baum last winter and is expected to
be released this year on DVD. When he was asked to contribute pieces to
the Monsoon show, Mann said, “Anything for Baum. Tell me what you
Organizing the 515 pieces in the show and the 39 contributing artists was
the overwhelming job of PSG members Karen DeLarco and Kirk Kozero. It took
almost a year to bring the show to fruition. There were frames to build,
pieces to inventory, forms, letters, signage – thousands of details.
PSG president Lexi Erickson, who is an instructor at the Baum metals department,
said, “Our members, board, artists who participated and answered questions,
each and every one of them deserves special recognition for their spectacular
work. We have watched each other’s work grow and chance just over
the last 18 months that we have been doing more shows. It was such fun to
sit together at the end of the evening, kick off our shoes, and laugh and
enjoy each other.”
Added Ann Lalik, “Baum School has offered instruction for some of
the region’s most noteworthy artists for over 80 years is looking
to the future, moving forward to meet the needs of their increasingly diverse
student body and the rapidly changing landscape of art in the digital age.
Our affiliation with Lehigh Carbon Community College and Penn State Lehigh
Valley have added to the number of interested students.”
Her advice to other schools looking to build their metals programs? “I
think the instructor is everything. In a medium like this, you need instructors
who can teach a wide range of techniques and do them well, plus they must
be passionate, caring, and encouraging. This is a hard medium, and it takes
a lot of time to feel like you’ve accomplished something. Once your
students get the bug they will want to keep learning new techniques and
want to [return to] study with visiting artists.”
Gallery, 11 East 3rd Street Bethlehem, PA 18015
Located in Southside Bethlehem's Arts District, via 378
Art Director: Ranjeet Pawar
Gallery Manager: Rori Prushinski