Originally a watercolor artist, Swanker’s focus has shifted from acrylics to assemblages using found objects. Similar to collage, her assemblage pieces use groupings of broken metal, plastics, glass, wire and other interesting treasures plucked from the ground while riding her bike around the roads of Marco Island. “The more smashed, broken, and dented the better,” Swanker said. “I delight in the unexpected discovery of these haphazard parts that find a home in my next work. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting or creating in some way.”
Tom Gallagher, a native of New Jersey, turned in his gun for a paintbrush after retirement from the county sheriff’s department there, and began a satisfying career as an artist. He moved to southwest Florida six years ago and began capturing the essence and feel of this tropical paradise in his watercolor paintings, by using color to enhance the reality, bringing his paintings to life. Gallagher’s work is influenced by Georgia O’Keefe, Winslow Homer, and Andrew Wyeth.
Amanda Ganong moved toMarco Island three years ago and has been creating bead-woven jewelry ever since. Her first major piece won an honorable mention at a gallery exhibition at Marco’s Art League. As each piece can take several hours to weeks to complete, Ganong harbors a deep appreciation for the creative process.
Upon finding out she had a spot at the colony, Ganong said, “I am so excited to work without distractions and be inspired by the beautiful paintings around me. I’m looking forward to opportunities for artistic collaboration and feedback from my peers that the colony will offer.”
The Artist Colony at the Esplanade is composed of three working artist studios: Portside Studio, Waterfront Gallery, and Rightside Studio. The galleries are a collaboration of the Art League Marco Island’s Center for the Arts and the Marco Island Foundation of the Arts. The colony marked its year anniversary in September and is still going strong, growing and changing as necessary. The colony now numbers a total of 12 artists, including Jo-Ann Sanborn, Betty Newman, Darren Clack, Tara O’Neill, Claire Keery, Tony Dallmann-Jones, Maggie DeMarco, Carolyn Burger, and Inez Hudson, and those that have just joined.
Meet the all the artists and view their works, all of which are for sale, at the upcoming Art Walk. Art Walks are held at the Esplanade the last Wednesday of every month through season. The galleries are also staffed by working artists Wednesday through Saturday 11AM through 7PM, and by appointment.