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(NECN: Marnie MacLean) - It's the meeting of high art and the most basic of American experiences, a trip to Wal-Mart.
Connecticut artist Brendan O'Connell uses Wal-Mart to inspire his paintings. In Rockland, Maine Friday his subject was a row of
Tide laundry detergent.
"I like the way the letters are put there, I like the reds, the way they become dark in the negative space," O'Connell says.
His easel is a shopping cart, helping him fit into this retail space that is familiar to nearly every American. It is that familiarity, that shared experience that first drew this artist to Wal-Mart.
O'Connell began his Wal-Mart paintings nearly nine years ago. He started by taking photos of things he wanted to paint. Back then, the company didn't appreciate his vision. He was thrown out of many stores.
He managed to capture enough images to create a series which landed him shows and the praise of critics. He has sold over 100 Wal-Mart paintings, most are priced in the thousands. Actor Alec Baldwin is a fan, he owns several Wal-Mart paintings.
In addition to continuing his painting at Wal-Mart, where he is now a welcome guest, O'Connell is focusing a lot of his attention on a program to encourage creativity in young artists. Every Artist is a project that hopes to have 1 million children take part in an art activity at the same time this November. For more information on Every Artist you can go to their website.