Mossy’s Most Wanted
Artful Living Group
3/1, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Admission is free!
Carolina Beach is associated famously by three things: the beach (for obvious reasons), Britt Donuts, and Fort Fisher. A place with one of the best beach-bar scenes along the coast, the town of Carolina Beach is constantly evolving its offerings beyond its parrot-head refuge and summertime boardwalk fun. In fact, its art scene is burgeoning.
The Artful Living Group just celebrated its first anniversary on the island. A joint effort by silversmith Christine Higgins, interior designer and Feng shui expert Mo Linquist and painter Janet Knott, the three ladies met through the Carolina Beach Arts and Activities Committee while assisting with the local farmers’ market. They all had the same desire to open a studio that exposed their love of art—affordable, unique and original. After figuring out their business plan on the back of a napkin, the Artful Living Group was born.
They opened up a store off Cape Fear Boulevard, and today sell works from local, regional and national artists; they also teach classes. Every spare wall surface is covered with a different style and genre. Located upstairs, the work proves to be more edgy, urban and not-so-necessarily mainstream.
“We want people to feel an energy in the space when they walk in,” Higgins states. Linquist, Higgins and Knott feature artists who live in Carolina Beach and aren’t as well known in Wilmington. Although Snow’s Cut Bridge connects all New Hanover residents, Artful Living Group wants to draw people to their side of it with distinction.
Their latest showcase from local artist Mike “Mossy” Driver will be on exhibit through March. Mossy was an industrial welder for 30 years and always enjoyed building and working with steel. A North Carolina native, he answered a call for an artistic welder. “I was commissioned by Tony Hardeman to build a workstation for Parlor 7 Spa on Oleandar Drive in Wilmington,” he says. Mossy made it from reused metal pieces, which essentially launched his career as a salvage art specialist.
Imbuing materials with a new life, Mossy uses old car parts, farm machinery, rebar and chain scraps. His wife, local videographer Blaire Johnson, appreciates the meaning borne of his art.
“A man called Mossy once about using parts of an old bike to build something,” she remembers. “His son wrecked the bike and didn’t want to part with it. Tired of seeing the destroyed bike, he called Mossy and he was able to turn it into a table!”
As an artist, Mossy’s previous welding career provides him with a unique eye and perspective: if it’s metal, he can use it. Transforming ordinary materials into something functional, he has created bar stools, a liquor cabinet, lawn chairs and tables. “I never know what the piece will look like,” he says.
Inspiration comes in many forms for the artist, whether from the commission itself or more notable from the materials; the metal speaks to him His work is both innovative and artistic, as various elements of everyday objects, such as a rake, which is self-evident in a chair (see graphic).
“[I] recycle steel from our industrial, manufacturing, automotive and agricultural history into modern, functional art, saving these fascinating building blocks of American history from being melted down for war,” he states on his website, www.mossysmostwanted.com.
Each piece of metal has a personal story all its own. As Mossy reclaims objects, so too could these materials have been repurposed—containing elements of older metal properties that represent an evolution of industry as well as the artist himself. His work is more than just art; it is functional and comfortable. For Artful Living Group, it’s completely representative of Carolina Beach’s own artistic innovation.
Artful Living Group opens Mossy’s show on Thursday, March 1st, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. In addition to making furniture, Mossy is also an expert at making BBQ sauce, which will be available for tasting at the opening.