Have a Ball

An evening of art

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

When considering the art of Bill Ball “Fireball,” it’s helpful to know that the local artist painted his first mural four years ago while spending time in the alternate reality known as Burning Man—the makeshift assemblage focusing on creativity and self-expression that rises up and then disappears with nary a trace at the tail end of every summer in the Nevada desert.

Black Rock City and its ethos of community, art and the selfless giving of one’s talents may have spurred Ball to focus on painting as a way of life, but a quick look at his background hints he hasn’t followed a traditional career path on the way to creating and exhibiting his vibrantly colorful and often-psychedelic assemblages at venues and galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Working as a journeyman electrician helps pay the bills, but Ball, 50, is also known for his prowess as a kombucha brewer and for his talents as a former dancer and fire breather in the Seattle club scene, where the stage name “Fireball” first came into play. The renaissance man has also run 100-mile marathons, swum the length of Lake Washington, and tended chickens, goats and various crops on 25 acres in the Skagit Valley.

If hearing more about Ball’s route to a life of painting makes you want to find out more about what inspires him, peruse an exhibit of his contemporary works showing at the storied Lincoln Theatre through the end of the month, or make plans to attend a closing reception with the artist from 5-7:30pm Sat., Dec. 30 at the downtown Mount Vernon entertainment hub.

The event is cleverly timed to coincide with a post-party showing of Loving Vincent, a new animated film that tells the tale of another eclectic artist, Vincent Van Gogh. Touted as the world’s first fully painted animated feature film, each of the film’s frames is an oil painting on canvas created by a team of 125 classically trained painters using the same technique as the world-famous Post-Impressionist known for his landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits. The movie explores the life and unusual death of Vincent via depictions of his artwork, and, according to at least one reviewer, is said to be “almost too beautiful for its own good.”

“Fireball” will more than likely be in attendance to see the animated drama unfold on the big screen, as he’s long been an admirer of the troubled talent, who committed suicide at the age of 37 but left behind a body of work that contributed greatly to the foundations of modern art.

“Van Gogh was a household name growing up as a kid” Ball says. “I became a Van Gogh art fan at an early age. I have been fascinated not only with his art, but also with his story.”

If the idea of seeing two memorable artists in one evening intrigues you, get yourself to Mount Vernon and end the year with “Fireball” and Vincent. One man will be around to answer questions, while the other leaves behind a masterful mystery.

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