Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clam Lynch- my favorite painter, and so much more

I met Clam Lynch at the downtown Farmer’s Market this summer when he was hawking his wares, and I was just blown away by his work.  Never before have I been so moved by a set of paintings.  And yes, I realized that’s a big claim, but it is completely true.  I’m enchanted by his bold, energetic style; it is bright and exciting and often really funny.  I haven’t yet decided on which painting to buy first, but its just a matter of time.  Anyway, I like his art so much that I wanted to take a little time to get to know him and try to introduce him to as many other folks as possible.  That’s the name of the game here with this silly little blog of mine- to celebrate the handmade and homegrown any way that I can.

Clam turned out to be quite a character with a really captivating history.  At 15, he left home and joined a performance art group that took him around the world.  At a show in New York City, a fellow from the fledgling Nickelodeon network saw him and brought him to LA.  This served as a springboard to a 12 year career as a Production Designer for film and tv.  He also did his fair share of performing- his one-man comedy show entitled “Cut the Crap” (about a dysfunctional motivational speaker) caught the attention of Rosanne Barr (yes, the Rosanne Barr).  He even went so far as to partner with her production company to develop a tv pilot.  Whew!  He’s also a children’s book author- Ruby Gloom’s Keys to Happiness hit the shelves in 2004.

But, let’s revisit his painting- for the time being, at least.  In San Francisco, he established and operated the 63 Bluxome Street Art Gallery, where he displayed and sold his paintings.  It seems like it was a sweet setup, but ultimately he relocated to Salt Lake on account of some important family ties.  That was 1 1/2 years ago.  He’s been creating art the whole time, and that is how he makes his living, but- wait for it- he has a really big vision for something even greater. 

Clam uses reclaimed materials of all kinds for his paintings and other artworks, and it is exactly the kind of waste-not-want-not value that most of us can easily get behind.  An inveterate scavenger, he has personally kept literally tons of old barnboards and the like out of the landfill.  Now let’s add in the fact that he has taught art classes to kids on and off for more than a dozen years, and voila, you have the essence of the organization that he calls Art Salvage.  He envisions a space full of great recycled materials that artists can purchase for pennies on the dollar, and where kids from the age of 6+ can come to get creative. 

The most robust iteration of his plan includes an attached gallery space so that kids and other artists can display and sell the work they make in-house.  Pretty great, right?  What’s more, this isn’t just a pipe dream- the project has momentum and he’s working side-by-side with a prestigious arts group in Salt Lake to finish up attaining non-profit status for the venture.  His next goal is lining up a space- so if anybody has any thoughts, holler.  I’ve spent plenty of time listening to people spin yarns that you can just tell aren’t going to materialize- heck, sometimes I’ve been the one doing the talking- but this wasn’t one of those bull sessions.  I fully expect to see Art Salvage materialize and do a lot of good for a lot of people in the Salt Lake valley.

So right now, Clam is one busy guy- he’s painting up a storm, and he’s spearheading what will certainly be one of the most exciting arts initiatives in the region that I can imagine.  I encourage any interested parties to visit Clam’s Facebook page for up-to-date info on his paintings and other works of art.

He’s also got a fun website at which showcases a lot of his older performance-related stuff.  If you’re interested in communicating with him about Art Salvage, his paintings, or anything else, find him on Facebook or at

Just for the fun of it, I'll add a couple of more pics below- and in case you're interested, his prices are very reasonable.  And that's coming from a confirmed tightwad.  I've seen pieces that I'd LOVE to own for under $200.  If you want to make my year, you can do it for under $400.  I just built a new fireplace mantle for our home that needs something great to go above it.  Hmmm...