LOGAN — An art exhibition of unique oddities known as “Beauty, Birds, and Bones” returned to the Hot Cup coffee shop in downtown Logan on Friday and Saturday.
“Beauty, Birds, and Bones” is the brainchild of Donn Kinney and his partner, Seth Kitzmiller, who are both West Virginia artists. The exhibition was originally held in Elkins years ago and, after moving back to Logan and becoming acquainted with Hot Cup owner Michael Cline, Kinney began holding it at the shop every other year.
Kinney, a Logan native who attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, is known for his sculpture, animation and puppetry work that has been featured in worldwide film and television content. At the time he and Kitzmiller put on the first “Beauty, Birds, and Bones” exhibition, Kinney endured a health scare that led him to want to display what he described as a collection of “weird” art.
“I had all this weird art stuff that I just did for fun, strange things like weird road taxidermy and weird little skeletal articulations,” Kinney said. “At the time, I was professionally doing these dolls, like these big expensive ball-jointed dolls, and I had taken the flawed pieces from a lot of those I was working on and had turned them into, like, creepy little sculptural things. It was just a lot of fun art, but we never really showed, but we had fun doing.”
At the suggestion of Kitzmiller, a classically trained painter himself, the two began “Beauty, Birds, and Bones.”
This year marked the fifth time the exhibition was held and it included a host of items on display and for sale such as paintings, sculptures, fossils, taxidermy, dolls and photography work. Several local artists, including Nancy Peyton, Taryn Conn, Melissa Hall and, of course, Kinney and Kitzmiller, had their work displayed for two days.
Saturday evening, the exhibition was treated to live music, which was provided by Michael Cline and Josh Brown, and Kinney and Kitzmiller gave presentations about some of their work. During his presentation, Kinney discussed his recent creation of an animated video for local musician Caleb Luther’s song, “Without Punching Down.”
A special surprise guest, 2011 “America’s Got Talent” winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., also showed up to hang out at the exhibition that evening.
The exhibition proved successful, as by the early morning hours of Saturday, all the work Kinney had made for it had already sold out.
“It was actually crazy, I was kind of shocked because I was actually a little bit worried that I would get stuck with a lot of stuff to, basically, try to resell afterwards, but by early in the morning on the second day, I had sold everything that I had made for it,” Kinney said. “Everything sold out. The only bad thing was a lot of people who came in a bit later on Saturday were a little bit mad because there was nothing to buy!”
“I would really like to thank everyone for the support that they showed at the art show,” Kinney added. “All of my really great friends like Michael and Josh who helped out with it, and Cory VanMeter, and of course, all the artists we had — Nancy and Taryn and Melissa — and of course, the biggest thanks to Seth because without him, I would have never been encouraged enough to follow through and actually do a live show or do an animated music video or do any of this stuff. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to everyone else who participated ... and of course, if it wasn’t for Michael Cline promoting the living beans out of it, I don’t think it would do anywhere near as good as it does down here.”