Upon entering Frank Hyder’s airy Wynwood studio in Miami, you are immediately greeted by an explosion of color – the great splashes of his iconic koi fish, the gold leaf backgrounds and dense jungle foliage, the tribal stripes and glowing figures. Then you notice the giant inflatable sculptures – one, a massive human head with a painted face and steady gaze, and the other, a poised killer whale with curious transparent circle on its chest.
An artist-in-residence with Oceania Cruises since 2011, Pat Grillo is an award-winning artist who has exhibited and sold her work across the country and to private collectors throughout the world. While living in southern Florida, her work was exhibited in museums and galleries in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Coral Springs and Boca Raton.
She now lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville, where she continues to teach and paint. As a contemporary realist, Pat aims to bring a sense of proportion and light to the canvas. Her work embodies a balance of realism and vibrant color that encourages the viewer to see everyday objects in new ways. Pat’s husband, Angelo, shares a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be an artist-in-residence at Artist Loft on board.
Imagine the best job ever. Imagine spending three to four months a year sailing the world, as a guest, aboard a luxurious Oceania Cruises ship. The Mediterranean, the Greek Isles, the Caribbean, the Baltic Sea, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Vietnam, Bora Bora and Tahiti – these are just some of the destinations to which these five-star ships sail.
Lake Lure artist Pat Grillo does just that. She is an artist-in-residence for Oceania Cruises – the only cruise line that offers complimentary art lessons, with all supplies included, by a professionally recognized artist. For the last five years, Pat has been traveling the world, painting and teaching art. Her works now hang in homes, businesses and galleries throughout the world.
Of course, the first questions she gets are “How did you get this gig?” and then, “Do you need someone to carry your bags?” Her husband has the bag handling assignment locked up, but to answer the first question, Oceania Cruises seeks out the best artists they can find, who can also teach and are ridiculously personable. Oceania Cruises discovered Pat through her website and the rest is history.
How does an artist-in-residence spend her time at sea? Well it’s actually quite hectic. Most days are spent at a storybook port such as Marseilles, Dubrovnik, Rio de Janeiro or Bora Bora. Pat is up by 7 am to escort a group of guests on a tour. Then, she heads back to the ship for a quick bite and to prepare for her 4 pm class. The complimentary class of 25 to 35 students lasts about 90 minutes and, in this timeframe, everyone completes a work of art that is framed and hung for the duration of the voyage.
After the class, there’s still time to catch the end of happy hour in one of the ship’s swinging lounges. By about 7:30 pm, everyone moves on to dinner in one of the specialty restaurants, the Grand Dining Room or the outdoor Terrace Café for a sumptuous buffet.
Time for bed yet? No way.
At 9:30 pm, there’s always a show in the main theater featuring the ships wonderfully talented troupe or an invited entertainer.
Is it time for bed now?
Only if you choose. Otherwise there’s dancing, karaoke, musical trivia and, of course, the casino. All of which are open till the last guest calls it a night.
Days at sea are a bit more leisurely. On a sea day, Pat will usually open Artist Loft to guests while she paints and coaches. The music is relaxing and the poolside bar is only a wave away.
When asked what is the best part of her job, she responds that she has received emails from former student guests who had never picked up a brush before attending her classes sharing that they are now painting in earnest. Many of her students so enjoy her classes that before they schedule another Oceania Cruises voyage, they check to see if Pat will be on board. It seems that a surprising number of the guests have previously cruised with Oceania Cruises.
The colorful images of koi fish, an archetypal symbol of good fortune and natural harmony, can often be found in Frank Hyder’s award-winning paintings – many of which are on display aboard our ships. Hyder, an accomplished artist that has showcased his work throughout North, South and Central America, has become known for translating simple images, such as heads and fish, into intricate constructions that hint at the innate complexity found in nature.
Hyder’s vibrant works can be found throughout our ships, such as his triptych, Variegated Float, near Terrace Café on Marina. These and many of Hyder’s other unique works have origins deep in Venezuela in a cloud forest, a fascinating ecosystem noted for its pervasive and consistent cloud cover which creates a misty, and often surreal, environment. When Hyder was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2001, he and his family moved to a cloud forest in Venezuela where they lived for 15 months – a life-changing experience, he noted.
“It was there that I became interested in layers, depth—and the illusion of depth and layers—and interproximal space,” Hyder recalled. “It was transformational for all of us.”
Hyder explained that this focus led him to develop a special process that enabled him to explore these concepts more deeply. The process involves gold, silver and other metal leaf materials, a clear epoxy resin, along with layers of transparent colors, usually embedded in additional coatings of resins. The pouring of several layers of resin provides the effect of floating – the colors appear to be perpetually suspended in liquid. The special process frequently requires months to complete a work, and is a culmination of nearly 30 years of painting experimentation. The end result creates a shimmering multi-dimensional realm that calls to mind water, but also perhaps that of the intangible – the illusory, ethereal and otherworldly.
Drawing on global sources for his personal inspiration, Hyder similarly enjoys focusing his workshops in Artist Loft – calling on the destinations for inspiration.
“I like to offer experiences that connect to the travel experience,” Hyder noted.
For example, during a South Pacific voyage with Oceania Cruises, Hyder collected sand from Papeete, Bora Bora and several other islands—gathering sand in a range of colors and textures.
Then during a workshop, Hyder led the guests in tracing transfers of location images with the sand.
“The guests were really excited about it—we created something meaningful, rooted in the place and the experience,” Hyder said.
With over 30 of Hyder’s paintings showcased among our five ships, we invite you to discover his enchanting and thought-provoking artwork during your next voyage.
It’s no secret that Oceania Cruises has created the first ships at sea designed especially for foodies. Fine cuisine has always been one of our hallmarks, but did you know that Marina and the new Riviera are also havens for art lovers?
Oceania Cruises’ founder, Frank Del Rio, has a passion for fine art. He and Vice Chairman Bob Binder hand-selected the masterpieces currently featured onboard Marina, and Del Rio took a special interest in the works selected for Riviera as well. In fact, we are anticipating an exciting announcement later this week about the artists to be featured on Riviera, which debuts next month.
Marina and Riviera feature paintings, sculptures and prints to suit every taste, from the classic to the contemporary and from the referential to the abstract. Del Rio claims he wants the art to “spark conversation and contemplation” among the guests onboard. Based on my observations as Blogger-at-Large, he has certainly succeeded in this goal. One evening I was in Martinis lounge onboard Marina discussing a painting that myself and a guest found particularly fascinating. A few minutes later another guest approached the painting and commented, “The guy must have been on drugs when he painted that.” Some works are simply beautiful, and others are more provocative, but they all inspire conversation.
Many of us who enjoy contemporary artists have an equal passion for creating art ourselves. While our efforts may not be museum worthy, we can certainly appreciate the need to express our creativity. And when traveling on a voyage with Oceania Cruises, the beautiful ships and marvelous ports of call provide ample inspiration for anyone with an inner artist clamoring for recognition.
That is why Oceania Cruises created the Artist Loft enrichment center, currently featured onboard Marina and soon to be unveiled on the new Riviera as well. In the Artist Loft, talented artists-in-residence teach classes on everything from photography to needlepoint to painting to creating your own t-shirts and postcards.
Award-winning watercolorist Annelein Beukenkamp was just onboard Marina sharing her skills with a packed house of aspiring artists. I was able to enjoy some of Annelein’s classes, such as ABC’s of Drawing and Paint a Tropical Sunset Scene. Marina was sailing her final Caribbean itinerary, so there was no shortage of vibrant tropical sunsets to inspire our paintings.
For the ABC’s of Drawing class, Annelein gathered everyone around to observe as she created a still life drawing of a wine bottle, an apple and a teacup. As she progressed, Annelein pointed out the choices an artist is constantly making regarding position, perspective, light and shading. Guests then created their own masterpieces with Annelein’s guidance. Annelein also offered open studio hours when guests could experiment in any medium they wished – pigments, graphite, pastels, pencils – or they could continue work on a project begun earlier in the voyage.
It’s hard to say what the guests enjoyed more – expressing themselves in the Artist Loft or gazing at the masterworks throughout Marina that make her feel like a floating museum. Whether you’re an aficionado or an amateur, a cruise onboard Marina or Riviera is a treat for any art lover. Be sure to check our Facebook page later this week for the exciting announcement about the collection to be featured onboard Riviera.
Oceania Cruises and the Artist Loft are proud to welcome master printmaker Dan Welden onboard Marina. The “Tastes of Europe” itinerary sailed last night from London and will conclude on August 26th in Rome. During the cruise, Mr. Welden will be teaching his revolutionary printmaking technique known as the Solarplate method. Marina is the first and only ship in the world to offer instruction in this innovative art form. Guests onboard will have numerous opportunities to meet Mr. Welden and participate in the Artist Loft.
An internationally acclaimed artist, innovator, teacher and author, Mr. Welden brings a unique experience to Marina guests. He is the originator of the Solarplate method of printmaking that uses the sun to develop pieces of art. The process does not use traditional acids or chemicals and is thus a safer and greener method of printmaking that also allows artists more versatility.
The Mediterranean sun is no stranger to Mr. Welden’s printmaking technique. He has taught at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy, in addition to conducting workshops throughout the world each year. Prints and paintings from Mr. Welden’s portfolio have been featured in hundreds of exhibitions around the globe, and many pieces have found homes in both public and private collections. In 2001 Mr. Welden and Pauline Muir coauthored “Printmaking in the Sun,” the comprehensive manual to Solarplate methods.
We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Welden onboard Marina!