Friday, December 21, 2007


1253 McDuff Ave. South
Jacksonville, FL 32205

Bogda: \ bo_g – duh \ : a charming little gallery renovated from a quaint Riverside historic home that features an eclectic array of arts & crafts.

Many patrons who have visited Bogda or at least heard of the gallery often wonder what the hell Bogda means? Don’t ask, those who know will never tell – it’s classified.
The definition I have created above is the best you are gonna get.
However, the secret of Bogda isn’t in the name itself but from the gems inside the cozy shop.
Bogda prides itself in featuring a diverse spread of art, crafts, clothing, music and any other talent it can find to exhibit on the 1st Saturday of every month.
With resident artists such as Nick D’Agostine (Nicky D’), Annie Lechak, House of Crafts and more, there is plenty to see & shop for at Bogda between exhibits. However, most featured artists are presented for the entire month until another exhibit resides in its place. It all depends on what the artist agrees to. For artists, there are rental options available to showcase their work. The artist can rent out Bogda for a single night event, solo show, monthly show or they can wait to be featured in a group show (which requires a reservation about 6mths in advance).
Either way, upon approval from the gallery, just about every artist has an opportunity to display their work in a professional show setting; a luxury most starving artists rarely get the chance to experience.

In the entrance of Bogda you will always see a display of sock monsters by Annie Lechak; little stuffed toys shaped as monsters in crazy shapes and colors (the starfish with the Cyclops eye is my fav). Next to the sock monsters is House of Craft’s crocheted ski hats, bracelets (made of laminated picture buttons of pin up girls, stars, birds etc), and other jewelry. You will also see a rack of modish clothing from CLD Arts Fashion & Design and a variety of "support your local artist" magnets.
Other pieces of art you will always have the chance to view are Cycles & Iron Art by Nick D’Agostine, well known as Nicky D’. Nicky D’s art is that of metal work; mostly compiling of fish in a variety of textures. Variations of fish in rusted metal and smooth iron are presented along the back wall of the shop, while the months featured exhibits are showcased along the main walls of Bogda.
December’s show featured two Jacksonville artists; Gail Taylor and Frank Matthews.

Gail Taylor

Gail Taylor’s vibrant paintings of brilliant flowers and bohemian portraiture are her unique representation of expressing triumph and new beginnings.
Being an artist almost her entire life, Gail’s subjects generally included landscapes and buildings; a theme she was comfortable and happy with. However, an unforeseen tragedy befell Gail’s vision. In 1999 her entire house burnt down. Everything, including Gail’s cherished paintings had turned to ashes. The loss of her art and the relics of her past left Gail disillusioned and depressed. She no longer had the desire to paint, so she hung up her paintbrushes and pallet and retired from art altogether. Several years had past and what seemed to be a long and unproductive 5 years, Gail decided it was time to put her talents to good use again. Having a renewed definition of life, Gail decided to no longer illustrate the buildings and landscapes she was so accustomed to. Instead, she chose to represent things that brought beauty and life to her which were flowers, people and enriched color. Gail’s newfound expression of color and elements in her work are both spirited and refreshing; just like Gail herself. In addition to her portraits, Gail also lends her talent to local builders for commission work in restoration pieces, and is well known for her talents in stained glass, glass blowing and other glass art in the community.

Frank Matthews

Frank Matthews, a former art teacher of 10 years for the Duval County School board, now a police officer, has been comprehensively creating art for 20 years. Primarily working with acrylics on masonite and plyboard, Frank focuses on a subject and works an entire exhibit of it; alongside with other pieces he is adapting, all over the course of a month or so.

Franks paintings are mostly methodical stills of bottles, flowers vases, paintbrushes or anything he sees in his natural habitat at the time. When asked if his police work influences his art, Frank replies, "I’m not sure if the job influences my art, rather than my art is a response to it. Being a police officer, the work gives you a very clear understanding of what life is. Art should be a reflection of what you see, yet I see so many ugly things in my police work that it may take working on this very delicate, very sensitive still life – that’s really nothing more than painstaking bottles and brushes – that centers my mind right where it needs to be."

Working late hours until 3am as an officer of the law, Frank Matthews often burns the midnight oil by functioning creatively after his graveyard shift. Frank admits to winding down his late night by carefully painting to familiar music. About 80% of the time Frank paints to the music of Husker Du, preferably the cd House of Songs. Husker Du (which is Danish for Do You Remember), is a band from the mid 80’s that was one of the original independent garage bands of our time; predating Dinasour Jr. and the rise of Seattle grunge. Frank explains that the tones of the songs and the way they play drowns out everything else for him; matching the tempo to his work, helping him concentrate more on the pieces with fluidity.
This month’s exhibit at Bogda is the first show (with the exception of one Artwalk ) that Frank has contributed to in 10 years. He anticipated his next show of cityscapes and traffic lights to be demonstrated in February at the former downtown library in Jacksonville’s Artwalk.

Bogda’s diversity of art culture peaks an interest from any standpoint. There is always enough up – and - coming art to pacify an art connoisseur of any background.
Keep your eyes pealed, your mind open and watch for fresh talent being showcased at Bogda.
Past & present exhibits can been seen at or go to Bogda’s myspace for upcoming shows & events.

Bogda Calendar:
Monthly Exhibits the 1st Saturday of every month 8pm
Saturday, Dec 22nd – Crapfair 8am

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