During a recent trip up the coast to Sonoma County, I had the most unexpected pleasure of meeting with local Sebastapol artist Patrick Amiot. On what my partner in crime, (the beau) and I assumed was just going to be an afternoon spent antiquing, we stumbled across a funky little shop on the side of the road called Renga Arts. After parking the car and taking a dozen or so pictures of some amazing hand painted metal sculptures that were scattered about the lawn, we stepped inside the main building. Inside was a nifty shop full of a variety of local art and gifts at reasonable prices. We asked the shopkeeper about the unusual art that wrapped around the outside of the building and he informed us that it was created by an artist who was once a potter and one day decided to change mediums. As we left the shop and were about to drive off, a soft spoken man in his 50’s with paint splattered jeans, a band t-shirt & stalking cap came up to our car and asked if we would like to take a look out back. Curious, we quickly jumped out of the car and followed the man and his rat terrier, trailing alongside him. As we walked toward what appeared to be piles of reclaimed auto parts and old rusty signs on a large fence and pieced together shacks and trailers. I asked if there were any art studios around, whereupon he said “Well, this is where my wife and I work.” I quickly replied with ” Oh, so are you the artist that made all of the metal sculptures out front?! We were just asking about you!!” He very candidly said that he normally doesn’t invite people into his studio and often wished that he could..but just wasn’t a very open person. Today, for some special reason though, he said that he wanted to “give back” and could show us around but insisted that we did not take any photos. Respecting his wish, I put my camera away and stepped inside his somewhat massive (airplane hangar) work space. He shared with us a very large-scale commission piece for a client in Canada along with a few other projects he, his wife, and small team of welders were working on. His wife (Brigitte Laurent) is the painter who gives life and much of his work’s unique whimsical style. We stayed for about 20 minutes or so as he told funny stories of former clients and projects and answered questions we had about his technique. It was such an honor to see his workspace and get to know the man behind those funky sculptures in Sebastapol, CA.
For more info on Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent check out their website! http://www.patrickamiot.com/