An eye for art

Local art collector packs big talent into small space

Posted 2/6/22

Port Townsend resident Robert Komishane loves art in every form.

Whether it’s the smooth sounds of hard-bop jazz, the evocative craft of poetry, or the enticing appearance of paint on …

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An eye for art

Local art collector packs big talent into small space

Posted

Port Townsend resident Robert Komishane loves art in every form.

Whether it’s the smooth sounds of hard-bop jazz, the evocative craft of poetry, or the enticing appearance of paint on canvas, Komishane enjoys it all.

In fact, he’s slowly added a substantial collection of works of art to his apartment over the years. Komishane has amassed around 80 or so paintings and art pieces, with the majority coming from local artists and artisans in the Olympic Peninsula.

With a 625-square-foot apartment, Komishane’s art collection practically covers almost every wall in his abode.

“I always say I have no more room, but somehow I add more,” Komishane said.

“I don’t remember the first piece of art, but somehow or other, I just started adding ones little by little. And now, after 22 years, my walls are filled to capacity.” 

He has pieces from Mike Biskup, Sandra Smith-Poling, Jason Squire, Dave Russell, Craig Rogers, Linda Okazaki, and a bunch of other creators in the local community.

“All but a few pieces are by local visual artists,” he said. “When I moved here to Port Townsend in 1999, I started attending numerous poetry readings, concerts of all sorts of music, dance performances, plays, movies, and art walks. I always made it a point to tell the performers and artists how much I liked and appreciated their work and recommend it to friends. So I guess I became, in a sense, a patron of the arts.”

WHAT CATCHES THE EYE

The art of Craig Rogers has found a home in Komishane’s apartment. Komishane said he particularly enjoys Roger’s style and spectrum of colors.

His collection contains a wide variety of art works, including a traditional dry brush painting of Port Townsend, a shadow box of assorted beach combing treasures, and an abstract canvas of melded colors, all on one wall.

He can’t quite pinpoint what style of art attracts him most, but has an idea of what to look out for and support.

“As with just about everything in life, I’m decidedly eclectic. I like and have work of a wide variety,” Komishane said.

“I don’t look for any particular type of art piece; just whatever catches my eye and holds, it can end up on a wall.”

Beyond trusting his gut feeling for what to like, he is keen on observing the colors and configuration that makes a work of art pop.

“I know that as far as painting and drawing goes, the two things that attract me most are composition and color. Same for collage. Composition [is] certainly important in photographs, but even black and white stand out for me,” he said.

Part of Komishane’s fascination with art in its many mediums originates from his own artistic pursuits. His medium of choice is poetry, with countless notes, stanzas, observations, and doodles scattered across his apartment.

ART IN ALL MEDIUMS

A motif he often returns to when forming new poems is the contrast of hope and the darkness, and the ability of humanity to rise above adversity and continue onward, Komishane said.

He has plans to eventually finish writing a memoir focused on hope and darkness and the role it played in his own life and artistry.

Poetry plays a major aspect in Komishane’s love for music. Although he enjoys the jazz ballads of the 20th century, an unlikely genre he recently picked up on was hip-hop.

“In 2008 I started to hear hip-hop,” Komishane said. “I listened so much and I read a lot about it.”

Some of Komishane’s favorite hip-hop artists include Tupac Shakur, Talib Kweli, and Rakim.

“Music; that’s my favorite of all art forms,” he said.

Music was one of the first mediums of art that Komishane started collecting at an early age, buying numerous records while growing up in New Jersey.

“I’m not even sure what got me started collecting art pieces,” Komishane said. “I’m not a collector by nature.”

GIVING BACK

Beyond collecting art, he wants to help the local community through Recovery Café Jefferson County, a nonprofit centered on providing a space for folks struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse. As someone who’s dealt with his own battles with mental health, Komishane wants to leave a positive impact on the Peninsula.

“Recovery Café is a center for anyone, I was on the original advisory committee when it started,” he said. “I want to help people with mental health problems.”

When he’s not supporting local artists, Komishane is helping the community and doing what he can to leave a beneficial impact on Port Townsend.

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