By Angela Romeo

Art is a curious road to follow. How does one begin such a journey? Gary Kott was born in New Jersey. “My days were devoted to mastering the lofty pursuits of a dedicated Jersey boy, stickball, stoopball, diners, disrupting class,” said Gary. Art was not yet on his professional radar.

Gary left the Garden State for the Big Apple.  “Broke and jobless I scuffled from a run-down apartment off Needle Park to a transient hotel on Thirty-ninth Street to a burned-out tenement on Eighty-third. I wrote newspaper ads for J.J. Newberry, a five and dime store that went bankrupt in 2001. It was the beginning of my days in advertising. After that I worked for the Madison Avenue Ad Agency, Ogilvy & Mather. I became one of their youngest Vice Presidents/Creative Directors. In my off time I wrote a novel and suddenly was in Hollywood as a script writer.”

Gary is an award-winning writer. During his Hollywood years he was a writer/supervising producer for The Cosby Show. His other writing credits include The White Shadow, Fame, Remington Steele, Hotel, as well as TV pilots for CBS and NBC and two feature film scripts. 


During the same time Gary was creating art. “The work I created was personal –shown only to family and friends. It was not a public thing. But things change. A move to a new home, a stack of eight-foot by ten-foot sheets of plywood found in that basement and a large, expensive painting in a gallery became an inspiration for creativity. The piece was a bold color field of red and black. Hmm, I thought, these sheets of plywood were exactly the same size. A quick trip to the local art supply store and I had my first color field hanging over my bed, joined soon by eight-foot by ten-foot color fields in the living room and den. People liked my work and I began to see my own work in a different light.”

“My paintings moved from plywood to canvas, my color-fields from free-flowing drips to tightly controlled stripes. My evolution from pen to paint has been an exploration of anything and everything I dream up, always capturing images and notions where words fail me.” Painting was fine but not enough to keep Gary from exploring other options. Gary started experimenting with multi-dimensional sculptures made from found objects he collected from landfills and city dumps. His works included typewriters made from carriage bolts and ABS pipe, to seven-foot, found-object guitars in reds, blues, and greens.

Still Gary’s work was shown only to a close circle of friends. His wife Karyn pushed the reluctant artist into the public eye. Once people saw what he created, it was just a matter of time before Gary claimed a spot as on the valley’s premier artists.

LYRICALS is Gary’s latest work. It combines “Art and music are a magical combination. One feeds off the other, a melody can inspire the rhythm of a painting and the lyrics can lend meaning. Painted here are iconic words in bold, harmonious colors; music and art that have inspired me during a lifetime of success in numerous arenas of popular culture,” said Gary.

Gary’s Lyricals are colorful triptychs containing iconic song lyrics, enclosed in glossy resin. ”I have to admit that glossy resin is a total pain in the ass to work with and something I hope never to do again,” joked Gary. 

The end results more than justify the complaint. The words are familiar. The tune is well known. The work has a poignant timeless quality. Those qualities help make this collection approachable and interesting.

Pen to paper. Ads to Art. Music joined with art. Gary Kott has found the high notes.

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