Eric Legge’s not-so-secret studio

Eric Legge’s not-so-secret studio-attachment0

Fans of folk art in the John “Cornbread” Anderson and Cher Shaffer vein might be well-tuned to the wealth of unique art coming out of our region. Even still, it’s easy to miss the colorful studio and gallery of painter Eric Legge. Located at 98 1/2 Lexington Ave. (the space behind Forever Tattoo, formerly occupied by Mountain Scoot Adventures) Legge’s space, from the street, resembles not a gallery so much as the surreal between-floors office that led to John Malkovich’s brain in the film Being John Malkovich.

A row of windows reveals an array of brightly-colored paintings of all shapes and sizes, some hung, some leaning against walls. Some are of churches, some faces, some flowers. One is mounted askew, a dusty level perched atop the slanting frame.

Inside the studio, Legge’s friendly brindle dog greats visitors (“My dog is sweet, she just does the hillbilly door bell thing when folks come by,” the artist remarks) to the oddly-situated building. Part garage, part front room, part hallway, one area leads into the next and every space is filled with sculpture, assemblage, painted boards, found objects and random items that Legge may someday turn into artwork.

Born up North but raised in the South, Legge spent years in Georgia where he claims crystaline minerals in the water add to the creative air of the place. North Georgia, around Athens, has certainly bred its fair share of folk artists as well as bands and visionaries. Legge says he lived for a decade in a single-wide trailer overlooking a valley and a small white church—an image often revisited in his work.

The Lexington Avenue studio, which has been quietly occupied for the past year, also houses some pieces by Legge’s father, Joe. The father-son collection blends well, seeming to tell a tale of the South’s great mystery. Faces, figures, places and objects are captured in vivid paint, sometimes with found objects affixed to the canvas, sometimes with handmade frames that act as continuums of the artwork. But, as alluring as Legge’s artwork is, the artist himself is the real gem in this studio. He speaks softly but enthusiastically about his work, often pointing out pieces given to him by fellow artists (Willie Willie, Deacon Trust).

Legge plans to relocate after the New Year, though he may stay in Asheville for a few more months. Catch him while you can. His studio will be open all day on Saturday, Dec. 20 and an end-of-year sale is planned for Saturday, Dec. 27. For more info, contact Legge at (706) 982-1496 or eleggenehi@yahoo.com.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts writer and editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs.

5 thoughts on “Eric Legge’s not-so-secret studio

  1. zen

    Helen and i have loved Eric and his work for several years and talked him into selling a piece early as he has tons of stuff filling his studio. We went by today and even bought an item early, but plan to come back next weekend for more substantial purchases, as his work/art/heart/life is just so filled with positive goodness we couldn’t help ourselves.

    He was kinda coy about where he might go after a few months more here…

  2. Alli Marshall

    It does seem like his plans are up in the air — he has family in Georgia and Florida, and a romantic interest in W. Virginia…

    I bought some of his work this weekend, as well. I suspect Eric’s work will only increase in value — but, as Zen said, it’s his positive goodness that is the real selling point. For those on a tight budget, he sells some very sweet, small pieces for as little as $35.

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