By Jolisa Canty
BEAUFORT, S.C. — From hairdressing to painting, Dusty Conner, a native of Lumberton, likes to create — and soon he will be selling his artwork for the first time.
The art show will be held at the University of South Carolina in Beaufort’s Center for the Arts in the Media Gallery.
The show, which began Monday, runs through March 25. An opening reception will be held on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
The concept for the show — “Friends of Art … Love Made Visable” — is that the artists, Conner and Marilee Sartori, have given much of their art away to friends over the years. They will present some of these paintings, which they borrowed back from friends for the show, with brief descriptions of the story behind each of those paintings. There will also be new paintings for sale.
Conner, who was raised on a tobacco farm in Lumberton, will have 21 pieces of art on display at the show, including 14 that will be for for sale.
“When I was around 11 years old, I was introduced to canvas,” Conner said. “I had a best friend who was a couple of years older than I, he was a self-taught painter and I really admired his work. I painted all through high school, where I was always chosen to decorate the bulletin boards and hall displays.
“However, at age 15 or so, I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser. After high school I attended Aurora Beauty College and the painting, which I used as my escape, my sanctuary, had to be put on the back burner for awhile.”
After graduating from the beauty college, Conner moved to Fayetteville.
“People offered to pay me for them, but I always said no,” he said. “When I moved to Texas, I had more time to pursue my painting. I opened my own business there and not only did I have more time, I actually had some money to splurge on canvas and paint.”
After subsequent moves to Atlanta and Chicago, Conner landed in Charleston, S.C., where he began to teach cosmetology.
“I was absolutely flattered that Bonnie Hargrove at the University of South Carolina Beaufort complimented my art to the point where she offered to share it with the public,” he said. “It’s my idea of Utopia to be in this show, especially in conjunction with Marilee Sartori, who is one of my dearest friends.”
Sartori has been painting since 1990 and has sold her paintings at various art shows.