amy flatten


On June 19, the Art17 Gallery at Coldwell Banker welcomes back local artist and curator, Brian Petro for a solo show of his work from 1996-2014. The gallery, located below Coldwell Banker (1606 17th St NW) in Dupont Circle, opens its doors to quarterly art shows by local and established artists.  The show, featuring a unique retrospective of Brian Petro’s work, will run from June 1, 2014 to August 20, 2014.

WHAT:    Brian Petro – Works from 1996-2014

EXHIBITION:   June 1, 2014 – August 20, 2014, M-F 9:00 – 5:00 PM

OPENING:  Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 PM

WHERE:  Coldwell Banker, 1606 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The work featured in this show represents his wandering, and wondering mind. He credits his style to the dichotomy between his supportive, rural, Central-Pennsylvanian upbringing, and the brutal independence of urban life. Global travel and urban exploration fuel his search for images, ideas and processes. Some artworks will even be available at affordable prices between $160 and $190. From joyous and youthful colors of old animal cracker box images, to Iconoclastic Architectural DC monument images, to a recent series of Abstract Ink and paint pieces, to glimpses of his first ever professionally recognized artworks, the show will include the many sides of Brian Petro as an artist. His most recent show “Ink: Brian Petro & Christian Pratt” at Susan Calloway Fine Arts was listed by Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post in March 2014.

Brian Petro is, and has been, represented by galleries in New York City, Hawaii, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Washington, DC and Rehoboth Beach, DE. His work is also on display in venues in Brazil, England, Italy and Spain. Past commercial clients include Absolut Vodka (who commissioned Brian to design the Absolut Dupont Circle advertisement), The Ritz Carlton Hotels, Saks Fifth Avenue, IBM (an 8 foot by 20 foot mural), and The Library of Congress. Brian has been published in regional and national news magazines and newspapers, and he and his work have been featured on several television shows including HGTV’s Curb Appeal and Showhouse Showdown, and has recently been filmed by CCTV in China, affiliated with PBS, and footage can be viewed in upcoming months in Asia, and here, Nationally. Within the last month, Brian was commissioned by Absolut Vodka again to design a 5 foot tall bottle for their use in any advertising campaign they choose.  This may be considered the “Absolut Petro” bottle!

 Coldwell Banker opened Art17 over a decade ago by Kevin McDuffe, the owner. His goal has been to open this office space to local artists to showcase their work. Recently, he brought in a curator for the space, one of the Mid City Artists, Brian Petro. While Petro is a full time artist, living and working in the Logan Circle area, he is also a curator of private spaces in the community. In the past, Art17 has featured artists such as Amy Flatten, Dylan Davis, and Matt Sesow. 

Art17 Opens Amy Flatten on February 7

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Next Thursday, D.C. based scientist and artist; Amy K. Flatten will fill the space of Coldwell Baker’s office space on 17th NW.  The show will open with a reception on Thursday February 7, 2013. In a science environment by day, Amy very deliberately breaks away from her scientific training in her artwork. Her work has consistently teetered on the edged of logic and imagination, often letting imagination win. 

For over a decade, she has focused on creating abstract works that challenge her creativity and take her away from her daily routine of lines and numbers. Although at first her work seems like a random gathering of colors, lines and shapes, if you dive deeper you can translate them into something of your every day life.  Amy’s work seems to bring the viewer to a joyful place where a simple object can take on new, bright colors and form.  Amy took some time to sit down with ArtSee and talk about her inspirations, work and career.


ArtSee: What’s the last show that you saw (not yours) that inspired you?

Amy Flatten: While this wasn’t the most recent show I’ve seen, one that really inspired me was an exhibit in 2008, in a small gallery space in Venice, Italy.  It was just a few small rooms off of a side street.  The exhibit featured the works of the artist Morago, (  I was inspired by his use of black, red and white, so much so, that I bought a book of his works and often look through before I begin painting (in any color).  Today, even just seeing his pieces on the pages of a book, long after seeing the actual exhibit, seems to put me into a creative frame of mind.

AS: What’s your favorite place to see art?

AF: Small quiet galleries are one favorite—maybe with just a few folks lingering.  I like big galleries, but absorbing everything can seem daunting.

AS:  Where are you finding ideas for your work?  

AF: My artist’s statement mentions that I draw my ideas from everyday life—those simple things we see throughout the Washington DC area.”  That’s really true….and especially when I notice colors of our surroundings.  For example, black asphalt roads with yellow taxis and red traffic lights (I have a piece with those colors in this show).  Recently, I saw a display in a store window that combined 3 colors in a new way—I took a picture so that I might use them together in a painting sometime in the future.   

AS: Do you remember the first piece you ever sold? 

AF:  I remember first putting a few pieces in a coffee shop…and being flabbergasted that they sold!  That gave me more confidence to do things more “formally” and I remember selling my first piece at a more “professional price.”  The couple had considered a few paintings of various artists for their dining room and eventually selected mine.  They sent me an email later on to tell me they had installed an accent light to highlight it in its space on the wall.  I will never forget that couple—and the confidence they gave me from their interest in my art and the careful selection and care of my piece.

AS: What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming show? 

AF: That’s a hard question, as I am very excited about the opportunity in general.  I think I am most looking forward to learning more about the art scene in DC, and meeting others in the local art community.  It has been a good challenge to prepare the number of pieces I am exhibiting, and I look forward to seeing the reactions to the art from people I haven’t yet met. 

AS: What do you think has changed in your work since the beginning of your career? 

AF: When I first started using acrylic paint, my paintings had a very soft, watery, fluid feeling.  While I liked many of those pieces, I worked hard to learn to give my pieces more texture.  I now incorporate texture by using different palette knives and then smoothing and softening areas with damp brushes.  I like to layer the paint such that hidden objects and lines underneath reveal new findings in an often-viewed piece. 

AS: Where do you currently create your work? 

AF:  I either create my work in classes that I take through the Art League of Alexandria, or in my home.  I have a room at home set up with an easel, drop cloth and big table…and I feel comfortable just leaving it a mess while I am in the middle of some work.

AS: What is the biggest inspiration for your art? 

AF: In all sincerity—I am most inspired by other artists.  That can sound kind of trite, but one of the main reasons I continue to take classes is the chance to just chat with and learn from my own classmates, and get their feedback on a piece that’s challenging me, or where I just feel stuck.  I also love the chance to talk with them about something new they are doing in a painting – we all use each other for “sanity checks” and as “sounding boards.”  I love that about taking class.

AS: What’s the last show that surprised you? Why?  

AF: That would be the most recent Artomatic that was held in Crystal City, VA last May-June 2012.  At first, I was just glad to enter, but as the show drew nearer and I was preparing my exhibit space, I surprised myself by how strong my reaction was to the opportunity.  Beyond just hanging my pieces, I was surprised by just how passionate I felt about doing my absolute best on all aspects of the exhibit—hanging lights, painting my wall, getting exactly the right lettering for my name, on and on and on.  No matter what it took, I really wanted to feel like I had “knocked it out of the park” in my effort to make my exhibit as professional as I possibly could.  So it wasn’t any one aspect of the show itself that surprised me, but my excitement and commitment to the opportunity it provided.  In all seriousness, that single show has motivated me to push myself to learn as much as I can about finding new exhibit opportunities, and presenting my work to the public. I was also very very aware and appreciative of all of the volunteer organizers that enabled that Artomatic, and I owe them a debt of gratitude, as participating that show was sincerely a turning point for me. 


Art17 featuring the works of Amy K. Flatten 
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday,February 7, 2013

TIME: 6:00PM till 9:00PM

LOCATION: Coldwell Banker Dupont, 1606 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The show can also be viewed 9:00 am – 5:00 pm every weekday until April 23, 2013

For more information about Amy Flatten, please see her website at