During the Homestead City Council’s Special Presentations on June 21st, Councilman Stephen Shelley introduced Homestead’s Artist in the Spotlight for June and July — Norman Walters, a highly accomplished and versatile artist, whose adventurous life has taken him to far-flung places around the world. An exhibit of Walters' work opened at the Seminole Theatre the evening before and will run through July 30.
Commenting on the success of Walters' opening, which resulted in the sale of several of his pieces, Councilman Shelley said, “That’s the purpose of our Artist in the Spotlight program — to [shine a] light on our local artists and also give them a venue in which to promote themselves and hopefully sell their works.”
Walters, who has been a resident of Homestead since 2002, shared the story of his journey as an artist, which began in Mishawaka, Ind. He said, “I started my career when I was six years old, back in 1953. There was a television program called ‘Ding Dong School.’ I drew a white whale on a brown grocery bag from the A & P Supermarket.” He sent it to Miss Frances, the host of the program. One day, as he was watching the show, he said, “She opened up my envelope, pulled out the painting and showed everybody, pinning the painting on her wall. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an artist.”
While Edwards attended the Fort Wayne Art Institute in the '60s, he noted, “Most of my style and form has been self-taught.” He added, “I carve, sculpt, paint, draw and do portraiture in every style you can think of, from pencil drawings to complete paintings, and in [styles including] Abstract, Impressionism, Expressionism, Fantasy and Photo Realism.” He lets each piece dictate which medium he uses.
He continued, “I believe that the world around me is the greatest inspiration that anyone can have. That is why I love to draw and paint Photo Realism, with a twist.”
From his intricate pencil drawings of indigenous people he met during his time in the Amazon rainforest of Peru, and, in Hawaii, to his abstract wood sculptures of birds and other animals, to his photo realistic paintings of palm trees, Walters demonstrates his amazing versatility as an artist, along with his deep connection to the people and natural world around him.
Edwards has traveled throughout the United States exhibiting his artwork. But for him, it is not just about making art. He says he has always tried to make a difference in the world, from creating "Unity Circle of Friends” a natural food co-op in Maui, to cleaning up beaches (also in Maui), to protecting the Amazon tropical rainforest in Peru. For 20 years, beginning in 1992, Walters and his partner built and operated Yacumama Lodge, a 7,500-acre self-sustaining ecological preserve on a small river there, where he said his goal was “striving for harmony with nature and the local habitants.” He is currently writing a book about his experience in Peru.
Explaining his approach to life and art, Walters shared, “I view everything that I do as a milestone in my life. Once I create a project, accomplish it, and live it, I try to let it go, and move on to the next milestone.” Today, he operates Norman E. Walters Designs and lives in Homestead with his wife and youngest daughter. As a designer and artist, he welcomes commissions, including portrait requests. For information, visit www.normanwalters.com.
In addition to talking about his art during the presentation, Walters expressed his appreciation for Councilman Shelley’s Artist in the Spotlight program. “I think Councilman Shelley had a really good idea and that Homestead was actually ready for this.”
He continued, “I have lived here for 15 plus years, and have felt a lacking for cultural events. Councilman Shelley's innovative vision for his project at the renovated Seminole Theatre was a step in the evolution of Homestead and its habitants. Culture helps humanity live its hopes and dreams.”
If you are interested in participating or know of a local artist in the area from Broward, Dade or Monroe Counties, please contact Councilman Shelley’s office at 305-224-4447 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Artists who live in or near the City of Homestead will be given preference.