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An 'unpredictable' art show

When members of the public display their photographic works at the Huntington Beach Art Center, things can get a little kooky.

January 08, 2014|By Michael Miller
(Kevin Chang )

An unthinking person might say that Kurt Weston can barely see.

The Huntington Beach resident has limited vision in one eye and none at all in the other, and he uses a monocular to make out details.

But for precisely those reasons, Weston may be the most astute observer during opening night of "Centered on the Center," the Huntington Beach Art Center's annual non-juried public exhibition.

"Because I've been doing it for so long, I'm quite adept at scanning rather quickly," Weston said. "And I pick up things with the monocular because I'm scanning and seeing very specific bits. I see things sometimes that none of the students pick up on.

"I'll point out this lighting situation over here or this tone over there or this interesting thing off in the distance in this part of the picture, and the class will say, 'Oh, I didn't even see that!'"

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Speaking of that class: Weston will do more than exhibit his own work at "Centered on the Center." His intermediate and advanced students, whom Weston teaches in quarterly photography classes at the art center, plan to submit work for the exhibit, and Executive Director Kate Hoffman has arranged a space for them at the front of the venue.

It may seem like a tribute to an unlikely master, but it's far from the first honor Weston has racked up in recent years. In 2010, he won an Annual Achievement Award from Arts Orange County, and OC Metro recently named him one of the Hottest 25 People of Orange County.

Since 2009, Weston has taught six-week classes at the art center for beginning, intermediate and advanced students. With students submitting digital camera work, the instructor projects it on a large screen and scans it, a bit at a time, to offer his critique.

Dan Meylor, who has taken Weston's classes for three years, is among the students who will submit this year. The most recent session he took was particularly useful: Weston drilled the class in how to prepare works for an exhibit, from selecting the image to choosing printing material to creating a frame.

"I think his biggest strength is that he has a real sense of humanity and enthusiasm about students improving," Meylor said.

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