In the Studio: Dennis J. Gormley



WHO: Dennis J. Gormley

ACT ONE: Dennis. J Gormley was born in New York City and began drawing at 6 years old.  At 12 he was asked to do a portrait of the principal of his elementary school by the principal’s wife.  His art teacher strongly recommended that he pursue art as a career while the math teacher recommended engineering.  Engineering won out.  After college, he began 33 years with a Fortune 500 NYSE corporation retiring as CEO and Chairman.



ACT TWO: During his subsequent involvement with a successful start-up company, Gormley was having dinner with two colleagues who were asking what interests he had when not trying to create value in business.  He ended his list of interests with, “I also like to draw.” He was almost surprised by his answer and laughed, saying, “I don’t know why I said that.  I have not drawn since elementary school.”

On the flight home, he picked up the ball point pen in his briefcase and returned to one of his first loves.  That was 10 years ago.

Ele in progress


Black Horse


THE STUDIO: Gormley sits at his desk or round table and draws on paper with his pen. He has framed work surrounding the walls, a reminder of different images he’s rendered.

THE ARTWORK: Gormley enjoys drawing all things — portraits of people as well as animals and still life — with the same pen. His ability to realistically capture a likeness is uncanny, and the attention to detail, texture and tone is at this essence of his drawings.

WHY A PEN? The black and white creates drama.  It is also satisfying to create knowing you cannot paint over, erase or Photoshop.  You see what the pen did when it touched the paper.


alligator copy

White Horse

His newest work show above is framed on glass, which has helped the drama of his artwork really stand out.

Dennis J. Gormley // // 239.269.6685 // Facebook


Meet Ashley Longshore


NAME: Sarah Ashley Longshore
LOCATION: New Orleans, Louisiana
OCCUPATION: Painter, Gallery Owner, and Entrepreneur

A self-taught artist who opened a small gallery a couple of years ago on Magazine Street in New Orleans, Ashley Longshore has quickly become an international sensation–which is both a surprise to her and all part of the plan. The paintings themselves are painted in bold, saturated colors and depict irreverent, sarcastic, and whimsical portraits of popular icons, celebrity, and satire. In addition, she’s made a unique line of chairs, and has a line of home wares at Anthropologie. Longshore didn’t get to this place by dumb luck; the driven, hard-working businesswoman has unabashedly put herself out there and embraced marketing her brand.


BEGINNING: Longshore says that she came into this world “kicking and screaming,” and never remembers a time when she wasn’t full of energy and a natural zest for life. As a kid, she soaked up the arts and musical theater, taking every tap, ballet, gymnastics, theater, baton, piano, jazz, and sewing class her parents could find. In college, her love affair with painting began: “I moved to Montana for a semester. I spent my days painting, riding and jumping horses. I got really deep in Montana.” She’s completely self-taught, learning mainly from the greats that came before her, spending a good part of her early painting years recreating Picasso pictures.

VISION: Andy Warhol’s infamous quote “Making art is art, and making money is art,” is one Longshore quotes often, and is something she has taken to heart. “My thing is that I am not just an artist. I’m so much about marketing and sales and making it happen,” she explains. And she in fact has made it happen for herself, in a very short amount of time for that matter. How this has happened is the most interesting part: rather than attempt making highly conceptual work grounded in art-school principles that only a discerning few understand, she makes bright, bold, outrageous paintings that aren’t attempting to adhere to any school of thought currently accepted in the always-changing art world.



Many of Longshore’s brightly colored, sassy expressionist paintings at her gallery are inscribed with such comments as “Take your pills, pay your bills” and off-color comments about trophy wives, including, “Every time a bell rings a trophy wife gets more things.”

Her take on pop art is smart: “I love to draw from things that identify us, which you can’t escape.” Many times artists try to reside outside of time and space, but Longshore embraces “the now” and closely studies the cultural phenomenons and examines her own feelings and obsessions. “We wake up and we decide who we’re going to be in the world and that takes branding. And then I’m fascinated by how these companies create their branding and who they target.”

We’re reminded of Wayne Thiebau’s desert paintings or more recently, Elizabeth Peyton’s portraits of British pop stars, both of whom embrace pulp. But unlike Thiebau’s paintings of cakes and gum-ball machines, Longshore really cares about starting a conversation in her work. One look at a painting and you’re forced to face a statement and then figure out your opinion. They  evoke a reaction, but not too much of one. “It’s all in good fun!”


THE WORK: Her signature palette is bright, saturated colors mixed in bold ways. She lays it on thick (there’s not much water or turpentine thinning this paint out). Her work is made using mixed media, acrylic and finished with resin to create a signature lacquer. In terms of what she paints, it usually starts when she’s “tickled by an idea,” or inspired by an image she thinks is funny. An example: A portrait of George Washington features the first president “with this dour look on his face with a smiley face on his chest.”


Her fashion series of icons like Anna Wintour does an amazing job at simultaneously praising them and calling them out for taking themselves too seriously. In her words: “Fashion can be so much fun, but you can’t take it too seriously.” But that’s actually what is so brilliant about Longshore’s art: it’s not easy to poke fun at celebrity or pop culture in a way that makes the subject matter feel known. After all, when she paints a picture of Anna Wintour that says the statement “No Fatties Allowed,” you kind of get the feeling that Anna would see the painting and think to herself, “well said.”

THE BUSINESS SIDE: Longshore has embraced marketing wholeheartedly, and sees it as a big part of what she does. And in a world full of subtle self promotion and artists who claim to make work purely for altruistic purposes, her overt belief in advertising is refreshing. Or, as she says, “When people tell you they don’t need to advertise, you tell them, neither does Coke, neither does McDonald’s, but they do it because it’s their way of reaffirming they are the best.”


THE FUTURE: Most recently, Longshore has been on the horn about empowering women. She’s seen such success by living out loud, encouraging her female counterparts to do the same is her personal cause, especially when it comes to business, naming Fran Houser of Time Inc. as one of her main mentors. This is what her Audrey Hepburn series is about. “Audrey represents the woman we all aspire to be,” says Longshore, who is fascinated by the icon who was loved by men and admired by women.

LOCAL LOVE: Her commitment to New Orleans is readily apparent, and she jokes about its charm, saying, “It’s a city founded by pirates and whores!” She loves that the city celebrates the arts in everything it does — food, music, art itself — and continues to exude NOLA’s unique energy in her work.

Previous TSG members we’ve highlighted in our Up Close  & Personal series


SCOUTED: John Grant Photography


In the world of photography, John Grant’s atmospheric work might fall in the category entitled “alternative method photography.” He doesn’t use a camera at all; instead, subjects are scanned and a process of image capturing ensues. The result are quite intimate, layered portraits of ghost like things.

“In my photographic work I seek to distill and dramatize natural elements, transforming them into symbolic metaphor. I embrace the often clichéd or sentimental botanical portrayal, presenting objects in ways that infuse them with an enigmatic quality that expands expectations and tweaks the imagination.”

You can see more of John’s work here.

Chroma Projects // Charlottesville, VA // 434.202.0269


The Art of Buying . . . Art





Isa Catto Shaw is that kind of talent, who lives and breaths the work she makes. Pushing herself to new and interesting places, her current water colors play with pattern and subtle washes. Based in Aspen, she spoke with TSG about her current inspirations.

“I cannot come close to naming a favorite flower to paint.  So many delight me.  The wildflowers of the alpine tundra top the list — flowers like moss campion, any gentians, pagoda flower to name a few.” – Isa Catto Shaw




Painter Joyce Howell is currently in a solo exhibit at the Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, TX that will be ending soon on August 31. And in fact, two of the paintings we had previously Scouted and planned to post have already sold! So the time is now to snatch up Joyce’s work, as the painter is becoming ever more popular. A word about this particular painting Blessed Honey: the nuanced, muted palette exemplifies a rarely seen restraint in contemporary abstract work. The intuitively placed planes of color have been placed with intention; the gestural strokes evoke environmental observations of the Colorado River, which is where the painter lives and works.

Many people really don’t know how to make choices when it comes to buying art, and all too often choices are made based on the interior design of a space or the overall popularity of the painter. The truth is, you want to buy work that you’ll enjoy looking at and living with, work that continually reveals something new every time you look at it. Joyce Howell’s paintings are packed with passages you won’t notice the first, second or even fifteenth time looking at them, which is what makes the investment sound.

Joyce Howell at Wally Workman Gallery // 512.472.7428 // rachel@wallyworkman.comFor our recent guide on hanging art, a tip given to us by Rachel Stephens of Wally Workman, see TSG TIP No. 15. SEE ALL THAT WE’VE SCOUTED




Bold, abstract, exotic fine art photography from Leidy Images.
Christopher Pulitzer Leidy (grandson of Lilly, R.I.P.) loves the life aquatic.
Vivid, unstudied documentation of oceanic scenery most people are never privy to.
Perfect for the photography lover or collector of contemporary art.
For details about what images he has available, see our Palm Beach blog.