The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Making a mark

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  • When you walk up to the Newton Bike Shop, the old-time lettering on the windows draws your eye. Inside, you'll be struck with the groovy atmosphere and the vivid, funky artwork. Artist Adrian Buentello has been displaying and selling his art at the Bike Shop since they opened in April 2012. It started with the windows. Bike Shop owner James Baringer said he has a background in art and liked doing the old school lettering. He enjoys the idea of the Bike Shop being a gallery. “We're a local business, he's a local artist. Adrian has done pretty well here and sold quite a bit.” Buentello replaces the art as it is sold. The proceeds go to the Ride Charlie Ride, Trans Am Bike Race 2014. It funds Newton stroke-victim Charlie Summers' dream to cross America on a tandem bike. The Newton Bike Shop is not the only local business to enjoy Buentello's art—he has also painted windows at Warehouse Furniture, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Newton Performing Arts Center (NPAC). At theNPAC, Buentello has done magnificent murals in acrylics. One depicts silhouettes spelling “dance” and another says “Dance is the only art where we are the paintbrushes” surrounded by swirls, notes and stars. Ballerinas do barre work under a graffiti-style “NPAC” with hiphop silhouettes on either side. Buentello has two young children, both of whom dance at NPAC. Buentello remembers his first drawing was of Mickey Mouse and he began making sketches from television. He took art lessons through high school and some college courses. His favorite artists include Van Gogh, Jackson Pollack and Jean-Michel Basquait. He prefers to use acrylics, pastels and charcoal, rather than time-consuming oils. “He looks at things differently and sees things we don't,” said his wife, Tanya. She said he lays down under trees and takes pictures from unexpected perspectives. She said he was inspired by a story from their church to paint an angel. It started in greens and blues, but finished a magnificent red canvas with gothic crosses and the words “love” and “eternity.” Buentello said a skeleton tree started as a skull, but he felt it going in a different direction and it came out as a tree. His art is not only thing that adds depth to Buentello's life. When he was three years old, an infection and high fever damaged the hearing in his right ear. He still has some hearing in his left ear. His parents integrated him in a deaf program in a hearing school. He learned ASL and lip-reads well. He and his wife taught a sign language class at the Newton Recreation Center and hope to restart it soon. Buentello also works at the North Dillons. In the future, Buentello hopes to finish his college degree to become an art teacher. Meanwhile, his art blooms across Newton. You can see learn more and see examples of his art on the Adrian Buentello Art Gallery page on Facebook.
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