Waco artist John Storm regularly fills sketchbooks with the flotsam and jetsam of daily life — images sparked by words, music and memory.
Those images take concrete form in his solo show “Reminisce on This” at downtown Waco’s Cultivate 7twelve, with canvases crowded with umbrellas, text, trains, old cars, zebras, bold yellow macaroni, molars, trees and pipe-smoking fathers, plus shelves displaying his collection of 800 Pez dispensers.
“For me, creativity is the fountain of youth. This takes me back to my days as a kid, drawing monster trucks and pirate ships,” said Storm, 38, who teaches art at Midway High School.
The exhibit’s 62 canvases, bound in handmade pine frames, include visual bits that trigger some personal memories — his father’s white junker car that embarrassed him as a boy, gridlike arrangements inspired by the Iowa farm landscape of his childhood — but there are some there that defy explanation and that’s part of the point.
“I try not to think too hard about it. It’s similar to jazz. If you concentrate on each note being correct, you lose your flexibility,” he explained. “Reminisce on This” also illustrates the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi — the beauty of imperfection — that he tries to impart to his high school students.
Waco art fans may recall some of Storm’s work, particularly “Big Mac,” a stylized representation of elbow macaroni in mustard yellow, from the 2017 Art Center of Waco exhibit “Lost & Found,” his joint show with fellow Waco artist Cash Teague. Several involve incomplete or interrupted mandalas.
Some also comes from his Midway High School classroom, where he often creates art with students watching. “I like my students to see me at work,” he said.
Roughly a third of the show is new work created in the last year and Storm also is throwing in his extensive collection of Pez candy dispensers: some 800 of them.
Unlike some collectors, Storm embraces the duplicates, such as the more than a dozen Santa Clauses.
“I like the sheer volume and amount of it,” he admitted. “I think everybody can look at this and find something.”
For Cultivate 7twelve owner Rebekah Hagman, the May show represents some of Waco’s fresh talent coming to the fore. “It’s a great take for an emerging artist in a city of emerging artists,” she said.
It’s also fun, she added, noting that Friday’s opening reception will feature live music and food trucks selling ice cream and hot dogs.