In spite of the fact that Garth Potts is the Executive Director of the Levite Jewish Community Center, he likes to joke that, if he didn’t have to work, he would have liked to be a sports cartoonist. Unfortunately, he had to grapple with issues of trying to make a living and supporting a family. Mr. Potts did, however, prepare for the possibility of an art career by receiving his Masters of Fine Arts degree from University of Oklahoma in Printmaking and Painting. He has created a volume of work which includes portraits, illustrations, cartoons, caricatures, paintings, drawings and prints. The subject matter is varied, focusing on representational depictions of people, sports themes and Judaica.
The work on display is diverse in subject matter. It includes Judaic prints generated over a five year period beginning in late 1991 which reflected the artist’s searching for the roots of his Jewish identity. He considers the works to be “Judaic still lifes,” as they combine symbols, motifs and themes focusing on the calendar cycle, Shabbat, Hebrew calligraphy, etc. There are 21 prints in the series which were created initially as drawings and eventually turned into multiples as Mr. Potts experienced a demand for the originals. The drawings themselves were done using a “stippling” technique which emphasizes clusters of colored dots and lines which create the 3-dimensional imagery. The dots were done with markers of varying thickness. Another 40-piece print series was created for the children in the LJCC preschool, using animals’ images, with their Hebrew and English names. The “10 Commandments of Health and Fitness” series was made for the LJCC Fitness center to emphasize the importance of that activity in Jewish life. There are actually 12 in the series as another Center ordered a series and wanted to additional “values” included. To satisfy an interest in just the animals of that series, Mr. Potts has created a series without the names and Hebrew. The caricatures were done just for fun and can be specially done for any occasion, complete with biographical info and little vignettes that tell more about the subject. Please contact the artist to make arrangements. Another labor of love is sports prints. The series covers a wide variety of sports and players, combining action, detail, bright colors, and crowd reactions.
Born in Newport News, Virginia, Mr. Potts moved to Buffalo as a youngster where he grew up. After determining the difficulty of “living” an art career, he returned to another love, the JCC movement where he grew up as a “Center rat,” and began working as a teen worker. Eventually he received his Masters of Social Work degree from SUNY of Buffalo. He has been in the Jewish communal field for over 35 years, having worked in JCC’s and Federations in Buffalo, El Paso, Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, BC and Oklahoma City before coming to Birmingham.
Born in 1947, Garth Potts and wife Ann have seven children between them: Aaron, Shoshana, Brian, Micah, Joel, Gabriel and Zachary.