Extraordinary Talent and Vision set the corner stone for artistic expression on Foundy Street in Asheville, NC
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Everyone knows Bob Judy
Bob Judy is one of those gifted individuals who becomes a friend within minutes of meeting; although, not one to be pigeon holed with a single label, the most accurate label might be Bob Judy is the person with whom you want to spend time.
Artist, musician, sculptor, friend to numerous musical talents (some well-known), and now a man with a vision. Born in Winterpark, FL Bob visited Montreat, NC as a child a few times in the 70's. Those early visits to the magical Southern Highlands fomented his love for our little slice of paradise, while also activating his creative impulses. Post high school, Bob enrolled at Brevard College for two years as an Art major with a Drawing and Painting focus, when wanderlust and the burgeoning music scene pulled Bob to the University of Georgia - Athens. At UGA, Bob primarily studied 3D (three dimensional) art. The urge to travel once again beckoned, taking Bob on an educational interlude to the mountains of Colorado; however, the adventure was short lived. A visit back to the 'Land O Sky'as the Cherokee refer to Asheville, rekindling his passion for the Arts. The University of North Carolina -Asheville is where "I got into metal casting and pumped out a bunch of bronze, aluminum, and iron sculptures. All while bartending at Barley's Tap Room."
Standing just inside his Zep Design studio on a day all brides pray for on their wedding day, Bob points out the nearly fourteen-acre area "that is evolving as we speak." Foundation Studios is the label given to the vision of what will be a multi use, business and artist studio partnership with a focus on an ever changing landscape with an evolving creative aesthetic. Foundation Studios hopes to become part of the River Arts District sitting only a stone's throw away. Zep Design is currently the first artist studio on Foundy Street, next to three popular businesses: 12 Bones BBQ, Wedge Brewing at Foundation, and Chain Heart Cycling Studio.
I ask Bob about his inspiration, and with a nostalgic look on his face, Bob lauds his mentors, Dan Millspaugh at UNC-Asheville and the late Tim Murray at Brevard College. Pausing for a moment, Bob says nature is his biggest inspiration. "With the sculptures, I like to keep them somewhat organic and start off with a basic idea and let it evolve as it's being made because I like to accentuate imperfections because they are not imperfections anymore." Bob focuses his craft into furniture, fine art restoration, and a fair amount of sculpture using mixed media, as well as pre-cast concrete.
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Are you serious right now?!
GR - What is something that might surprise readers to know about you?
Bob - "While I was at UGA, the band R.E.M. was getting big in the early 1980's, but they were more of a college scene at that point. Big enough though that they had to play under an alias, (Corn Cob Webs - was one of them) otherwise the frat scene would have been nuts." We then try to recall the bands on the scene, Mercy Land was a favorite, then Guadalcanal Diary comes up sparking Bob's memory "At the 40 Watt in Athens, Guadalcanal Diary had to stop the show to tell patrons to Shut UP!! 40 Watt was incredibly popular - the place to see and be seen; consequently, the venue was packed not only for the music but also the boisterous social scene.
Bob's a giver and now that we're riffing on bands from back in the day he throws out these two nuggets with a sly grin: "I used to sell seafood to Bill Barry from (drummer) R.E.M. - let's see, I was good friends with Widespread Panic, hanging out after shows back stage. Later on, Widespread Panic became red hot and arguably the top jam band in the country."
Music aficionados may recall:
From Atlanta - Drivin' and Cryin', the Black Crows, Indigo Girls. Then Athens became one of the hottest music scenes in the US. So much so bands from all over played Athens, including names such as Jane's Addiction, Soul Asylum, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, B-52s (having already moved to New York) It was a circuit - LA, Minneapolis, Austin, and Athens.