An artist and the James River merge
Carrying 100 pounds of gear mounted to his 12-foot kayak, Richmond artist Steve Hedberg set course in September 2017 to paddle the 320 navigable miles of the James. Hedberg’s mission was to immerse himself within the falls, bends and tides of the James, and to tell the story through his artwork. Hedberg spent three weeks in 2017 and a few weekends in 2018 to complete his mission. This fall, the artist will present a series of paintings, photographs, riverbank sketches and a multimedia installation in his sixth solo show at Glave Kocen Gallery.
In addition to his realistic landscapes, most from the perspective of his kayak, Hedberg relates eventful moments of his trip through his work, such as the encounter with the swimming bear, the son who navigated his blind father through Class 3 rapids of Balcony Falls, and the challenging paddle through white-capped tidal waters to the finish.
This isn’t Hedberg’s first journey-based exhibit. In 2010, he presented an exhibit depicting his travels down U.S. Route 1, from New Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida, a 2,400-mile stretch he drove alone.
This project required a lot of helping hands along the way. Here are some of those who I would like to especially thank in no particular order.
Brian Vincent and Appomattox River Company
Georgia Bush and James River Association
Charlie and Wllderness Canoe Company
Jimmy and Madeline in Buchanan
Greg Velzy, Shawna Wood Shade and the crew at Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation
Anita Dunning and Emily Huffman of Sherwood Forest Plantation Foundation
Dr. Greg Garman, Dan Carr and VCU Rice River Center
Earl Swift, author of A Journey Down the James
Bob Deans, author of The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James
Twin River Outfitters
Will Loving and Laura Loe
Sarah Lockwood, Justin Vaughan and all the fine folks at Richmond Magazine
Mom, of course
Glavé Kocen Gallery
The guy who helped me haul my kayak in his trunk (partly) to the boat launch in Lynchburg
the woman at the marina who let me tie up my yak
The family in the canoe who had my back
The guy at James River Park boat launch with the phone
Last but most importantly, my wife Debbie, and daughters Claire and Sophie Hedberg, whose love and support made it all possible
No thanks to: