Last weekend the Cousen Rose Gallery presented its CRG crystal design award to artist Glenn Tunstull in honor of his 20th year of showing his work at the gallery. A large crowd was on hand at the Saturday opening reception, where gallery owner Zita Cousens spoke to those gathered, saying, “Glenn has chronicled 20 years of life on Martha’s Vineyard, people on the beach, kayakers, sunrises and sunsets, a visual history depicted in oils and watercolor.” The exhibit will be up for another few weeks.
Tunstull lives in the Hudson Valley, and teaches at the Parsons School of Art and Design in New York City. However, he has been spending time on the Vineyard for more than two decades, painting scenes around the Island in his unique style, which he refers to as “dashilism,” as opposed to pointillism. His paintings are built up by a series of small brush marks or dabs, as opposed to dots, giving the images an almost pixelated look. “I’ve always loved the idea of color telling the story and creating the form, as opposed to light and shadows creating the form,” says the artist.
Tunstull got his start as a fashion illustrator, where he made a name for himself at a time when there were very few Black artists represented in the field. His illustrations appeared in Women’s Wear Daily and other fashion magazines, and his clients included Ralph Lauren, Revlon, and Bloomingdale’s, among others. His legacy as a fashion illustrator is documented in two books, “The History Makers: An African American History Collection” and “WWD Illustrated: 1960s-1990s.” In 2016, the artist published his own book, “From Fashion to Fine Art: The Tunstull Odyssey” which is available at the Cousen Rose Gallery.
Tunstull’s Martha’s Vineyard paintings have become highly desirable on the Island, where he has forged many relationships both as an artist and as a beloved Vineyard visitor. Says Cousens of the opening reception: “The crowd was excited to celebrate Glenn, and the red dots confirmed how much people love his work!”
Glenn Tunstull, “Oils & Watercolors,” Cousen Rose Gallery, 71 Upper Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs. 508-693-6656; cousenrose.com.