An eye for art that resonates

by Rebecca Harrelson

| @writemesweetly

Zac Trainor has been living in Winston-Salem for seven years now, but he’s originally from Fall River, Massachusetts, a waterfront town about an hour south of Boston where a large part of the population are Portuguese migrants from the Azores.

He attended Springfield College, his father’s alma mater, and his curriculum was taught with an equal balance of fine arts training, graphic, and web design.

Trainor is married to Katie Chasteen, a Winston-Salem artist who brought Trainor to the area. The plan, as many tend to say, was to leave after a couple years, but the couple found “we had a real connection here and an opportunity to build something both for ourselves and within the communities around the Triad.”

Trainor explains his artistic journey:

“That raw human emotion we all have as children is essential to creating meaningful works of art, at least if they are to be meaningful to yourself. I was a child once and it has taken me 34 years to become the artist and person I am today. My artistic story is still unfolding as I see it now. My main story is I paint a lot, because I want to, have to, and need to all the same.”

Trainor is drawn to abstract expressionist movements of the past, and feels “like a lot of the art we see produced today is still in a direct dialog with what was happening then. The thing that has evolved the most is our technology, not the intellect, and we have many of the same conflicts, both as artists and on the global community scale, that the ab-ex artists were dealing with such as war, death, famine and the human condition.”

Trainor recently showed many of his pieces in Greensboro’s Urban Grinder’s street art coffee shop opening. Shop co-owner Jeff Beck spoke highly about Trainor. “He is an amazing and hardworking artist. I’ve worked on a few projects with him…he was always my choice for the artist we wanted as the debut show for Urban Grinders. His artwork and work ethic was the definition of Urban Grinders. Nothing but overwhelming positive response on his work. People would just come in to view his work and nothing else.”

Many artists do not find it particularly helpful to dissect their work. Not all work is necessarily created to “stand the test of time” or to be of relevance in a couple months. Trainor said his process involves a lot of inward thought and criticism. He looks for the strengths and weaknesses of each piece and believes it’s a necessary step in his artistic process.

Trainor’s work is dark and heavy with intent . “Humanity is a real thing, it is all of us and it is a condition of being,” he said. “All over the world there are humans starving and dying, persecuted, and homeless, we have the technology and means to feed them, to shelter them but it doesn’t happen because of politics, commerce, and ego.”

Looking at his work can be unsettling, however, you never feel burdened when walking away from his art. You feel a strange sense of hope for humanity.

“I see and feel a lot of decay all around, probably think about death more than I should, while at the same time seeing beauty and trying to understand how amazing it is to be alive and I think that is reflected in my work,” Trainor said.

Trainor has lately started working more with sculpture and installation as his new mediums. Finding the funding, and finding the space is never an easy task for artists.

Trainor has work on display every month in Winston- Salem at Delurk Gallery. Also starting in October he will have work in the Electric Pyramid Group Show within the Ember Gallery.

“All I can hope for is to feel a moment at peace when I finally see a piece as finished, a complete thought,” Trainor said.

“By that time I should understand what I am trying to say, or why I may have felt a certain way coming into making the piece. We make each other, I change it and it in turn changes me.” !


Trainor’s work can currently be found on display at Urban Grinders, 116 N. Elm Street in Greensboro, and Ember Gallery, 690 N. Trade St. in Winston- Salem. Trainor has one piece on display at each location.