Catering Mogul Turns to Artsy Retirement
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Catering Mogul Turns to Artsy Retirement

Clive Bank was influenced by his sister-in-law, Karin Mervis, to take online Zoom classes with Jewish artist, Zhenya Gershman, and finally met her in person.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Clive Bank poses in front of two of Gershman’s huge paintings.
Clive Bank poses in front of two of Gershman’s huge paintings.

What does Clive Bank have in common with Sylvester Stallone, Tony Bennett, and George W. Bush? During and after a stellar career, they all turned to the canvas, paint, and palette to express themselves through art.

In the case of Bank, he most recently divested (and officially retired) from the top-tier catering company, Added Touch and A Kosher Touch. Now, in addition to his golf games, he is studying and painting with world famous artist Zhenya Gershman, an art historian, educator, and artist born in Eastern Europe. Being Jewish, she practices tikkun olam — most recently in her tribute to those caught in the throes of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Around two years ago, Bank joined his sister-in-law, Karin Mervis, featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times Chai Style Art column (November 2018) as an artist and art instructor in her own right. She convinced him to take Zoom lessons with her teacher, Gershman.

Clive met artist and teacher Zhenya Gershman in New York where they toured the Metropolitan Museum.

Bank said, “Karin spoke very highly of Gershman. Every artist in our group is encouraged to develop their own style. We are basically studying important artists, ranging from Vermeer and Rembrandt to Degas and Picasso and many others, with an emphasis on Impressionism.”

Every Wednesday night for 2½ hours, Bank joins his group of between six to nine students who range from beginners to professionals. Gershman selects the piece that they study and re-create. Via Zoom teleconferencing, students are encouraged to use charcoal, pastels, gouache, and inks. Bank prefers charcoal on tinted paper and usually completes a piece in two weeks.

He said, “I draw for relaxation and because I enjoy creating art. Every piece evokes different emotions. My studio is in our dining room. I have done about 100 studies with Zhenya, and I’m proud of them all. I’ve documented them and miss the ones I no longer have.”

Mervis commented, “I have had art teachers my entire life, learning multiple mediums, across multiple states and countries … for me, discovering Zhenya has been life- changing for my personal art journey. Zhenya’s exceptional ability to teach on Zoom, not only enhanced growth in my art process … each class was fun, social, and rewarding. Including learning intriguing techniques of the most talented artists. I found much value in re-creating old masters.”

Bank’s dining room wall houses many of his works.

Gershman resides and works out of both her Los Angeles and New York studios. She is most well known for her stunning, captivating large portraits and is in private collections of machers like Donald Simon and Richard Weissman. In the public sphere, she has participated in Art Aspen, Art Miami, and Art Chicago. She appears in the book, “Picasso to Pop,” and in the J. Paul Getty Research Institute. She was selected by the GRAMMY Musician Grace Foundation to create iconic portraits of mega stars Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Her portrait of Sting hangs in a museum in Santiago, Chile.

Clive enjoyed seeing the majestic art of the masters.

She was featured on “Entertainment Tonight” and in the New York Post. Gershman started an art movement, “Brushes over Bullets,” and her painting, “First Face of War: Intimate Portrait of a Ukrainian Teacher,” sold for six figures with all the proceeds benefiting humanitarian efforts in that war. As an art historian, educator, and activist, she stated, “It is not the eyes that are windows to the soul, rather art itself is an opportunity for the soul to be the window to our eyes.”

Just recently Bank flew to meet with Gershman and said, “I finally met her this March in New York where I visited her amazing Manhattan studio and accompanied her on a private guided tour of the Metropolitan Museum. It was unbelievable because of her incredible knowledge and understanding of the art.”
Bank concluded, “In my retirement I will continue with classes because I can never reach an end goal. Each piece is like starting over again. And right where we had our seder — mounted on along the wall, hangs many of my pieces.”

Gershman is currently accepting new students.

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