This Friday night artists James Sunquest and Greg Vrotsos will debut their collaborative project at The Kings Lens & Friends gallery.  Featuring large-scale canvas pieces and accented by smaller joint projects, this is the first collaborative experience for either painter. 

“Being that it was our first collaboration, we wanted it to be completely and unequivocally ours” said Sunquest.  “It was honestly a really organic experience, no egos involved whatsoever.”

While both artists have their own unique, individual styles, they both consider themselves abstract expressionists.  Both have experimented and worked with large-scale canvases, spray paints, and other mixed media, which essentially made this collaboration a match made in heaven (or Newport).  “I hadn’t painted in 7 months, my studio was closed cause of Covid.  I was in LA, they were in Hawaii.  We talked and said, let’s do it!” said Vrotsos. 

James Sunquest has made quite the name for himself in the local art scene since moving to Newport last summer and has his large-scale art and murals featured in places like Innovate Newport, The Fastnet Pub, and even on a home or two in town.

Greg Vrotsos, a Massachusetts native, most recently resided in Los Angeles where he acted and painted, appearing in numerous TV shows while also operating a gallery of his own.  When the pandemic hit, he decided to shutter those doors and move closer to home where he eventually befriended Patrick Murphy and James Sunquest. 

“Being down and Newport and spending some time here, I’ve really fallen in love with the local community.  Almost like an artist in residence” said Vrotsos.  “Honestly the hardest part of working with someone is learning just to do it instead of feeling each other out.  Once we started actually painting, questions quickly became answers.”

Vrotsos and Sunquest took inspiration from large-scale artists such as Julian Schnabel and decided that going BIG was going to be the way to go.  “Being that nearly all restrictions are lifted, and that announcement came a few weeks right before our opening, we felt like we have a responsibility to celebrate and ‘go big’ for the re-opening of Rhode Island” said Sunquest. 

Along with this celebration of re-opening Rhode Island, The Kings Lens and Friends is celebrating their 5 year anniversary since Patrick Murphy opened in the shop in 2016.  “It’s honestly been an incredible ride.  An interesting one at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I can’t thank my friends, the artists, and the local community for the continued support” Murphy told WhatsUpNewp. 

The gallery will hold a family-friendly opening on Friday, June 4 from 5-9 pm and the art will be featured in the shop for the following two weeks.  

The “Friends on the Couch” podcast episode featuring the two artists can be found in the link below.

Be sure to follow Patrick Murphy (@thekingslens) and his gallery (@thekingslensandfriends), James Sunquest (@sun__quest), and Greg Vrotsos (@greg_vrotsos) on Instagram! 

Tyler Bernadyn

Born and raised in the Ocean State, Tyler is a Providence College graduate ('11) who proudly calls Newport home. A professional realtor by trade, he prides himself on building relationships and sharing...