Albert Schweitzer

Silly, Sexy and Dedicated

by Will O'Bryan
Published on June 28, 2007, 12:00am | Comments

Albert Schweitzer
''Quilt Mama''
16'' x 20''
mixed media on board

Turning 40 just four days before the opening of ''Art in Heat,'' Albert Schweitzer says the month-long show is a great way to celebrate his birthday. And looking at Schweitzer's whimsical, playful art, one certainly gets the impression that he's not lost a childlike appreciation for birthdays. Speaking with him, it's apparent that he's not lost an appreciation for anything, actually.

''It's a blessing to be here, following my bliss. I just count my blessings,'' he says, his tone hinting that he may have found the path to Nirvana. But while Schweitzer may come off as a little kooky at first glance, there is method to his madness.

''I'm an extremely organized person in a lot of ways. I turned my whole house into a studio. I had an electrician put in lights. The whole house is packed with art.''

It's an environment -- combined with his stereo blasting Brian Eno, Harold Budd or Peter Frampton -- that makes him impressively productive. Check out DJs, the new film series he's been working on for YouTube. Or tally all the pieces he's donated to various HIV/AIDS organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region.

His talent, commitment and kookiness make him the perfect transplant (from Wisconsin) to his adopted Baltimore.

''There are a lot of happenings around Baltimore. It's gritty and wild. There's so much talent here, and not a lot of attitude. Baltimore is definitely weird, funny, quirky, trashy,'' he says. ''It just seems to be laced with a lot of inventiveness and personality.''

It's also sexy, but Schweitzer is going to make you hunt for it in his work. Insisting that he's a gay man who celebrates gay culture, he adds that he's not going to hit anybody on the head with it.

''A lot of my art is homoerotic in a way,'' he says. ''It's subtle, it's quirky and there's a lot of comic relief. On one artwork I did in the past, I wrote, 'Relax, don't do it, I'm wearing Depends shields.'''

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