Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Interview with Don Carter, Gallery Owner Coos Bay, OR: Art for the People

Don Carter is a gallery owner and artist who operates out of Coos Bay, OR. I recently have had the pleasure of meeting Don and working with him in setting up art work in his gallery. Immediately, I am able to confirm what I felt through all of our phone conversations; he (and his family) are there for the people. Whether they are customers or artists, he works to help them find what they are looking for in his gallery.
As we were setting up our display in his new store, Don was keenly aware of each individual in the store and trying to help all of them in turn as we were setting up. He is a people person and takes great pride in what he is creating in Coos Bay with The Fellowship. Following is an interview with him to help give background to this unique creation that features a Grand Opening on Saturday, March 23rd.

Jesse Brown: What got you started in the gallery business originally?

Don Carter: We have wanted an art gallery in our store for years, Recently we've had several miraculous events that have brought this about

 Jesse Brown: You have a unique format with a gallery, bookstore, and a coffee shop. What is your final vision for your place? Where did it come from?

Don Carter: The business just naturally grew out of what we like. Who wouldn't want to read a good book while drinking your favorite coffee surrounded by beautiful art?

Jesse Brown: I understand you are an artist as well. How is it working with a group of artists in comparison to just trying to produce art yourself? How does it compare with owning your own business?

Don Carter: Most artists understand the business of art and know that gallery's are necessary for the survival of the art community

Jesse Brown: How important are the views of the customers in the whole art equation? For example, do you feel the view/customer should influence the art? Can the market drive the content of an artist's subject?

Don Carter: Really good original art influences public opinion the customers respond to what is presented, For the most part artists create what they love and try to influence public opinion. The market follows closely behind this.

Jesse Brown: How hard is it to satisfy such a diverse group of artists? What's the key?

Don Carter: Sharing our store is the main thing, We're not just trying to make a living we are trying to help each artist with their business.

Jesse Brown: Are you able to pick a favorite piece in your gallery so far? If so, which one? If not, why so?

Don Carter: That would be impossible, We have way too much to have a favorite.

Jesse Brown: What are you looking forward to the most with this new gallery?

Don Carter: Having time to paint and teach art to kids

Jesse Brown: I read a recent piece on an art blog about how art is about life. How does your gallery reflect that? Do you think your artists represent that in any specific way?

Don Carter: Art is a momentary slice of your life, a small picture of a moment, Art can only reflect the images that reside in our hearts. Each artist strives to touch your heart with their work. We want to display the best art that we can find to accomplish this.

Jesse Brown: Do you have anything you want to add that you hope readers will take away from this interview?

Don Carter: Simply that we are just average people that love art and we want nothing more than to share it with you. If your an artist who needs more exposure please contact us, If you can't even draw a stick figure we need you too, please come in and help support the artists.

Thank you.

Please stay tuned for more on The Fellowship and the art that I (and my family) have set up there, along with many other events and artists that reside there! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Art Work for the Ocean

This is another work by my mother, and I would have to say that this is my favorite piece that she has done in this style. One of the things that she has concentrated on is doing themes that would sell well along the ocean. One of our favorite vacation spots for our family is the ocean at Fort Bragg, CA. So, sea life is a common theme for her work. I love the colors of this image on the stark, black background. The finishing coat she used was a matte finish, but even then it is quite glossy. This particular rock is a sizable one and can easily be used as a paper weight on a desk, or a show-piece on a shelf. This does not fall into the category of Meditation Rock because it is too big to easily be held and is a little unwieldly. Meditation rocks are intimate and small and can be maneuvered easily with the fingers.

This rock is on sale for $40 at The Fellowship. It was part of that massive 192-piece shipment we took to Oregon last weekend. There will be a grand opening for the Gallery in about 3 weeks. If anyone is going to be in that area, please check it out!

Please stay tuned for more pieces that I will blog about. Give comments and feedback if you have time. I will be posting some photos of the gallery soon. I wanted to talk about some of the great new art first, before I got to the gallery. This weekend I will have an interview with the gallery owner and I will post that interview here. Thanks for all of your support!


Esther Brown and Ada Lee team up to bring a new artistic series!!


So, this is a sample of some of the new types of pieces that went to Coos Bay. Actually, if I remember correctly, this particular one got bought before it could even get shipped off to Coos Bay, Oregon. My mother, Esther, and Ada, Esther's soon-to-be daughter-in-law, teamed up to create a very unique series. This is a variation on their Meditation Rock Series. Some have one, others have two, per bag. Ada designed a small bag that is meant to carry the rock. Esther paints images on smoothly shaped and rounded rocks that are meant to inspire peaceful and tranquil thoughts. A person might hold it in their hand while they listen to soothing music, sit quietly on a beach or among trees in a park, and let it inspire them to think of peaceful thoughts.

Part of the inspiration for this comes from Baoding Balls used to help heal the hand and relieve stress. Baoding Balls are meant to be rotated in the palm of the hand. The variation on this comes in with the art work. My mother lays down a black gesso base to create a dark background on which the image and intense colors can jump forward to the viewer. She also uses images that will connect with different types of people. If anyone has ever been to a Koi pond and seen the water lilies floating in the water as the fish swim silently underneath in a tranquil garden setting, it is incredibly peaceful and energizing. In this particular example, there is only one rock, but many have two to allow the option of moving both around in the hand similar to Baoding Balls. For me, personally, I really love the images that my mother creates on these rocks. I would not risk moving them around and possibly chipping the paint. (They are heavily layered with a spray finish that should prevent this, and should be resistant to any type of chipping, but that is just me).

My mother and Ada have created many, many combinations for this series. Many of the items in this series will be posted soon. If you are interested in buying any of them, write us, or go by The Fellowship in Coos Bay, Oregon. The  Fellowship carries our work now and has an extensive inventory of these pieces as of this date.

Another use for these pieces is to simply sit on your desk or dresser or night stand and let the image transport you to a pleasant thought of memory. I think back through the history of art and how images have been used to inspire thoughts, feelings, emotions, and more throughout the ages. This variation is simply a more intimate source of inspiration. The idea of hold art in your hand makes you take more ownership of the piece. It brings you closer to it. If you want a message, it would be one of trying to get the viewer to identify with their emotions and subconscious because her work operates on an emotional level. Ada's bag that was created simply brings the utility and intimacy of the art object closer to home because the bag makes it more functional and personal. I really enjoy this series a lot and I look forward to sharing it more with everyone.

Stay tuned for more work to be posted!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Coos Bay, Oregon - the gallery that we show in!


Well, we made our trip to Oregon to deliver our art work. It has been an extremely fast trip. The drive   from Chico was 7 hours each way. The gallery has 192 pieces of inventory for our art. The piece shown here is one of the pieces of inventory at The Fellowship (at 217 South Broadway, Coos Bay, OR). Don Carter has  a huge space for his new bookstore/gallery/cofffee shop. He is located on the main drag, which is  Broadway (and  also doubles as Highway 101). This gallery has a huge selection of books, art of all kinds, and a coffee shop soon to come. If anyone is familiar with Barnes and Noble and  the ambience they try to achieve with their set-up, then this would  be a good comparison. This is a gallery/shop that is trying to get its customers to come in, look around hangout, read, and stay awhile. I feel The  Fellowhip is well on its way to achieving enormous  potential. I may be slightly partial since my art and my family's art is set-up there, I believe I am selective enough that I am picking a qquality place that will give great customer service to the people. Our art is about reaching  the community. I believe that this place will reach the people because it is geared to reach the people. As with any place, we want to be able to reach the local community, as well as the tourists that visit there  as well.

As I type this blog I am in a moving  car going back to Chico, CA. What I can type here is  limited, but  I will give a full description and account of our experience once we reach  home. There are many   things to share and tell. Coos Bay has a strong resemblance to  another coastal artist community in California - Fort Bragg, CA. Fort Bragg, CA is a favorite vacation spot for my family and me. So,  we are even more pleased with  our opportunity to work with Don and his wife in opening this new gallery since it is like a place we love to visit and spend time.

With some perseverance, an art gallery and its artists can help resound as a voice in the community, as well as be part of that community. It is my personal goal to try to understand what the community and tourists would like to see and what ressonates  with them as we move forward at The Fellowship. Don tries hard to work with his artists, and I think artists should try to work wiith their gallery as long as they are able to stay within their own style.

Of course, this brings to mind the controversial conversation about the meaning and message of art. Honestly, is their such a thing as "high art" and "low art"? Do we really have to get into that rotating  discussion about what  the message is about? Look, I read the art critics in the art journals. I look to see what is being displayed in the major art centers around the US. I realize if you show  in NYC or LA at some major gallery, you can garner a lot of recognition. However, I do not need a high priced art afficionado's personal approval to validate my art. I would value their feedback the same as a customer who pays $10 to get one of the pictures in my Trading Card Series. Any good artist will combine general feedback with their method of  operation and creating work in order to move forward and improve. For  myself and  my family, we are a family of artists who have been doing this for generations. We learn from each other and shape our work  and  message based on how we work together and respond to our environment and opportunities. Art is about connecting with your audience. We all choose our own genre of influence and that is how it should be. This is a chance for us to connect with the people and tourists of the Coos Bay area of Oregon. It is a chance for us to share our point of view and art with them. To me, that is what makes art worthwhile, just sharing the vision and message of each artist.

Next Sunday, I will be interviewing Don Carter for my blog. He and I will have a discussion about his gallery, the community of Coos Bay, and and what it looks like to bring art to a community and make a business thrive. I hope to also capture his unique point of view on what he is trying to create for both community and artists.

Stay tuned.