For us here at the gallery, selling art is a labor of love. Virtually every creative aspect of this business revolves around emotional decisions – and frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It all starts when we discover a new artist. Perhaps they have submitted their portfolio to us or an art-loving client has sent them our way with a glowing recommendation. Or we’ve stumbled on their website by accident or we’ve seen their work at a local arts venue. Whatever or however, we know it’s going to work when we Huffingtons all declare it love at first sight.
We always say that there is no exact or scientific method to explain how we choose our artists or hang their work. We do consider whether we feel the work has appeal to our clientele…but more often than not, we’re going off our gut feeling. We look for affirmation from our senses: does this strike a chord and how? Does the palette please our eyes? Does the composition affirm the painting’s objective? Is the painting on course technically?
This jaw-dropper by Jim Richards gets a check next to all the boxes we have when we’re taking on new work or a new artist: the palette’s amazing, the composition is pretty much perfect and from a technical point of view, it doesn’t get any better than this. And it makes us feel so good to feast our eyes on it. Another plus for our clients: this is the tip of Billy Goat Island at Lake Burton, a well-known and much-loved lake not too far from metro Atlanta. People recognize it all the time – and have an immediate connection with the painting.
Once we’ve all agreed to “date” the artist, there comes to delicate dance of initiating conversations between us, working out the nitty-gritties and getting a handle on what makes this artist tick. Usually there’s an instantaneous connection like the one we immediately formed with Aaron Whitehouse. Aaron is a local artist who had the courage to actually stop by (unannounced!) on a Saturday and sweet talk his way into showing us his paintings in the trunk of his car. We adored him and his work within five seconds and we’ve formed a wonderful relationship with him.
Aaron Whitehouse was brave enough to actually stop in unannounced one day – how could we possibly resist his deeply textured and epoxy-resined abstracts that remind us of clear pools of water and beach glass?
Sometimes when the artist is clear across the country, we form a bond through dozens of emails. We’ve never laid eyes on Angie Renfro, but we are crazy about her…and her witty personality shines through every piece of correspondence we’ve ever had with her.
We put our flag in the sand a long time ago about one thing: that showing and selling art for us was going to be a business based on an emotional investment for our clients, not a financial investment. Truth be told, getting a handle on buying and selling art solely as a commodity doesn’t sound very appealing to us. We do know serious collectors who buy art and then routinely store it only to sell it for a profit -- but we can’t relate to it the way we can when you hang a painting in a room and suddenly everything changes in the very best way.
For us, art has a much bigger job to do. We like it to evoke the senses. That doesn’t mean it has to be a thing of beauty or exude calmness. It can provoke, instigate, intrigue or raise questions – as long as it elicits some sort of response or reaction. Personally we feel that with the world in such bad shape, we prefer work that gives us a little peace, a little harmony and a little wonder.
And, speaking of eliciting a response, we had a cute story play out here at the gallery. A lovely and well-traveled couple came in specifically looking for a painting they had seen on our website: Nancy Franke’s Magic Hour in Gordes. When they saw the painting hanging, they immediately started pointing out the little road that winds through the village, guessestimating where their hotel was and “oh, remember that meal at the restaurant overlooking the village? And what was that wine?”
We loved the way this painting took them back to a well-loved holiday with their family. And we loved the way this painting spoke to them in such a personal way. We know they’ll always remember that happy stay in France whenever they look at this one.
We’re not sure how we got so lucky to spend our days with talented individuals who create such beauty but we thank our lucky stars each and every morning. We delight in watching and hearing the reactions from clients and visitors when a painting has spoken to them.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?