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The down-and-dirty party game gets serious: Would you rather … have a customer base made up of worldly, experienced collectors or one made up of (equally wealthy) art neophytes?-Section by Hannah Ostrow

Karin Worden, owner of Silver Blue & Gold

When I first opened Silver Blue & Gold, I thought it would be nice to have all buyers who were familiar with studio jewelry. I pictured the fine-craft show regulars and art jewelry collectors being thrilled that there was now a place they could find handmade jewelry year-round.

While we do have collectors seek us out, and people do come in looking for specific jewelry artists that we represent, a more common scenario for us is this: A local woman will wander in during art walk, or a visitor may be drawn into the store by the window display; she’ll fall in love with a piece, buy it, and then she’ll begin a collection after learning about the jewelry artist’s unique vision and techniques. We have more than one regular client who has said, “I didn’t even know I liked jewelry before I saw your collection.”

It’s really gratifying to witness the beginnings of someone’s passion. I appreciate the prior knowledge that collectors come in with, their appreciation of the craft and understanding of jewelry as art, but there’s nothing like seeing someone’s eyes open when they discover a new love.

For years, I would help my clients build collections of my own work, with them either discovering new pieces that I exhibited at the Festival of Arts or asking me to fabricate custom pieces for them. At Silver Blue & Gold, I’ve been able to build on that by saying, “Hey, if you like my work, wait till you check out this jeweler.” When I traveled to American Craft Council shows, I would see so much inspiring jewelry, and I wanted to give my clients back home the chance to see it as well. So, with that in mind, Silver Blue & Gold has always been focused on the new collector.

Richard MacDonald, director of Dawson Cole Fine Arts

We represent art that excites us and artists we truly believe are worthy of attention. We’re passionate about what we have to share, and that excitement is the same whether the prospective client is an absolute novice or a sophisticated collector with a wealth of experience. We respond to the level of interest, curiosity and the desire to learn and appreciate art that different people bring into the gallery.

Some of the most rewarding conversations may not even result in a sale—but a sale is the ultimate confirmation that we have communicated effectively the worth of our artists. If we do our job well, the artist is understood, appreciated and valued, and the collector learns to see in a new way—to experience life with more intensity and vividness. That dynamic is the same whether the collector is nervously and excitedly buying their very first work of art, or adding an impressive piece to a world-class collection.

The gallery brings us into contact with fascinating people, and we get to know them on a deeply personal level. Once we know a collector well and understand their tastes and preferences, we can seek out works that we think will spark their interest, or let them know when something extraordinary becomes available. It’s very satisfying to know that, through the trust that develops, we can expand a collector’s field of interest and bring greater depth to their collection.

A love of art is more universal than you might imagine—and an innate longing to experience it and understand it exists across a broad spectrum—and it is this quality that we respond to in the people who come into the gallery. This interaction makes art come to life.

New Release from AMMO Books Brings California Artists to Center Stage

In the long-waging battle for widespread recognition of California’s art scene, the latest project comes in the form of “Milk and Honey: Contemporary Art in California,” a stunning new book from Pasadena-based arts and design publishing house AMMO Books.

The book, which released in October, features more than 50 California artists, with exquisite reproductions of their works along with pocket-sized profiles from the publication’s creator and LA-based artist-designer-curator Justin Van Hoy.

“Milk and Honey” showcases up-and-coming and established artists alike, who work in a wide variety of media and target a variety of demographics, linked solely by their ties to the Golden State—calling into question what, exactly, it means to be an artist living and working in California.  (ammobooks.com)

OC Artists Republic Fosters Awareness for Groundbreaking Independent Galleries

Do you ever get the feeling that all the cool kids are hanging out without you? Well, they are—under the umbrella of the newly launched OC Artists Republic (OCAR), an art collective and website that brings together Orange County’s most innovative independent galleries. But don’t be disheartened: They want you to hang out, too. In fact, it’s the primary goal of the organization.

OCAR is the brainchild of Torrey Cook, whose Laguna gallery, AR4T, has played a significant role in revitalizing the local art community over the last few years, bringing in exciting young artists with fresh ideas and aesthetics. The 10 galleries that make up OCAR are scattered, but the nature of OC’s sprawling layout means that fans of SaltFineArt might not know that there’s a gallery in another city that’s just as cool as the one down the street. Thus, the idea behind OCAR is twofold—to offer a network of support and publicity for the galleries, all of which are independently owned with limited staff. Secondly, OCAR publishes original web content that ranges from artist interviews to event listings to gallery news, which serves to help like-minded buyers and enthusiasts keep tabs on Orange County’s art scene. (ocartistsrepublic.com)

Inspiration Grant Up for Grabs

The $5,000 Seven-Degrees of Inspiration grant presented by the Laguna Beach Alliance of the Arts (LBaa) is back up for grabs for one homegrown talent. The grant aims to support and promote a local emerging or established artist as well as the city’s international profile as an arts community. The grant, funded by Seven-Degrees, is meant to provide an opportunity to expand the artist’s exposure to a wider public and encourage progression in the artist’s discipline. Qualified applicants are not limited to visual artists but can also include entries from dance, literature, music, theater, media arts or a combination of the disciplines.  The deadline for applications is Feb. 8, 2013. Three finalists will be invited to the 7th Annual Art Star Awards on April 7, 2013, when a winner will be chosen. The recipient of the grant will then have 11 months to complete an innovative arts project, to be presented at the next Art Star Awards in 2014.  (lagunabeacharts.org) —F.N.

Gallery Events

Townley Gallery

“Celebrating 40 Years” commemorates the 40-year mark for Townley Gallery owner/founder, Shane Townley, whose most recent works include enamel-on-metal abstracts and large-scale oil landscapes. (949-715-1860; townleygallery.com)

JoAnne Artman Gallery

Look for Brooke Shaden’s haunting, mystical photography and J.T. Burke’s equally surreal, utopian visions in his mixed media works at JoAnne Artman through the end of January. Stop by for the opening reception for “Behind the Lens” on Dec. 6. (949-510-5481; joanneartmangallery.com)

Exclusive Collections Gallery

Head to Exclusive Collections the weekend of Dec. 7 – 9 to see artist Henry Asencio in action. The artist’s sought-after paintings feature evocative, often seductive, subjects, skillfully rendered with an impressionistic twist. RSVP for the Friday night, Saturday night or Sunday afternoon events. (949-715-8747; ecgallery.com)

Kluver Artworks Studio

David Kluver is well established as a photographer of tropical paradises, but he has recently been working in mixed media as well, integrating bits of his travels (be it sand, scrap metal or rum) along with more traditional media to create a tactile and immersive piece. Stop by his new show, “Lost in the Pacific,” which runs from Dec. 3 through the end of January. (949-463-5954; theislandimage.com)

SaltFineArt

Opening Dec. 6, “Chameleon” juxtaposes the work of two esteemed contemporary artists—photographer Cecilia Paredes and painter Luis Cornejo. Cecilia’s works are part performance and only part photography, as she paints herself into her backdrops, creating surreal and independent worlds in each work. For his part, Luis blends oil and acrylic in order to create hyper-realistic portraits with highly stylized, ultra-modern add-ons. “Chameleon” runs through the end of January. (949-715-5554; saltfineart.com)

AR4T

Guest-curated by San Clemente–based illustrator Chantal de Felice, “Where the Sidewalk Ends …” features an array of whimsical works and unique dreamscapes from eight contemporary artists. Don’t miss the gallery’s Laguna Beach hospitality night on Dec. 7 from 5 – 10 p.m. “Where the Sidewalk Ends …” runs through Dec. 22. (415-690-6180; ar4t.com)

CES Contemporary

From Dec. 14 through Jan. 13, 2013, CES Contemporary will be exhibiting smart and acerbic collages from Upland, Calif.–based artist Jordan Clark. Beginning Jan. 18, catch hand-cut collages from Ashkan Honarvar, an up-and-coming artist who was born in Iran and now works out of Norway and the Netherlands. (cescontemporary.com) LBM


 

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