by Kirby LindsayThe Fremont motto, De Libertas Quirkas (the Freedom To Be Peculiar) permeates most aspects of our community including, it seems, the way we display art. Surprisingly, some people expect certain conventions when they view art and, not surprisingly, several Fremont businesses have challenged those conventions.
Molly Hawkins, Community Manager for Evo, oversees the TimesInfinity art gallery (122 N.W. 36th St) tucked inside the retail store. She admitted that the gallery space doesn’t always get credit for being a genuine art gallery. “Our core customers get really excited about it,” she explained, “but people in the arts community…it takes a lot of work to get that cred.”
With bare walls, careful lighting and plenty of space in which to step back and regard the art, the TimesInfinity gallery contains everything an art gallery needs – including the art. “When we look at artists that want to display,” Hawkins explained, “we look for artists that speak to our customer base, but also that challenges them.” The gallery has displayed high-quality art, and “it’s amazing the caliber of the artists,” she stated.
In July and August, the gallery featured the art and cause of the non-profit organization, The Bedouins. The group “engage their community through the arts,” Hawkins explained, and the shows sold about $1000 in art that will financially benefit their cause. Yet, the connections the organizer made may well prove more valuable at spreading their message of peace.
For September, TimesInfinity will display 45 years of art by Smith Optics, a vendor in the Evo retail outlet. While this show reflects the retail side of the business, Hawkins hopes those in the arts give this display a chance. “People may not realize how much art gets infused into the products,” made by Smith Optics, she explained, especially people unfamiliar with the product line.
For The Love of Art
Studio R (315 N. 36th #201)also contains all the elements valued in a gallery space, but this one sits inside the offices of Black Rapid and, except for during the First Friday Art Walk, the ‘gallery’ is open office hours - Monday through Friday, 9a – 5p.
Black Rapid designs, manufactures and sells a revolutionary new camera strap, or sling, conceived by company founder, Photographer Ron Henry. “After 10 years as a wedding photographer,” Henry explained, he envisioned a better camera strap and when he couldn’t find it, he created one himself.
“It just took off,” he explained about the company – and the popularity of the strap which slings across the chest, with the camera hanging upside down at the users side or in back, until pressed into service. The camera then slides along the strap. In two and a half years, sales have already reached into the millions, as word continues to spread.
According to LaRae Lobdell, also a photographer, and the face of the Black Rapid woman’s line, creation of the Studio R gallery came out of Henry’s desire to give others a chance at exposure for their ideas. “It’s a gallery space,” she explained, that doesn’t demand a commission, but also, “we have camera groups that meet there.”
“Being a person who loves art, and photography,” Henry enjoys the chance to fill his offices with art. As a Fremonster, he likes being a part of the art walk. Also, he can show his own works in the gallery, and did so for a benefit show for Old Dog Haven held in August. “I’m sharing my wealth, in a sense,” he explained. He could squeeze the Black Rapid offices into a smaller space, but he prefers to leave it open, and available.
To find out about using the space, visit the Studio R website. Or stop by, in September, when Studio R will feature the photography work of Ray Weisgerber, one of the artists selected by Henry. As Lobdell admitted, “Ron has a really good sense for artists he likes.”
While both TimesInfinity and Studio R galleries will remain open for a visit throughout September, check them out the easy way – during the First Friday Art Walk, on September 3rd from 6 – 9p. While out Art Walking, check out the other unique, unconventional and always interesting art venues of Fremont.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.