Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Get In, Get Out, Sell Art

Defining Pantone 278

If you have followed Pantone 278 on any level, you have probably noticed that it's a little hard to define. To that point, whenever people ask me how the gallery is, I often have a a hard time answering. Maybe I like it that way. Sure, it makes for some slightly awkward conversations at times but it also gives me (and the gallery) the chance to figure out what this thing is or will become, if anything at all.

Call it an experiment, a hypothesis, a case study, a success, a failure, whatever you may. All I know is that I have enjoyed showing art, talking to people about it, seeing where it takes us, and not putting to much pressure on it being anything in particular.

Next Steps

One of the ideas behind Pantone 278 is to take on the traditional model of an art gallery. In my perception that means a fancy space inhabited by unapproachable art that intimidates people from actually exploring what art means and feels to them.

So, in 2 years, the gallery has moved from the Charlotte Trolley Museum to South End Home (R.I.P) and now to Charlotte NC Tours and its Southend outpost located here (see the map).

So for this summer, Pantone 278 will be hosting pop-up galleries during the Southend First Friday Gallery Crawls. Same format as always: no program, just great art on the walls, come meet the artist, enjoy catching up with others who love doing the same, and support local art.

May 6 Show

One of the great things about working with emerging artists is to witness first-hand their artistic development. With this comes a proliferation of work and the amassing of artwork that creates a concrete timeline of the artist's progress.

But even the hottest, best-selling, trendiest artists can't sell their work fast enough. This results in a conundrum that discussion of which could fill pages of electronic print -- What to do with all of that artwork? Should the artist maintain the integrity of the pricing? What about the cost of storage? Is there such a thing as too much exposure? What about exclusivity? How do artist's feed their families?

Well, I'm not going to pretend to have the answers to any of those questions. I will just say that this Friday, Pantone 278 will have a great show of works from Charlotte artist Ash Lathe at some amazing prices. There will be pieces that you would hardly recognize as his work today and pieces that will show just how far an artist can reach in a few short years.


So, if none of this makes any sense to you, just follow the directions and show up.

Who: Pantone 278
What: Pop-Up show of Works by Ash Lathe
When: Friday, May 6 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Where: NC Tours Southend, 128 E. Park Ave., Charlotte

Added Bonus: Come ride your bike with Bike! Charlotte and Bike First Friday.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Charlotte Museum Mile

If you haven't realized by now, I love supporting the arts. So in September 2010 when my wife Jane and I ran the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile, I couldn't stop thinking about ways to bring a race like this to Charlotte.

The Fifth Avenue Mile starts right in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, runs down Fifth Avenue, passing the Frick Collection, and ending near Central Park South. It's a great race, but one I think Charlotte can actually do better. Afterall, Charlotte's Tryon Street has more museums in a one-mile stretch than New York's famous Museum Mile!

Upon returning from New York, I immediately began working on a one-mile race in uptown Charlotte that would highlight Charlotte's new cultural facilities. After convincing the City of Charlotte to close down Tryon Street and securing some great sponsors, there was no turning back. Thus was born the Charlotte Museum Mile.

While organizing the race I learned that Charlotte had its own one-mile race in uptown in the 1970s and 1980s. It was called the Tryon Street Mile. I even talked to a few friends that ran in the race and they loved it. But for one reason or another, the Tryon Street Mile went away and left a huge gap in Charlotte running events.

On April 23 beginning at 7:30 a.m., near the corner of North Tryon and 12th Street, runners will run south passing the McColl Center for Visual Art, Spirit Square and the Light Factory, and Discovery Place. They will cross the statutes at Trade and Tryon and finish the run downhill to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the uptown Mint Museum. Levine Avene of the Arts will be closed for a post-race celebration.

Each participant in the race will receive a running shirt designed by Charlotte Artist Ashley Lathe. Runners will also receive a Connect with Culture Card from the Arts & Science Council which allows 2-for-1 entry into many of Charlotte's cultural facilities. The race will benefit the Arts & Science Council.

To learn more about the race, please visit http://www.charlottemuseummile.com/. To register go to Queen City Timing.

Hope to see you on April 23! And be on the lookout for another exciting announcement involving Pantone 278 in April.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Congratulations Ashlynn Browning!

I just heard from Ashlynn Browning that out of 1800 entrants, she was the winner of the Carolina's Got Art juried show in South End. Congratulations Ashlynn! Very well deserved. My advice: buy one of Ashlynn's paintings while you can still afford it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Consultant Speak

So, what IS going on with the Gallery?

If you know me very well, you know I can't stand consultant speak (annoying phrases typically employed by consultants like deliverable, procure, or circle back). Don't get me wrong -- I love consults. I'm just much more direct, some would call that being blunt or critical. So, when people have ask what is going on with the Gallery, I find myself getting that "I just ate too much cotton candy followed by a pound of peanut butter fudge and a 24 ounce Mountain Dew" feeling when I say things like "I've mothballed the Gallery for a bit" or "I put the Gallery on hold while I try to figure out what the market will dictate".

The Truth Will Set You Free

In all honesty, I'm really not sure what I'm doing with the Gallery. I haven't had a show since December. There is no one reason. If you put a gun to my head, I'd say it's because I have had trouble finding the right space, I startied a new job with a terrific law firm and I have been traveling a lot (which is a good thing). But it has just as much to do with my loss of energy/motivation.

I know from talking with people that the Gallery has some meaning in their lives (however minimal that may be). And I take it as a compliment when someone who I didn't even think knew the Gallery existed asks me when I'm having another show. But truth be told, as a breakeven (at best) venture, it just seemed like a lot of work that didn't seem to be going anywhere or going anywhere as fast as I would like it to go (I'm not a very patient person).

Art in Charlotte

I still think there's interest in art in Charlotte and there's plenty of good art being made in and around Charlotte. With the new cultural campus uptown, you would think things would be at an all-time high. (The Bechtler seems to be doing very well.) Despite all of this, I'm not convinced there is a market for art in Charlotte, at least not right now. In the past couple of years the number of galleries has dropped by at least half. Big names have closed their doors and other big names have given up on selling art in Charlotte.

Do I think there is a need for art galleries in Charlotte? Absolutely. Do I think art enriches our lives? You betcha. Are people in Charlotte with the money to buy art? Judging on the cars, houses, etc., yes. (Or maybe those things are just as fictional as the equity in our houses or the money in our 401Ks.) So, why don't more people in Charlotte buy art or consider important enough to support local artists? If I knew the answer to that, I'd probably have an art show coming up. But one thing I do remember from that B+ in Econ is that that no matter how hard those of us that want to see the arts succeed, the suppliers cannot create the market.

My Dream

In a perfect world, I'd have a cool little space with a comfortable couch where people could just come in and hang out, talk about art or whatever is on their minds. A good mix of local art and affordable works by some bigger name artists. And an occasional opening where I could see all of my friends and feel that pain in my cheeks I got from smiling too much at the Gallery last summer. People would buy art, artists would make careers out of doing the things they loved, and I wouldn't have to worry about selling enough art to pay for the brie.

Who knows? Maybe the planets will align. I still believe in the Gallery and I still believe in following your dreams. In the meantime, I'm going to take a 20,000 foot view of the data points looking for a top-down approach to determine whether I have the bandwidth to go to market with value-added services. Translation: I guess you (and I will) just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Update: Ashley Lathe

Yupo: Synthetic Water-Resistant Paper.

A year ago, Pantone 278 kicked off with an exhibition of Charlotte watercolor painter Ashley Lathe's "wall" series at the Charlotte Trolley Museum. Since then, just as Pantone 278 has continued to evolve, Ash's work has progressed from familiar urban scenes of soft colors to darker and more fluid works on a new type of paper, yupo, that allows the paint to move and to explore its own boundaries, as if left to nature.

These new images draw on still-familiar forms yet push the viewer to look beyond the ordinary, static image and to realize the often dynamic nature of our surroundings.

Yupo 23

Yupo 18

Yupo 3
Pantone 278 Update
After successful runs at both the Charlotte Trolley Museum and South End Home, I am in the process of identifying a new space for the Gallery. In the meantime, much of the work that has shown at the Gallery is on display at my home in Dilworth, where my guest bedroom serves as a makeshift gallery. It's been fun having all of that art around, but it's time to find a new space.
Be on the lookout for a new location for Pantone 278 and an upcoming show highlighting Ash's new work. Until then, enjoy this incredible weather and all of the exciting things going on in the Charlotte art community.
Marc Gustafson
Pantone 278

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You Know What I Think - Now, I Want to Know What You Think

For going on 9 months now you've read and (if you've come to one of my shows) heard what I think, like, dislike, know, don't know, wish, regret, dream, and completely make things up about art in Charlotte. And you've seen work from just a few of the artists I think are doing good things here. Now I want to know what you think!

Not just about what I've been doing -- although you're welcome to share that too -- but whatever you think about art in Charlotte. Good or bad. It can be your favorite artist, your favorite website, your favorite arts group or organization, what you'd like to see more of, what you'd like to see less of, where you think art is headed, what has worked, what hasn't, whether we should even be spending money on art in this environment. No categories. No reasonable responses rejected. No shirts or shoes required. I just want to know what you think.

Add a comment to the blog, post a comment on Facebook or email me your thoughts (gallerypantone278@gmail.com). No response is too big or too small. I have heard so many good things going on and so many good thoughts, now I just want to hear what YOU think. So let me have it!

Oh yeah, Pantone 278 will be back in February. Look for an announcement in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Andrea Brown - Emerging Talent

When a friend told me her younger sister had just graduated from the University of Georgia's bachelor of fine arts program and suggested that I put her in a show, I did what most gallery owners probably would have done and, not so sincerely but politely said, "sure, send me her stuff". I didn't really think much of it until I saw a vaguely familiar girl strolling the halls of the McColl Center for Visual Art. And I still wasn't convinced until I finally saw Andrea Brown's work and the body of art she was developing while at the Center. Some times you have to really drag an old horse to water. I've really enjoyed speaking with Andrea about her photography and am convinced she is on her was to big things in the art world.

Born in Asheville, Andrea received a BFA from the University of Georgia. Just 24 years old, she has also already shown widely in Atlanta and was labeled an “artist to watch” in a photo exhibition juried by the curator of photography at the High Museum of Art. In 2009 she received an Emerging Artists Grant from the Arts and Science Council and served as an Artist-in-Residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art. Her latest work, entitled Mama Mashi, combines a unique approach with a thoughtful technique.

Andrea's images are digital stills extracted from a documentary film shot on a trip to Tanzania. The images are then printed on multiple layers of polycarbonate using an ink jet printer. This results in a stunning effect that adds tremendous texture to an already heavy subject. Each image is 4 x 6", framed in a black frame that can be customed matted and are $175 each.
(Images removed. Andrea is now represented by DOMA Gallery in South End. http://www.domaart.com/)
Pantone 278 is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5 at 1710 Camden Road in the back of South End Home and the art is always available to be shown by appointment.
Marc Gustafson
Gallery Pantone 278