I'm lucky. I am both a business owner AND an artist. My background in fine arts means I have a drive to create while my graphic design business allows me to understand the marketing that needs to happen in order to get the work out there. It means that I am comfortable in both the corporate world, where I understand the need to support a message across all platforms, including corporate offices, incentives and client relationships, and local art scene, where not all artists know how to market themselves.
Over the past several years I have found myself amongst fellow artists at shows, galleries, craft fairs, and most recently open studio tours. It was at such a tour in 2014 that I realized that there are many "hidden" artists in Baltimore, who are producing incredible work that is not being seen by enough people. Many galleries wish to show only established artists, and most artists were using their time to create, not sell their work.
My two worlds collided when I encountered Jennifer Berk, whom I had met many years ago when she was in marketing. Imagine my surprise when I found that she was doing incredible paintings and drawings. I was astonished by the variety, quality and sheer quantity of work. Canvases were stacked against the walls and in racks, and she had map drawers ane portfolios full of works on paper. I asked her where she was showing or who was representing her. Nobody was representing her, and her current show was hanging at Roland Park Country School. Who was going to see that?
I left there with an idea to open a pop-up gallery before the holidays in 2014. With just 4 weeks of planning that included a kickstarter campaign, searching for a good location, marketing the idea and store, and designing the interior, I was able to open the Bog Tinkers on November 28 of 2014 on Main Street in Ellicott City.
How did I curate the collection? The same way I have done it here. I personally have to love the art. And when I love the art, I also tend to very much like the artist. I sell things that appeal to me whether it is through subject matter, technique, or frankly just "a feeling" that the piece evokes in me. I can't really put it into words. Locals and vistors alike shopped and bought during the 6 weeks we were open, and most were disappointed that it was not to be a permanent fixture in the community.
While I decided not to do the brick and mortar store this year, I want to continue to help my artists. Not all of them are a good match for the corporate world. Jewelry for instance is too personal a gift. But I can refer fantastic jewelers if you'd like.
This new venture is my way of introducting artists you may not have heard about, but I think you should. I have plans to add a few others, but not too many. I want to keep the Bog Tinkers a small stable of incredible artists that I know and love. I hope you will too.