Sketches August 2014
All my relationships with our artists are interesting and rewarding. We are not just doing business together, we are partners in our goal of bring the finest art to our collectors. We are not just partners, we are friends.
Jane Bell Meyer
Jane Bell Meyer
At the galleries, we often field questions on what happens behind the scenes. Our collectors are particularly interested in our relationship with our artists. And so, to you, the readers of our newsletter, we wanted to give a glimpse into the interaction of the artist and the gallery. Many thanks to artist J. Kirk Richards for his words and insight on this piece.
Ten years ago renowned artist J. Kirk Richards was producing works of art for only a handful of patrons. His six year career was busy, but full of things he didn’t love, like marketing and promotion. Running these things made it possible for him to produce only twenty works a year. Nonetheless, his career was moving along and after being represented by a gallery that closed, he was weary to enter into another gallery relationship. Perhaps, he thought, it was a better idea to market his works on his own and accept the time-dictated limits in his ability to create a greater volume of work. It was then that Jane Bell Meyer walked into his studio. She was opening a gallery, Authentique, in St. George, Utah and wanted to show his work. Cautiously optimistic about the new venture, Richards sent a few paintings her way.
Richards was thrilled to see Meyer going the extra mile by sending her clients to see his work in museum exhibits outside of her gallery, a practice almost unheard of for a gallery owner! She went one step further by taking many of Richards’ pieces into people’s homes, showing the collectors the possibilities of owning his work. Meyer proved her devotion to his work by becoming and avid collector herself. Authentique Gallery succeeded in selling Richards’ work enabling him to focus more on creating rather than promoting his career. At this time, his confidence as an Artist went up as the value of his work was repeatedly established through the purchase of his larger works.
Then came the recession. The recession hit St. George, Utah especially hard. Many artists left their careers behind. Even J. Kirk Richards considered becoming a “former artist.” Galleries were closing everywhere he turned, and yet he noticed as Jane did everything in her power and successfully kept Authentique and The Mission Gallery’s doors open and kept her artists’ careers afloat. Through those difficult times, Richards appreciated most that Jane was not only his business partner, she was also his friend. They both had a vision of how things could be. Gradually the economy began to turn a corner. Sales began to pick up and became so busy that plans commenced for the opening of yet another gallery, Illume Gallery of Fine Art in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Through this evolution, Richards had begun to focus his efforts and to produce more confidently, going from twenty paintings to over a hundred finished paintings per year! Authentique Gallery and Illume Gallery of Fine Art brought his work to the attention of many new collectors. Over the last decade, his career has exploded to where he cannot possibly keep up with the demand. It is because of wonderful collectors and art patrons that he is able to do what he loves for a living. Richards says, “On behalf of the artists, I want to say thank you for purchasing our work through Authentique, The Mission and Illume Gallery of Fine Art. Thank you for making a difference in history and culture by supporting the arts. And thank you to the staff and owners of these wonderful galleries. And finally, thank you for making this beautiful dream come true for me and many others.”
We appreciate J. Kirk Richards and all of our Artists for joining us on this journey. We’re not surprised at Richards’ achievements! This success enables him to give back to the community by helping other artists develop their own talents. If you would like to learn to paint with J. Kirk Richards at the helm, we still have a few spots available in his September 17-19 workshop at Illume Gallery of Fine Art. The cost is $425.00. This includes three full days of instruction and a “Conversations with the Artists” event on Thursday night with Artists, J. Kirk Richards, joined by Gary Earnest Smith and Douglas Fryer. For more information on the workshop, please call 801-210-2853.