Install, Gladstone Community Center


In most cities around the country now, large or small, community centers are being constructed.  Normally these house an indoor pool, basketball courts, a sauna, etc.  I advise you remain on the lookout for these, and when you learn of one about to go up, approach the city fathers (and mothers) about budgeting for original art.

Last summer we did a large glass install at the Overland Park Community Center.  This week we delivered four pieces to the Gladstone Community Center, on the Missouri side.  Design by Gould Evans.  Install was done by Dolphin Gallery, which was great, since it meant we only had to deliver.  Photos tell story.

Works, in order, are by William Lobdell, Eric Dinyer, Derrick Breidenthal, Arlie Regier.



Opening for Sumner Academy Artists


Last week University of Kansas Hospital hosted an opening for the young artists from Sumner Academy, in KCK.  Man I dig these kids–I mean, young adults.  We taught them to blow glass, they received painting instruction from Richard Raney, then created works specifically for this show.  About 80 guests attended.  Went very well.

Who talked UKH into this?  I did.  Are they glad they sponsored?  Very.  Will this will be the beginning of a strong partnership?  Believe so.  Punk with camera?  Andrew, an exceptional sculptor.  Other artists in background.

Friday Tips: Derrick Breidenthal: More Than One Size


Wall Number One, Oil on Panel, Derrick Breidenthal

One of my clients saw a small version of this painting, or in other words a study, in the gallery two months ago. She loved the piece, but it was sold. I mentioned that Derrick could paint a work that was in the same vein, but in a larger size, if she liked. He did, we installed it yesterday, and she’s ecstatic. So’s he. But please bear in mind, the enlargement is a painting unto itself; when placed side-by-side the two are not identical. 

I’ve made this point many times, but I will again. Anything you paint in a small size can serve as a study for a larger size.  In fact it’s ethical to create each painting in three distinctly different sizes (Rembrandt often did, as did many of the Impressionists, as have 100s of others throughout history). In this way, when you finish a work that you know is a masterpiece, you can realize more from your years of sacrifice that one mere sale.

Some artists will resist this approach, and that’s fine; I never ask anyone to do it who isn’t inspired by same.  But for those who see it as both a challenge and an opportunity, great.  As long as the fundamentals of creating original art aren’t betrayed, this  makes things easier for everyone.  Makes it a easier to pay for things like dental bills, health insurance, and a functioning car as well. 

Martin Luther King


As time passes, it’s easy to forget all the people, of all races, who opposed King and his policies of nonviolent protest.  Had I not read a bio on him a few years back, I wouldn’t have known about these things either:

–That he was stabbed in the chest at a book-signing in Harlem in 1958, and hospitalized in serious condition. 

–That many black college students vociferously opposed his pacificist approach, feeling it would never work (not that anyone could blame them).  

–He was spat on, clubbed, water-hosed, assaulted and arrested much more than was ever reported. 

–His family routinely received death threats.

–Phones that he used were bugged, rooms that he slept in were bugged, and there were multiple conspiracies against him. 

–Toward the end of his life he was mocked by some Civil Rights militants who thought his approach outdated. 

In his final years, I doubt if a single day passed without his suffering deep anxiety, depression, and self-doubt.  Like most visionaries, he was far more celebrated in death than life.  But that is often the lot of those who try to move the world in the direction of positive change, and are one step ahead of it.

Either way, this is a great day to honor him.  But as we do–or at least as most of us do–one can only guess at how hard and lonely his road really was.

Friday Tips: Reader’s Question About Photography


Flatiron Building, Edward Steichen, 1904 

Hello Paul:

Most of the books, articles, and blogs I read primarily deal with advice for painters, sculptors, potters and glass blowers.  I noticed in one of your blogs that you work with photographers.  I was wondering if you would share your thoughts/advice on trends you are seeing in the photography that is selling as art.  Color, B&W, size, etc.
Thank you so much,


Jeffrey Stoner Photography



Going back as far as the great photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Ansel Adams, one thing held true: photography was bloody hard to sell.  How did these cats make a living?  For decades they didn’t.  But ultimately, as they aged, their contribution and revolutionary techniques were hailed, then their work was published in books.  And it was from the sale of those books, in quantity, that they eventually became legendary; hence the prices of their prints rose apace.  In the meantime, they sometimes did portrait work or fashion shoots on the side.

Most of my photographers find a way to get their work published in books, or publish a book themselves.  This may mean an investment from $5000 to $15,000, but if marketed well–assuming it’s a strong book–the results can be fantastic.

Where is art photography going?  Wherever you want.  Just as with art in general, there are few rules anymore.  You can be as conceptual, abstracted, or conservative as you wish; there’s a market for it all, though the biggest market remains fairly conservative (which your work at this time leans toward).  Digital is becoming more accepted now, some people still love film, and there’s a broad audience for both color and B&W.  However it’s my experience that the photography market is limited compared to that of paintings.  For some reason, collectors are less willing to pay $700 for a framed print, than $2000 for an oil the same size.

Your challenge?  To get in enough qualified shows, enough widely dispersed galleries, with enough qualified press to substantiate your career and pricing.  Then make sure you have at least two gallery shows a year.  And every now and then, challenge yourself to try a new style, even if you don’t go with it.  So yeah it’s a lot of work, but as you know, the arts always have been.

Bonne chance.

William Lobdell’s “Block” and The New York Sun



Crazy piece by William Lobdell that we just hung.  7′ x 7′.  “Block.”  Gatorboard, acrylic paint, found objects.  If you look in the detail shot you’ll see toy frogs, buttons, bottle tops, small gears, etc.  This sculpture absolutely mesmerizes people.  Also the New York Sun, as their art critic called last month to ask if William had influcenced Wayne Thiebaud.  He didn’t, but I believe that contact will lead to a NY show just the same.

No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Once, Superbad


We saw a few flicks over the Holidays.  Real movie-making is still alive.

No Country for Old Men: I never thought anyone could capture the spare style and crazy violence of a Cormac McCarthy novel, but that was before the Coen Brothers.  Yet it remains so much their flick.  Man, the accents.

Atonement:  First great epic since The English Patient, almost with its enormous sweep, but not quite.  The shifts in time handled with absolute deftness.

Once:  How fine to see such a simple Indie go to the top.  There’s hope for film yet.  Even my song-writing teenagers loved it.  The scene with the piano at the end…


Superbad:  What an idiotic, vulgar, inane work of brilliance.  Freaking hilarious.  High school all over again.  It even has class at the end–which I hope rubs off on the young actors (doesn’t always).  The best line of the movie: “I am McLovin.”  Damn.

Friday Tips: Working With Galleries on Framing and Other Expenses


(Note: This article recently ran in Art Calendar, as did the photo of me advising Allan Chow on framing.  Why is he smiling so?  Scroll to bottom and you’ll see.) 

Framing: Who’s responsibility is it?             

Unfortunately in the art biz, there is no one industry standard on issues such as this, and several others.  Hence, I can only speak from the experience of my gallery, and what has worked for us.  But since many artists look to me for fair advice, I suspect that what I have to say hits as close to a reasonable standard as anything.

In my joint, the artists are responsible for their own framing.  We don’t have a framing department, as I’d rather spend my time consulting on major projects that selecting molding.  However I do enjoy selecting a quality frame with my artists when they desire same.  We don’t do this through frame shops, which really are for the public.  We do this through frame suppliers, such as Glaser Frames in Denver, which cost much less than a frame shop.  The artists often order the frames in bulk delivered to my gallery, and do their own framing here or at home.  How are they compensated for this?  I mark up the works sufficiently to ensure that they’re covered.  Otherwise, I view framing as an overhead expense for artists just as rent, payroll, and marketing are expenses for a gallery.

Do I help artists select their frames?  Only if I feel they need the assistance.  Some artists have a fantastic eye for framing, and need no guidance.  Others are bored to tears with the process, and simply don’t see what will complement their work.  Those artists I gladly help.  But I never dictate how an artist should frame.  Instead, we collaborate.  Almost all artists have some sense of how they want their work to be framed; I try to listen to each.

Expenses: Who bears what?                                       

In my gallery, the artists pay for their work and frames.  Beyond that, it’s mostly our baby.  At openings we pay for the postcards, postage, wine, etc.  However if we run a magazine ad, the artists always split that with us, since it’s an untypical expense. 

Some galleries require that artists split the costs of an opening.  My own opinion?  You’ve already paid for the frames, have likely paid considerable dues, and sacrificed a great deal just to get to where you are.  I don’t think you should also help pay for the freaking opening.

Allan Chow:  He’s smiling first because he always does, but  broader here because of the limmerick I was telling:

There once was a lady from Madras,                              

Who had, oh, such a marvelous ass.                              

Not round and pink,                                                      

As you might think,                                                      

But was gray, with long ears, and ate grass.


Field Trip to Richard Raney’s Studio


These are some of the students from Sumner Academy, in KC, KS.  Man I dig these kids.  Took them to Richard Raney’s studio last week for additional instruction prior to their upcoming show.  So thus far we’ve taught them how to blow glass, and have worked on painting techniques.  Think it will be a great show for them.  Their teachers are Mary Sit and Ann Hamil.

Why is everyone wearing coats?  It’s an artist’s studio, man.  Just like the one’s in Paris: little heat.