The Club Northwest in Grants Pass, Oregon is an award-winning wellness facility. To call it a gym is really an understatement. They focus on wellness on every front, including body, mind, and spirit. The Club has an on-site spa, children's zone, and outdoor recreation. To top it off, they also promote the arts by featuring a different artist monthly. For February, I have the honor of having my artwork available for all members to see upon entering.
The walls in the hallway are spacious, dedicating 160 sqft to display my illustrations. I had to put in a rather large order at my local print shop so I would have enough prints to fill this space. I am the first featured artist to specialize in digital art. As a result, none of these are originals because my work is done on the computer. I have no intention of hanging my Wacom Mobilestudio Pro 16 on the wall.
This isn't my first time having my illustrations displayed in a gallery setting. I've had a few pieces on show at the Gallery One and Grants Pass Museum of Art. But immediately I have noticed a huge difference in the reception of my art from the Club NW. Perhaps it's the shock factor or the novelty of being different and unexpected, but feedback I have received from members have been profoundly positive.
I've had my struggles in the world of fine art because the content and style of my art is so contemporary. It's easy to write me off as a mere comic book artist or cartoonist. It is my hope to bring more awareness to the validity of digital art. Just because I use a tablet does not make the composition process any easier or less creative. A blank screen is no different than an empty canvas. My pens, brushes, and palette are made up of both hardware and software.
To my surprise, within the first week someone had already purchased half a dozen of my prints. What surprised me even more was the fact that they were all original pieces, not fan art. I've certainly sold a few prints featuring the Legend of Zelda or Super Mario, but this was the very first time a complete stranger enjoyed my own original characters enough to warrant a purchase and subsequent display in their home. What an honor!
I recently checked in to my display and refilled my stack of business cards. How strange that was because I've never had to do that before while being displayed at an actual art gallery. I suppose my audience is less likely to walk into a fine at gallery and more inclined to be a member of a prestigious gym community. I have nothing but good things to say about the Club Northwest. Being a featured artist for one month has been such a nice experience for me.
I am hopeful that my career as a professional illustrator will continue this trend, especially with the Medford Comic-Con just around the corner.