November 03, 2008
Interview with:: Leigh from YES Gallery
click photo to enlarge
the lovely Leigh of YES gallery, Warren Rhode Island
It's been awhile since our last interview and this is a first with another gallery owner - so sit back, get a nice cuppa and enjoy meeting the fabulous Leigh from YES Gallery, down in Warren, RI. Oh yes, and do note that she is having a wonderful exhibition called Itty/Bitty as shown below in the photo of the postcard. I have some work included in the exhibition along with some amazing artists, for the months of November and December.
susan: Tell us a little bit about your background:
leigh: I graduated from (University of Hartford's) Hartford Art School in 1994 with a BFA, majoring in Experimental Studio (which focused on non-traditional use of media and concept-oriented art.) From there I moved to Boston and worked as a VISTA volunteer for two years, during which time I volunteered for the Revolving Museum, an amazing public arts organization (now in Lowell, MA.) I worked for them for a year or so after my VISTA stint ended, then took off on a 3 month cross country trip. Thereafter I hunkered down on Block Island (off the coast of Rhode Island) and started a job as the right hand woman to a new gallery owner (Eisenhauer Gallery.) I worked for her for seven years, the last two as Director of the gallery when the owner moved to Martha's Vineyard and opened a second location. Since college I've been an exhibiting regional artist, repped for several years by the (now defunct Mixed Media Gallery on Block Island.)
susan: What is your vision for the gallery?
leigh: My vision for the gallery is to create a vibrant, welcoming space showing visual art that can be appreciated by seasoned collectors and the average art lovers. The work is on the contemporary side, heavy on the mixed media, but not so far out there that it's inaccessible. There are both emerging and established artists involved, some never having been exhibited in galleries before, others with work hanging in museums. Being in a tax-free arts district (no sales tax on the art) is part of the overall vision to create a situation where people of all income levels can afford something. We have original work as low as $60 and as high as $4000. On top of that, 5% of our proceeds go to non-profit organization, which aligns with my belief in giving back to the community.
susan: What type of art is your favorite?
leigh: Ooooh, tough question! Let's see. I'll use an example of an artist I found recently whose work blew me away, Trey Speegle (incidentally one of our Itty/Bitty artists this month, thanks, in part, to a dorky fan letter from me!) He uses vintage paint-by-numbers paintings which he alters with text. The phrases or words he chooses can be interpreted in a literal way, or more philosophically. Either way, they have humor. And a lot of color. I'm a big fan of color. I guess the bottom line is, I like work that can make me think, laugh, and please my eyes all at the same time.
susan:What does a normal day look like around YES gallery?
leigh: A normal day at YES includes a balance of chatting with/educating the customers, working on a variety of administrative things, and planning for the upcoming events. (With every exhibit we have an opening reception and then another event which could be live music or something like a painting demo. Next month with have a "Blessing of the Artists.")
susan: What are a few of your favorite blogs?
leigh: Favorite blogs. Hmm. I'm not a huge blog reader, but I do keep up with blogs that my artists write and I look at a handful of the design blogs regularly.
susan: If you were on a desert island and could only bring one media, what you would take with you?
leigh: Good question. I'd have to bring paint. I could graffiti the palm trees and rocks, write inspirational messages to myself so I don't get bummed about being stranded.
susan: Favorite dessert?
leigh: Anything with sugar usually works, but it's a toss up between Key Lime Pie and some kind of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Thanks so much Leigh for being part of art esprit's artist interviews! I look forward to the show next month and getting down to Warren RI soon! Here are the particulars on the gallery:
YES Gallery + Studio
146 Water Street
Warren, RI 02885
Open Weds & Thurs 11-5:30,
Fri & Sat 11-8:00, Sun 11-4