Fri | Aug 18, 2017

ArtStock is Here

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 8:00 AMJanelle Oswald
Unique neck pieces designed by students of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and available at the Art Stock store.
A view of the ArtStock, a fine arts and handcrafted gifts store, from outside.
A selection of handcrafted earrings available at the ArtStock store.
Vilya Thomas, ceramics lecturer/artist, shows some of the ceramic masks at the shop.
Katrina Coombs, former student and, now lecturer of textiles and fibre arts, is proud of her line of fashion.
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Jamaican art lovers now have a place to purchase authentic masterpieces following the opening of ArtStock at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA).

ArtStock is a store which carries exquisite, authentic Jamaican works, including larger-than-life canvases, sculptures, pottery, ceramics, prints and bespoke fashion designs that will quench the appetites of art lovers across the island and beyond our shores.

Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the brightly coloured space houses works by current and former students and faculty members.

Gianna Fakhourie, business develop manager of the EMCVPA, told The Gleaner, "The aim behind the launch is to support art lovers and showcase Jamaican art and artists."

Selling her own trendsetting designs at ArtStock, labelled 'Original Arm Candy', Fakhourie continued, "Staff and artists at Edna Manley wanted a space which represents the quality and diversity of our institution so that Jamaicans can be proud. It's a one-stop shop for art in the county.

"There are so many places which claim to sell art. However, these are often neither Jamaican nor original. When people come to ArtStock, they are guaranteed to purchase authentic Jamaican art. Not many places offer art lovers that guarantee. This is why we are so proud of our launch."

Credible gallery

Describing ArtStock as a "breath of fresh air on the campus", the lecturer of art, history, fashion and portfolio development tells The Gleaner, "ArtStock is a credible gallery/boutique backed by our proud institution and selling creations from graduates, students and faculty members. Even if you don't want to buy art, you can come see what is happening and view the displays," she said.

The stock includes creations from 20 years ago to the present, and customers are able to chart the evolution of art produced by proud EMCVPA ambassadors - from ceramics to mix media print, jewellery and other pieces.

Ceramic artist Vilya Thomas, who uses the beauty of flora as inspiration for designing unique, bold masks, celebrates the new space thus: "I am sure you will find something which will make you say 'wow', I guarantee you will not be disappointed."

And Katrina Coombs, a former student turned lecturer of textiles and fibre arts, said, "It feels good to know there is an entity that can market and sell our work locally. With a lot of the galleries closing down, artists like me have limited places to go and showcase our work."

Cleve Bowen, who has been teaching at EMCVPA since 1995, is a screen painter who creates larger-than-life bold canvases and prints T-shirts says, "This has been a long time coming and I am happy we have finally opened our door. I know my creations will soon become someone's cherished heirloom."

Pricing policy

Fakhourie says the shop is a direct support system to the artists, helping them to turn their art and vision into a successful business. Everything is fairly traded. The artists set the prices and the college gives advice on market rates to ensure everybody receives their full value. "We only take a small percentage for electricity," she said.

In the future, ArtStock will host art parties for customers called 'Paint and Pinot' , allowing customers to mingle and buy art simultaneously. Already the space is attracting a lot of attention due to its vibrant decor, so the space will be available for those who would like to hire it. ArtStock is for corporate clients who need a new, creative and flamboyant venue. Potential art lovers are also being invited to sponsor and support the space to help keep art alive.

"We will be featuring an art discipline monthly and showcasing different artists and their work every week. This is not just an art shop, but also a platform to showcase creative Jamaica," Fakhourie said.

Janelle.oswald@gleanerjm.com