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Cheap art manifesto

Autumn Phillips

Pete DeWolf doesn’t talk like a typical gallery owner. He talks like a businessman with a product to sell. He appreciates art and wants to promote young talent, but he’s not a gallery sitter who waits for the customer to come to him.

At the first show of Mona’s Art to Go in a rented space on Copper Ridge Drive, the room was crowded, and everyone who came was full of compliments, but very few pieces sold. DeWolf and his newly acquired stable of artists were face to face with the reality of selling art it Steamboat — buyers are few and far between.

“Not everyone in Steamboat has $400 in their pockets to buy an original,” DeWolf said. “But they like the images.”

His solution was to create a new line of inexpensive products for the art lover who doesn’t have the money to be an art buyer.

At tonight’s show, the new product line will begin with the work of Aimee Kimmey, a comic artist best known for “If It’s Tourist Season” and “Ski Bum Adventures,” and the surreal horse portraits of Michelle Ideus put onto T-shirts and magnets.

Magnets, DeWolf said, stay on refrigerators forever.

“We already did the work,” Ideus said, “and this is a way to get our work out there, to get some name recognition. We can actually share the art with a lot of people instead of having one original on the wall for six months before it sells.”

Ideus, who sells most of her work over the Internet, spent five years in college as a fine arts major, but wasn’t offered a single class on how to market her work, she said. DeWolf is teaching her and the other artists at Mona’s how to set up a marketing plan for their art.

In marketing artists, DeWolf also helps himself by creating traffic for his printing and mounting business.

“There’s a lot of talent in Steamboat, and I’ve got the space,” he said. “We might as well help each other out. This is a cohesive marketing program. I work hard and play hard. I’m not here to get a suntan.”


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