by Lorie Lewis Ham
Even though it is more known for its fruit than the arts, Reedley definitely has its fair share of artistic talent. Last year a new art gallery opened in downtown Reedley to showcase the talent of two artists–long time painter Paul Buxman, and photographer Andrew Shinn. We took a moment recently to chat with Andrew about the gallery. They hope to have an official grand opening this summer.
KRL: When did the gallery first open?
Andrew: Kings River Art opened for the first time during Ladies Night Out this past November in Downtown Reedley.
KRL: What is the purpose of the gallery?
Andrew: People have never been able to look at all of Paul Buxman’s work in one place, and there’s never been an outlet for affordable prints from his paintings. There’s also never been a venue for people to buy my fine art and landscape photography. Kings River Art is a solution to all three needs!
KRL: How did it come to be?
Andrew: I’ve been working with Paul Buxman for years, archiving his work, cataloging his life’s work and legacy for the future. We realized that we need to make his body of work available to everyone, and decided to open the gallery.
KRL: How did the book of Paul’s art come to be?
Andrew: The book is a natural outflow of the cataloging project. Creating a digital archive is great, but Shinn Photography has the capability to produce high-quality photography and art books. Though it’s an expensive process, we thought it was worth it to give people the chance to partake of Paul’s talent.
KRL: Is the book itself for sale or just the prints?
Andrew: I’ve gotten permission from Paul to sell copies of the archive book. I’m excited that this is available to the public for the first time!
KRL: How long has Paul been painting?
Andrew: For Paul’s background and bio, see www.shinnphoto.com/the-colorful-world-of-paul-buxman. (You can also check out this past KRL article on Paul)
KRL: Can you share just a little about the event he has once a year?
Andrew: Every year, on the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving, Paul and Ruth Buxman open their home at Sweet Home Ranch to the public. They share art, jams, locally made food goods, and a lot of laughs. Paul has even been known to give hayrides and tours of his organic farm. It’s become a favorite part of our Thankgsiving celebration when we’re in town!
KRL: How did you first become familiar with Paul’s art?
Andrew: It’s hard to be part of the art world in Central California and not be familiar with Paul Buxman’s art. He looms large in the minds of both artists and collectors. I first saw his work in people’s homes. His paintings have an incredible emotional appeal. For people who grew up in Central California, his work evokes memories of home. For people who live elsewhere, his landscapes have more of an aspirational quality. For many people, they evoke the small-town childhood they wish they could look back on, or the simpler life they wish they had.
KRL: When and how did you first become interested in photography?
Andrew: I hated photography when I was younger. At my own wedding, I couldn’t think of a more useless waste of a sacred day. That perspective changed when I was in the military, and went to journalism school. I was handed a Nikon D1H, a 2.74 megapixel monster-of-a-camera. When I looked through the lens, I wanted to press everyone’s face to the back of the camera, so they could see what I was seeing. Luckily, photography has easier ways to share images, and shooting for clients or showing in galleries keeps me from pressing my camera into people’s faces.
KRL: Tell us a little about the type of photographs you plan to have available of your own?
Andrew: I shoot two kinds of images: images from far, and images from near. I plan to display some of my work from trip in the past few years to Hong Kong and Oxford, as well as landscapes and scenes that will be heartwarmingly familiar to area residents.
KRL: How often do you add new paintings/photos?
Andrew: We haven’t established a schedule yet, but we’ve rotated a few of the pieces as they have sold, and have new art waiting for a special place on the gallery walls.
KRL: Do you have any special events planned at the gallery?
Andrew: Not at this time, but we should probably host a few receptions sometime soon.
KRL: What goals do you have for the future of the gallery?
Andrew: In addition to being an outlet for my work and Paul’s work, we also both feel strongly that this should be a place to enjoy art, and not just to buy art. We love the idea of hosting school children and others who haven’t yet been introduced to art. We think that showing scenes with which they’re familiar, in well-crafted art, will inspire them to explore their own gifts.
KRL: Do you foresee adding any other local art?
Andrew: We’ve been asked about this, but haven’t pursued it too far, yet. We want to craft the customer experience with our own art first, before we think about selling art for other people.
KRL: Exactly where are you located?
Andrew:The gallery is at 1015 G Street in Downtown Reedley.
KRL: When are you open for people to view the art?
Andrew: We’re open every time Shinn Photography is open. Usually that’s Tuesday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we’re sometimes out of the studio with clients during those hours. We’re available outside of those hours by appointment, and we can open the gallery for groups or receptions.
KRL: Does the gallery have a website?
Andrew: The gallery’s site can be found at www.kingsriverart.com, but there’s not much to see on the web site yet.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Andrew: Paul and I look forward to sharing this art journey with out community!