An artist’s studio can reflect her creative methods more than a final piece, or even a masterpiece, can. The studio is where the process begins, where art is generated from the seed of a thought. In the Valley, we find studios fussy, comfortable, eclectic or functional. These are our creative spaces.
Jen and Nate Galpin-Mikesh call their Hailey home and printmaking studio “The Compound.” For several working artists in the Valley, a creative compound was precisely what the area needed. Today, several rent time to work on their own projects here.
The compound’s actual name is the Vita Brevis Printmaking studio. It is open and utilitarian—sun pours in from high windows, but the professional printing press dominates the room.
Build it, and the Artists Will Come
Vita Brevis was built as an attachment to the young parents’ garage. Here, Jen works on her pieces, and clients can book quiet time for their own work. Among the local artists who work at The Compound studio are Abby Grosvenor, Gay Bawa Odmark and Theodore Waddell.
For Grosvenor, the studio space has changed how she relates to her art and how she thinks about printmakers.
“Most printmakers work towards what the artist wants to achieve technically,” Grosvenor said. “[Jen] is completely professional and understands the current technology and helps make sense of it. Her skills are amazing. It’s been a revelation.”
Jen is a master printmaker focused on drawing, especially with features from the natural world. Her husband, conceptual artist Nate Galpin, is “focusing on metal work” and has a shop in the Woodside Industrial area in Hailey. One of his recent projects was building both indoor and outdoor tables for Hailey’s popular Powerhouse Restaurant and Bike Shop.
For Jen, working with other artists in her home has increased not only her own creativity, but the quality of relationships in her life. “You collaborate so closely (with these artists) generating ideas, those relationships become great friendships,” Mikesh said. “You have to be comfortable to let people into your creative space.” >>>
The Jewel Box
Hailey jewelry-maker Kary Kjesbo chose this apt name for her home studio. It’s a place not only for creative inspiration in solitude, but also a spot where friends, fellow artists and customers can visit and help devise custom art pieces.
The Jewel Box is a homey, personal showplace, reminiscent of the Paris salons of the 1920s. Other artists’ work hangs on the walls, along with vintage beaded purses, black and white family photos, and an image of the elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesh.
Visiting The Jewel Box is like going on a treasure hunt. Two antique chests hold artifacts like keys, dog tags, beads, chains, small hearts, icons, stones and other “bits and bobs,” as she called them.
A Meaningful Place
The studio is one of two twelve-by-twelve-foot sheds erected in the backyard by Kary’s late husband, Craig “Cheeso” Kjesbo, the beloved Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation alpine coach who succumbed to a lengthy battle with cancer in early 2009.
“I love my backyard, and this is great space,” she said. “I’m out here at least two or three days a week. It’s a room of my own.
“It’s so helpful to be able to leave projects and come back to them rather than have to clean up all the time,” she said. I come out here, work, listen to my iPod, do my Italian lessons. I’m inspired to have it all around me.”
Find a Gem
Kary has been designing her eclectic jewelry for more than fifteen years. She has shown her work at the Ketchum Arts Fair, the Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival and various festivals over the course of many years. But today her studio is her preferred method of working with clients.
“It’s really fun to have ladies here,” she said. “It’s by private appointment, so there’s no pressure. Everybody enjoys it, and they help pick and design their own pieces and gifts.” >>>
In a very tidy room in a tucked away in the woods house, sculptor Dave McGary creates some of his historic bronzes well known for their detail and back story. McGary doesn’t so much sculpt as he conjures.
Studios reflect an artist’s working methods more than the final piece does. Like a bedroom it’s where the process begins from a seed of a thought. Fussy, comfortable, eclectic or functional, studios are the creative spaces in which art is conceived. (Pardon the long winded, outré metaphor.)
McGary’s studio is more like a library than what one might expect of this busy artist. Oh sure, there is a clay warming box with a nice hunk of clay but nothing else to suggest messy work is done here at any time. But McGary is anything but messy. From his house and landscaping to his art he is a meticulous man. And very successful.
McGary has another studio at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. As well his wife Molly runs the Expressions in Bronze Gallery in Scottsdale that features his work.
An art phenom in his hometown of Cody, Wyo., McGary was one of four people in the U.S. awarded a grant to study anatomy and the bronze-making process with master craftsmen in Italy. At the time he was just 15. Upon his return he began working at a bronze foundry, developing his own style and techniques. Then in 1981, he opened a foundry and finishing facility in the southern mountains of New Mexico.
There is another studio in Sun Valley, which is really a converted third garage space. When the McGarys moved into the home, Dave renovated the space into a buffed out studio slash home for his beloved Lincoln Zephyr. The space is decorated with vintage gas station emblems, attendant’s caps and signage. Quirky and passionate, McGary’s world is a complex mixture of his love of cars and his connection with Native Americans. He was adopted by the Red Elks (Sioux) of Montana, and in a naming ceremony became known as Big Eagle.
“They see me as a messenger,” he said. “The culture inspires me. I see it from the inside out, without filters. Living with them changed my life and my spiritual path. They are so generous and so misunderstood. 98% of my works are of real people. I know their relatives. I’m good friends with them. We give back to Native Americans through college scholarships.”
His sculptures of Native Americans such as Chief Washakie are in permanent collections at the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall, the Smithsonian Museum and the White House collection in Washington, D.C. Other monuments can be found at The Houston Astrodome, the Eiteljorg Museum of the American Indian in Indianapolis, the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum in Cody, the University of Wyoming, and the Tribal Office Building at Ft. Washakie in Wyoming, as well as many other museums and locales.