Cathedral City was abuzz last Friday, January 9th when art patrons came together with collectors, dealers, first time buyers and a slew of artists, some whose work was showing and some not. With music playing in the background and abundant ambiance inside and out, Colin Fisher Studios resembled the likes of either a New York auction house, maybe a mini Art Basel or very simply, just a chic place to be if you have appreciation for Art.
The art exhibition, perfectly titled “The Outsider Artists of 2015,” is comprised of paintings by three self-taught artists.
“Cystofer” aka Christopher Shoemaker, who is now in his ninth year painting, has just returned to town for the show from Fargo, North Dakota, where he reported a fresh and different style of painting as expressed in his newly exhibited works. Shoemaker originally came to the desert as a construction worker, and helped Fisher Studios build out their gallery nine years ago. After picking up a found piece of Lucite in the alley one afternoon after work, he painted on it and presented it to the gallery owner. A week later, it was framed and hanging in the gallery. The piece sold, giving this new artist enough encouragement to continue. Most of Shoemaker’s artwork is extremely large scale and a favorite among collectors.
In her mid-eighties, JoAnne Fleming, the second of three featured artists, still paints every day. With no formal training, she creates paintings of mostly women, sometimes cows, (no comments please) in oil paint on canvas. It was nearly 30 years ago when something personally got the better side of her carefree and wonderful personality. In order to overcome this emotional drain, she took up painting. Today, both she and the viewer are bound to have a big smile on their face when looking at her art.
The third hot commodity of the evening was artist Kenneth Joaquin, who traveled all the way from San Diego to participate in his own show where the walls were graced with mid-century influenced acrylic paintings in vintage frames of fine woods that are occasionally rubbed in gold or silver, all framed by the artist. Joaquin’s brushstrokes are strong, colorful, and inviting.
There was a bevel of other gallery artists who helped fill the standing room only crowd, namely Tina Bluefield an expressionist oil painter who actually has a show of her own opening next month at Fisher Studios. Mobile sculptor; Moira Fain who just happened to have one of her largest mobiles hanging off the ceiling in the back, had a red sticker placed next to it only an hour into the show. And artist TAIRA, whose work was featured in a one person show just last year and whose art graciously hangs in some of the finest collections in the valley, couldn’t believe the number of sold tags posted one by one. There truly was frenzy among those who know good from bad. In fact, the only bad thing that existed (and it isn’t bad but rather amazing) was that just as one painting sold, another person would say, “I was just going to buy that painting! Are you sure it’s sold?”
Some extremely attractive partygoers were in attendance. One guest approached the proprietor of the evening and said, “I’ve been to several of your art exhibitions featuring different artists each time. Don’t you know anyone who’s unattractive? Because every time, tonight especially, not only is the art great, but the crowd is equally handsome.” Fisher replied, “Yes. Me. I’m not so pretty, but I’m trying.” And they both turned and walked away smiling.
Among the handsome attendees were: Cheryl and Tony Shoemaker, parents of the one artist, Roberta Holland, Merle and Bob Lustbader, Jane Morris, Laurie Cowall, entertainer Joey English, @ Hom principals; Scot Nelson and Lee Thomas, Steve and Jeanie Zeff, Helga Waltcher, Penny Anixter, Victoria Lesser, Craig and Anne Rowland. Greg and Susan Baten, Nancy and Pat Hale, John Regas, Dino Raimondit, Jeffrey Kroseman, Sue Leonis, Florence Babbit, Glen and Sandra, Woolsey, TAIRA, Dave De Muro and Sheldon and Susan Good to name a few.
The reviews on this show are stellar as each guest seemed to remark that the gallery only gets better with each and every visit. Unquestionably, great art, nice people, good food, and an overall great feeling, as everyone is a part of the art community here in the desert.
“Outsider Artists of 2015” remains open at Colin Fisher Studios seven days a week from 11AM to 5PM until January 31st, 2015.
Colin Fisher Studios
68929 Perez Road, Suite M., Cathedral City, CA 92234
Photography by Gregg Felsen