Artists are notoriously not so good at selling themselves and promoting themselves.
—Andrew Eastman, art curator
It's a familiar story: the struggling artist making a living waiting tables. But Chloe Chafe and Andrew Eastman's paths have taken an unexpected turn.
Chafe is a fine arts student, Eastman is a creative writing grad and both have worked as events coordinators, particularly of pop-up art shows. They teamed up and turned their creative skills and restaurant experience into a business of their own.
Synonym Art Consultation presents curated art shows in places where everyone goes, like restaurants, hair salons and boutiques.
"What we really wanted to do was make art more accessible in the city," explains Chafe.
"The art world has a certain image of being a little bit insular and a little bit unattainable for some people," adds Eastman, "and if you're not in the 'in' crowd of the art world people feel a little out of place when they go to art shows. We're trying to design spaces where people hang out for the whole night. Then the art stays up and is experienced again and again in spaces that are filled with people all the time."
Opening party at the first show at Deseo Bistro (Anthony Nelson)
The young pair proposes artists to businesses and really tries to tailor
the artist to the specific space. "We're developing relationships with
all the spaces that we work with," says Eastman. "It's always a dialogue
with each venue."
Each art show is launched with a big event and shows stay up for four months. All the artwork is for sale, but the works remain part of the exhibit for the complete run.
Erin Josephson-Laidlaw's Orange Bird Watercolor (Erin Josephson-Laidlaw)
So far they have presented shows in Deseo Bistro and The Hive Hair
Company. Their next one opens at Bistro 7 1/4 . "Both of us worked there
as servers," says Eastman. "We know the owners very well so this one's
very personal for us."
On June 6 they will unveil works by artists Erin Josephson-Laidlaw and Natalie Baird in the lounge area. The opening bash will feature wine pairings, snacks and live music by Claire Morrison.
Chase and Eastman feature a broad spectrum of art styles and mediums, from drawings to prints to watercolours. So far they've presented young artists who happen to be their peers. But new artists are now starting to approach them to ask for their services and the venues they've worked with have asked them to come back again.
"So it's nice to benefit the artist and the business and the people who come to each event," says Eastman. "We're getting really good feedback so it's really fun."
Natalie Baird's Samedi Lino Cut Print (Natalie Baird)
Of course restaurants often display great art. But Chase and Eastman feel they're taking it a step further. "What we've found is that restaurants will get a collection, but then it will stay up for two year. It's a bit of a hassle for business owners. By taking it off their hands we're able to really showcase the art in a specific way by having these big openings with that kind of representation. We're working together so they can really focus on what they're doing and we can really keep it fresh for them," says Chase.
"Artists are notoriously not so good at selling themselves and promoting themselves," Eastman continues. "It is challenging to do it for yourself but we believe so strongly in these artists."
Synonym Art Consultation's next art show is at Bistro 7 1/4, opening with a party on June 6.