A Sweet Spot For Local Art - Art Works Frame Shop and Gallery03/25/2022 02:15PM ● By Rachel Baiman
For many people, the hardest part about decorating a space is finding something special to hang on those big, empty walls. There are endless options, but it can be tricky to find that sweet spot between an original painting that costs tens of thousands of dollars, and a cheap replica poster, hung with thumbtacks. Art Works Frame Shop and Gallery in Burlington set out to solve this very problem. “The gallery side of Art Works evolved out of listening to our customers,” explains owner James Regan. “They loved and wanted real art; they just assumed that they couldn’t afford it.” James now aims to make high-quality artwork by local artists along with custom framing accessible to all Burlington residents.
James grew up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska, but his mom was originally from Burlington, so he had fond memories of visiting the town as a child. After graduating from high school, he found his way to Vermont via St. Michaels College, where he studied literature. He worked for years as an I&E engineer and master electrician, but art was always in the back of his mind. “I had an uncle growing up who ran an art gallery, and he hired me to sweep the floors and whatnot when I was a teenager. Sometimes he would sit me down at the table with his artbooks, which I really loved,” explains James. While holding down his engineering job, James began framing art pieces for friends and family using reclaimed Vermont barn wood. So when he finally burned out on his corporate job, custom framing was a natural fit.
A One-Stop Shop
Inspired by a love of art and a passion for perfection in framing, James opened up shop in 2005. Initially, he was solely focused on framing, but after realizing the market for customers to access local artwork within their budgets, he decided to expand the business to include a gallery. In order to make the artwork both financially accessible to customers and profitable to its creators, he takes only a 10 percent commission from sales, in contrast to most gallery spaces, which charge 40 to 50 percent commission. Artwork is sold unframed, a cost savings to the customer that gives them the option to have it framed specifically for their needs. It’s a win for all parties, allowing customers to afford original artwork while supporting local artists and a local business.
James is dedicated to framing with specific attention to the future placement of artwork, so there is a real advantage to it being purchased prior to the framing process. When it comes to framing, one must consider size, color, and texture in relation to both the artwork and its future home. “Our motto is to enhance but not overwhelm,” explains James. Additionally, Art Works stocks over 140 different wood and metal framing materials on site, so it’s easy to get what you want quickly, without having to outsource. Because of this customization and attention to detail, Art Works is an ideal one-stop shop for anyone looking to fill a specific space in their home, studio, or office.
Art Works features a rotating gallery of work by local Vermont artists. Each piece is handpicked by James, with his clientele in mind. James fosters a diverse and relatable gallery, so there’s sure to be a piece that speaks to everyone’s style, taste, and decor pallet. Current artists on display include Tatiana Yukusheva, Julio Desmont, and Annette Hansen.
A Calming Vermont Moment
A resident of Waterbury, Tatiana Yukusheva is originally from Magliv, Belarus, where she studied under the direction of acclaimed artist Irina Grigorievna Stolyarova. Mainly working in an oil medium, Tatiana focuses on originality and the singularity of voice in her work. “Art, for me, turns into a meditation process. It is something sacred, magical, and ephemeral,” explains Tatiana. Her mindset can easily be identified in her work, which features serene yet deeply moving scenes from the Vermont landscape and beyond. For anyone looking to take home the feeling of a perfect Vermont sunset, Tatiana’s work is the answer.
In contrast to Tatiana’s meditative moments, the work of artist Julio Desmond is wildly energetic, featuring bold color schemes and geometric movement. Julio is from Haiti and draws inspiration from the tap-tap art of the country, among other sources. Tap-taps are privately owned buses that run throughout the country, famous for their playful and unique paint schemes that make them immediately recognizable. Like those tap-taps, Julio’s work feels unmistakable and would bring immediate vibrancy and inspiration into any home. A resident of Burlington, Julio mentors art students in grades K–12 through the Clemmons Family Farm Program and local school districts in addition to being a studio painter.
Nature as a Medium
From quilting and beading to pastels and watercolors, Annette Hanson of Shelburne has always found inspiration in nature. Before 2015, she used mostly fiber media, creating what she calls “landscape quilts” to portray the beauty of her home state. More recently, she has been working primarily with watercolors and pastels but continues to create beautiful impressionistic nature scapes. Her goal as an artist is to make you love Vermont’s natural beauty as much as she does.
And which piece in the gallery is owner James Regan’s favorite? “The answer to that question is all of them,” he says. “We select each piece because it excites us and takes us to another place, and we hope it does the same for our clientele.”
Art Works Frame Shop and Gallery
150 Dorset Street
South Burlington, VT