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Galleries showcase local artists

Deciding what and how to arrange art on the walls can be a daunting endeavor. Picking up a few pieces to pop onto an empty expanse of a wall can quickly solve the problem, but the effect can be as bland as the blank wall.

However, handmade pieces add to your collection of worthy art compared to the smattering of impulse buys that prove less interesting as times passes.

Buying original art is not as expensive or intimidating as some may think, said Heiko Katins, CEO and founder of the ART 2 art gallery in Tivoli Village.

“Work by an artist … has more story, it’s much more interesting to you, much more personal and that makes it more enjoyable every day,” he said. “It can cost $100 or $1,000 but is so much more than something you just buy to hang on a wall. It is one-of-a-kind.”

Buying original art can be an adventure rather than an impersonal process.

“People want to support local artists, and we want to help them afford to do that,” he said. “Our local artists, they will work with you to make something just for you. We work with any budget.”

Visitors to the gallery may find an artist’s style they like, but the painting or sculpture doesn’t quite fit the space or color scheme they have at home. Katins works with the client and the artist to create a unique piece for that specific space, often for less than you might expect for an original commissioned piece.

When you are considering how to decorate your space, consider what palette you currently have in the home, what shades or ambiance you hope to create in the room and how much you want to spend. This will help guide you to the right piece for your particular space.

If you aren’t sure where to start, send a photo of the blank wall or room and Katins will Photoshop different sizes, styles and colors into the photo for you to decide on what works best.

“When it works, it changes the whole room,” he said.

An original piece is personal to the artist, an expression. Once you have invested in it, it becomes a part of your story as well. The emotional connection with the artwork will grow over time, adding a deeper connection to an already personal piece.

The increased interest in local artists or handmade creations has motivated Katins to expand the gallery at 420 S. Rampart Blvd., Suite 150. He plans to open an interactive area that features artists who will be on hand in the studio spaces upstairs from the ART 2 art gallery.

“People can come in, see what we have, see the artist in action in (the upstairs studios) and buy something that speaks to them,” Katins said.

Local artists will often open their studios to let clients peruse pieces in their price range, help them find a piece based on their preferences and even create something that is uniquely theirs.

Contacting an artist and looking at their pieces is a much more personal process, said Priscilla Fowler, owner of the self-named fine art gallery at 1025 S. First St. Fowler has recently opened a new gallery at 1300 S. Main St. and will be closing the First Street location in early May.

“(The artists) have put hours, days, years into creating a piece and you are paying for that time, that effort, that creativity,” Fowler said. “Supporting local art has become more important — and popular — in Las Vegas.”

Recently, she has shown pieces by Gig Depio, Darren Johnson and Robin Stark, all from Las Vegas. She also shows work from artists in Portland, Illinois; Denver; and Brooklyn, New York. She rotates the works of the 30 or so artists she hand chooses in her downtown gallery space throughout the year.

“I don’t choose artists based on trends,” Fowler said. “I choose based on the quality of their work and whether I feel the work is strong and appealing.”

She hand-picks pieces that she hopes will move clients.

“I want buyers to select the art they purchase because they fall in love with it,” she said.

Art should be accessible, so Fowler offers a wide variety of styles, price ranges and no-interest payment plans.

“We realize that most original art is relatively expensive, so we offer Art Money, a way to purchase art over time, at no interest,” Fowler said. “We offer a wide variety of art, from oil painting to cross-stitch, from sculpture to hand-pulled prints. On rare occasions, we will offer limited-edition giclees.”

The pieces that pepper the walls at Priscilla Fowler Fine Art range between the affordable $100 to well over $10,000. She doesn’t want a piece to disappoint and has put measures in place to ensure that the owner is truly connected to the piece before buying.

“We allow buyers to take art home and live with it for a week or two,” Fowler said. “Or we can bring a selection of art to a buyer’s home, so they can see it in their own environment.”

Art pieces have been sold to homeowners, designers and architects, the latter of whom may place work in homes or in institutional/business settings.

“We’d like to encourage designers and homeowners to include original art in their budget,” she said. “Often people are not surprised to spend several thousand dollars on a wonderful couch but are shocked that original art can cost that much. Our advice would be to shop for less expensive couches and buy a wonderful piece of art that enriches the environment, that you love, and that you can keep for decades.”

Fowler makes home visits to offer suggestions of pieces she has or artists she’s seen that would fit well with your decor as well as your personality.

“We can also help with installation or recommend professional installers,” she said.

“We can help select work that will fit in (any) type of decor. One original piece can be worth more than a reproduction you pick up somewhere. It will never lose its value because it becomes a part of you.”

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