We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Ivester and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It’s always been my goal to own and operate my own art gallery. I love the arts. I’ve made the act of making art, talking about art, and participating in the arts community my life. This love, paired with the fact that I’ve been working in the arts my entire professional career, accumulating experience has enabled me to open my own space with confidence. Since opening the gallery on September 19th, I’ve decided to take things one step further by opening a custom picture framing shop just across the parking lot from my gallery. The synergy between the two businesses will reduce operational expenses for my gallery, as well as offer additional services to my artists and clients in both directions.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I want to spread my own love for the arts to others. When imagining what kind of art gallery I wanted to open, I took note of all the things that are most important about the arts to me. Firstly, artwork needs to be beautiful, instantly captivating, and the artist making the work needs to possess complete control over their chosen media. But, I also believe authenticity and quality values are equally as important. I want this gallery to stress to my audience that art is not only something to pass the time or thoughtlessly hang on your wall. Art does have a function. The visual arts are a mode of communication as important as speech or music or theater. Visual art can give you the opportunity to explore your own identity and values, to connect with others in your community, to cope with trauma or transcend daily frustrations, to get inspired or to simply fall into a meditative state by staring into the depths of rich, colorful brushstrokes. There are many real functions of visual art, and I want to make sure I share that with others. For this reason, I’ve split my 1,600 square foot gallery into sections. The two most important sections are my “main exhibition space” and my “project space”. My main exhibition space is catered to artwork that is instantly beautiful and visitors can easily connect with and eventually take home so that they can continue to enjoy. In contrast, my project space is a designated area for slightly more experimental artwork that may be a bit more challenging and less “collectable”. But, this is an area for visitors to step away from any perceived pressures to purchase artwork, and instead focus on the values and ideas that the artist is trying to communicate. I hope between these two spaces, which display two simultaneous but distinct exhibitions, there will always be something for everyone to connect with and have an experience that enriches their relationship to the arts. Our ability to curate and present two exhibitions simultaneously will ensure every visitor leaves with an experience they’ll remember each time they visit.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There’s so many cool things about Austin, it can be overwhelming to try to give a friend a complete sense of the city. But, I’ve been here since 2015 and I’ve found a few things always make an impact. I live in East Austin so I always start anyones visit the same way; number one and most important, wake up with a breakfast taco. Then, I’d usually take them on a ride around Lady Bird Lake on the bike path, hang out at Barton Springs halfway through, grab lunch at the Zilker food truck park, and head back to East Austin to grab a beer at either Yellow Jacket or Lazarus. Late night, depending on the person and what they’re into, I’d take them to the three different levels of night life in Austin: Downtown Sixth Street if they’re young and can still stay out way later than I can, Rainy Street if they’re… also young and can still stay out later than I can, or if they operate more on my level we’d spend a few more hours bar hopping through East Austin, listening to live music at Hotel Vegas, White Horse, and Scoot Inn or just hanging out at Whistler’s or Luster Pearl East.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Nothing I’ve ever done has been an individual effort. The list of people in my life I’d shout out would be endless. High school and college soccer coaches, life-long friends, thoughtful professors, fellow art gallery directors, my family, etc. If I have to choose only one person I’d shout out to my wife. At times, her support can go unnoticed because it’s just so consistent. I wouldn’t recognize my life in the absence of her support. The boosts and cheers from others can at times sound loud because they’re unexpected, but I think it’s most important to acknowledge the constant hum of real commitment.
Photos by Brennan Lowe