My friends and their friends were telling me that I had talent, said Schuler. But I didnt know if they were just being nice. I appreciated their support but I wanted some validation of my work outside of my circle of friends and family.
Earlier this fall Schuler received that validation when a call came from Chicagos famed Gruen Galleries (part of the internationally renowned River North Gallery District that attracts collectors and buyers from around the world) asking Schuler for four of her works to sell at their gallery.
When I was questioning my abilities a couple of years ago I sent copies of my works to three galleries in Chicagos River North District, said Schuler. Gruen said they loved my work but the pieces they wanted had already sold. So things stalled until they called again and asked me to create four works that were 4 by 6 to be sold at their gallery. I just dropped them off a couple of weeks ago so we will see.
Gruen plans to hold an exhibition of Schulers works in the future where she will be the gallerys featured artist.
CLOSER TO HOME
Chicago is a great weekend trip but Northern Michigan residents dont have to travel to the Windy City to see or purchase Schulers works. Schuler along with fellow oil painter Katie Phelps and Portuguese Glass importer Antonio Simao will be hosting a weekend exhibition in downtown Traverse City. The A.K.A. exhibition will be December 2 4 at 154 W. Front Street (the three have rented the former Evans Forney space for the weekend). On Friday night they will host an artist reception starting at 5 p.m. (Downtown Traverse City also has their Midnight Madness Sale that evening) with local wines and other refreshments on hand.
As a fulltime artist and single mom of two young children Schuler organizes three to four exhibitions of her works throughout the year. Earlier in the summer she partnered with some friends and rented a former gallery in Northport and then later put together a show in Leland. The upcoming show evolved from conversations between the three and they felt that despite slow sales in original art that the timing was right.
I believe that original art makes a great gift, said Schuler. Whether you are buying it for someone else or even as gift for yourself. We felt that this was a great time with the holidays upon us that original art makes for a great alternative to the more traditional gifts.
Schuler took an interest in becoming artist during her early childhood while growing up in Middleville (near Grand Rapids). Her mother also an artist encouraged Schuler to be creative. She attended Davenport College pursuing business management but eventually took several painting and drawing workshops.
Early on I identified that I am not one of those people cut out for the traditional 9-to-5 work life, said Schuler, who is primarily self-taught. I really am not a very good employee.
On a whim in 1992 Schuler, who was living in Florida at the time, moved to Traverse City with a girlfriend to work for the summer and hang out at the beach.
I worked three nights a week at the U & I, said Schuler. I spent the rest of the time at the beach or painting. I loved it up here so much that I stayed.
Eventually she married and had two children. Raising her children she decided to shelve her dreams of becoming an artist. After a divorce and finding herself as a single mother she knew she needed to earn an income, but needed the flexibility of caring for her children.
If everything goes as planned I get up, make breakfast and get the kids to school. Then I go to the studio and paint from 9-to-2, said Schuler. Then it is off to pick up the kids and run the daily errands, then home for dinner and then bed. It works most days but if you have children you never know what is in store. I find myself in the best frame of mind to paint in the morning, by evening I am exhausted.
Schuler has been successful in selling her contemporary oil paintings. In an environment and economy where original art -- especially works from an unknown artist -- is not selling, Schuler is succeeding. She sells one-third of her paintings through commissioned pieces. Several area residents have commissioned Schuler, including Dr. Rebecca Vomastek-Hagerty who commissioned 10 works for her office. Galleries in the area have also been successful in selling Schulers paintings.
Since our opening one year ago we have sold more than 20 of Angelas paintings, averaging $750 per piece, said Christie Minervini owner of Gallery Fifty. She is by far our best-selling artist. It is my opinion that more sophisticated markets would command a much higher selling price for her works. Our clients are attracted to the tactile quality of her paintings and always comment on the textural nature of her work. She often incorporates metallic leaf or other medium, and this point of difference also helps identify her unique style.
ON THE BRINK
Angie Schuler is on the brink of becoming a nationally recognized artist and joining the ranks of numerous artists from the area such as Glenn Wolf and Charles Murphy who have international reputations and chose to live in and be inspired by Northern Michigan. Her works range from $500 to $1,000 and at the Gruen Galleries they are selling for $1,500 a piece, but the sense in the art community is that her works wont last long at those prices. Schuler just smiles and says for the time being she likes the idea of her works being affordable and accessible.
I really feel blessed to live here and to pursue my lifes ambition of being an artist. I also like to keep my works priced so that others may enjoy them. I am not attached to my works once they are completed, said Schuler. For me it is about the process of creating. Feeling the paint and watching it transform the canvass. For me painting symbolizes the layering of events in our lives and how a simple event can change the depth of our souls. My philosophy on life is my inspiration for my painting. In real life layering can scar one part of us and bring out truth in another part. Never able to remove a layer, you can simply add color to your life and watch as it transforms all of the existing layers.
To learn more about Angela Schuler and to view a sample of her portfolio
visit www.angelaschuler.com. Her works along with those of Katie Phelps plus a collection of Portuguese glass from importer Antonio Simao will be exhibited and made available for purchase December 2-4 in the former Evans Forney Gallery at 154 W. Front St. The weekend exhibition will begin with an artist reception on Friday night from 5 pm to at least 9 pm. The gallery will be open from 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. For additional information contact Angela Schuler at (231) 935-0123