By Kristi Kates 7/20/09
Multi-media artist Edith Pair grew up in Charlevoix, and followed a direct route to her current artistic career, starting at five years old painting with oils.
In high school, Edith served a summer internship at Parsons School of Design (New York). From there she attended the Art Institute of Chicago, which was ranked second-best art school in the country, she says proudly.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (she also majored in fashion design), Pair freelanced in Chicago for 15 years doing work for various corporations and businesses; but she decided to move back to Charlevoix to pursue her lifelong goal of opening her own gallery in 2008.
Her Ellair Gallery now carries her own work, and helps promote other artists as well.
My philosophy behind the gallery is not to take anything too seriously, Pair explains, I have vibrant colors and unique, humorous, yet very sophisticated pieces that can appeal to most everyone. You absolutely will not walk out of here without laughing or at least cracking a smile, as well as an appreciation for the one-of-a-kind items I am so adamant about carrying.
The majority of work in the gallery is Todd Warners and my own, she says, with about a half-dozen other local artists.
Pair works mainly in acrylic paints, does custom artwork as well as her own designer clothing line, and crafts what she calls functional art.
Furniture, smaller items such as clocks, clothing/key hooks, and my favorite, hand-painted cheese trays. I have a high-duty epoxy resin I used to cover my work that protects the piece without scratching; its extremely durable and has allowed me to use photographs and mementos for custom orders I do for clients.
For instance, I incorporated photos of a family into the artwork for a wedding gift table, she continues, and in a painting that I did, I used sheets of music in the painting that the client had first used when he started writing music. Its hard to explain unless you see it for yourself, but it makes each piece very personal and special.
FROM PAIR TO WARNER
As mentioned, the Ellair Gallery also carries a lot of Todd Warners work; Warner (www.toddwarner.com) is well-known in Charlevoix and beyond for his whimsical sculptures of everything from ostriches to cowboys, butlers to armadillos. His work is displayed everywhere from galleries and airports to the New York State Thruway as well as Pairs gallery.
I am the only gallery in the world who carries his original paintings that he created last year, Pair says. And I feel very blessed to have him as my mentor, as his artwork is genius; so many try to replicate it but never succeed.
Pair also carries photographer Tony Dunaskes local work; Shelly Wilkersons popular paintings; and additional artworks, jewelry, and gift items from other artists.
Pair plans to continue having artists visit her gallery on the weekends for the rest of the summer to give demonstrations, and she is always in-house working on her own artwork, which she welcomes visitors to view.
Art should be special, Pair concludes, and something you can appreciate and cherish forever; you dont want to see your next door neighbor with the same piece of art manufactured in mass production.
The Ellair Gallery is open Sundays and Mondays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The gallery will also be open full-time through the winter holidays, and then part-time to next spring. Info:
www.ellair.com; ph. 231-547-4655; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.