This is the seventh post in my Tiny Art Collecting series. If you've missed the others, find them here:
Tiny Art: How To Collect Art on a Small Budget
Tiny Art: Linda Robertson's Collection
Tiny Art: The Quinn's Collection
Tiny Art: Mary Witt's Collection
Tiny Art: The Powers' Collection
Tiny Art: Sarah Stevenson's Collection
My last post was going to be the final tiny art post, but then I had the idea to reach out to Deb Thompson, owner of Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I had mentioned Nahcotta in my post on The Quinn’s collection because Nahcotta is where they bought their first tiny art piece. Deb graciously responded to my interview request and now I get to share their story with you.
Nahcotta Gallery is home to the well-received, biannual Enormous Tiny Art Show. (If you are in the area, show #21 is up through April 2.) Work in the show ranges from $50-1,000 and all work is 10x10” or smaller. Some pieces are traditional paintings and others are assemblage or sculpture pieces. The show provides a way to see a wide variety of new work from artists all over the country. There is something for everyone in an environment of synergy, connection, and elevations of ideas. Deb says many artists come just for the variety because the mix of mediums and techniques inspire their own new ideas.
The show started 10 years ago as the brainstorm of Deb and a friend. They had been doing a successful show in February with works on paper, but interest in that subset of art was dwindling so they were looking for new ideas. As ideas are wont to do, it came to Deb in the shower. She thought it would be fun to do a big show of small work with a ton of different artists. The first show in 2007 included 150 pieces of art and 25 artists. It was the biggest show they had done and was a huge hit. Quickly, they made it a twice-yearly affair. Now, in 2017, the show includes 40-50 artists and over 300 pieces! There is also an online version that is available year-round.
The show creates a palpable excitement about original art. Attendees really get excited about finding work they love and can afford. Deb has clearly hit a sweet spot where art becomes accessible and connection to the arts is fostered. 10 years later each show still generates buzz and excitement in the community.
Deb’s advice for buying art?
The connection to the art you buy should be visceral. Choose art that moves you. Don’t let your home design constraints dictate every choice. Original art will change the way you feel about your space. When you buy prints and mass-manufactured art you don’t realize what you are missing. Hanging original art in your home brings a living energy into the space.
Deb also suggests hanging tiny art in a salon wall arrangement, mixing in various other objects, photographs, and several small works. The center of the cluster of art should be 58” up from the floor, she says.
If you are ever in New England in March or September, I highly recommend you make a detour over to Nahcotta Gallery to check out the Enormous Tiny Art Show. Even if it is another month, the gallery is worth checking out! And they always have a salon wall of tiny art if that is what you are after!