Your Guide to Whistler’s Gal­leries

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TRAVELLER I CONTENT - Lib­erty, An­drew Gable - Fathom Stone Gallery

Whether you’re an ex­pe­ri­enced art col­lec­tor or search­ing for that daz­zling im­age or sculp­ture as a me­mento of your hol­i­day, Whistler’s thriv­ing gallery scene is one of B.C.’s top des­ti­na­tions to pur­chase high-qual­ity works of art.

Brows­ing for and find­ing the per­fect piece is a joy­ous and trou­ble-free process for vis­i­tors to Whistler’s gal­leries. Some fo­cus on Cana­dian or Pacific North­west Na­tive themes, while oth­ers fea­ture a more in­ter­na­tional col­lec­tion. All, how­ever, have the ex­per­tise to help you choose the right piece and then ship it, has­sle- and worry-free, to your home — even if that’s half a world away. “When peo­ple are on hol­i­day, they are re­laxed and have many hours to en­joy,” says Jea­nine Messeguer, di­rec­tor of the Whistler Con­tem­po­rary Gallery (pre­vi­ously named Whistler Vil­lage Art Gallery). Af­ter a hard day on the moun­tain, or hav­ing their “rest day,” art en­thu­si­asts and keen col­lec­tors en­joy brows­ing gal­leries, look­ing for that unique work for that blank wall they have at home, or just to be in­spired. “We ship prob­a­bly 70 per cent of our works in­ter­na­tion­ally — New York, Hong Kong, Lon­don, China. The lucky thing about Whistler is that most of the gal­leries have been in busi­ness a num­ber of years, and we have tons of ex­pe­ri­ence ship­ping our pieces.” Help­ing vis­i­tors find in­spi­ra­tion in art is a big part of what the staff of Fathom Stone Art Gallery and Stu­dio do, says sculp­tor and gallery owner Jon Fathom. Stone works that de­pict bears, other wildlife found in western Canada, and the only Whistler-made se­lec­tion of inuk­shuks, are fea­tured at the Fathom gallery. The sculp­tors rep­re­sented in­clude An­drew Gable, Daryl Klassen, Elmer Gun­der­son and of course, Fathom him­self. Sev­enty per cent of the stone fea­tured in the gallery, in­clud­ing chlo­rite, alabaster, onyx, soap­stone and mar­ble, orig­i­nated in Bri­tish Columbia. “Peo­ple from around the world come to my gallery. We tell them all about how the piece is made and if they like it and pur­chase it, we pack­age it care­fully, and ship it to them. No prob­lem.”

“With stone art, 90 per cent of the peo­ple who come in say, ‘ Wow, this is in­spir­ing.’ You want to in­spire peo­ple to do great things in life. That’s what art is all about.” Be­fore pur­chas­ing art­work, it’s im­por­tant to con­sider how it will look in its in­tended space. Ac­cord­ing to Messeguer, whose gal­leries fea­ture paint­ings by artists Jane Water­ous, Re­becca Kinkead, Jay Kelly and Ross Tam­lin, if clients can sup­ply a photo of the space, her staff can do a “vir­tual in­stal­la­tion” to help clients see what it will look like. Moun­tain Gal­leries has a sim­i­lar ser­vice and also of­fers a 30-day guar­an­tee, so art lovers can take the piece home and try it in the space. “If it doesn’t work, they can bring it back for a full re­fund,” says Ben McLaugh­lin, the gallery’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Be­cause Moun­tain Gal­leries fea­tures the work of liv­ing Cana­dian artists — Ni­cholas Bott, Karel Doruyter, Char­lie Eas­ton and Shan­non Ford, to name a few — guests also have the op­tion to put 50 per cent down. “If they like some­thing in dif­fer­ent di­men­sions, or colour pal­ette, we can get our artists to cus­tom­ize the piece to what they’re look­ing for,” McLaugh­lin said. Mark Richards cap­tures dra­matic land­scapes in stun­ning pho­to­graphic im­ages and then uses a process called photo sten­cil­ing, which com­bines the im­me­di­acy of pho­tog­ra­phy with the im­pres­sion­is­tic qual­ity of paint­ing. Vis­i­tors are of­ten drawn to an im­age in his gallery be­cause of its as­so­ci­a­tion with a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence in that lo­ca­tion. Since the im­ages are his own, Richards can photo sten­cil his pieces in dif­fer­ent di­men­sions to fit the de­sired space. “Some­times peo­ple find mul­ti­ple pieces that they like,” Richards says. “To whit­tle it down, I of­ten ask them what the first piece that caught their eye was. That first emo­tional re­ac­tion is of­ten a key in­di­ca­tor. I al­ways say that peo­ple should value that. It’s hard to go wrong with that.”

Bill MacGil­li­vary, owner of Black Tusk Gallery, likes to share the his­tory of the North­west Coast Na­tive art or other works at the gallery when vis­i­tors are search­ing for that spe­cial piece for their home or of­fice. “The mythol­ogy around Na­tive art is that each piece usu­ally has a his­tory or story that goes along with it,” he says, adding that the gallery stocks works rep­re­sent­ing artists from 13 First Na­tions up and down the coast. Or­cas, bears, ravens and even the sun and moon all have spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance to the re­gion’s First Na­tions. Ship­ping the cho­sen art­work home is trou­ble and worry free, says MacGil­li­vary. “We have a great track record over the last 14 years ship­ping goods to vir­tu­ally all con­ti­nents.” Art­work that’s shipped out of the coun­try is not sub­ject to 12 per cent Cana­dian tax, but is sub­ject to the tax if cus­tomers take it with them. Keep this in mind when mak­ing a pur­chase and con­sid­er­ing trav­el­ling with the piece: art­work worth sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars will in­cur a sub­stan­tial tax fee ($600 for a $5,000 piece, for ex­am­ple) and is nor­mally more than the ship­ping cost. There is no Goods and Ser­vices Tax re­bate for in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors who pur­chase items dur­ing their stay in Canada.







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