Artist and OVAC intern Kelley Lunsford interviewed gallery owner Tom Farris to learn more about his work, how he selects artists, and more. Farris runs Standing Buffalo Indian Art Gallery & Gifts at 106 E Main in Norman. The second (of 3) section of the interview is focused artwork selection for the gallery:
KL: What type of art do you display in your gallery?
TF: I display contemporary American Indian art, which, generally means, I don't handle anything prior to the 1920's. Before that time you get more into artifacts and items of material culture, which I feel should either be handled by tribes or museums.
KL: How do you select the artist represented in your gallery?
TF: I am very fortunate that the artists who show with me are also friends. I have been fortunate to be able to build those relationships over the years and when I opened my gallery I had a great core group of artists ready to show with me. In bringing in new artists, I really begin as a fan, I see someone's work that I enjoy and I pursue them for a show or to join the gallery.
KL: The American Indian artists you represent are established artists working in their profession for many years. Would you ever consider a young unknown artist and why?
TF: I absolutely would pursue a young and unknown artist, and in fact I have already. One of the artists who exhibits with me is a graphic designer by trade and has always painted for his own pleasure. I convinced him to produce some pieces for a show and he sold out, and is now one of our most consistent sellers. I think that there will always be an appreciation for quality work, and part of my job is to find the people who are producing it.
KL: What advice can you give to artists who want a gallery to represent them?
TF: Get your work out there any way you can; do as many shows as you can, use MySpace, Facebook, etc. The more your work is out there, the more likely someone will see and be interested.