For small town artists, gaining exposure sometimes requires a little extra creativity.
Enter Kent Shoemaker, the Invermere-based artist who has rented the former home of Essentials Department Store on 12th Street in Invermere, and has aptly (and temporarily) named the storefront “Art Art Art Art.”
“To try and get my work into local galleries, I might be able to get a piece or two, but they are not going to do a great big show for me where I can show sports, wildlife, western and native (and other subjects),” Shoemaker said. “This is a special situation where I’m looking to generate true interest.”
Shoemaker’s diverse exhibit has been on display since around the middle of December, and will remain until approximately midway through January. Shoemaker said he was attracted to the 12th Street space because of the massive amount of windows, which allow passer-bys ample opportunity to see the variety of paintings inside, including landscapes, wildlife and sports pieces, and a variety of other works.
“I haven’t shown in the Valley for at least 10 years, and I’ve got a lot of major pieces,” Shoemaker said. “Lately I’ve begun doing wildlife and landscapes a little more, but as you can see from the paintings I’ve always been in love with big, powerful sports.”
Shoemaker estimates he’s been a painter for 35-odd years, and recalls with fondness his love of the arts even at a young age, when he would paint the class mural or lead the class band.
Having studied history following high school, he says the course only furthered his love of art, as it exposed him to some of the more classic pieces and gave him more subject material to work with.
“The main thing for me is that people get down and look at it, because a lot of people don’t even know it’s there,” Shoemaker explained. “Exposure is really truly what I’m looking for.”
An indoor house painter by trade, Shoemaker has been commissioned to do various other works in his career, including murals and private pieces.
While the main goal of the exhibit is exposure, Shoemaker said many of the pieces are available for sale, and anyone who is interested in any of his works is urged to call him at 250-342-2173 or email him at email@example.com.
“If you’re truly going to be an artist, unless you’re being funded or supported, it’s probably best to do when you’re young, and single,” Shoemaker joked. “It’s hard to make your kids or girlfriend sleep on a concrete floor.”