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Art and Bicycling

Original post made by John Barry on Apr 30, 2010


Kevin Davidson is concurrently an artist and a patron of the arts. Self-taught, he works in oil, often portraying religious themes. He is currently working on a representation of the Jonah and the Whale story.

As a patron, he started Artsite Gallery in San Francisco (more on that later). He has also enabled a group of artists to continue working at their studios at 524 Hartz Avenue in Danville. The current landlord's lease with the building's owner terminated at the end of March 2010. Davidson, one of the artists with a studio in the building, stepped up to assume the lease and concomitant risks.

Since he started painting, Davidson has stepped up for art—his and that of others. Although he runs a janitorial-services business, he has found the time to develop his passion—and sell some of his creations—mainly through hard work and perseverance. "I think there is definitely a market and opportunity for artists to show work," he opines. "However, like any other business, they must invest time and money to make their business succeed," especially in a horrible economic climate that shows no sign of improving anytime soon.

Davidson says he approaches sales "proactively"—contacting previous customers and friends. He recently sold a couple of paintings, but "I had to work my butt off for those sales, and it took three months to cultivate the buyers.

"The reality is that a very small percentage of all living artists will ever be formally represented by a commercial gallery," Davidson says. His goal, therefore, was to "start a small business together to showcase our work to a new audience."

Toward that end, he initiated Artsite, investing a great deal of his own time and money. "My thinking," he explains, "was to create a membership gallery in which all members would pay the rent." But after three months, Davidson concluded that the membership model wasn't working, for a variety of reasons. So he is currently contemplating other options, including turning Artiste into a private gallery.

Davidson's two recent sales are all the more remarkable given that he is still recuperating from a severe accident in which a driver cut him off while he was riding his bike, resulting in a Level 5 AC-joint dislocation requiring multiple surgeries to repair. The right arm of the right-handed artist was immobilized for weeks, starting just before the opening of Artsite late last year.

As Davidson contemplates new directions for his gallery in The City, he is helping keep a dozen artists, including himself, working in The Town.
Drawing on his recent road experience, he cautions local bike riders to be vigilant and exercise caution when riding—especially on Danville Boulevard in Alamo.


John A. Barry is a writer and avocational artist. To share anything art-related, call him at 314-9528 or email jobarry@pacbell.net

Comments (12)

Posted by ArtLover, a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

This man is a genius artist in the works...


Posted by newyorknewyork, a resident of another community
on May 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Agreed. Looking forward to see his development over the next few years. I own one of his originals and it makes the room. Didn't know he owned a business.


Posted by THE ART LAB, a resident of Danville
on May 6, 2010 at 8:08 am

A community is often judged by the artist and art programs it supports. Danville is on the cusp of some very big things happening. But they need support or they will never make it in this though economy.
Buy original art! Artists are willing to bargin, they would rather have your check than their paintings. A print bought at a department store will be worth nothing before you leave the parking lot. Original art has great potential.
If you like it hang it.


Posted by Denise, a resident of Danville
on May 7, 2010 at 10:04 am

Kudos to Kevin. Love the painting in the photo. Are the studios open to the public?


Posted by Ray and Loretta, a resident of San Ramon
on May 7, 2010 at 10:35 am

We recently saw Kevin's work at the Link 2 Fine Art Gallery in Danville. He's a very talented artist! I was impressed with his style. It's great to see such gifted local talent!


Posted by family, a resident of another community
on May 7, 2010 at 11:18 am

What many do not know about Kevin Davidson is that he has battled a afflicting disease almost his entire life. He is a role model and an artist.


Posted by Claudette, a resident of another community
on May 10, 2010 at 9:53 am

Hi Kevin. I know what you are going through trying to get some exposure for artists and yourself. I'm in the same spot. I opened a gallery a couple of years ago just to close it within a year. Since then I have been developing exhibits for a handful of artists and myself, a self taught artist as well. I played with the idea of a Co-Op gallery not long ago, but as you can expect and you've experienced it's hard to make that work in the Bay Area. I love Danville and was just there for a book reading in the old Pioneer Art Gallery now a book store. Please keep me in your thoughts and feel free to contact me to brain storm any ideas you might have to further the cause for the Local Artist. Contact me at poetryoncanvas@mac.com or check out my website Google: Poetry On Canvas Pleasanton. I'd be happy to add your work to my site to get you more exposure.


Posted by Marshall, a resident of Diablo
on May 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Artists should bargain but not give away their work for next to nothing. If buyers know they are desperate, they may take advantage. If they only want to spend $150.00 on a large painting they should buy a print.


Posted by KevinDavidson, a resident of San Ramon
on May 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Wow! Thank you all so much for your kind words. I'm blown away.

My philosophy is that being an artist is a gift. As Cezanne said, " Is art not a priesthood which requires pure souls who belong to it entirely"?

Give your entire being to it and good things will happen.


Posted by Brendon, a resident of Danville
on May 20, 2010 at 8:35 am

Dear 'Art Lab':
If you walked into a Safeway, could you 'bargain' with the store manager for the most expensive bottle of wine?


Posted by kenny, a resident of Danville
on Jun 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Saw his Jonah painting this weekend at the open studios...incredible!


Posted by Kevin, a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 19, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Jonah censored at Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery in San Ramon.

Way to go City of San Ramon.


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