By John A. Barry And Bill Carmel
Art and BicyclingUploaded: May 3, 2010
Kevin Davidson, of San Ramon, 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. (At right is a picture of Davidson painting at Lake Tahoe.)
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 arthis and that of others. Although he runs a janitorial-services business, he has found the time to develop his passionand sell some of his creationsmainly 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 ridingespecially on Danville Boulevard in Alamo.