Jake Hanington’s dream of owning an art gallery has finally come to life.
Hanington, a cook for Interior Health by day and mixed media artist by night, opened the doors of the 2nd ave. art gallery in a weekend soft launch of the newly renovated studio space.
Besides showing his sculptures from Paper Face Studio, and prints by Trail artist Shawna Erback, Hanington aspires to bring back spark to the long vacated corner of Second Avenue and Taylor Street.
“We bought the property as an investment earlier this year, and planned to rent the space out,” said Hanington.
After purchasing the site that includes a residential dwelling behind it, Hanington and his wife Karen Simpson Hanington, applied to the city for a temporary commercial-use permit in hopes of making the gallery a success over the course of three years.
“Right now I can keep my head above water,” he explained. “But I’d like to take on other people’s work so we can keep this avenue open for local artists.”
The gallery is open from noon until 6 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays over the next month, but the hours will vary depending on Harrington’s rotating shift work schedule.
“The problem is keeping it open consistently because of holding down a full time job,” he said. “But art has been a passion as far back as I can remember and this has always been my dream.”
As he gets the word out for other artists to be part of his East Trail project, Hanington’s vision includes potential showings on warm summer nights prior to Music in the Park and during other special events at the well used outdoor venue.
Because the building is only a few blocks from Gyro Park and on a popular walking route, he hopes to expanded hours with a variety of artists’ show, and one day, add amenities like a coffee shop.
For now, he’s content puttering around the gallery which has been scrubbed clean, painted in deep calming hues and had a new floor installed.
“Art is a productive escape for me,” Hanington said. “It’s relaxing like I step into this other world.”
The Calgary-born Hanington comes from a long line of artists and says he was strongly influenced by his commercial artist father.
“I always had access to materials growing up but have done a lot of experimenting over the years,” said Hanington. “Now the ideas just come to me even while I’m at work. I’ll come home and go into my studio because it removes all the constraints of daily drudgery and it winds me down.”
A primary component to Hanington’s interactive pieces are found items. At first sight, his sculptures are visually enchanting with bright colours and intricately placed details from past life products like intercoms, blenders and cell phones.
Combined with acrylic paint, and mediums for texture like plaster or wood, his work can take the gallery guest on a journey that brings new life to everyday cast offs.
“It’s like a part of me that I am always working on,” he explained.
“One thing I shoot for in my artwork is that I want your eyes and mind to go on an adventure,” he said. “It’s kind of like my other job, but I’m making a meal for your other senses.”
To explain his insight, Hanington pointed to a shiny artifact that he found on a walk through his West Trail neighbourhood.
It wasn’t readily identifiable but is an integral part to a one-of-a-kind piece that features mixed media vignettes hidden behind little brightly painted doors.
“I found this near where I live,” he said upon opening the sculpture’s door. “The fire department burned out a condemned house for practise. All the windows melted, so that’s where I found this nice piece of melted glass.”
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