A solid crowd of artists and scenesters gathered at Thumbprint Gallery this past Saturday, and while some were there to check out the La Jolla gallery's new show, Stratum, some seemed much more keen on perusing a bunch of blank canvases. No, it wasn't some kind of Yves Klein-inspired experiment, but rather part of the official launch party for Core Canvas, a new venture that aims to bring high-quality, handcrafted canvases to artists at an affordable price.
"The idea just came out of many conversations of us trying to work together and the different things we wanted to see happen in the San Diego area," says Mark Jesinoski, who started Core Canvas along with his wife, Ali, and Thumbprint co-owners Johnny Tran and Paul Ecdao. "For me, I noticed so many other artists either didn't have the tools or didn't have the ability to build their own canvases. Plus, the prices that people were paying at the big box stores was drastically high."
Jesinoski likes to point out the flaws in the assembly of other canvases, from the low quality stretcher bars which cause rough edges around the paint to the canvas material itself. Jesinoski uses locally sourced wood and hand-assembles each and every Core canvas. Jesinoski says that most artists know the difference between a high-quality canvas and a lower quality one.
"A lot of times, if they're working on the cheap, a true artist will paint on whatever surface is available. They'll paint on an old piece of plywood, because they don't have access to high-quality canvases. The Core canvases are good for people who are ready to make that leap into possibly showing in galleries."
For now, artists can order canvases at corecanvascompany.com and pick them up at Thumbprint or at Visual in North Park. There will be another canvas sale and reception on Friday, July 1 at Thumbprint from 6 to 9 p.m. The Core crew's ultimate goal is to have the canvases in independent stores and spaces all over the San Diego.
"It might sound cheesy, but I think that the more canvases we have that people can afford, the more likely people are to paint," Jesinoski says. "By making nice canvases available to local artists, they'll be able to paint on better surfaces and that'll make their work look better and, thus, San Diego will look better by extension."