Artists and art lovers who live in Oceanside are working hard to build a vibrant arts community there. So are Carlsbad residents John and Sarah Salisbury, who opened Craftlab Gallery on South Tremont Street earlier this month.
The couple, who've lived in North County most of their lives and work as visual designers, decided to open a space that could be used for art shows, workshops, events and special projects after arriving at a time in their lives where that was a real possibility— their eldest son graduated from high school, and both work consistently in their field. The time just seemed right.
"My wife and I reached a point where we can afford to take a risk and do something different," John Salisbury, 44, says. "We started to really dig it up here in Oceanside. It has an urban coastal feel. Oceanside feels freer, and there's a crazy diversity in the people that are here."
After eight months of work on the space, Craftlab opened with an exhibition featuring artist Fernando Apodaca, a longtime friend of the Salisburys who creates films, sculptures and paintings with a surrealist edge. Apodaca's also a classically trained musician who's directed videos for New York Dolls and Pearl Jam. His work's on view through April 31.
The venture's been a learning experience for the new gallery owners. Salisbury admits that they've gone into it with no experience. They initially did it by the book—literally—using Edward Winkleman's How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery as their guide.
Eventually, they threw the book out the window—figuratively—and did things their own way.
"We're learning as we go," he says. "We didn't sit down and plan this out. That's how we do things, though. We just want to learn by doing it."
Their alternative approach also factors in to the artists they choose to bring to Craftlab Gallery. On April 28, Japanese experimental musician Maski Batoh will play brain pulse music, which is created using a device that transforms brain waves into sounds.
Next month, they'll exhibit art by Jad Fair, a founding member of the lo-fi alt-rock band Half Japanese. He creates paper cuts, drawings and mixed-media pieces that are bright and whimsical. It's consistent with the overall goal of fostering collaboration between artists, musicians and other creative folks in the area.
"We want to be very approachable and accessible to people," Salisbury says.