Photo by Seth Combs
There are myriad things to notice within the new Verbatim Books storefront in North Park, not least of which are the rows upon rows of new and used books spanning every conceivable genre. Still, it's not inconceivable that passersby could be drawn in by the paintings on the wall. Displayed prominently near the cases displaying rare and collectible books, most of the paintings appear to be done by different artists. Nope—they were all done by local artist Ryan Tannascoli. That they look dissimilar is only representative of just how varied he's been over the years.
"I did that one in 2001, I think," he says pointing out the very noticeable painting of a series of hands in varying stages of opening and closing. "I have some work up at Allegory Tattoo as well, but the paintings here, this is pretty much everything I have."
Tannascoli is friends with Verbatim owners Justine Epstein and Greg Theilmann, but it's easy to see why they thought his work might be perfect for such a space. Some of the pieces are quite striking and demand the viewer's attention; most of Tannascoli's oil paintings are subtle and complimentary. While a lot of people might find still life paintings of fruit to be boring in a museum or gallery, they work well within the context of a bookstore. Tannascoli is just grateful that he has a place to show off his work.
"It's such a great location," says Tannascoli, referring to Verbatim being near the corner of 30th Street and North Park Way. "It's the type of place where people are going to walk by and peek in. As an artist, that's what you want."
Justine Epstein hopes to have some kind of art opening for Tannascoli soon and wants to use the Verbatim space to host art shows during some of North Park's more signature art events like Ray at Night.
"Our goal is to eventually have all the walls covered in art," says Epstein. "To have as many local artists in here as we can fit."
When asked about whether he'd have to take down his own art to make room for other artists' work, Tannascoli becomes jocular.
"Sure, they want to show other artists," he says, laughing. "But I'm going to advise them against that."