When Thumbprint Gallery moved from North Park to La Jolla in 2011, some folks were pretty bummed. North Park was losing a beloved art space, and most of its patrons were faced with having to hit the freeway to access the cool urban art that Thumbprint regularly exhibits. Uptown art lovers can breathe a sigh of relief for their gas tank now that Thumbprint has opened a second gallery in Hillcrest.
Ladies and gents, welcome TPG2, located inside Bamboo Lounge (1475 University Ave.)
Johnny Tran, co-owner of Thumbprint, says that the owners of Bamboo Lounge approached him and his partner, Paul Ecdao, about leasing the middle room of the restaurant and bar. He and Ecdao had no plans to expand, but the parties struck a deal, and the space was transformed into a gallery.
TPG2 will be unveiled from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, for a grand opening and reception for a group exhibition featuring more than 50 San Diego artists, including Surge, Bradford Lynn, Eric Wixon, Somaramos, Jason Gould and Brian Dombrowsky. The exhibition runs through Dec. 14.
For Tran, TPG2 completes a full circle. He and Ecdao started Thumbprint Gallery in 2009 as a popup inside Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center in North Park, later moving to their own location. With TPG2, they're repeating history with hopes of reaching the same level of success.
"I think Hillcrest, in itself, is an untapped market as far as art is concerned," Tran says. "Nobody is doing an art gallery there, except maybe Planet Rooth, but that's more on the border of Hillcrest. That was part of the draw of [opening in Hillcrest], as well."
At TPG2, which is significantly larger than the La Jolla location, Tran and Ecdao will curate mostly group exhibits featuring lowbrow, graffiti and street art from emerging and established San Diego artists.
"We're excited to have more space so we can show more art and have more opportunities to try different things," Tran says.