Photo by Michael James Armstrong
One foot through the inauspicious front door of Glashaus and you see it. The potential. The promise. To the right, a large Minotaur sculpture next to Device Gallery greets you. Upstairs, artist Michael James Armstrong and photographers Jen Jansen and John Dole are hard at work. Further down, the sound of banging metal and large industrial machines echoes throughout what used to be a glass factory. But look to the left, into the vast, empty, 3,000-square-foot space that Glashaus founders Matt Devine and Greg Brotherton say will one day be six more artist studios and a huge common area—that's where the real promise lies.
“But that really wasn't the intention,” says Devine, who runs a sculpture and design studio inside Glashaus. “Our intentions were that we needed a workshop, and this is a great building, and let's bring in some other artists and share our space. I think all this other stuff—we've been, like, ‘Wow, OK.' Completely unexpected.”
The “other stuff” Devine is talking about is the response from not only individual artists interested in renting out future studios, but also the art community in general. It's the promise it holds for Barrio Logan. The working-class neighborhood has long been considered a bastion of untapped creativity, most notably manifest in the murals that color the neighborhood. Places like the Voz Alta gallery and The Guild restaurant have compelled people to get off Interstate 5 and into the barrio. But where those places could perhaps be considered once-a-month stops for artists and art lovers, Glashaus has the potential to make the neighborhood a real destination.
“Yeah, like the fact we have a waiting list for space was enough for the people who leased us the building to want us to do this all down the block,” says Brotherton, whose wife Amy runs Device Gallery. “We'd love to, but we're not really developers. It becomes a full-time job as a developer, and we're both artists and we both have work to do. We're expanding slowly, but there's potential. The guy that rents these warehouses would love them all to be like this. The whole block!”
And because their rent for the space is so low, they can lease the artist studios at prices that artists can actually afford. Over the months, the people who share the space have become almost a collective, helping each other out in more ways than one. When Jansen needed a dark room, Brotherton helped her set one up in the upstairs studio. And when someone has a show, the other artists open their studios to potential new clients.
“That's the other thing,” Devine says. “We're artists and we know artists aren't rich.”
“Our rents are reasonable as opposed to, like, other people who do this, and they're charging $200 per square foot. I don't want to name names,” Brotherton adds. “Plus, we get paid off when we have open studio shows and everybody brings their clients down. That kind of synergy is going to be the big payoff and great for everyone.”
Life of Lux: Elizabeth Turk displays her ribbon-like sculptures made from 400-pound blocks of marble at Lux Art Institute (1550 S. El Camino Real in Encinitas) through Oct. 31. Turk will be in studio until Oct. 3. Also, from Thursday, Nov. 12, through Jan. 9 see Susan Hauptman's lifesize charcoal self-portraits (she'll be in studio until Nov. 21). www.luxartinstitute.org.
If you build it: The La Jolla location of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (700 Prospect St.) will reopen after a brief closure with Automatic Cities: The Architectural Imaginary in Contemporary Art and Museums in Miniature, featuring works by Marcel Duchamp, from Saturday, Sept. 26, through Jan. 31. Meanwhile, Tara Donovan's sculptures made of appropriated materials will be on view from Sunday, Oct. 25, through Feb. 28 at MCASD's Downtown location (1100 Kettner Blvd.). www.mcasd.org.
He's grrrrrrreat!: L.A. artist Patrick Ballesteros will debut his first solo art show right here in San Diego at Subtext Gallery, 2479 Kett-ner Blvd., Downtown. Everyone's favorite childhood cereal characters are victims in the exhibition, Cereal Killer. The show opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, and runs through Oct. 25. www.subtextgallery.com.
Paging Bettie: Distinction Gallery (317 E. Grand Ave., Escondido) will feature pinup art by a handful of talented artists, including Susan Heidi, Brain Viveros, Scott Rohlfs, Angelique Houtkamp, N.C. Winters, Molly Crabapple and Saratoga Sake in Pinup Show. It opens with a reception from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, and runs through Nov. 7. www.distinctionart.com.
Something fishy: Local designer and craftsperson Arline Fisch crocheted color-coded copper wire into sea creatures for her upcoming show, Fisch Out of Water, at the Mingei International Museum (1439 El Prado in Balboa Park). Fisch's work will be complemented by 90 pieces of Bay Area artist June Schwarcz's work in Enamel Vessels. Both shows run from Thursday, Oct. 22, through March 10. www.mingei.org.
Never say nyet: Just before and after World War II, Russian artists immigrated to the U.S. at a rapid pace. American Artists from the Russian Empire explores the ethnic origins of some of these masters and their impact on 20th-century art. It's on view from Saturday, Oct. 24, through Jan. 7 at San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado in Balboa Park). A “Culture and Cocktails” reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. www.sdmart.org.
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