Monday, January 19, 2015

A Conversation with Rob Davidson of Davidson Fine Art Gallery about the St. Pete Arts Scene

The St. Petersburg Arts community is in a bit of turmoil there days what with the Kriseman administration's decision to replace long time City Arts director Elizabeth Brincklow with former Morean Arts Director Wayne Atherholt.

Also in play are several requests for City funding the upcoming 2016 City budget and a large upcoming project in the Warehouse Arts District.

To get some perspective, earlier in the month I sat down with Rob Davidson of Davidson's Fine Art Gallery to get the view of a long time member of the St. Petersburg Arts scene.

This is the first of a 5 Post series where Rob Davidson and his staff talk about his Gallery, the arts in St. Pete and how he sees the future of the arts in St. Petersburg. 

My Questions are in Bold

Tell me a bit about your backgrounds and how Davidson Fine Art got started," I asked.
"My name is Rob Davidson and I have had a framing shop and gallery here in St. Petersburg this will be our 20th year. We have been doing giclee printing for five or six years and art supplies for about 2 and a half years. We added the printing and art supplies to make an art resource center."

"My name is Erin O'Malley and I have been here for about 4 months managing the Gallery."

"My Name is Amada Cramer and I have been with the business almost since its inception."

"What services do you provide," I asked?
"Let's start with art supplies', Rob answered."The whole reason I wanted art supplies in here was to really bring artists through the door. The art supply is really a loss leader; we do it as a service for the local artists. The framing, gallery and the printing are the business mainstays. We've been doing the framing for 20 years so we are well established in that and we are starting to get a foothold in the printing end of things now."

"So that's the general idea to have art supplies at a fair lower than retail cost and local artists come to a brick and motor store and pick their supplies up. Combining the convenience and lower than retail price and customers will find our other services, framing and printing, while they are in the gallery."

"Tell me about the printing."
"Ok, it's giclee printing, a fancy, made-up French word for high quality inkjet printing and we do the printing on a large format 44 inch Canon IPF 8400 printer, which to me is the state of the art in giclee printing especially in terms of color,: Rob replied. " This particular printer is designed to work with both CMYK and RGB files and does so using 12 colors. We bought this printer about two years ago and it is still state of the art as far as I am concerned."

"What material can you print on," I asked.
"We currently have 6 different archival media in stock." Rob replied. "We have two different types of photo paper; Luster and Metallic. We also have two different types of canvas; Matte and Metallic. We also have a Velvet rag paper which is a cotton paper very similar to watercolor paper and we just got a new substrate. It is plastic polyester that is translucent so it transmits light and allows us to now make light boxes using prints of artist's two dimensional creations. That is the latest offering here in the Gallery and we are seeing a lot of interest in the light boxes."

"You also offer artist's supplies," I continued.
"We offer a basic range of artist supplies", Rob replied. "There are stores that have more inventory than we have, We are really more focused on the acrylic painters with acrylic paints, canvas and brushes, but we also have pads, drawing materials and smattering of water colors and oil paints. Plans are under way to expand the supplies inventory and offer more choices but for now we are focused on the acrylic painter."

My Conversation with Rob Davidson and his staff continue in the next Post as they talk about the Davidson Gallery.

The Davidson Fine Art Gallery us located at 2036 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33712, the Phone Number is 727-827-1888. Right across the Street from Haslems Book Store.

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