HOW THE TWAC DID WE GET HERE?
Coming up on our 6th year anniversary, I thought it appropriate to write about how Twilight Artist Collective all came to be.
Erin, Cheryl and myself (hi, it’s me, Mary!) were all independently headed to this place for years before we even met. Cheryl had studied ceramics in Arizona and had been living in Seattle, expanding the funk of her wardrobe and learning about bizness via her years of work at Carmelita and her personal business venture as a commissioned chalkboard artist for a number of years.
Erin, after growing up with art all around her, continued her lifelong pursuit and studied visual arts at the University of Washington. Erin’s grandfather was an amazing painter and her mentor, Kal, taught Erin how to express herself artistically from a young age.
I had always dabbled in art myself, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I actually started thinking that I need to pursue art seriously. Simply because I had an overwhelming desire to express myself and make. Falling into the sculpture program, however, was circumstantial. I fancied myself a self taught painter, but when I couldn’t get into a painting class I took a class from Norm Taylor who was then head of the UW sculpture program. I realized that I needed to most certainly spend $30,000+ learning how to make molds, melt metal and turn my ideas into 3-d.
In 2003, Erin and I both applied to the UW studio art program in Rome. Previously, Erin and I did not know each other, but it wouldn’t take long for us to be bonded in our new ancient home. In our program we traveled North and South throughout Italy. We saw abandoned cities, breathtaking structures, the new built atop the old. Our minds and hearts were expanded. Our job was to make art!
Upon our return in December we continued to meet for our daily cappuccinos and reminisce about the world we had left. I began a little business producing goods from my then studio in the Fenpro building in Ballard. I was essentially making purses all day and then selling them at the various markets. That summer, I took on a gig working for the Special Projects team for One Reel. Cheryl had worked for One Reel in the past and came on the crew as a veteran member of the Bumbershoot SP production team. I had noticed Cheryl but we didn’t actually meet until the week of the festival when we both got in the elevator together. I made a ridiculous comment and with Cheryl’s response I knew we were from similar planets. We proceeded to spend the next few weeks joined at the hip. Daily, after we clocked out, we would hit the local bars and talk and talk and talk about this place that we needed. We spoke about the harsh reality artists face after school ends and you find yourself trying to make the same caliber of art in your basement, with limited tools, all ALONE.
Erin was still getting coffee with me and wondering who this new friend of mine was. I think it would be accurate to say that Erin was even a bit jealous of my new friendship.
a gentleman named Mischa who Erin and I had actually met in Rome (he was our professors husband) approached me with some very interesting news. Mischa had been selling my purses in his Pike Place Market shop for about a year and he had decided he wanted to sell his business and focus on a film project. I listened with interest and bit my tongue. Five minutes later I called Mischa back to tell him that I would like to buy his business with some other artists and that as soon as I figured out who these folks were, he’d be the first to know.
12 people became 3. I approached several people about buying the business and running it as a collective together. During this process Cheryl and Erin met for the first time, we talked, we talked, we talked. The other interested parties opted out. Three weeks later, in January of 2005, Erin, Cheryl and myself, signed various documents and checks and BAM!, just like that, we were business owners.
Well this is where TwAC began. We realized that the business we purchased was not what we needed it to be and so we threw it all out. We changed our name to Twilight Artist Collective, we asked for a new website, we painted the walls and we played new tunes. In these early days we were ELATED when we sold $60 worth of goods in a day. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we were doing it because we knew it was right.
And well, that’s how it’s continued to play out. I think it’s safe to say that we now know what were doing and I think we do a pretty good job, but really we don’t feel like the choice is ours. We need more places filled with things that are made with thought and care. We need more places that help support the folks that choose to create, inspire and communicate ideas visual.
Thank YOU for being a part of our lives and supporting Twilight and the greater artist community. We are grateful.
Mary + TwAC