Doing what you love and making money don’t often fall into the same category. Put into the mix being a college student, and those odds drop even lower. But sometimes being both young and passionate work out to ones advantage.
Take Poor Won Jive, for example. A collaboration of three young artists, who are using their talents, connections and their drive to make a name for themselves in the art world of San Francisco. Initially created as an art magazine, Poor Won Jive became a haven for other young art contributors who had art to hang but no wall to hang it on, so to speak. Brothers Roarke Lacey, 25, and Colin Lacey, 21, and friend Jesse Simmons, 21, are of the three men who created the group. Collectively, they wanted to create a place to expose the artwork of young people, who don’t always have the resources to do so.
“I don’t think any of the artists we’ve featured have been over their twenty’s,” said Colin Lacey, “typically it’s the younger people that don’t have a place to display their work.”
After three magazine issues and more and more contributors giving Poor Won Jive their artwork, the guys decided to showcase these artists in a more effective way. That’s where Jeff Bruton stepped in. Bruton, 41, is the owner of The Loin, an apparel, art and assorted goods store located in the Tenderloin.
“I knew Poor Won Jive as a bunch of young artists that weren’t getting any publicity for the work that they were doing,” said Bruton, “and I wanted to be the one to give exposure to those artists.”
Bruton thought that his store, which used to be located on Eddy St., was going to close down due to rent increase, but was shocked to find a last minute location on Larkin St. to keep the ship afloat. Bruton thought, what better way to celebrate the grand opening of his new space then with an art gallery gathering young artists and speculators and a keg of beer to welcome the Loin back into the game?
So fittingly titled “Friends,” the Poor Won Jive group art show fulfilled the artist’s expectations of both exposure of art and selling the art, and even set precedence for not only a great art show but also a damn good time.
“Whether all the kids that showed were here to buy art or were just here for the beer, the purpose of bringing people together for art and fun was perfectly executed. And hey, there are some ‘sold’ signs on the pieces, so it seems quite a success to me,” said Lena White, who heard about the art show from a friend.
The gallery showcased over 10 artists, all of whom had their work for sale. On top of the work, the gallery also sold Poor Won Jive’s magazines and the Loin’s apparel and goods.
The artwork was affordable, the music was good and the crowd was drunk. All in all, the art gallery demonstrated what young artists in San Francisco are capable of with a bunch of gutless talent, the right connections and some friends to make it all worthwhile.