PALMER — Distinguished Palmer artist Shane Lamb recently participated in a question and answer interview to discuss the closure of his iconic studio, Shane Lamb Gallery as well as art and creativity as a whole.
Q: So, how have things been for your going out of business sale?“
We’ve been really busy. I had no idea. Words getting out there. It’s been better than we expected… There’s a lot of people who wanted my work and never got around to buying it... so that’s what’s been keeping us busy… All we have is what we have.. It’s all out on the walls now.. I’m posting everyday on my [Facebook] page to show what the walls look like.”
Q: What’s that feel like?
“I have to say I’ve felt a great deal of public support... It really feels good to go out strong… I had no idea people cared that much… This has been an evolution over many years. You just don’t put this together overnight.”
Q: What’s it been like being an artist in the Palmer community?
“I settled here because it’s one of the most beautiful places in Alaska… I raised my four kids here… I’ve painted a lot of scenes of this area too. It means a lot to people who think of me as a Palmer artist, a Matanuska painter.”
Q: What does making art mean to you?
“Making art has been in my blood since I was a child… I fell in love with the beauty of Alaska at an early age… There’s so much raw beauty here. That’s why this has always been my home.”
Q: Will you be selling any more paintings?
“I’m not gonna have a studio. There’s not gonna be room... Online orders, those are all done out of here, so that’s going away. We will try to hold onto our Denali studio, but that’s only open during the summer… We’re trying to print my photography in time for that.”
Q: So this is the last chance to buy one of your paintings?
“My artwork will no longer be available… I will paint again someday... it’s probably just gonna be for my own enjoyment.”
Q: When was your last painting?
"My latest original was in 2014, called ‘Power and Promise.’ Since then, I’ve brought out my photography line, so that’s what I’ve been occupying my time with… Becoming a gallery owner... it sucks your time up, and painting takes a lot of time.”
Q: Did you ever miss it?
“I very much miss it. There’s no question about it… I kinda see that as something for when I retire... My life has changed so much.”
Q: Do you use photography or some other creative activity to express your inner creativity, for your own sake?
“Honestly, photography really fills my niche in creativity. I truly enjoy the process... It gets me into nature with animals and the beautiful scenery... That really fulfills me.”
Q: What do you think of Palmer’s creative scene?
“Alaska in general, and the same can be said about Palmer and Mat-Su Valley, is a very creative group of people... What I find is artists tend to gravitate toward beautiful places... and Palmer is one of those places... There’s great creativity in all mediums out here.”
Q: What’s your advice to upcoming artists or those looking to grow their craft?
“Don’t fear following your dreams. Don’t let anything negative keep you from trying and giving your best shot. Because, that’s the only way you’re going to find out… Do it with cautious optimism, realizing it is one in a million [to make a living from art]. It’s okay to dream. We wouldn’t have any artists if there weren’t dreamers who decided to follow their passion, in spite of what anyone told them.”
Q: What value do you think art and other creative pursuits have?
“I do believe people should follow their dreams... If for no other reason, that it fulfills them... That’s why you should do it… Having an outlet for people to express themselves, we all need something like that.”
Q: What’s your plan moving forward?
“We had to sell our house, we’re completely downsizing… We have to look at this economy being two years on this [COVID-19 affected]… It’s all been crisis management, so it’s kind of been hard to see past that chapter… I still will be able to fulfill my career [with photography]... It’s a big part of my soul. It would probably be more devastating if I lost everything.”
Lamb is selling everything in the store at 15 to 30 percent off. The final day is Saturday, Oct. 24 The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Shane Lamb Gallery at 907-746-3343 or visit their Facebook page.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org