It’s hard to miss Artmart: Pollock-esque splatters of paint cover its bright-red exterior. Inside, its just as striking. Artists of all disciplines draw from the art superstore’s wealth of supplies and skills to further their next projects. Thousands of colors of paints, pencils, and sculpting materials are in stock here, as well as brushes, easels, canvas and a vast paper selection.
As a locally owned creative marketplace, Artmart has a number of divisions in its store depending on your artistic needs: you can immortalize your pieces and prints at the Framing Center, or stock up on colorful cards, stationery, and decorative paper at the paper boutique. Children as young as three can sign up for the store’s small-group classes, which cover various media including painting, sketching, and sculpting skills. You can be inspired at their Studio which boasts a host of events from fine art adult classes to craft workshops to creative birthday parties.
Joel Marion first cultivated his creativity while enlisted in the Air Force and working as a photojournalist. He taught himself the complexities of shutter speed and f-stops through trial and error. Through his company—Joel Marion Photography—the autodidact has become one of the fortunate few whose avocation becomes their vocation, unlike Michael Jordan, who longed to dunk donuts instead of basketballs. Throughout his career, he has worked in fashion and advertising in St. Louis. By working with area clients for more than 30 years, Joel brings an experienced and creative approach to family, baby, high-school senior, and head-shot portraits. His wife Carol manages the studio while Joel's design and Photoshop specialist, Kelly Tucker, helps their clientele create aesthetically pleasing compositions.
Led by Tom and Donna Otis, Fast Frame Charlottesville's friendly staffers outfit pictures and beautifies abodes with ensembles that turn two-dimensional keepsakes into multidimensional treasures. With a vast selection of borders, Fast Frame tastefully accents pictures of cherished memories, safely preserves and displays sports memorabilia, and even frames flat-screen TVs so they can't leave the living room to go chill with the microwave. Under Fast Frame’s Preservation Plus program, frame craftsmen sequester artwork in an acid-free environment and use framing designed to save artifacts from UV light, ensuring that they retain their luster throughout their display and that they are safe for future removal.
Given The Bead Place's packed class calendar, it's a wonder the store doesn't grant degrees. If it could, customers who attend workshops regularly could have earned PhDs by now in subjects ranging from knitting and felting to silversmithing and metalwork. The scope of these skills is too broad for only a few people to handle teaching, so fortunately, the store employs more than a dozen instructors and doesn't count on a swamp creature with a giant, pulsing brain to do all the work. These staffers are experts in their respective crafts; Kara Jacob's beading work was highlighted in a Bead and Button magazine's "best of" volume, and Abbi Berta has been published as a designer in multiple magazines.
When students need materials for one of these workshops, the obvious spot to look is The Bead Place itself. The store carries semi-precious stones, vintage glass, Swarovski Crystal, and hundreds of types of yarn. It also supplies kits, patterns, and tools such as brass wire brushes and jeweler's saws.
With a unique grasp of composition, color, focus, and dimension, Dane A. Harris not only captures candid emotions and personalities but creates one-of-a-kind artwork for each client. “I like to put my own spin on the photo. I like to play with light to make an image pop,” he said; and he achieves that no matter the assignment—be it a wedding, family portrait, or engagement session. It’s an approach he developed while studying art and photography and, more importantly, how to appropriately break the standard rules of static photography. He also shoots high-school senior portraits and offers cinematography services for special events.
Snapping professional shots since the early 90s, the photographers of Photo Video Image Productions specialize in bridal and lifestyle portraiture. Whether on-site or in-studio, portrait sessions yield natural-looking photos of kids, couples, and families. The studio also documents wedding days in motion with videography services, which burn precious memories, such as walking down the aisle or sprinting down the aisle, onto film.