SLOcally Made, an art collective that showcases the work of local artists and crafters, is back for its second year in a small gallery on the corner of Osos Street and Monterey Street near the Fremont Theater.
Everything on display is made by hand. With every horizon painting, leather wallet and stuffed animal, buyers can be sure that each piece came from its own unique creative process.
For artists like weekend one’s Candace Oestreich, an abstract impressionistic painter who goes by Candace Rae, that process begins at 4:30 a.m. with a cup of coffee. On the evenings that she teaches painting classes, that cup is replaced with a glass of wine and a group of women eager to learn canvas painting.
“It’s important to be able to have a community of support to understand how to put yourself into a market such as SLOcally Made,” Oestreich said. “Finding that niche will only help you further your craft and grow for profit.”
An artist’s development is not always an easy road to travel, and Oestreich said she believes any artist should be open to change, even if that change means taking a break from work.
“Maybe [when] things start becoming too much of a routine … it’s important to tweak where you are,” Oestreich said. “Take a step back and redevelop.”
Leatherworker Jonathan Wilson said that honesty is important in any life endeavor; that honesty led him to make some changes to his own art. He used to make good business selling leather knife rolls to chefs. Then he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which led to a three-year battle that had him traveling back and forth between San Luis Obispo and UCLA Medical Center.
“I had this whole reevaluating [of] my life and what I was doing,” Wilson said. “I don’t really like making knife rolls, it’s not like my passion in life … how would this look if it was what I wanted to do?”
Now, Wilson attends Cuesta College and feels fulfilled selling leather wallets and satchels.
Sadie Rogers, a graphic designer for Cal Poly University Housing, helped coordinate SLOcally Made and brings both the digital and physical world into her art.
“It’s really important to have different skills or still continue to explore creativity in a different realm,” Rogers said. “It inspires the texture and it inspires in the digital realm the same types of things.”
If there’s any advice for aspiring artists to take from the SLOcally Made collective, it is that one must simply go out and create.
In the words of 11-year-old mini-maker Brooklin: “I say just go for it, like just bust out a piece of paper and maybe some paint and throw it on … you never know how it’s gonna turn out.”
The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is split into two weekends: Nov. 30-Dec 2 and Dec. 7-9. Artists who want to go the extra mile and sell their work for the entire 18 days leading up to Christmas Eve can also showcase their work from Dec. 13-24.