Vancouver Island University’s View Gallery will become an art market on Thursday, as dozens of visual art and graphic design students gather to show off and sell work created over the course of the fall semester.
Most of the artists are in their second, third and fourth years of study, although some first-year students are also participating. Items on display include prints, paintings and ceramics, as well as a colouring book made by graphic design students. This is the third year that the show is taking place in gallery. All profits from the sale go straight to the students.
“All students are starving, but art students, they’re especially starving and the reason being is because art supplies are expensive,” said Justin McGrail, View Gallery curator and art history professor, adding that he expects upwards of 40 to 50 students to take part.
The sale starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. McGrail said holding the event at the gallery instead of in the art building right outside their studios makes a big difference for students and patrons. He said some of the young artists have had their pieces on display before.
“The more senior students have had their works either in student exhibitions, which have been at the View Gallery, and I also know that some of them have had their work shown at places like The Vault [Café] and around town. The art is high quality,” he said.
“You can imagine, as a professor, it’s like they’re my children, so I’m super proud of them all the time.”
The students will be set up at tables along the walls with as many pieces they choose. They will be selling their work directly to patrons, which McGrail said is “always the greatest way” to buy art.” He said it’s important for artists and buyers to interact this way.
“Oftentimes art prompts questions. Good questions… And this is true in the professional art world as well, that it’s especially not just nice but illuminating when you can talk to the creator of the work of art,” he said.
“And if you are buying the work of art, that usually makes the artist want to talk to you. So it creates kind of a bond, a social bond, around the work of art and that becomes the memory that you attach to that picture.”
McGrail said the show is also meant to encourage the students, as it’s important for them to experience some success at such an early stages of their artistic careers.
“When you sell something that you’ve made, it really does give you confidence in what you’re doing and encourages them to keep making more,” he said.
“Going into art requires a lot of confidence because it’s very challenging and so these sort of events give our students, who are very young to my mind, the kind of positive encouragement which will keep them going.”
WHAT’S ON … The 2017 Vancouver Island University Student Art Sale happens at The View Gallery on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.