Wallpaper Wonder: Teton Artlab has evolved but continues to keep its eye on the local art prize

By on March 1, 2018

About a decade ago, Travis Walker was still a relatively unknown artist. The painter, known for his contemporary scenes of Jackson and the West, started Teton Artlab in part to offer a place where artists like himself could show work; where people could see modern and unusual paintings, prints and sculptures that didn’t fit in the more mainstream gallery scene in Jackson.

The fledgling gallery’s first major show to feature work by more than just a couple of artists was called Wallpaper. Works on paper covered the walls in the salon-style show. Some prints went for only a few dollars, enticing people who’d never bought art to buy their first pieces.

“This is how I started my career,” Walker said. “I started as an artist without representation. This show, along with the other group shows at the Artlab, helped establish myself here.”

Altamira Gallery now represents Walker, and Teton Artlab has grown to include a residency program that brings artists to Jackson from around the world. What hasn’t changed is the organization’s dedication to supporting local artists and exposing the community to different styles of art, and its regular Wallpaper show. The show has become the main event the Artlab hosts each year.

“This is one of the only times we really open the studios up and have a party and that’s always a good formula for a successful and fun event,” Walker said.

This year, the show will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Teton Artlab. The curated show will feature more than 25 artists representing a mix of those who live in Jackson and alums from its residency program.

The show is only one night. The only parameters participating artists must follow are that the work must be on paper and it can’t be a digital print.

Hundreds of works on paper will hang like a crazy grid across the walls.

“When it comes together, it does have a feeling of wallpaper,” Walker said.

Attendees are given a sheet of red dot stickers when they enter. When they find a piece they want, they can place a sticker next to it with their initials.

“It’s kind of a free for all,” Walker said.

The first year Walker had to solicit friends to create work for the show. When the doors opened, he was overwhelmed with people wanting to buy the hundreds of pieces of work papering the walls. He came up with the sticker system to help with the chaos.

“I think that really changed the dynamic of the show — giving the people the power to go nuts with the red dots,” he said. “People really love that power.”

 

The work is all unframed making it more affordable for new collectors. Works range from as low as $5 up to several hundred dollars. Purchased work must be paid for the same night.

The work usually runs the gamut of subject matter, as well as medium. Last year an artist showed — and sold — prints of bags of poop, Walker said.

“Art is a funny thing, there really does seem to be a buyer for literally every piece of art you put out there, no matter how strange it is,” he said.

Unlike the first year Artlab hosted Wallpaper, most of the work sold in the show is now made in Jackson at the Artlab. The residency program has expanded the reach of Artlab to around the world.

Former residents like June Glasson and Erin Curry will show work in the Wallpaper show, as will local like Mike Piggott, Amy Lay, Ben Roth and many more. Walker will also sell some of his work including landscapes, paintings of trailers and RVs and a painting from the World Championship Hill Climb that he’s never shown.

Money raised from the show goes to the Artlab’s residency program. Artists keep 50 percent of the proceeds, although some choose to donate the entire price tag of their work.

The evening will feature food from Pearl Street Market and beer from Melvin Brewing. PJH


About Kelsey Dayton

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