Joy in Creativity: Terzian Gallery


“When I started my first gallery in 1985, I used my own interest in art to continue learning. I was constantly reading, talking to people, meeting artists, watching their work,” Terzian explains, crediting Brazilian artist Romero Britto, whose work she carried in years past, for his positive influence. “He taught me that enthusiasm is very contagious, and that art can be for everyone. You don’t have to buy a 10K painting to get satisfaction from viewing a piece. Art can bring so much to your life. I’ve really tried to make the gallery accessible to everyone and include a wide range of work. Park City is now an international tourist destination, and we talk to a lot of serious collectors. But even for people new to the art world, I encourage everyone to come in because you can get so much joy from creativity. If I can convey that to people, that is a joy for me, because that is what I’ve learned.”

Terzian’s gallery space at the top of Main Street in the historic Pony building is a joy to behold — a pleasing mix of current and accessible work satisfying to both first time clients and sophisticated clientele. Whimsical, spontaneous pieces are inviting and approachable — here’s a metal sculpture of a cat on a trike! There are elongated figurines of women bearing keys and flowers, and tiny sculptures of ponies kicking and rolling in delight. Wavy glass bowls filled with colorful orbs in tropical fruit colors are delicious to look at; delicately painted paper fish float next to glass flowers; and Western-themed collage style furniture completes the friendly mood.

However, not all of the art here is a lark. There are subtle, stirring portraits of everyday objects such as keys and coins by Joseph Carter; and heavy, moody paintings of machinery and letter-forms by Christopher Schill. Doug Braithwaite’s bright familiar scenes of Northern Utah mountains and Park City locales are engaging and personal.

According to Terzian, current trends include a return to works that inspire nostalgia. “I’m seeing a lot of interest from buyers in pieces with iconic imagery — the old truck or postcard or diner — paintings or collages that perhaps remind people of their pasts. It’s been interesting to see pop art that started with

[Andy] Warhol 40 years ago kind of resurface in this manner and recycle itself. I think people really like this kind of work because it makes them feel good. They might buy a piece because it reminds them of a vacation they took or the place where they got married,” Terzian explains, adding that sometimes people even buy work because the title strikes them. “Once I had clients buy a painting titled “Lilies” because their daughter’s name was Lily. It was personal to them because it represented purity and beauty.”

Another shift in the market is an interest in work that is affordable and holds value. “I do see a trend where people [want] something that they’ve chosen [from] an artist who’s created a one of a kind piece, rather than reproductions or the landscapes that were popular in the ’80s. I’ve really been trying to capture that market, to provide something that is unique. I find more and more people [want] what speaks to them rather than what other people are telling them is important to buy.”

Terzian’s effort to encourage artistic freedom rather than solicit work that merely supplies a demand has helped both artists and clients. “I really try to encourage artists to pursue their own interests. They really grow when they branch out and take a chance and don’t stay safe. Then, they often create their best work.”

Terzian credits a sophisticated clientele with supporting artistic freedom. “Clients are so interested and supportive of the artists as individuals and really like to connect with who they are and what they are doing. I try to have the artists go with their gut instincts. It’s much more rewarding to risk it. It’s more fun and makes it more exciting. There are going to be hits and misses, and that’s life. As far as my role in that process, I’m encouraging both the artist and the client to grow.”

Having spent many hours on paintings that were never finished and writing that has yet to be published, Park City local Vanessa Conabee appreciates creativity and completion in all its forms.

This article appears in the Summer/Fall 2007 issue of Park City Magazine