In the small town of Gustine in Merced County, where art galleries are usually rare to come by, Newman resident Katherine Crinklaw shares her love of art with her community through her fine art gallery.
Crinklaw was first introduced to art at just 4-years-old through the painting lessons that her mother would give her alongside her siblings at home. From to this early introduction to art, Crinklaw’s passion for painting developed at a very early age and was an aspect of her life that she had discovered would be her calling very early on as well. After graduating high school, Crinklaw started her career and moved forward in accepting commissions from those who admired her work while working at a dress shop. While others would advise her to pursue a more “conventional” profession, Crinklaw’s family was nothing short of supportive throughout the beginning of her career.
“I did of course deal with the advice about having a more conventional job but not from my family ” said Crinklaw. “I was always encouraged that ‘if you think you can do this then you need to do it.’”
After taking this advice from her family, Crinklaw continued her work and soon had her art displayed in galleries all throughout the Central Valley, having a selection of hand-painted ceramics within Turlock’s Carnegie Art Center’s gift shop, and having her work featured in magazines such as “Southwest Art Magazine” and expanding her reach throughout the country by commissioning pieces to several clients across the nation.
“You know with the website, the world is very small and I ship paintings,” Crinklaw said. “I have a lot of them back East and many different places across the country. I’ve been very fortunate.”
Like many other artists, social media is also a platform that helps Crinklaw share her work, not only with those within her surrounding community. but to art enthusiasts all around the world. In 2013 Crinklaw, along with the help from her son Jason, created a Facebook business page to do just that and 81,000 followers later, Crinklaw is still immensely flattered by every person who expresses love for her work on the page.
“I post a picture of the art and I write a paragraph about it and that’s it and there’s nothing ever personal, it’s just about the painting or the ceramics and people are very nice,” Crinklaw said. “I answer all comments myself. It’s only been a positive experience, everyone has been so nice.”
For Crinklaw, though the support from those who follow her work on Facebook is greatly appreciated, Gustine and it’s surrounding community holds a special place within her heart. So much so that after 42 years of collecting clients and recognition for her art, Crinklaw opened Crinklaw Fine Art Gallery in Gustine. While the community of Gustine welcomed Crinklaw’s art gallery with open arms, Crinklaw, alongside her supporting husband and three sons, worked hard in preparing the gallery for its debut in 2019. Since opening, those who visit the gallery can see various paintings and ceramic art that take inspiration from nature and its surrounding colors and warmth. It is also from this gallery, which is located just down the street from where she graduated high school, that Crinklaw can recall many heartfelt memories, which make the city all that much more important to her.
“I took painting classes down the street from David Shaw and I just felt that it would be so fitting to give my hometown something special that it didn’t already have and hopefully be a part of revitalizing my hometown, ” Crinklaw said.
Alongside operating the gallery, Crinklaw also continues to work on commissions from clients around the surrounding communities within the Central Valley as well as those from around the nation.
As Crinklaw’s gallery continues to be a treasured addition to her community, she hopes that her establishment will spark a wave of other art galleries opening within her hometown so that Gustine will one day be known as a fine art destination and share with the world what beauty can come from small places.
“The thing that means the most to me is when people let me know that the work touches them in a way or makes them feel good or moves them. I think therein lies the power of art, ” she said.
Crinklaw Fine Art
Gallery: 377 5th St, Gustine
Contact: (209) 573-3523
Facebook: Crinklaw Fine Art