Earlier this week, maybe Tuesday, I was riding my bike down Cary Avenue and saw that an artist had set up along the fence in front of that parking lot near Can Can. The artist, Jamie Chiarello, is a displaced New Orleans artist who is originally from Richmond. She was travelling at the time of the hurricane and has yet to return to her home and studio, where she said she had twenty or so paintings. Now she is staying in Richmond with her family and trying to save and prepare for a move to NYC.
Most of the work she is showing on the sidewalk in Carytown is small stuff she has completed since the hurricane and flood, and the best stuff is the smaller works-on-paper. Reminds me a little of the wonderful Ben Shahn. I love the little piece pictured above.
I'm not sure how she is deciding her pricing, because here on her website the prices start at $300.00 but on the last pages they are down to $30.00; I've seen most of this work and it is of comparable size and quality - I think she is pricing based on how much an individual piece means to her personally.
I'm so glad I stopped, her work is good and she's very funny. She's only twenty(!) and hasn't attended any art school but has had some interesting art experiences. She told me of a previous visit to NYC where she approached some galleries with her work and the two guys took her out to lunch and made passes at her. One of them didn't like her frames and I guess she talked back or something - he ended up confessing that he hates his job and hates doing this and wants to weave baskets. She said "that sounds great, go for it" but then he told her she didn't know what she was saying, it is so hard to be a basket weaver, you need to grow special reeds and he can't do it in NYC.
She was also invited by a woman to have an exhibition at the woman's orgy. Jamie made all new work for the orgy show and went to the orgy and although she didn't sell any work made for the show she did sketch people having sex and when they were finished she would sell the sketches to them for twenty-five dollars.
I have no idea if these stories are true or not but it was great meeting Jamie and seeing her work. I asked how long she would be here (selling on Cary Street) and she said she had to be in NYC by August 7th. I told her it was the middle of September and she looked a little confused for a second and then said October 7th, so good luck in trying to find her. You can e-mail her through her website.