I catch up with two talented artists, Jason and Nina Sauer, who own Most-Wanted Fine Art Gallery in the Garfield section of Pittsburgh. I have attended a couple events over the last few months and I believe their impact on the community runs much deeper than just with the arts. I'd like for you learn more about this power couple and what is coming up next for the gallery. Sit back and relax...
What are your earliest memories of art growing up?
[Jason] I use to finger paint on brown paper bags on the floor.
[Nina] I spent a lot of time as a child crafting and painting with my grandfather. He was an outsider junk artist of sorts, who built things he wanted since we lived in a very rural isolated area. It wasn't thought of as art or talked of in that way.
Did you grow up in a family where art was being performed or promoted?
[Jason] Yes, my mother went art school and decorated cakes and encouraged me to make art from the start. I decorated a lot of cakes. She kept a roll of paper across a trunk and I would draw constantly.
[Nina] We made things but it wasn't talked about as art. Once I got to high school and got involved in art classes my parents were supportive of my dreams.
Who are your biggest influences as an artist?
[Jason] John Chamberlain and Piet Mondrain. Mondrain has a clean sense of style with a great manifesto about art smart subjects. Chamberlain has a guttural response to the art making process.
[Nina] John Hughes, Dolly Parton and Joan Jett. hahaha its funny but true. With Visual artists, its a hard group to pin point one person. My uncle owned a comic/pop culture shop, so movie posters and comics surrounded me and that and those artists always stuck with me. Once I moved to Pittsburgh I would lose myself at the museums just taking in every bit I could. All artists influence me.
Did you find any interest in the art classes being offered in your schooling at any point? (Elementary-College)
[Jason] Yes, I spent all my free time in the art classroom.
[Nina) All of them! So much so i moved 12 hours away and attended the art institute of Pittsburgh.
When did the idea first start to start your own gallery?
[Jason] After I read Keith herring's history. Because he started his own gallery to sell his artwork instead of chasing art galleries.
[Nina] I had been part of several artist groups in Pittsburgh and organizing events when I met Jason who already had the building. So it was a perfect partnership.
I find it refreshing that you host different events out of your gallery and giving the community an outlet for social and music gatherings. Where did this idea come from?
[Jason] From an early age I was taught to give back. I was in the army and that time and service stuck with me. We live a purposeful life.
[Nina] I agree, both Jason and I grew up in small towns where the "it takes a village to raise a kid" is still alive and well. We both have both always lived community driven lives. Now that we have our own son that idea of the need for a strong connection to where you live and the people that live there is even more important. We love the joy and excitement people have when throwing an event. Being able to be part of special moments in people's lives is a reward. We get to experience something great and help out. It’s a win-win.
What is next for Most Wanted Art Gallery?
[Jason] We have adopted 12 local artists to be resident artists and we are helping them develop an art dream and a community project.
[Nina] Yes! We have so much! As Jason mentioned with our resident artists, they all are working on new bodies of work and a community project. We are also opening our own screen print school, Pittsburgh Printing Press. We will be training guys recently released from prison about (we already teach them general contracting) the screen-print industry. We will be making hand printed shirts, books and posters. Plus classes for the public, discount services to community groups and non-profits and small batch printing options.
If you could change anything in the art community in Pittsburgh, what would it be?
[Nina] this is a hard question. Pittsburgh is very small. People are so busy with the art that they are creating and their lives that it’s hard to gather a large group for things. Where as in a big city there are lots of non-artists who can attend events, or larger arts communities in general. Pittsburgh has amazing events happening every night. So many in fact that everyone is competing for the same small audience who attends events. As more people fill in the city the ability to teamwork to make something fun with no pressure will pass away but that pressure will force some artists to focus and create higher quality art.
I will be posting up a calendar of events for Most-Wanted Fine Art going into great detail all the wonderful events and projects coming up for the gallery. Check back here on my blog, it deserves its own post so nothing is left out. I thank Jason and Nina so much for taking the time out of their very busy schedules to provide us with this wonderful intimate look into their lives. It means a lot to me that you gave this an honest effort. Please contact them at:
Most Wanted Fine Art
5015 Penn Ave
PGH PA 15224
5015 Penn Ave
PGH PA 15224