It’s 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Dozens of photographers, painters, and enthusiasts gather in Mr. Jake Buntjer’s living room. He and Patric Bates stand back from the backdrop of paintings, pictures, and dirty glass windows to drink in the moment.
“This,” said Buntjer, pointing to the floor, “is not Studio 760.”
All eyes are on him.
“The art on the wall is Studio 760,” Buntjer said. “It’s going to continue to move, and we’re going to have different places, different locations. We’re going to add to the artists here”.
The movement of local artists will go on. Studio 760 is the name given to this particular showing of artwork. When it moves to its next location, it will take on a new name and a new identity.
The Studio 760 house art show, for one evening at least, became Utah County’s underground art scene. Buntjer and Bates saw their vision transform into reality as 33 local artists provided 133 pieces for the event, attended by more than 200 people.
Bates explained how moving it was to see so many “completely passionate” local artists who supported the event.
“This is completely a collaboration of incredible minds, incredible talent,” Bates said.
The incredible collaborative effort managed to cover almost every square inch of the house in art. The collection of paintings and photographs was so engulfing it was difficult to tell where the art ended and the house itself began.
It wasn’t just the house that was engulfed, according to Allison Worthen, it was the individuals who were in attendance. Worthen, a photographer and UVU alumni who displayed pieces at the show, talked about how the spectator and the art became one.
“You’re in this confined space where the art is surrounding you – it captures your soul,” said Worthen.
In contrast to traditional galleries, the atmosphere allowed patrons to be caught up in the emotion of the art. Explaining the nature of the atmosphere as “approachable,” Cat Palmer, an artist from Salt Lake City, talked about how the “relaxed” feeling of the room enhanced the showing.
As painter Annie Farley put it, it was a show “for the artist, by artists.” Farley went on to describe how she felt more at home in the unique environment.
“It’s not like a museum where you have to dress up and be quiet,” Farley said.
Artists explained their pieces to other artists, Buntjer’s room of vintage collectibles was open to guests, and darker art mixed with lighter art to blend the imaginative power of a community.
Providing a vintage feel as the artists and guests conversed, several acoustic bands added to the different layers of the gallery. Art lover and artist alike found it difficult to not be entranced by the work. One piece by Bates called “Gentlemen and Birds” was hung the end of a hallway, crowning his collection, which was scattered throughout the show.
Buntjer and Bates have set their sights on a new future for artists in Utah County. They want to share their vision with all local artists, but they don’t know what Studio 760 will mean to the local art community. According to Bates, though, that’s just fine.
“You don’t really know what it means,” Bates in his speech. “It’s great because it means whatever you want it to mean.”
That is how they operate.
Their next show is scheduled for next spring, and thanks to Studio 760, it has some big shoes to fill. Art enthusiasts will need to keep their eyes and ears open, because nobody knows for sure when or where the next show will come, what it will be called, or what artists will be featured.
By Spencer Healey