Founder of William Baczek Fine Arts
Please give us a brief history of yourself and your gallery.
I attended the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and after college I did what most art school graduates do, I became a bartender. But I also worked part-time as a picture framer. When the owner decided to open a small gallery in the basement he asked me to be the Director and it was there I began my career as a gallerist. After working at that gallery for a decade I decided to open my own gallery in 1996.
This was in the days before the Internet, so most of our artists were local. Fortunately, the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts has an incredibly strong group of artists who exhibit nationally and internationally. There was also a group of painters known as the Valley Realists who coalesced around the painter, Gregory Gillespie. So, when we opened the gallery we had an excellent opportunity to show local artists whose work usually went straight from their studios to their galleries in New York City or Los Angeles.
As time passed we took advantage of the Internet to find, exhibit and sell work by artists from across the country and Europe. Most businesses that rely on sales are threatened by the Internet, but art galleries are one of the few businesses that are Amazon-proof. What we sell is unique and one-of-a-kind. Of course different work by the same artist can be located in other galleries but this only makes the individual pieces by each artist that the gallery has more special.
Can you tell us about some of the artists that you’ve brought to PULSE over the years and why you decided to present them at our fair?
My gallery’s program is very broad, spanning from realist painters to artists who create completely non-objective work. The gallery exhibits a diverse group of artists from the U.S and Europe who are unified by a shared aesthetic and in their approach to process and dexterity within each artist’s chosen media.
At Pulse, we try to show a cohesive group of work that communicates this diversity, from nationally known realist painters like Scott Prior and Eric Wert, internationally known pop-surrealists, Travis Louie (United States), El Gato Chimney (Italy) and Jana Brike (Latvia) as well as non-representational artists like painter, Jaq Chartier and sculptor, Anne Lilly.
What makes PULSE special compared to other fairs?
Most art fairs have a “look”. You almost know what kind of work you’re going to see before you even walk in. One of the aspects that I find most interesting about Pulse is the broad range of work you see, which is always unexpected and intelligent. This has always made me feel like I have a good home at Pulse, because it is that same philosophy in strength by diversity that I compose our exhibition program.
Are there any topics in the contemporary art discourse and the art market that are of particular interest to you right now? Any trends you see coming?
I am happy that I am beginning to see equal wall space given to strong figurative work alongside non-representational work. It used to be the only figurative work you’d see at art fairs were paintings by John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage. Now you see amazing figurative work by both male and female artists. I am also very interested in the rise of strong queer voices, such as Lou Fratino, Richard Tinkler, Sheila Pepe and Doron Langberg.
What’s coming up next for your gallery?
Our exhibition program for the fall of 2019 and early 2020 will focus on solo exhibitions by Robert Sweeney, El Gato Chimney, Scott Prior, Susan Mikula, Brad Woodfin and Jana Brike.
We utilize our Instagram account (@wbfinearts) which has over ten thousand followers to share new work created by our artists. Also, we are in the process of creating a YouTube channel where people can not only see what is hanging in the gallery to include videos of the artist’s in their studios and their art-making process. YouTube is the second most visited web site after Google and we hope to get as many eyes on our artists as possible.