December will mark 7 years of the Viz Art Gallery in Carlsbad, CA. I opened the shop when I was 28 years old and took a leap of faith into owning a brick and mortar business. A decision I will never forget.
I got my start in the art industry in 2007 when I did my first farmer's market at the Oceanside Sunset Market. I was 24 years old, nervous, excited, scared but ready to see where my art would take me. Every Thursday night people could find me selling and growing my business. Over the next couple of years I was doing over 200 shows a year.
Oceanside Sunset Market 2007
Participating in this many events took a toll on my body, for I had two back surgeries, one when I was 17 (car accident) and another at age 21 (wear and tear). My body couldn't take it anymore but I knew I wanted to continue in this industry. Opening the gallery felt like it was either going to make or break me. A risk I was willing to take in order to keep drawing and wanted to help other artists in the area.
When I opened the gallery it was my everything! I wasn't married, didn't have kids and spent as much time at the shop as I could. This was an incredible opportunity and a dream come true. I did not want to fail. We started with 12 local artists and expanded to over 20.
My first couple years were extremely difficult as I was struggling to stay afloat. I was learning something new everyday and still traveling for festivals. In time I ended up dropping the weekly farmers markets to focus on the gallery, artists and bigger shows for the weekends. I was always at the gallery with many late nights and early mornings. I didn't want to leave, even stayed the night a couple times to make sure everything was okay.
As time went on... 2, 3 and 4 years at the shop everything seemed to start running better. It was a good feeling to know my hard work was paying off. Our small gallery became a nice addition to Downtown Carlsbad for locals and tourist to shop and to help support local artists. I ended up getting married and having two beautiful kids. I noticed my time starting to slip these last couple of years and wanted to have control again. As my family was growing and experiencing life I was working the shop when I wasn't traveling. I started to miss a lot of the day to day activities with my family.
Last year, I had a conversation with my wife about closing it in 2019 or in 2020. I wanted to be there more for my family and each year the cost of running a gallery was going up. We had been on a month to month lease for the last six years as we knew the building could sell at anytime. I was still traveling to shows, creating artwork for Disney, started selling wholesale again, created a podcast and rarely seemed to be at the gallery anymore. I realized it was time to move on and close it in 2020. While all this was happening the building sold in September 2019. Since I had already gave noticed to the previous landlord six months ago the new owner is letting us stay for the 2019 holiday season and close it down January 30, 2020.
The big question... what is next for Viz Art?
My answer is everything! I am going to focus on festivals, online, wholesale, licensing and of course family. My goal is to start traveling international and create more art for Disney and other clients. It will also open the door for me to get back to creating artwork for myself.
I'm happy for this new chapter and very thankful for a city like Carlsbad to take me in. I couldn't have asked for a better location, neighbors, landlords, customers, family and friends to help make this all happen. I've met incredible people from all over the world and truly love all my locals that have stopped by the shop. That is what I will miss the most.
Thank you to everyone who has made this dream come true and who has helped support me throughout the years. Owning the Viz Art Gallery has been a pleasure and truly an honor. A community I will always respect and cherish. This is still only the beginning and can't wait to see what is else in store.
Our last event at the shop is on Small Business Saturday, November 30 from 5pm-9pm. I will not be doing a closing event in January so make sure to stop by before we close or at our final event coming up.