Meeting Michael Kessler (from the road, Santa Fe)

I miss my kid, so you’re getting a shot of him today, doing one of his favorite things,
zenning out in the surf

I met an artist today. We’ve exhibited his work for a couple of years yet this was our first face to face meeting.

This often happens in our business. We connect with artists or artists connect with us without having ever met us. They heard about us through art world friends, or found us via our website, or we located them in similar fashion.

Some artists and gallery owners have worked together for years and have never met. A decade or more.

These off-season trips I take to exchange artwork and ideas ripple with first meetings . . . .

Most working artists are incurable possibility thinkers, even the ones who are more dour by nature. It’s built in when you make a living by creating things that no one really needs.

So I’m accustomed to meeting creators who are in tune with what it takes to live the creative life.

Meeting Michael Kessler took it a step beyond. He’s been at it forty years and yet has an almost adolescent delight in exploring the ideas that present themselves to him. He’s got them spilling out and he can’t wait to get to them.

Like so many good artists, he’s prodigious. He works a lot and produces a lot.

Michael Kessler will take off every two to three months to exchange artwork with his far flung galleries. He camps out in state and national parks, he stays in four-star hotels. It’s all part of his adventure.

You can feel it. Meeting Michael Kessler is like meeting a six-foot-four leprechaun who’s perpetually charmed. You know he groks the creation field and knows how to surf it.

Part of his secret: He keeps things lean. His studio is surprisingly simple and of average size for someone who maintains a few dozen galleries.

Another part of his secret: He loves expressifying. He loves throwing himself into his work and pushing it in new directions.

Maybe Santa Fe is part of his secret too. People here unabashedly speak about energy and things coming together. We didn’t talk about those things, we only spoke about art and travel in my brief time. But man, I gotta tell you, Michael Kessler is one connected hombre. The dude’s grounded. You can tell relationships matter as much to him as sales. And that expressifying is what matters most.

For you —

Evan Griffith
What creators do

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