Steve Losh initially set about creating a space in Taree where he could paint and sell a few art supplies. On a whim, he decided to see if there were any other local artists who might be interested in joining him … and he was overwhelmed by the response.
Open since early August, The Edge Gallery and Art Supplies displays the work of over 50 artists and is well worth a visit!
Hi Steve, can you start by telling our readers a bit about your background, when you initially arrived in the area, and what brought you here?
I grew up on the NSW Central Coast in Woy Woy, and upon finishing school, I started as a boat builder on the Central Coast. In the ‘80s, my parents moved to Taree while I stayed working on the Central Coast. In 1991, I brought my first house here, so that I could be closer to my family, and upon moving to the area, I got a job as a frame and truss fabricator and continued doing that for 25 years.
Opening an art gallery is a huge leap from being a frame and truss fabricator. What was the motivation, and how did it all happen in the end?
Actually, I have had a connection to art since I was a kid through my family, with both my uncles being professional artists. One uncle, Tom Hockey, was an artist who painted landscapes in oil paint, and my other uncle, Lionel Sheely, was a graphic designer, as well as my father also being a talented sketch artist, and I also have completed a degree in cartooning and illustrations.
While visiting my son, Caleb, who is 22 years old and lives and works in Sydney, I found myself falling in love with Newtown and the art scene down there. I was really inspired by all the street art, the art stores and the vibe of all the art creation that Newtown is famous for. Upon returning to our area, I started to notice that there was nowhere in Taree for artists to buy good quality materials. So, when I was forced to finish up with my job earlier this year due to the downturn in the building industry, I decided to try and bring some of the inspiration that I had found in Newtown to our local area.
Originally, my idea was to open a studio where I could paint and maybe sell a few art supplies and have a few artworks from other local artists for sale.
As I got closer to getting ready to get set up, I decided to advertise one night on Facebook to see if I could maybe find a local artist or two who wanted to display and sell their art. Well, that was the start of it all, because that night I received over 200 emails from local artists in response. It was then that I started to realise that just maybe I had touched on something that the local area has needed for some time.
I took possession of the store in early July, and when we opened in early August, we had around 45 local artists displaying and selling their art!
You are very much focused on showcasing local artists – tell us a bit more about that?
The Edge Gallery and Art Supplies displays only local, original art. The artists are welcome to leave or rotate their art as much as they like, and the objective of the store is to support local artists and the art they create, as well as supporting the other local art businesses in our area, such as all the art societies and other galleries.
It’s not just about painting as an art form, but about all art forms. We display all sorts of local art and, at this stage, we have been open for about four weeks and have 53 artists displaying over 100 amazing pieces of art.
The art community has embraced this venture with open arms! I’ve met so many amazing people in the few short months since that first advertisement on Facebook.
What’s your vision for the gallery?
My vision for the future is to make Taree the capital of art in NSW, by bringing our local artists to the forefront of art, and by bringing people from all over to our local area to see and experience great local art, and to come away inspired.
When is the gallery open to the public?
The Edge Gallery and Art Supplies is located in Shop 7, River Arcade, near Raw Sugar. We have a great view of the beautiful Manning River and are located right in the heart of Taree. The gallery is open from 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays, and from 9 am to 12 pm on Saturday.
Any final thoughts for our readers?
I now have the best job in the world! Every day I meet people who bring their heart and soul through the door in the form of an artwork, and with a smile, they say, “Steve, look at what I’ve created!”
I can see even in this early stage of this venture that the gallery is becoming the people’s gallery, and I am very humbled by all the support the local community has shown.
I am looking forward to the exciting future and seeing where it takes me from here.
Interview: Ingrid Bayer.