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Conversations with Rick Baldwin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rick Baldwin. Them and their team share their story with us below:

The rek Gallery is a 2000 square-foot commercial art gallery and studio space opened in 2021 and located 10 minutes east of Decatur, GA in the city of Tucker. The gallery’s collection focuses on contemporary works of southern U.S. influenced artists with a tilt toward the eclectic, quirky, edgy and unconventional. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics and fabrics inspired by street art, graffiti, tattoo art, pop art, low brow, abstract and outsider art are regularly featured.

The rek Gallery was born in 2011 in a small corner building in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but was eventually put on hold due to location issues and demands for other projects. Ten years later, the vision of the gallery was resurrected, this time in the Atlanta area.

In addition to the public gallery, the space also includes the private studio of artist and gallery curator Rick Baldwin, a featured artist gallery, original works of Spanish artist Santos Fernandez (1942-1997) and a boutique gift shop.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Opening an art gallery in the era of COVID has certainly been a challenge. But also the area in which we have opened isn’t quite used to seeing an art gallery. We are surrounded by auto part stores, furniture shops and thrift stores. So it has taken some time for people to be aware of us and to make their way out for a visit.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My own artistic background is as a cartoonist and humorous illustrator. I began doing abstract art in 2008 after many years of painting photorealistic portraiture. Most of my current abstract art is influenced by the neo-expressionism movement, pop art, street art and abstract expressionism. I also am a big fan of art that involves humor. Since I curate the art in the rek Gallery, much of the art has elements of those characteristics. It’s my goal to present a lot of different styles and mediums to our visitors so they feel like they have had a very saturated art experience when they leave.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Don’t quit your day job. Yet.

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Image Credits
Rick Baldwin

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