There’s a new world-class artistic addition to the list of things Cochrane residents and visitors can check out in the historic downtown.
As of Aug. 6, in addition to MacKay’s Ice Cream and the rolling thunder of the upcoming Great Cochrane Outhouse Races, the new Art Evolution Gallery has taken a prominent place at 208 First St. W.
For the past 30 years, President Christopher Talbot has operated Art Evolution on three continents, providing artwork worldwide.
Despite being somewhat of a globetrotter, Talbot's primary residence has been in the Cochrane area – he has a log home up in the forestry reserve northwest of town. He said he loves the lifestyle of the area.
“I just wanted to do something special in Cochrane,” he said. “I have a magical home there, and I thought it was time Cochrane had something flashy.
“And I told myself, I’ll only do it if we’re on the main street, within a couple or three doors from MacKay’s Ice Cream.”
Talbot regularly travels to Europe and Australia, and said although it sounds glamorous (he spoke to The Eagle from the French Riviera last week) it’s the time he spends in nature up in Waiparous that really keeps him grounded.
He said as he’s watched Cochrane grow in the 23 years he’s been here, he decided it was time to address the need for a place for new homeowners to go to add some art to their homes.
“You don’t have to spend a fortune – we have all price ranges,” he said.
Less-than-rosy predictions from economic experts don’t necessarily translate into a downturn in the desirability of investing in art, according to Talbot.
“Track record art, like Salvador Dali, for example, is one of the safest investments you can possibly make,” he said.
Not every artist is in that category, he noted, but there’s still the opportunity to add something beautiful to a new home, purely for enjoyment.
“If people have a thousand dollars to spend on some art for a couple or three rooms, we can help them out and we can give them things they will not see anywhere else,” he said.
Talbot thinks many people have become a bit turned off of travelling at the moment, and could be looking at taking their disposable income and investing it in art instead.
The gallery is only the Cochrane face of Art Evolution's offerings. The bulk of his business is done online.
“We have an absolutely massive inventory of artwork, a fraction of which is on our website,” Talbot said.
Headquartered in Alberta, Art Evolution is an international fine art company that operates major art exhibitions and public art installations around the world.
The Cochrane gallery showcases the works of famous artists such as surrealist Salvador Dali, Calgary Stampede Hall of Fame artist Vilem Zach, movie star Jane Seymour, Canadian figure skating icon Toller Cranston and Charles Billich, whose artwork even graces the walls of the Vatican, the United Nations, and the White House.
Their Salvador Dali sculpture exhibition in Australia is the largest in the southern hemisphere, according to Talbot.
Art Evolution’s website states they offer global access to unique fine art at every price point, style, and subject matter, providing art lovers and investors with a number of options. At the gallery in Cochrane, the highest priced item is a sculpture costing $48,000.
Talbot is in France at the moment, putting the finishing touches on a big upcoming exhibition.
“I can’t go into too much detail, but I’m about to launch a three-quarters of a million dollar painting in Tuscany, with one of the most important living artists in the world,” he said excitedly.
Having his art gallery on the same street as the outhouse races and a renowned ice cream parlour is just part of the charm of Cochrane, Talbot added.
“To me it’s just a slice of heaven,” he said.
The gallery will host a Vilem Zach Art Exhibition featuring never before seen bronze sculpture and paintings on Nov. 3.
Vilem Zach has exhibited at the Calgary Stampede for 40 years and is in the Stampede Hall of Fame.
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