The Impressions of a Gallery

The Studio Shop Gallery, Burlingame, California

     On the drive home from this year’s San Francisco Art Fair in May my artist friends and I had a lot of notes to compare with over 70 galleries exhibiting artwork from across the world.  Several of my recent blog articles looked at the standout artists at the show, but today I’d like to look at one of the surprise galleries from the show, The Studio Shop in Burlingame, California. We each found this little gallery to be the one of the most interactive and informative exhibits at the art show. Thoroughly tested by our astute research group by splitting up then discovering later “you liked that gallery too?” Very simply a gallery who prioritizes fine art, unparalleled customer service, and representation of their artists as the mission of their business model – also deserves recognition to their contribution to the art scene as any top performing artist.

Melinda Cootsona, Red Chair, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

     So I had to pay The Studio Shop a visit and had the pleasure to meet owners and sisters Kristen Benson and Janet Martin. The Studio Shop was established in 1915 and has been operated by the Benson-Martin family for over two generations. Their commitment to high quality service and involvement in their community is an evidently clear part of The Studio Shop’s mission.

Main Floor at The Studio Shop

Owner Janet Martin states, “Our philosophy is to enjoy life and have fun with what you’re doing.”  “We are a contemporary gallery focusing on painting and sculpture,” states owner Kristen Bensen,  “we are always looking to expand, we have clientele from wine country to Carmel.”

Jin-Seob Yun, Hoot, Resin, 49 x 22 in.

Personally driving art samples to a client who lives three hours away to ensure their happy with art purchase is unheard of in the gallery business.  While talking with Janet and Kristen, they gave frequent mention to the lengths they go to ensure their customer service is at the highest level.  “We have art for clients to see in their homes, it is also important for us to see where the artwork will go to live,” states Kristen.

Melinda Cootsona, Déjà vu, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

This enthusiasm and attention to detail easily evident at the Art Fair, were I noticeably showed interest in the paintings of Melinda Cootsona. This was immediately noticed by Janet who provided background on Cootsona’s art, her process, and of course more about this spectacular gallery. The family tradition, selection of artistically rich work, and progressive marketing of their artists, culminate into a lively and enjoyable experience for collectors.

 Dominique Caron, Luxembourg Garden, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

This old fashioned family quality to contributing to the Bay Area art scene begins with exceptional artist representation which is managed by Kristen, “Most of our artists are very painterly. We have work in realism by Jung Han Kim, and abstract work Dominique Caron..”

Melinda Cootsona, Sunday, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in.

“It’s important for us to see process, what goes into a painting and the artist’s spirit, their sense of line, and humanism needs to be evident in their work. If we don’t feel those elements are strong in an artist’s work, they simply are not a good fit for our gallery,” Kristen states.

 The Studio Shop Gallery Staff

“The art industry is going to keep growing. There is always a place for real art,” says Janet.“Collectors still want the age old qualified canvas on their wall.” So please stop in The Studio Shop, see their collection, meet with Kristen and Janet about their artists. Even if you’re outside of the Bay Area, with their website and their high standards of customer service, this family run, but contemporary and sophisticated gallery will most certainly impress.

The Studio Shop always has upcoming Events. In July, a show with artist Kevin Warnock; and in September artist show, Mirang Wonne, whose stainless steel mesh paintings are created with a blow torch. (pictured below)

 Mirang Wonne, Veil Series 9, mixed media, stainless mesh on canvas, 24 x 24 in.


Check out my video interview with the owners of The Studio Shop:  Janet Martin and Kristen Bensen.


The Studio Shop Website

Michael Accorsi

Michael Accorsi is an artist, painter working from his studio in Northern California. He writes about art on his Plotlines art blog. Connect with Michael on Facebook and Twitter as well.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.