BEN HAM IMAGES
Ben Ham has been making the connection between his camera and the South Carolina coast for most of his life. A photographer since childhood, Ham now depicts the Lowcountry’s distinct landscape in his large-format photography. Though living in Hilton Head, S.C., has lent the photographer plenty of scenes to immortalize on film, he also loves traveling to the top of the Rockies, to Southwestern deserts and through Pacific vineyards, all the while using a wooden field camera to capture his stunning images. Located on King Street, Ham’s new, expanded gallery comprises over 2,000 square feet of space in which to absorb the artist’s enormous detail-rich works. His gallery on Hilton Head Island is twice the size and is also the site of Ham’s fully equipped studio, complete with a darkroom and frame shop. In 2009, he published Vanishing Light, a 144-page book filled with nearly 70 images printed on heavy LumiSilk paper. The photographs are complemented by stories about each adventure, written by Ham. Apart from the book, Ham only sells framed, limited-edition fine art pieces.
Ben Ham Images
Charleston’s Dennis Aleksandrov has spent the past eight years honing his photography skills, taking multiple courses in Cozumel, Mexico, to perfect his craft. During that time, he spent two years working for Carnival Cruise Lines, eventually becoming the company’s top photographer. Aleksandrov also studied psychology, which he says has been an advantage when it comes to reading his subjects’ moods. “I focus on portraiture work, because capturing human emotion is the most important thing for me,” he says. “I want to build a relationship with the people I photograph so that they become comfortable with me.” Removing any trace of anxiety is his forte. “I know that some people are nervous to be photographed, and I make it a goal of mine to put them at ease so that I am able to capture the truest emotions and moments for them on camera.” Aleksandrov specializes in everything from intimate wedding, engagement and honeymoon sessions to fun family portraits, be it at the beach, in the woods or at home. He also takes pride in his own side projects in addition to collaborations with several photo studios in Charleston.
LEPRINCE FINE ART
LePrince Fine Art, located at 184 King St., doubles as a studio for owner and artist Kevin LePrince. The gallery is open seven days a week and one can usually find LePrince, an impressionist artist, painting on-site most days. Guests are encouraged to watch and ask questions about the process.
The walls are filled with bodies of work from a select few emerging and mid-career artists from around the globe, including Mark Bailey, Tibor Nagy, Angie Renfro, Ignat Ignatov, Vicki Robinson and LePrince. While contemporary impressionism is a term commonly used to describe the overall theme of the gallery, each artist has a distinct style defined by brushstroke technique, palette and compositional choice.
With 1600 square feet of open gallery space, high ceilings and hardwood floors, the gallery has been designed to highlight the art—a collector can relax and enjoy a painting from a distance. Unable to visit in person? Visit the website for constant updates or to browse before coming in.
LePrince Fine Art
Though you can find Tim Whitfield’s work in downtown Charleston, his camera is usually focused elsewhere. His wanderlust affords him the chance to capture images from the Pacific Islands to Eastern Europe. Among his favorite subjects to photograph are the villages and landscapes of Romania, where his wife is from. Lately, he’s centered his work around action sports, particularly surfing.
After taking up photography five years ago, Whitfield surrounded himself with accomplished photographers willing to show him the ropes. Now an accomplished artist himself, he recently opened Tara Vis Gallery—meaning “dreamland” in Romanian—with friends Patrick Kelly, Ben Reed, Brian Bielmann and Sorin Onisor. Located at 218 C King St., the space features regular special exhibitions with opportunities to meet and greet the artists.
Whitfield says, “I want Tara Vis Gallery to be a place where you can lose yourself in the images and stories, a respite from the mundane, taking you places that many people on this earth will never have the opportunity to experience.”
Debra Paysinger taught high school science and math for 10 years before she had her third child and decided to pursue art. Though she’s had a passion for needlepoint since the ’70s, it wasn’t until all the kids learned to drive that she began painting.
Now an artist for 14 years, Paysinger’s favorite subjects include birds—hers in particular happen to be grouchy ones. You could definitely say the artist’s master’s degree in biology has informed her subject matter, as she also paints lures, sea life and rabbits—or raddits, as she endearingly refers to them. She even trademarked the term “the raddit” as her own.
Paysinger gives a different human name to every bird she paints. While she has prints available for a few of her subjects, she doesn’t sell reproductions of her birds and raddits. She says, “I think it adds a uniqueness to the whole thing.”
You can find Paysinger’s works in Studio 151 Gallery in Charleston and Ellen Taylor Interiors + Design in Columbia.
CHERYL NEWBY GALLERY
There aren’t many galleries where you can browse both antique and contemporary art in a single visit. At the Cheryl Newby Gallery in Pawleys Island, however, you can. Owner Cheryl Newby maintains an extensive selection of contemporary paintings and sculpture alongside a selective inventory of antique maps and prints.
A quick look around the antique side will turn up works by the likes of John James Audubon, George Edwards, Mark Catesby and John Gould. If those don’t satisfy, Newby will gladly find something more to your taste or hunt down prints by a particular artist, should you have one in mind.
When it comes to contemporary artists, the gallery represents 13 painters from throughout the country, including William McCullough (SC), the late Ray Ellis (MA), Paula Holtzclaw (NC), Martha dePoo (FL), the late Quita Brodhead (PA) and Mike Williams (SC). Three nationally known sculptors—Sandy Scott (WY), Gwen Marcus (NY) and Catherine K. Ferrell (FL) also have work in the gallery, as does fine ceramic artist Glenda Taylor (FL) and portrait painter James Crowley (SC).
Cheryl Newby Gallery
ELLA WALTON RICHARDSON FINE ART
Now in their 15th year at Ella W. Richardson Fine Art, Lyuba and Aleksander Titovets create impressionistic paintings that are steeped in influences from their Russian homeland.
Aleksander earned a master’s in fine art in St. Petersburg and developed a style that reflects the Russian School of oil painting, incorporating realism with the soft looseness of impressionism. Lyuba’s artistic training began in St. Petersburg, where she grew up and studied art from the age of five.
Both became award-winning master painters in their own right before they immigrated to the United States nearly 25 years ago. Before long, the two had made their mark in a new, unfamiliar land. Among their many honors, Aleksander was chosen by the Smithsonian to paint first lady Laura Bush’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery, while Lyuba’s works have been included in a world exhibition at Westminster Abbey in London.
Today, the couple resides in Texas, but Russian imagery still informs their extraordinary work. To view their most recent works, stop by Richardson’s spacious gallery at 58 Broad St.
Ella Walton Richardson Fine Art
CAROLINA FINE ART FRAMING
Founded in the 1950s, Carolina Fine Art Framing is located on East Bay Street in the historic Faber-Ward house, a Palladianstyle three-story home erected in 1832. Purchased five years ago by painter Wilfred Spoon, Carolina Fine Art Framing continues the tradition of crafting handmade, museum-quality frames in its new location.
You’ll also find premium reproduction frame samples produced using centuries-old techniques, including water gilding and hand-carving. The showroom is filled with such examples as well as Spoon’s original paintings and those of New York artist Mark Heyer.
In order to provide the best customer service—including pick-ups, deliveries and in-home consultations and installations— Carolina Fine Art Framing has transitioned to a by-appointment gallery. Helping customers find the best framing solution is a priority for Spoon, who loves the opportunity to create unique designs for everything from fine art and paper to canvas, photography, ceramics, textiles and more.
It’s worth a visit for any art lover or collector. Call for an appointment.
Carolina Fine Art Framing
STUDIO 151 FINE ARTS
Located near the corner of Church and Market streets, Studio 151 is filled from floor to ceiling with pieces from over a dozen local artists, who all use their art to respond to what’s around them here in the South. From Bob Graham, a Civil War painter, to Daryl Knox, who’s inspired by Lowcountry marshes and creeks, a passion for this unique corner of the country is evident throughout the gallery.
Studio 151 also features watercolors, oils, monotypes, photography and mixed media from Colleen Wiessmann, Lu Bentley, Gary Kunkelman, Sandy Scott, Amelia Rose Smith, Rosie Phillips, Jennifer Koach, Amelia Whaley, Dixie Dugan, Nancy Davidson, Debra Paysinger and Michel McNinch.
Styles and subjects can range from collage works to abstracts and traditional realism. But you’ll find more than canvas pieces here, because jewelry artists Shelby Parbel, Jean Norman and Lissa Block are there as well to ensure you can also wear your souvenir when you leave. Artists are in house daily to greet and discuss their works, and the gallery is open every day of the week.
Studio 151 Fine Arts
Some of Tom Potocki’s earliest memories include helping his father paint large commercial images on walls and billboards. Such experiences led him to a fine arts degree at Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Mellon University and then to New York City. There he became involved in the pop art movement, which impacted his art thereafter. “My art is a visual and emotional response to what I see and experience around me,” he says.
Potocki describes his work as refined graffiti. “The images that develop in my work are derived from a process of applying splashes and layers of color to a surface and letting go of the notion that I have to control every detail,” he says. “The finished pieces should entice the viewer to look beneath the surface of what we think we see around us and discover something new.”
In this way, Potocki invites viewers to use their imaginations, and become a part of the creative process as well as the finished product. Potocki’s work can be seen online and at Mitchell Hill Gallery at 438 King St.
Established in Asheville, North Carolina, by Gabrielle Egan in 2008, Atelier Gallery found a new home in Charleston four years ago.
Egan, who also owns Peyton William, both downtown and on Kiawah Island, and sells her handcrafted pieces there, curates every inch of space on her gallery’s walls, choosing artists for their individual approaches and innovative techniques.
The gallery is filled with everything from portraits to landscapes to sculptures, with each aesthetic working together to support and promote a variety of artists and merge the classics with the moderns. Whether it’s florals, seascapes, rustic barns or animals, Atelier has something to offer any art collector.
Though artists from across the country fill the space— including Patti Zeigler, Dana Johns, Eric Zener, Kathy Cousart, Gina Strumpf, Alicia Armstrong, Augusta Wilson, Christy Kinard, Tony Gill, Shellie Lewis, Erin Gregory, Spencer Herr, Carylon Killebrew, Judith Williams and Christopher Dotson—the gallery’s overall aesthetic remains firmly in the Lowcountry.
MITCHELL HILL GALLERY
Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill of Mitchell Hill are so much more than interior designers. Not only can they design your space, they can also design the furniture and lighting fixtures to fill it, not to mention select the art that hangs on the walls. And it doesn’t matter whether you want to go very traditional or totally contemporary—they’ll work with you wherever your style lies.
“Each one of our projects is tailored to the client, so no two ever look the same,” Mitchell says. “I tend to like a clean, modern, traditional look fused with contemporary art.”
It was several years ago that the impressively high-ceilinged gallery came to Upper King Street and was filled with paintings, sculptures and photographs. To this day, Mitchell and Hill both pull from their large inventory when building a project. “Often, we’ll use a piece of art as a leaping-off point. The two worlds really do collide,” Mitchell says. “Our clients tend to be sophisticated art collectors, so the art is part of the process.”
Mitchell Hill Gallery
REINERT FINE ART & SCULPTURE GARDEN GALLERY
Owned by contemporary impressionist painter Rick Reinert and his wife, Ann, Reinert Fine Art & Sculpture Garden Gallery showcases more than 40 fine classical painters as well as both figurative and abstract sculptors. Its outdoor sculpture garden features bronze sculptors, including William and David Turner, Susie Chisholm, Gregory Johnson and Wesley Wofford. Inside, everything from still lifes and portraits to landscapes and architecture is represented by local, national and worldrenowned artists, including highly acclaimed portraiture artists Lisa Andrews, William Schneider and Olga Krimon. Reinert himself is renowned for his bold, light-filled paintings, replete with thick brushstrokes and a confident use of color. Lately, Reinert finds much influence in the surroundings of his second gallery in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, where the artist continues to paint eight to 10 hours a day.
Visit the galleries at 179 King St. in Charleston, 1153 Main St. in Blowing Rock, NC, or at reinertfineart.com.
Reinert Fine Art & Sculpture Garden Gallery
Known among his friends as the “saltwater cowboy,” Bob Graham is a Charleston-based artist and co-owner of Studio 151 Fine Arts (175 Church St.). For Graham, every person has a story to tell, and during his many travels, Graham is drawn to the faces he encounters. “It is the people of each place that make it special,” he says. “The ones you meet in line at the supermarket, while you are having lunch or simply passing by on the street; they make a place and give it life.” It’s those lives that Graham tries to capture in his work.
Also represented by Rick Reinert Fine Art at 179 King St., Graham’s extensive career has earned him no less than 500 local and national awards, including the Mayor’s Purchase Award at the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit in 2014 and 2016 and the First Place Award in the drawing category in the 2016 Piccolo Juried Art Exhibition at City Gallery.
COURTYARD ART GALLERY
Located in the French Quarter, Courtyard Art Gallery has been a regular stop for art lovers in Charleston for over three decades. This elegant, relaxed gallery invites customers to enjoy their time when choosing just the right piece of artwork from 19 local, award-winning artists. Whether you’re searching for a large landscape to be the centerpiece of an inspired interior or a smaller gift, Courtyard has an extraordinary collection of unique work to choose from.
With a variety of media and styles from the artists represented, the gallery features a large offering of work that highlights everything from the life and beauty of the Lowcountry to large-format photography from the plains of Africa. Courtyard also offers exquisite paper sculptures, handmade jewelry, stained glass and turned wood.
There is inspiration around every corner, and every wall offers yet another opportunity for art buyers to fall in love and add something new to their collection.
Courtyard Art Gallery
Michelle Bolton moved to the Lowcountry four years ago from Pinehurst, North Carolina, where she was an interior designer for her own custom design-build firm for 21 years. Though Bolton has also done professional photography for more than 25 years—she trained under Eva Longoria’s personal photographer— doing so full time in Charleston is particularly inspiring for this self-described free spirit.
One of Bolton’s biggest requests is for children’s portraiture. The subjects’ eyes are are her favorite focal point. “I also like lifestyle portraits and capturing a child in candid movement,” she says. In addition to architecture and kids, Bolton shoots outdoor weddings, events, families and pets. Much of her inspiration comes from the local landscape. “I love the Lowcountry scenery,” she says. “I try to capture that essence in my family portraits, whether it’s on downtown Charleston photo walks, at the beach at sunrise or on a beautiful plantation.”
Award-winning Charleston artist Jennifer Black has painted for most of her life. From the drawings she sketched at the age of eight to the art commissions she received as early as high school, Black has always been influenced by what’s around her. “I don’t make things up,” she says. “I tend to paint my surroundings, wherever I am.” With a focus on what she describes as impressionistic realism, Black’s favorite subjects are figures in the landscape, highlighted with dramatic light. “I like to catch the feeling of the subject, and light is very important to me,” she says. Blending colors together in the alla prima (wet-on-wet) technique, Black could be considered the Monet of the Lowcountry. Her private studio sits on the Ashley River where a stunning vista of the marsh gives the artist endless inspiration. Black’s paintings can currently be seen inside a window display at 265 King St., or folks may visit her studio by appointment.