HUSTLERS: the Creative Endeavors from the Folks Behind Your Favorite Businesses
Asheville is a food, beverage, and hospitality hub - fueled by service and hospitality professionals. Often these individuals are deeply committed to their craft - spending years in training and continuing their professional development through ongoing efforts such as becoming members of professional organizations and participating in workshops in emerging practices and technology.
Many artists share this commitment to integrity in their creative practice. High Five Rankin shows works from artists who make alongside their profession - devoting similar commitment to their “job” as their “work.” For many of these featured artists, High Five Rankin has been their first art show in Asheville, and for some, their first show ever. We’ve hosted 10 exhibitions in the last 2+ years, and we are so thrilled to contribute to amplifying the visibility of the incredible talent in the Asheville area art scene.
The following includes excerpts of an interview between HUSTLERS curator Lydia See and Daniel Walton for Asheville Made - April 2018
See’s goal for the space is to feature artists who aren’t currently on wide display elsewhere in the area but are actively producing worthy work. To that end, her current series draws from makers with full-time gigs in the Asheville service industry. Hustlers — Creative Endeavors from the Folks Behind Your Favorite Businesses explores the talent that too often lies hidden in plain sight.
“The barista that serves your coffee every day or the bartender that makes the best Manhattan in town — these people are finding a balance between their creative practice and their profession,” See explains. “They’re finding a way for their studio practice and daily practice at work to coincide in a conversation.”
In fact, the first show for Hustlers involved two employees of High Five itself: Nicola Bajalia and Janine Rissewyck. “They were kind of secret artists, doing work in their free time or at night,” See recalls. “They made this incredible installation out of nylons and sunflower seeds, reminiscent of a lost Eva Hesse series, and it was remarkable to watch the reaction of their colleagues in the coffee industry.” … “Just because the work is at a coffee shop, she says, doesn’t mean it has to fall into the trope of “bad art, good walls” lampooned on Portlandia.
“I think that our audience is surprised and excited by things that are challenging to them. I haven’t found anything that I couldn’t show due to subject matter or materials,” See says. “A lot of ‘non-art’ people tell me that they never would’ve gone out of their way to see artwork like this, but they’re really glad that they did.”