By Lillian Schrock
Celeste Jacobi sipped on a glass of red wine as she listened to three men perform “I Put a Spell on You” on acoustic guitars at a downtown Eugene art gallery and cafe earlier this month.
Jacobi rubbed a brush in watercolor paint and applied it to a colorful canvas featuring a bumblebee wearing an 18th-century aristocratic dress; an anthropomorphic rendition of Marie Antoinette, she said. The idea was sparked by her 6-year-old daughter.
The 41-year-old artist said she quit her corporate job in Eugene four months ago to pursue her painting career. Since then, she has become involved in the local arts community. On this night in particular, she was at a public Art Bar event at Shadowfox, 76 W. Broadway. Earlier this fall, Shadowfox brought a coffee shop into its space and started hosting events for artists.
“Most artists are introverts,” Jacobi said. “They like to be around people but do their own thing. Getting artists to get out is kind of a hard thing, but I think if you can create a space like this it helps.”
“Jason Pancoast created the Shadowfox brand in 2012 while studying architecture at the University of Oregon, Shadowfox spokesman Taylor Jones said. Pancoast creates shadowboxes from his drawings, which often are inspired by the Pacific Northwest. He designs the art in Adobe Illustrator and then sends it to a laser cutter.”
“Each piece that Pancoast makes has several layers of wood, with each layer serving a different purpose with depth, texture or color. They all get put together so the final product is greater than the sum of its parts, Jones said.”
“Shadowfox began renting the downtown location last year, and Pancoast creates all his pieces in the gallery. In September, Perk Coffee and Espresso moved into the space. The coffee shop sells beer and wine at night, Jones said.”
“We want this place to really be a creative hub downtown and a place that gathers artists, but more so to connect artists with the public,” Jones said.”
“He said many people who are downtown during the day stop in for coffee, which exposes them to the artwork on the walls. Currently, Shadowfox is displaying artwork created by individuals during Art Bar.”
“Shadowfox hosts several weekly events. On Mondays, there is an idea workshop to allow artists, writers and creative thinkers to gather feedback on projects.”
“A man came in the other week and I was talking to him about his research in permaculture and robotics and how he sees those two topics working together,” Jones said. “I think it’s really neat, and I would encourage anyone and everyone who wants to participate to come in.”
“Art Bar is on Wednesday evenings. The gallery sets out some art supplies and encourages people to bring in their own supplies. Shadowfox hosts an open mike night every Thursday for performers to share music, poetry and other spoken art.”
“The gallery also is hosting a monthly talk series. In October, Shadowfox invited several panelists to speak about sexual violence. The roundtable discussion was open to the public.”
“Everybody there was very solution-oriented,” Jones said. “They were interested in having a productive discussion.”
“On Tuesday, the gallery is hosting a talk on the state of the arts in Eugene. Panelists will consist of art gallery owners, Jones said.”
“The gallery also is available as rental space, he said. Shadowfox most recently hosted a showcase of Pabst Blue Ribbon-inspired art.”
“Jones said as the space develops Shadowfox would like to host more artist workshops and classes. The lower floor of the gallery is being used to produce Shadowfox art, but Jones would like to transform it into a shared space for art studios, a wood shop and a dark room for developing photography.”
“Back at the Art Bar, 20-year-old Amanda Baglione studied a photograph of a human skull on her laptop. A coffee mug sat next to her sketch book as she etched the skull on paper.”
“A friend told me this was a great place to be among creative people,” Baglione said. “I came in and it had a wonderful vibe, really welcoming. And there is beautiful artwork on the wall.”
“Wearing headphones as she drew, she said she enjoys being in the company of other people but working alone.”