News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

The other artists in Sisters

Sisters can boast a well-known group of visual and performance artists, and the galleries and stages that host many of them. They range from the award-winning to the obscure. Some command large commissions or sales tags or booking fees, often with wait times of several months. A few have respectable followings on social media.

They cover a waterfront in their work — painting, sculpture, jewelry, fabric and metal art, photography, songwriting, and recording. A few, like Dennis McGregor, Kathy Deggendorfer and Dan Rickards, are icons on the Sisters art scene. However, no fewer than 82 artists are members of the Sisters Arts Association and all have a resonating style with longevity and loyal patrons.

It’s the other artists that have The Nugget’s attention this week. The ones significant in numbers and achievement although unlikely that you ever heard of unless a friend or relative works among them. Their art does not hang in galleries. They toil in the highly competitive commercial world.

Like all artists they struggle to put a price on their finished product primarily because the market in which they compete is dominated by freelancers working from home or small studios with low overhead.

It is not just the graphic arts designer who will set up a business with a logo and stationery. Here in Sisters businesses can find highly respected book designers, fashion designers, sign makers, digital artists, photo re-touchers, ceramicists, and interior designers.

The list is impressive with more coming all the time, such as Faceout Studio with a roster of 11 artists who just relocated to Sisters from Bend. Their book covers would fill a small library, with a number winning prestigious awards from Graphis. BuzzFeed News cited the novel “Mexican Gothic” as one of their “Beautiful Books of 2020,” thanks to its Faceout Studio cover.

Ashley Ruble-English is the creator of Ashley Makes, an online marketer of home décor, apparel, bags, hats, and gaiters with over 100 designs.

Emily Head’s The Nest Design Studio has an interior design studio and showroom at 413 W. Hood Ave.

Sean Calderella creates cover art for the movie industry among other things. His clients include DC Comics, for whom he has designed art for “Flash, Arrow,” “The 100,” and “Galactic: Noon Dance.”

Preedin Design is a full-service drafting-and-design firm located upstairs at 178 S. Elm St. Downstairs is Ruff Hippie, who design and sell fashionable and whimsical high-end bandanas for dogs.

Karen Matheson Thrower, a Sisters graphic designer and brand consultant, has done work for nearly 100 clients including Weyerhaeuser, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Northwest Bank, and Forrester Golf.

Madrone Communication on Freemont designs websites as part of a full menu of technology solutions.

Then there’s Zach Holmes of Little Guy Studios, whose music production credits include Kia Motors, Samsung, Levi’s, and Samsonite, and more famously, RICHLIN’s “Love Like Thunder.”

Part of these artists’ magic is not just their creativity. They are also technologists who have mastered the digital art-and-design universe, which allows their work to be purchased in town, across the states, or around the world. In that sense they have unlimited gallery or studio space in which to sell their wares.

The list goes on, too many to mention. These small, independent entrepreneurs are part of the growing sense that Sisters is a hub for creatives, even those tucked away from the artistic mainstream.


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