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Taking an arty gamble

Owner of new gallery says he's not sure LCF is the right place for his shop.

February 01, 2012|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
  • Michael Humphries poses for the camera at the Michael Humphries Gallery in La Canada on Saturday, January 28, 2012. Michael and his wife, Heidi, are co-owners of the gallery. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
Michael Humphries poses for the camera at the Michael…

La Cañada might not be known as gallery row, but that isn’t stopping Michael Humphries from trying to expand the art offerings in the foothills.

Humphries’ gallery, which bears his name and opened just five months ago in the 800 block of Foothill Blvd., will unveil a new exhibit titled “Heart and Soul” on Feb. 4. Humphries is hoping to entice the community to see his works, and that of local artist Trish Kertes. So far, he says that it’s not clear if La Cañada can support a new gallery or not, but there are positive signs.

“I’m not sure how conducive [La Cañada] is to a gallery,” Humphries said. “We’re still trying to get our feet wet. We’ve only had two shows … and they were both pretty successful.”

The upcoming show will feature landscapes in oil, acrylic and watercolor from Humphries, and plein air oil landscapes from Kertes.

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When the Michael Humphries Gallery opened last fall, it joined the city’s smattering of galleries, including Descanso Garden’s Sturt Haaga Gallery, which opened just last September, and two established businesses, Stephanie’s Art Gallery and Penelope’s Café, Books and Gallery.

Humphries said that after more than 30 years in the animation industry, he was ready to take the leap.

“I’ve always been kind of a fine artist and illustrator back and forth, and one of my long-time desires has been to have my own gallery,” he said.

A teacher at Art Center College of Design for six years, Humphries moved with his family to Pasadena from Studio City a year ago, and soon after he and his wife, Heidi, discovered La Cañada.

“La Cañada had such a great community feel to it,” he said. “We really enjoy that laid-back quality La Cañada seems to have, opposed to some of the other cities around here.”

Still, that quality has presented Humphries with a challenge when it comes to pulling in traffic for the gallery.

“We knew there wasn’t going to be a ton of foot traffic at this location … so we need to get people to notice us,” he said. “The best way to do that is to have the shows, so we’re trying to do as many shows as we can.”

Kertes agreed, saying filling a gallery in a town where most people stay in their cars can be problematic.

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