In 2018 we talked to Jay Moore to learn about the passion that drives the painter. He has been in his studio just south of Mainstreet for 9 years, and the last two to three years have been the most successful. His excitement and devotion to his craft are as strong as ever, yet his business model has changed. “The tides shifted,” Jay says. His studio, which was originally set up as a gallery, has had some updates – new lighting, new paint and beams that set the working studio in the back where Jay’s creations come to life apart from the gallery and collaboration space.
Before the pandemic, Jay had gallery shows so people could see his work. When he couldn't have two gallery shows a year, Jay focused on the commisioned paintings and that side of his business took off. “The business morphed and it was a seamless progression,” he says. Jay has always loved to see people’s reactions to his work. A painting might remind people of a place they lived or a family vacation. Collaborating on a project takes it to another level. “I have a distinct purpose and it’s not just a painting anymore,” Jay explains. “I know the potential of making someone happy and I put a little more into it. I want to blow the person over.”
The “secret sauce” of how this all works is the connections that are formed. Collectors are excited to meet the creator, as opposed to walking into a gallery and choosing a painting from what is on the wall. In a gallery, the buyer doesn’t usually have a chance to meet the artist. Jay has an idea wall in the inner sanctum of his studio where small paintings that are done on location are displayed. The small version is part of the collaboration process and allows both Jay and the customer to make sure their vision for the completed painting is the same.
“The whole process is fun for me and I hope it is fun for them as well,” Jay smiles. As they talk about colors, size and the personal meaning of the place, Jay and his clients form a bond and a friendship. Buying art isn't something that is done on a whim and having a relationship and more flexibility, such as the size of the painting to fit a space, are key components. For example, what started out as one smaller painting of a location in East Glacier National Park, turned into a several months-long project for four large paintings of lakes and mountains in the region. People will say, " 'Holy cow, what are we doing!' because it is a big investment. When they are so excited to make the leap it is hugely impactful. The painting is part of the heritage of the family," Jay explains.
He finds special joy in the Big Reveal, when Jay lights the piece, every brushstroke stands out, and the client sees it for the first time. When a person sees the ripple on the water, the sun on the aspens, the glow of an animal’s fur, or the color of a rock, there is a personal connection. When the collector says, “this is our mountain, our place, our lake,” and he sees a tear, Jay knows he has done his job.
His wide smile as he talks about his work truly speaks volumes. He wants his paintings to be cherished for generations to come and to be part of the family’s legacy.