Name: Monica Pastor
Profession: Owner and gallerist at UnderScore Art in Whitefish
City of residence: Whitefish
Family: 12-year-old son, Teague
Q: You recently opened the doors to UnderScore Art in November. Tell me something unique about the gallery.
A: I have curated a group of fine jewelry artists from around the country who have a distinctive point of view, so itís very design driven. Itís not just about what kind of diamonds they are, itís about the design as well. When Iíve traveled, I have certain boutique jewelry stores that I go to when I visit those places, so Iím trying to bring those here. Iím hoping that this becomes a place that people come to find the leading, cutting edge of contemporary jewelry.
Q: How do you curate pieces for the gallery?
A: As Iíve been in the business over the years, Iíve learned to trust my personal response to [the art] because galleries are so much about a reflection of who you are. If you donít believe in the art youíre selling, itís harder to sell. I look for a certain level of refinement. While we do look at emerging artists, most of the artists I carry have a pretty strong academic art background. Most of them are trained artists.
Like with the jewelry, I want people to have a point of view. When I represent people, I represent their entire body of work. I donít want to just see two good paintings, I want to see that itís going to be a continued relationship.
Q: What is important to your gallery?
A: Galleries are completely about relationships. Theyíre about relationships with your artists Ö. where you can be honest with them about what theyíre putting out, or let them kind of grow through a process where maybe itís not your favorite phase theyíre in, but often that leads to something really spectacular. And then itís about a relationship with your clients; knowing your clients and knowing what theyíre boundaries are about your input and what they like.
Q: Tell me about the art scene in Whitefish.
A: More traditional Western art is what dominates this art scene ... The contemporary world still struggles. As houses are getting more contemporary here, sort of the new mountain-modern thing, I do think that there will be more of a space locally for these works, but often weíve shipped them away or had to kind of convince people to look at a contemporary piece in a more rustic or traditional house. They usually work really well. My old space [Jest Gallery] was brick and more traditional and that was on purpose, because it showed the work in a setting that contrasted with it and people could really see that thereís a magic to combining things in an unexpected way.
Q: Name a few artists who inspire you.
A: J.M.W. Turner, Mark Rothko, Michael Haykin, Jennifer Li