They've been friends for more than 20 years. But it only took a single day for the two to join forces and open a business built on a shared aesthetic.
In early fall, artists Matt Mulford and Tony Steele opened Perculiar Perspectives
—an art studio, gallery and gift shop offering works in cartooning, gothic and imaginative drawing. Located in Williamston's Keller Plaza, the new gallery is what the friends say might be the most eclectic 260-square-feet of space in Greater Lansing.
"It's quite a mix," says Steele. "We have our artwork plus hundreds of items including books, cards, matted prints for framing, and pins, jewelry and magnets featuring our art."
Steele and Mulford came upon the idea to open the gallery last summer during on one of their "art days"—or monthly outings the two take together to draw and create in different locations.
"On that particular day, we were in Williamston and someone pointed out that the upstairs of Keller's Plaza was full of spaces for artist types," says Mulford. "We checked it out and immediately knew we wanted to share the space and sell art from our studio."
Mulford says the majority of art he and Steele create is two-dimensional and purely imaginative—with no physical references. And while Mulford is primarily self-taught, Steele holds degrees in commercial art, illustration and graphic design from Lansing Community College.
"Tony and I complement each other very well," he says. "I lean toward wildlife or landscape themes so we meet in the middle with fantasy art. It's very inspiring."
In addition to using the space as a working gallery and gift shop, Mulford and Steele plan to hold drawing and painting classes for adults and children. Customers can also come in and browse, or simply observe the artists at work, creating two-dimensional critters, monsters and other fantasy-based artworks.
"Our goal is create a welcoming space, one that you won't come in and flee in terror," laughs Steele. "Everyone here in town has been really friendly, so sticking around is on our menu."
Source: Matt Mulford and Tony Steele, Owners, Peculiar Perspectives
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor