I hung the first show at Healthy Living Natural Foods in South Burlington on Monday, and it looks swell. If you are in the neighborhood, go over and check it out, buy some great food or products, and tell me what you think.  I'm so excited to have this new adventure in retailing. Brilliant, if I do say so myself, to combine art and food retailing. I wonder if it will become a trend.

Melaney and Megan at the customer service counter at Healthy Living Natural Foods .

information counter at Healthy Living


FAKE! on the long wall at  Healthy Living. The one on the right, Liza Leger Woman With Vase is a print of my original painting. I had it done on water color paper and it looks amazing. Best of all, it only costs $200 unframed, so if you want one, send me an email (liza@pinestreetartworks) or call. 802 863 8100. I don't have a paypal widget but I'm happy to wait for a check, or take a credit card over the phone. the rest of the work is for sale as well, at slightly higher prices because they are originals.

Megan on the phone in front of my two Picassos. The one on the left, Portrait of Jacquline,  is on a mirror. In the back Portrait of Marie Therese, is a reverse painting on an old window.

Amanda at the coffee bar.

Head Chef, Jaime Eisenberg.

Cosmetics counter, Healthy Living

Cup display at Healthy Living

Display at Healthy Living. Seriously good visual merchandizing  by Rhoby throughout the store.


Paul Larson produces Art Express on Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, NY. He has been incredibly supportive to me and to PSAW in the past few years. He did a piece on my FAKE! Series in 2004, then last summer he came to the gallery to do a piece on the Paint By Number show, which I think will be aired soon. This week he and camera man Jared Stanley braved the snow and ice to travel across the lake  to tape a show on Nakki Goranin's American Photobooth.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working with Paul and Jared when they interviewed me. Paul is a good director, and  I absolutely loved it when he'd say, "wait, there was a truck in the background noise, we have to re-shoot that sentence." or "please make that statement a bit clearer" or "turn this way". He took the same care with the PBN story and the American Photobooth. I'll let you know when they air. Meanwhile, if you want to see the FAKE! story you can go to my website and click on "media"


I finished off my rather limited holiday shopping yesterday with a visit to two bookstores, Barnes & Noble in South Burlington, VT and The Flying Pig in Shelburne, VT.

I had a 25% off card at B&N that ended on the 24th, and with a family that's addicted to Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the kids)  and Star Trek (me), I needed to cash in. Our local B&N is as corporate driven as you might imagine. That is, the layout in all the stores follows a format that is familiar and  pleasant, with the requisite St*rbucks, comfy chairs to lounge in and a good used book section. The selection of books is large, if predictable, with sprinklings of local and small press books, and author appearance by local writers, of which we have an abundance.

You can go into a B&N pretty much anywhere and know your way around. My shopping philosophy - Shop Local - only somewhat applies here. But  much of the staff has been there at least as long as I've been in VT, six years, and the salaries, rent and taxes go towards supporting the local economy. I've run into B&N staff in Yoga class, at local concerts and at the grocery store. They know their stock, and some of them, at least, are knowledgeable readers, particularly in the kids section. Despite this, the store is too corporate driven to feel like you are visiting someone's personal vision. You aren't. There's no community building going on here. But I got $50 off my DVD, and that's a good thing.

Leader_bluemle_leavitt_link_3 Ten miles away, in the Village of Shelburne, The Flying Pig Bookstore is another animal altogether. Shelburne is cute as a button and just as small, but recently has bloomed into quite a shopping destination. Shelburne is known around here as being a pocket of wealth and the village reflects that, but in a very New Englandy way- which, as a New Yorker, is still exotic to me. Nothing flashy. No box stores. All very tasteful. Shelburne is also home to the world class Shelburne Museum, just down the road.

The small shops are all in historic wood or brick buildings, some beautifully renovated. The stores are clustered in a central location along Rt. 7 and a gracefully curving offshoot around the village green.  In the summer there's a farmers market. And my favorite cafe, Village Wine and Coffee, is right there, too.

The Flying Pig exemplifies great retailing. Owners Josie Leavitt and Elizabeth Bluemle are passionate readers, as are their staff. The store is beautifully designed to make use of every inch of floor and wall space, which they need to house their stock of 40,000 books.  Josie, Elizabeth and the staff  are so cordial and welcoming - and funny - that you feel like you are visiting their home, rather than their store. Looking at the stock  you know the books are all selected by intelligent creative minds. Although the emphasis is on children's books, the adult sections are as varied and smart as the kids sections. In a nutshell, you can trust their choices. Readings by terrific authors, an informative newsletter and a well designed website with online shopping round out their brilliance.

An important part of being a retailer, and one that is so rare, is the art of being a host. Sometimes employees can fill this role. But usually it takes the presence of the owner, and a rare owner at that. The best stores, at least my favorites, are the ones where I not only feel like I've made a connection to the goods via the host, but also one in which I connect with other like minded shoppers. The best retailers will not only know regular customers, but introduce them to one another. Not in an an overbearing way - there's a fine line here - but in a graceful and knowledgeable way.

Location_index_head_image_2 Josie and Elizabeth shine at this- as does Kevin at Shelburne Wine and Coffee. When a store has that ambiance, the clientele will start to take over the task as well. That's when a store comes alive, and makes a community.