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The art of buying art



Trends are for suckers; beauty is where you find it, and respect for the craft is a must.

Art is a personal thing. Sometimes you buy a painting because it will look great on your wall and matches the couch perfectly. Maybe those earrings are just too pretty to pass up.

Or maybe there's something about that drawing that just speaks to you.

Whether you're looking for a glass vase or a new necklace, the Broad Ripple Art Fair offers pieces to fit everyone's lifestyle.

Meet these three artists, and head over to their booths at the fair for a closer look at their work.

Pearly precision

Anita Gogulis-Danenman, jewelry artist

About her

When people started commenting on Anita Gogulis-Danenman's jewelry, she knew she was onto something. After taking a metalsmithing class in college, Gogulis-Danenman began making her own jewelry.

"I starting getting compliments," she said, "and people wanted to buy it and it snowballed into this."

Gogulis-Danenman, who started college as a fashion design major, works from a home studio where she incorporates semi-precious stones into silver and gold, creating ultrafeminine pieces with an almost Renaissance feel.

"Sometimes it looks like something you might dig up in pirate treasure," she said. "It's pretty-princess jewelry, some of it."

Though she makes a variety of styles, Gogulis-Danenman said pearl necklaces are her signature work.

"These are not your mother's pearls," she says of her lariats.

Gogulis-Danenman occasionally lets her 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter help out, but prefers to keep her family time and work time separate.

"Having a good family behind you is like winning the lottery jackpot," she said. "Money is nice. It can make you more comfortable if you're miserable or unhappy. But nothing is worth more than having a good family behind you."

Her tips for buying jewelry

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Jewelry is very personal, Gogulis-Danenman said. "It's kind of like a reflection of someone's soul."

Don't confuse handmade with homemade. Jewelry-making isn't some hobby that artists do for fun. It's a serious craft and art medium that involves plenty of time, effort and tedious work. So keep that in mind when you pick up a pair of handcrafted earrings from a booth.

Goodly drawn boy

Josh Johnson, illustration / printmaking

About him

Josh Johnson has always been a doodler. Since he started using a pencil in the first grade, Johnson has been drawing.

"There were a few of us that were considered the artists," Johnson said. "Not because I was a child prodigy or anything. It was a small school, and there was a marginal interest."

By high school, though, Johnson began taking art classes as electives, and by the time he made it to Indiana University, he'd made the commitment to art and regularly produced a cartoon for the school paper.

And while Johnson has grown from a grade-school doodler to a professional illustrator and cartoonist, writing and illustrating books and comics, he doesn't necessarily classify himself in just those terms.

"Illustrator, painter, printmaker, writer, bookmaker, cartoonist -- no one word sums it up," Johnson said. "I suppose I defy classification."

He's been known to produce large, abstract watercolors as well as small, books hand-printed with a letterpress.

But an old 1920s letterpress, he said, is the most unique process he uses, mixing the utilitarian and production elements of the machine to produce fine art.

His tips for buying illustrations

Go with what makes you feel good, not what a magazine or other people say. "Everyone has different needs," Johnson said. "Some people need something to match a color scheme. Some people need context. If people say it is 'in' or 'hot,' move on."

Realize the value of illustration. "Illustrations and illustrators are generally not given as much credit as other artists, when in reality, there are some illustrators that are some of the most talented artists . . ." Johnson said. "Artists were commercial until the mid-1800s, when the concept of the 'artist' came about. The Sistine Chapel is nothing more than a commissioned illustration."

Handles with care

Ryan Gothrup, glass artist

About him

The 28-year-old originally attended Herron School of Art and Design to pursue sculpting, but fell in love with glass after taking a class at the Indianapolis Art Center. He transferred to Kent State University to finish his degree and now teaches adult and children's classes at the center.

Gothrup loves to incorporate his sculpting background with his glass-making abilities, creating mixed media sculptures and trying to find ways of pushing the limits. "Sometimes you'll see something and wonder how on earth they did that," Gothrup said. "And that's coming from someone who's familiar with the medium."

Aside from the bigger projects he works on, Gothrup creates everything from vases and goblets using classic Italian techniques to collector-friendly balls and flowers.

While he can create balls in just a couple of minutes each on the pipe, his fine art works are much more time-consuming and costly. And unlike other media, when glass breaks, there isn't much you can do about it.

"Sometimes things will crack right on the pipe," Gothrup said. "Other times, you'll put it in the oven to cool and it will come out broken."

His tips for buying glass

Pick it up. When people look at his work, they're often reluctant to touch, fearing they'll break it. But Gothrup said it's just like picking up a piece of ceramic. "People will have no problems picking up a piece of pottery," Gothrup said, "but ceramic breaks just as easily as glass."

Go with your gut. Most people are attracted to glass because of its color or form. If it matches your couch, go with it. Even better if it just speaks to you.

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