William Thompson, owner of the Satellite Gallery.

William Thompson, owner of the Satellite Gallery.

Interview with owner William Thompson

Interviewed by Dennis Ray

The Satellite Gallery specializes in bringing local, national and international artists to the Southeast. These artists represent the changing dynamic of contemporary art.

Rapid River Magazine: How did you first get interested in selling art?

William Thompson: It is quite a long story about how it all came about. But, art has always been a passion of mine and there came a point in time where my best friends, Brad Stengel, Josh Liner and I decided we would just go for it. We wanted to open up a place to show this passion and the genre(lowbrow) of art we were into. So we opened up Lineage Gallery in Burlington, VT to highlight this style of art and the many artists out there.

After a few years we moved it to Philly and during that time I opened The Satellite Gallery here in Asheville. I felt that there was something lacking here in the art world and it was a gallery that is in step with the zeitgeist of art today and I wanted to bring this to Asheville.

RRM: You have artists from all around the world. How do you choose and or find your artists?

WT: There are so many talented artists out there, both here in Asheville and elsewhere that it is somewhat easy to find artists. They just have to fit in line with the styles I show at Satellite. Artists are on point when it comes to finding a gallery to rep them as well. They seek you out so choosing whom to show is the hard part.

RRM: What medium of art tends to sell the best here in Asheville, and why do you suppose that is?

WT: That is a question where I think NOBODY has the answer to. People love what they love when it comes to art – the medium doesn’t matter. What does sell in this town is Kitsch, Craft and Folk Art. People come to Asheville to bring a piece of Asheville home with them, that’s why these styles sell over others. Asheville is an “Artsy” town.

The styles I show are just another aspect of Art in Asheville yet it tends to be a little to contemporary and forward for those that visit. Most of my clients are larger city oriented, so the “commercial” styles don’t appeal to them. But when it comes to buying Art – if you feel it, you know it.

RRM: Tell us a little about some of your artists and what initially drew you towards their work?

WT: Well, first and foremost the artist has to fit with the galleries style. Also for me, the artists I carry have to really be speaking to me with their work. It can be style, subject matter or even how clean their line is. But it all comes down to their work. There are so many artists that I use and know that it’s difficult to name just a few. Besides I don’t like alienating anyone.

Everyone that I show in The Satellite Gallery is being shown for a reason and that reason is – the work speaks. Now it’s just a matter of teaching people that aren’t familiar with what I show to listen to what the artist is saying. All Art speaks – whether or not you want to listen is up to you. Just be open to it.

The Satellite Gallery
55 Broadway St., Downtown Asheville
(828) 505-2225
Tues. – Sat. 11-6 p.m., Sun. 11-5 p.m.
www.thesatellitegallery.com