Color Your World
Written by Emma McDonnell
Benjamin Anderson, Carpinteria resident and artist, has called the Santa Barbara area home practically his whole life. “I love Santa Barbara’s European vibe. It has a cool energy that’s more laid back than a big city and it has a lot of nomads from other places who come to live here,” he expresses. The California contemporary realist artist has traveled the world, with stints in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Italy, but Carpinteria is home. Heavily inspired by the Bay Area’s figurative art scene during his time at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, Anderson found his own way of abstraction through water, something predominant in his California lifestyle. Best known for his paintings of objects and swimmers abstracted in water, Anderson’s work is alluring. Whether it be cars, guitars, or airplanes, Anderson uses water as a means to submerge objects in a way that is equal parts mystifying and compelling: “I started to realize the significance of not only the pool lifestyle but also dropping objects in that weren’t supposed to be in water.” The heavy objects juxtaposed with the fluidity of the water creates a captivating contrast. In this way, Anderson’s abstraction is highly personal, stemming from his own lifestyle with a conceptual twist.
Anderson’s work has been showcased from coast to coast; the biggest highlight to date being a solo show at Blank Space Gallery in New York City. “Those big moments…you know it’s not the sales side that’s as important as achieving some artistic goal for me personally,” he explains.
Lunch at the Honor Bar, an empty space, and Oliver Caldwell. What do these things have in common? Caldwell Snyder Gallery. Sometimes the best things happen by chance and serendipity played a huge role in the opening of Caldwell Snyder Gallery in Montecito: “I’m sitting at the Honor Bar and I’m looking across the street and there was this store that was closed and we thought let’s take a shot at this and open that up,” shares Oliver Caldwell.
For the past 40 years, Oliver Caldwell and Susan Snyder have been a dynamic business duo; a rare occurrence, as Caldwell explains it’s unusual to be partners in the art business and survive for this long. What made it possible? “We share a common interest of caring for each other, caring for the staff, caring for the artists, caring for the clients. We both have an immense appreciation for beautiful things and the highest aesthetic quality.” In addition to their location in Montecito, Caldwell Snyder boasts two Northern California galleries as well as an extensive roster of staff, clients, and artists that have been with them for twenty to thirty years. With such little turnover, one can establish deep roots in the business community.
It’s this personal approach that is embodied in the mindset of the art gallery: “We are one of the last of the handmade businesses in the world. Everything is either digital or machine made….There is no Zillow in the art world,” says Caldwell. With an appreciation for the ceremonial art process, Caldwell Snyder has stayed at the forefront of the art scene, representing artists from near and far: “My partner and I have a wide taste. I like all kinds of things. There is a common thread where I can sense the quality and I can sense the intent, the expression, the angst, the beauty.”
Each connection and relationship the duo have with artists is an intimate and personal experience, as they travel to interact with the artists themselves, meet the families, and understand the artist’s inspiration and home. Caldwell Snyder is finding the next best thing for those with elegant and exquisite taste; bringing the pulse of the art world to Coast Village Road.