Debbie van der Bol, owner of Pure Art, is set to celebrate 25 years of her shop and art gallery
Pure Art was started by an artist for artists.
Debbie van der Bol came to the Cayman Islands 30 years ago on a scuba diving trip.
“I came here twice in what they call the good old days, where you didn’t lock your door or anything,” she says.
After Debbie graduated from art school at a university in Pennsylvania, she was looking for inspiration.
“Being a painter is just fantastic here,” she says. “The colours and being sunny and it was just what I wanted to paint. It was just my colours. From the start, I really felt in touch with the old time Cayman cottages and little things in the garden.”
Pure Art’s location is a cottage on South Church Street. When the cottage came up for rent 25 years ago, she decided to open an art gallery and shop with permission from planning (and the neighbours).
The gallery started small – no air conditioning, no lights – and slowly she kept reinvesting in the business. The first addition was AC.
“People were walking around dripping,” she jokes. “It wasn’t so good for the art.”
Pure Art then grew when Debbie got her computer, which changed everything.
“(Art) is on consignment here and I used to sit for hours after every day’s sale figuring it out on a calculator – how much I’d pay the artists when something sells – and now it’s all done by computer. So it sort of gave me a new life,” she says.
Consignment allows artists to showcase their original work in a professional gallery with plenty of shoppers each day.
Pure Art showcases all different types of art and all different types of local materials and products.
“My goal for Pure Art really from the start was to feature local products – paintings as well as gifts. So when we say local, it would be souvenirs, fine sculptures, wall plaques, chimes,” she says.
She also carries other products from the various islands of the Caribbean. “Something that people won’t just find anywhere.”
If a local artist wants to showcase his work, Debbie takes appointments so she can meet the artist.
“I’m looking for a really good, professional, finished quality. Even if you’re a new artist, things have to be done with proper materials. Because in the Caribbean, if it’s not, it won’t last,” she says.
She is also looking for originality.
“If someone else has done something similar, then I’m not really interested. If someone has already come up with the idea, we want the next person’s to be different enough,” she says. “We always do try to have a couple new artists in the gallery.”
As for art collectors, there are original paintings and sculptures for under $40. Artists price their own work. And there is something really for any collector.
Many people have started their art collection with pieces of artwork for Pure Art. Debbie even offers advise to customers on framing.
Right now, Pure Art is offering 20 per cent off to customers using their CI debit card or CI cash.
I call it the spring special,” she says.
For more information, call Debbie at 949-9133 or visit www.pureart.ky