This excellent publicity (human interest) article, already formatted in a table, was in the archive files for this site. Occasion was  my gallery's tenth anniversary. It was a milestone for a small business, especially an artist business. @ToddJClausen is a top-notch, award-winning analytical journalist for the Democrat & Chronicle these days He must have been fresh out of college then. He conducted a model interview.

If you reverse-engineer, it's a blueprint for designing press releases. The questions he asked directly related to my topic - highlights from the first ten years of business. The article is his story because he was the story teller. The tone is his. My gallery business is his topic. I knew the answers and had anecdotes ready because I reviewed my notes before we spoke. He got a quote from a gallery owner/dealer and from a client to support what I told him.


Reprinted with Permission  
Todd Clausen/Messenger Post Staff August 01, 2002

Irondequoit woman has an eye for art

It happened in 1992, and almost by accident.

Jerry Chrissy strolled into the Village Gate Square simply to browse and window shop, but when he stumbled upon a new, box-shaped gallery located near a back staircase, he discovered artwork that has stayed him ever since.

He saw several pieces of framed paper artwork splashed with bright reds, gold outlines and other vivid colors of people and animals inside the MK Colling gallery (named after its owner, Mary Kay Colling of Irondequoit). 

The pieces immediately intrigued Chrissy, a former Eastman Kodak Co. employee who worked in the company's paper support division.

"I understood the techniques that were used and knew how difficult it was to do that," said Chrissy, a Greece resident. "I like the uniqueness, colors and sense of flow (of the works)."

He left the gallery with a handful of cards that day. Now, 10 years later, Chrissy still visits the gallery as Colling celebrates a decade of business in her small gallery. Her anniversary was May 1.

Colling probably would have never opened the gallery if it wasn't for a serious case of writer's block that gripped her while working as a promotional writer.

She began to doodle instead of writing on blank sheets paper, while struggling to regain her writer's touch. She saw her drawings start to take off when she began making greeting cards for friends and family.

"The jump from the refrigerator to having stuff on people's walls was mind-boggling," she said. "You have no idea what a thrill it is or to walk in some other place and see my painting on the wall. It just thrills me to no end."

Colling was helped enormously by the Internet, which she has used to create several Web sites to promote her work and her credentials. 

Young boys e-mailed her about her line art drawings of a young girl called Rema**, an engineer inquired about how to purchase some of her other work, and then journalists from fine art magazines across the globe began writing feature articles on her work.

She has been featured in several magazines including Country Living, Summerset Studio and Golden Lotus, which features Chinese art and culture.

Her financial success allowed her to continue at the Village Gate Square even as other artisans left other the years. A majority of her sales are now completed over the Internet, said Colling. 

She declined to discuss how much business she attracts annually, but said, "I do more than enough to keep me state-of-the-art, but that is not why I am in business, to support some computer stuff." 

However, she has been able to reinvest in her business by purchasing computers, software and printers to take her talents to different mediums.

She has worked with cast paper relief, paper sculptures, line-art paintings, and stamps. 

Colling has made a 6-foot tall sculpture that was on display at the Water Street Grill in the city. She also made a piece called "Half Naked Ladies," a play on the band BareNakedLadies.

So it should be no surprise when those familiar with her work call it fun.

"Her work is feel good," said Louis Perticone, owner of the Elizabeth Collection and Metal Arts, a nonprofit corporation on Blossom Road in the city. "It is whimsical - even her little kids with their frowns. She is a good artist, but she is also smart in making stuff that can sell."

Colling added that much of her work is drawn from an old family photo album.

"Surprisingly, I thought it was all in my imagination," she joked. "A lot of these paintings are in those photographs and a lot of the situations I draw are in those photographs. I would never have known if I didn't see (them)."

The Irondequoit artisan is now looking to expand on her work once again. Besides putting instructional compact discs on her Web site, Colling is looking to start a new division that will combine yoga with her art works.

Rima, after the bird girl in Green Mansions, by W.H. Hudson

Six+ ft. paper sculpture, Ceremony

Half-Naked Ladies

Stenciled Christmas card featured.

Magazine features with full-page and full-spread photos of my art work.

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