December 2007

There's A Little Pink House on Hilton Head Island

Author: Miranda Spencer

Art for Art Lovers or Average Joes

There’s a little pink house on Hilton Head Island that accommodates hundreds of eclectic objects that peel the artistic layers of one’s own creative gift-giving instincts. It’s a house that not only contains objects, but also clever ideas, imaginative personalities, and colorful emotions—all depicted in some form of art.

Conveniently and quaintly located in Main Street Village, Pink House Gallery lives up to its colorful name, and has been in operation by the Voegele family for 24 years. It may be the law of attraction for Pink House Gallery to be so appealing to families, since Nancy Voegele, the proud owner, is accompanied daily by her son, Dan, who can be found framing in the backroom. His wife, Tonia, does the matting in a room affectionately called “the cave.” Their 11-year-old daughter, Athena, is humorously considered the merchandise manager since she designs the alluring window displays.

Owner Nancy Voegle

“We really just try to have a big variety,” said Nancy. “We have a lot of Lowcountry scenes, and a lot of colorful, fun, gifty things.” Either way, she prefers to support the local artists.

Paintings seem to be the most popular at the Pink House, with Lowcountry scenes by Ray Ellis being the biggest seller. “I can’t even tell you how many Ray Ellis prints I have sold over the years,” Nancy said, “all different sizes too.” Art Cornell is another local artist whose ingenious abstract paintings are considered more like “blocks for adults.” The intention is to mix and match small square canvases to make a larger “painting” by hanging them together on the wall like building blocks. Leslie Carson’s pieces bring a more tropical approach to decorating with her palm tree scenes painted in Caribbean colors that are sure to warm up any cold room. Local artist, Peggy Pierce, brings an acrylic silhouette style to suit a number of personalities. “Peggy does a lot of fun things. She’s just the neatest lady,” said Nancy, pointing to each of Pierce’s panoramic silhouettes—one, in particular, entitled “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” picturing slightly oversized woman cooking, drinking and, of course, being merry.

But it’s not just the paintings that sell. Pink House Gallery contains a copious amount of other objet d’art. Sharon Feldstein’s colorful “Story Squares” are a unique and very clever addition, and they work the way they sound. And the best part: they’re custom made. “Glass by Galene” includes glass decorations with sayings such as “Home Sweet Ocean” and “Wine flows, the Heart Grows.” Lori Fonz’s Santa Clauses made out of hollow gourds add a seasonal touch. And Kathryn Ramseur seems to have quite a kid connection with her creatively-colored pencil illustrations, perfect for a child’s room.

The Voegeles don’t claim to be artists themselves, but a lot of credit must go to the artistry of framing and matting. “The custom framing is the really big part of our business,” Nancy explained, continuing with a laugh, “and Tonia can do such neat things with the mat cutter. You name it, we do it.” With a motto of “We never say no unless it’s just absolutely impossible,” it’s tough not to test the boundaries of framing, especially with the aesthetically pleasing selections this little pink house offers. Their newest edition is an Italian enamel inlaid framing that is just downright cool. Nancy holds up a drawing of a simple but retro red flower in a zebra-striped vase. “There’s no matting involved since the frame does it all. I think it’s plenty with the funky, fun frame,” said Nancy. “I get something like this in, and even after all these years, I still get excited!”

Dan explained that it usually takes about an hour for a framing job. “Most of the frames we already have, but sometimes we have to order the frame if it’s not in stock,” he said, while assembling a frame around a 1950s baby photo.

With the assortment of art inside this Main Street pink house, even as a window shopper, an innocent temptation may arise from the artistic layers piling on the floor—perhaps something for a mother, a wife, a friend, a child, or maybe even a treat for yourself.

For Everyone on Your List:

For mom: “House Rules” Story Squares
For the grandparents: custom-made name frames of the grandkids (a photo collage of the child behind his or her name carved in the mat)
For a stocking stuffer: wooden postcards that can actually be sent via mail
For the tree-hugger: nature photography by Larry Watts and James Hartley Smith
For the jazz lover: a personal photo or poster in a music-themed Italian frame
For the wife: Ray Ellis’s Blue Flowers and Sea View print
For the wine lover: painted wine glasses or Glass by Galene’s “Wine Flows, the Heart Grows”
For the bachelor: Art Cornell’s “Building Blocks for Adults”
For the granddaughter: wooden angel with beaded wings inscribed with “Follow your dreams” or “Angels often come to us as granddaughters”
For the colorful friend: funky ceramic vase or platter painted with “You’ve Got a Friend”
For the sentimental family member: family memorabilia matted and framed
For the golfer husband: his Heritage PGA Tournament passes matted and framed

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