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The History of The Erin Hanson Gallery

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I thought you would enjoy the story behind the creation of The Erin Hanson Gallery.  About 8 years ago I was happily painting in my 3-car garage, located snugly in the Burbank hills with a great view overlooking Downtown Los Angeles. One day I got a knock on my door, and a city representative appeared saying that there have been reports of "too many canvases" being made on my property. The City of Burbank has a very strict policy of not allowing businesses to be run out of people's homes, and the representative told me I had 2 weeks to move every piece of paint and canvas out of my home.

Luckily I had already been eyeing this warehouse down in Glendale, across the street from my favorite breakfast spot. I had even emailed the owner to see if I could possibly have afforded it, but had decided it was far more sensible to keep my expenses down and remain painting in my garage. With this sudden encouraging push from the city, however, I decided I should be a leaseholder after all, and The Erin Hanson Gallery was born.

My first gallery and studio was 2,000 square feet, with a small gallery showroom in the front, a studio in the middle, and a warehouse in the back.  The well-known painting North Rim Hexaptych was created to cover a 6-paneled, wooden accordian wall I built to separate my warehouse from the studio. 


While I was working here, I went to a great Expressionist exhibition at LACMA, and I fell in love with the museum's dark blue walls.  I liked the way the dark color made the gold frames pop.  I decided to paint my own gallery in this color.

Three years later, after publishing a few books (which ate up most of my warehouse) and running very short on floor space, I relocated my gallery to an artist district near Downtown LA, called "Frogtown" due to its proximity to the LA River. With the sudden doubling of space, I felt like I could truly expand as an artist. For the first time, I was able to create a large collection of related paintings and release them all at once in my gallery. The first such collection was The Orange Show.

The high ceilings, polished concrete floors, and large skylights made my new gallery an ideal place to paint... until the summer of 2016 hit, and I discovered how hot an LA warehouse could get without air conditioning.

At the end of 2016, I decided to move to San Diego. The cooler weather beckoned invitingly, and I was looking forward to getting out of the city. I spent months looking at every available industrial property that came on the market. Since I am painter, and I wanted to paint on site, I needed my building to be zoned for industrial. The good news was that I could afford a much larger industrial space than I could a retail location. I finally settled on a pristine warehouse, 5,000-square feet, off Miramar Rd, the heart of San Diego's interior design district.  The building was 2 blocks from the 15 freeway, easy to access from North County and downtown San Diego, and only 15 minutes from La Jolla. Plus, there was air conditioning!

The best thing about this property was that it was completely gutted, and I was offered $80K in building modifications so I could build it to suit. This was a real dream come true. I spent weeks huddled over graph paper drawing detailed layout plans, making mockups in Photoshop, and measuring everything I owned to see where it would fit on my floorplan.

The final result was a brand-new Erin Hanson Gallery.  We had our grand opening in February, 2017. I kept the dark blue gallery walls, and I had two collection releases in 2017: The Coastal Show and The Super Bloom Show. I love living in San Diego; I feel much closer to nature here, and the city is drenched in natural beauty.


What are my plans for the future? In a few years I hope to buy my own building and property. I have dreams of winding gardens and water features, tall trees shading a classical facade, with the cool ocean breeze drifting in from the Pacific. I am already sketching out building ideas and interior layouts in my spare time. I love to dream up new futures. It is the job of every artist.

- Erin Hanson



ERIN HANSON is a life-long painter, beginning her study of oils as a young child.  Her passion for natural beauty is seen in her work as she transforms vistas familiar and rare into stunning interpretations of bold color, playful rhythms and raw emotional impact. Her frequent forays into National Parks and other havens of nature include backpacking expeditions, rock climbing, and photo safaris.  Hanson's unique painting style has become known as Open Impressionism, which is now taught in art schools around the world. With thousands of collectors eagerly anticipating her work and millions of followers online, Hanson has become an iconic, driving force in the rebirth of contemporary impressionism, and she is quickly recognized as a prolific, modern master.

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