Prints made by 3 Fish Studios that show California being "bear-hugged" have become a symbol of solidarity during times of local crisis. But the SF art studio announced Saturday it will close its Outer Sunset gallery by the end of August — and will focus on building its online presence.
3 Fish Studios on 4541 Irving Street is a well-known, cherished wonderland of left-of-center art, both printed on traditional canvass and mixed media. However, the gallery — which was founded in 2007 by husband-and-wife team Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin — has gained national attention for its "I Love You California" print collection, showcasing a bear giving the long state a warm embrace. But, like virtually every other small business in San Francisco, they've struggled to stay afloat (financially, speaking) since the pandemic forced them to close their storefront. And even though Rewitzer and Galvin have offered curbside pickup over the past few weeks, the business isn't enough to justify keeping the space active and operational.
So, alas, the pair or printmakers announced they'll close the 3 Fish Studios’ Outer Sunset physical showcase by the end of the month... which will allow them to invest in building their website.
View this post on Instagram
Hi Friends. It’s been almost five months since we were forced to close our 3 Fish Studios storefront in San Francisco due to COVID and the shutdown. While we have been open for curbside pickup and window shopping these last few weeks, it has remained a challenge to meet baseline expenses for our business during this time. After countless assessments on what we need to do, we have arrived at a big decision: At the end of August, our 3 Fish Studios storefront in San Francisco is going to close. Oh, it’s been an amazing run. In the 8 years of our doors being open in the Outer Sunset, our art practice has flourished. We have made tons of art, taught hundreds of classes, hosted wonderful concerts in the backyard, poured countless coffees and beers, and have warmly welcomed thousands of wonderful people from around the world as they walked through our doors. We’ve raised over $200,000 to help communities in times of need, launched the Fish Fest with our neighbors across the street, @hookfishco, and have donated artwork to every good cause under the fog. We’ve even had @juliaroberts smile at us while purchasing a piece of Eric’s art. We have developed a deep, lasting love for this tight-knit community, and are so grateful for the love and support we have experienced on a daily basis here. Last year we purchased a place in the Sierra foothills to try country life on for size, and since the shutdown we’ve moved a lot of our equipment here to Amador County. We have been fulfilling orders and making work from our new location since then. This change presents wonderful new opportunities to continue to make art, develop artist residencies, and create a new community. We’re excited about this, and are grateful we have this option. So yes, things are changing big time for us at the end of August, but all in the spirit of making a space where we can continue to support ourselves as artists. We look forward to sharing our new work as we settle into this next chapter. Thank you for your steadfast support of our business. We are truly grateful. Cheers for the memories made, and cheers to the memories to be made in the aftertimes. With gratitude to you all - Annie and Eric
The decision is also a pragmatic choice; the couple has been making art from their home in the California Sierra foothills, which they purchased last year, since the pandemic began.
“Since the shutdown, we’ve moved a lot of our equipment here to Amador County, and have been fulfilling orders and making work from our new location since then," reads a statement procured by SFGate. (The statement, itself, also appears in an Instagram post by 3 Fish Studios Saturday announcing updates to the business.)
"This change presents wonderful new opportunities to make art, develop artist residencies, and create a new community," the blurb continues.
View this post on Instagram
Here is Orlie. She is a talented, hard-working, community-focused artist based in San Francisco. She does wonderful relief prints that reflect her unique, whimsical view of the world. She is also a successful illustrator, having done work for publications as esteemed as the New York Times. For the last seven years, Orlie has also been our right hand and studio manager at 3 Fish Studios. It needs to be said - one of the hardest parts about closing our storefront at the end of August will be letting this one get away. She has been nothing but an inspiration and absolute joy to work with, and we’d have been lost without her. When we asked her to move to Amador County, she understandably declined. And so now we have to face what’s next without our secret weapon. Orlie knows that a connection to community is what can make an art practice thrive. She can teach, she can engage, she can radiate warmth and kindness while being unflappably knowledgeable about her craft. And as she goes forward developing her own arc as an artist, we ask you to support her as much as you have supported us, because she is part of us. Consider her for your next illustration project, commission, mural, in-house design or illustration gig, or managing your studio. She is one-of-a-kind, a friend, a colleague, and we will dearly miss working with her.
Because the physical space in the Outer Sunset will soon exist as another casualty of the pandemic, 3 Fish Studios’ "esteemed" gallery manager, who herself is also a "successful illustrator," will, too, be released back into the metaphorical stream — "[to be hired for] your next illustration project, commission, mural, in-house design or illustration gig, or managing your studio."
The art hub said it will use this opportunity to deepen its digital footprint, saying in a shared social media post the outcome will be a “much richer site, with better navigation, framing options, and process videos.”
"We look forward to sharing our new work as we settle into this next chapter," the couple say in the jointly written IG post. "Thank you for your steadfast support of our business. We are truly grateful."
3 Fish Studios still plans on doing the occasional pop-up in San Francisco when it becomes safe to do so again, according to SFGate.
You can digitally flip through their online catalog on 3fishstudios.com, where you can purchase most 8" x 10" prints from the "I Love California" collection for $25, sans tax and shipping.
Image: Instagram @zerudaa