In a household where both partners are artists and make a living by doing so, the topic of art must come up all the time — or perhaps never.
Britany Baker is a multimedia artist who paints, sculpts, photographs, designs — you name it — and works full-time as a designer for The Voice-Tribune. Frankie Steele is a local photographer and videographer who has freelanced for most media outlets at one time or another and also runs his own photography studio.
The husband-and-wife duo also operate Art Sanctuary in their spare time, and the venue/gallery space is where they’ve decided to host one of their first collaborative exhibitions, “Moments of Clarity,” which opens Friday, Sept. 7.
Baker tells Insider that although the couple has been together 16 years, this is the first time they’ve shared an exhibit since getting married.
Once, in Cincinnati, they did a show together after first meeting, and since then have been involved in group shows, like the UnFair, but never a dual exhibit of this nature.
Baker’s water and charcoal drawings and Steele’s video portraits both play to the theme of the passage of time. It’s a theme that can be applied to how the exhibit came about, and why it took so long for the couple to show off their art in a joint show.
“I’ve been bugging him to make art for a long time now,” says Baker. “When he started working on the building that now houses Art Sanctuary, he kind of stopped making art. I think he thought since it was for art that it qualified as art somehow. I mean, he was making art happen for sure, just not his own. He says it’s been good to get back into ‘self-assigned work,’ as he refers to it.”
Steele confirms that explanation, and also acknowledges that Baker put some pressure on him to get back into the art-making process.
“Britany had already booked the show earlier in the year as a solo exhibition, and I had been talking about needing to do some self-assigned work,” he says. “I needed a deadline, and I think she was tired of hearing me talk about making art and not doing anything about it.”
Steele says that while they talk about what each is working on a lot, this exhibit provided them more detail and hands-on making.
And Baker says the concept of the passing of time was easy to agree on.
“We are both making the art that we make, we just found common ground in our intentions,” Baker explains. “We’re both interested in how time as a dimension affects perception — just in different ways. His work is much more about people and personalities and relationships. … Mine is more about examining growth inside natural systems and how physical forces like gravity and momentum effect how things get to where they’re going.”
Steele is grateful for the opportunity to work with Baker and get back into creating just to create.
“It’s great to not have a financial agenda, but kind of unnerving to not have someone driving the ‘why’ of the thing,” Steele says. “After 20-plus years of making art, or art-adjacent things, I’m still interested, so maybe that’s all that really matters.”
And asked if there was ever differing opinions on the show, Steele correctly answers, “No, Britany is always right.”
“Moments of Clarity: Works by Britany Baker and Frankie Steele” runs from Sept. 7-30 at Art Sanctuary, 1433 S. Shelby St. An opening reception will be held Friday, Sept. 7, from 6-9 p.m.