There is a new art gallery in town.
Craig “Knappy” Fogle and Ira Ibbotson partnered to open Remnant Gallery, 206 W. Montgomery St. It opened Nov. 29.
The gallery, which also serves as a working studio for Ibbotson, Fogle and his wife Audrey Fogle, is situated within a building within the same building as Self Expressions Tattoo Studio, where the Fogles’ work.
Fogle, 39, son of Dan and Vicki Fogle, said his path as an artist began as a child, sketching motifs such as skulls and skeletons on his notebooks in class.
“My dad said I should expand my focus to other things like flowers and nature and that would be more profitable,” said Fogle. “And, here I am 18 years later drawing skulls as a living.”
After graduating from Creston High School in 1992, Fogle left Creston for Arizona, where he attended National Education Center for advertising and design, but it wasn’t what he expected.
Less than a month later, he left the program. Fogle believes, had the same opportunities for web design been offered in 1992 as there are now, the outcome would have been different.
Fogle returned to Iowa after two years in Arizona with the hope of finding work as a graphic designer. However, the lack of design work led him to work for Ferrara Candy Company. It was at that time he met Travis Ahrens, who who introduced Fogle to tattooing.
“I worked 12-hour days at Gummy Bear and five hours learning at night,” said Fogle. “I tried to learn everything I could.”
Fogle’s determination paid off, and he left the factory life to become a tattoo artist at Mid Air Ink in Des Moines, which recently closed after 15 years. It was during his tenure in Des Moines that Fogle met Audrey, who he married in 2005.
Fogle credits Audrey, who taught him how to paint, for inspiring him and shaping his painting style.
Audrey — an artist in her own right — earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Drake University. During college, Audrey studied abroad in Florence, Italy, which influenced her style of painting. Fogle describes it as “old European.”
Many of Fogle’s paintings — some described as macabre — are reminiscent of the Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s work. Like Rembrandt, Fogle’s paintings showcase rich sepia tones and his portrayal of people suggest intense inner emotion.
“When pushed to explain why I am drawn to specific images, I have always been sensitive to the sadness of the people around me,” wrote Fogle. “I can usually tell when people have things weighing on their mind ... I am attracted to images I see, that I can feel that same sadness.”
However, unlike Rembrandt, Fogle uses primarily acrylic paint as opposed to oil and in some cases, fuses cloth and wood into his art.
In 2011, Fogle published a book of his art work from 2009 to 2011, titled “Acceptance.”
The title, as Fogle describes in the forward of his book, has less to do with his paintings and more to do with the acceptance of the life he has lived, the art he’s created. He said that every experience has helped shape the next.
Fogel’s book of 82 original paintings is enhanced with self-reflective thoughts on his life and work. Fogle also writes about his process and how he had to unlearn bad habits to create a new foundation for his art and life, in general.
Fogle said he’s not too concerned what other people take away from his art, but, enjoys that his art can be interpreted many ways.
In his book, Fogle reflects on a quote from his father and writes:
“It is a huge advantage to know that someone has your back regardless of how far fetched your ideas are ... . So many people are missing that support in their lives and it causes a sense of isolation ... . I have had times when I felt that the opportunities that opened for me were all of my own doing. I attributed that to being driven. I can see now that the support system I had with my family was really what allowed me to continue when I had the occasional mess up. I could see someone believed in me so I could keep pushing forward.”
Remnant Gallery has a Facebook fan page and is open tentatively on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.