Aesthetically, painter Chandler Woodfin and sculptor Todd Jannausch couldn’t be any more different. Woodfin creates colorful, sprawling pieces on pristine white backgrounds while Jannausch is often sanding down hunks of metal, his weathered face shielded from flying sparks. But process-wise, the two are joined at the hip.
“We’re both grinders,” Woodfin says, “it just manifests in different ways. I think we’re very similar in the manner that we work, it makes us both feel good to just say, ‘Let’s work for the next five hours straight. It’s how we cope, our neuroses go together very well.”
This sense of compromise and comradery is helpful for the two artists for two very important reasons: 1) they’re starting their own art school in Tacoma and 2) they’ve been married for four years and have a son who’s about to turn three.
Yes, Woodfin and Jannausch recently founded – with the help of a $25,000 Indiegogo crowd fund – an art school and gallery they’re calling Feast Arts Center, located in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma.
“We pick up each other’s slack,” Jannausch says.
“Together we’re maybe one solid person,” Woodfin laughs.
The two artists had been living and working in Seattle, teaching at Pratt Fine Arts Center and Gauge Academy of Art, among others. But they were struggling with their bills as working artists, especially with a new baby boy.
“We’d looked at places in Michigan, Oakland – we knew we couldn’t afford to stay in Seattle,” Jannausch says. “We were going backward [financially] every month. For our last six months in Seattle we sold something each month to pay our bills and we were having to use a food bank to get by.”
So the two moved to Tacoma in September and in the process decided to open a mixed-use school and gallery space. While it’s not totally clear when Feast will open (the couple is hoping for a November debut, depending on how paperwork shakes out), they will be showing off the space during a preview party on Saturday, October 17.
"It will be our soft open as part of the Tacoma Studios tours," Jannausch says. "We’ll have free events open to the public so they can learn what we’re doing in the city and we’ll have a show at the gallery. We’re not super entrenched in the community yet so we want to show who we are.”
In fact, it will be the first time the two will be showing their own work together in one space, he says.
As Feast continues to grow, Woodfin says they plan to offer daytime and evening classes for adults in two-dimensional work, mixed media, drawing, painting and collage. After school, from 3-5 p.m., they will offer low-cost programs for kids. Additionally, there will be weekend workshops.
“We will offer affordable classes while still paying instructors very competitively,” Jannausch adds. “This is really a giant experiment – what we’re really looking to do is see the overlaps within community and art.”
Indeed, community is very important to the creative couple, having established Feast in a traditionally underserved area of Tacoma, both artistically and economically.
“Having a gallery in a neighborhood where you wouldn’t normally see a gallery, attached to a school offering low-cost classes and free events to a community I think makes the whole thing more approachable and the conversation more interesting,” Jannausch says. “People who normally wouldn’t be participating in it are now.”
“Yes,” echoes Woodfin, “everyone is welcome.”