30 Years Ago In Colorado – Part III

In August 1986 artists Janis Provisor and Brad Davis had their newly constructed Colorado home featured in House & Garden magazine. 30 years later, in August 2016, we’re looking back on this eclectic house by sharing insights on its unique construction, the pieces they acquired and art they made while living there, and their reflections on it today.

The downstairs is nothing but naked workspace and all the light you can eat. The length of the ground floor is divided into two equal-sized studios separated by a storage lane. The running three-foot border of opaque corrugated fiberglass floods both studios without offering any external distractions, although one could say, for Brad and Janis, the external distractions around here are the whole point of spending as much time in God’s Country as they do in the Art Wars of Manhattan.

– Richard Price, House & Garden, August 1986

Provisor says, “At the time we were full-time artists, and liked the open spaces of living in a loft (we still do!)… Downstairs were two studios with 12-foot ceilings, separate but equal with a bit open storage space in between for paintings. We put in a big garage door in front of the storage space, lots of glass to let in the amazing south light, and easy access for moving big items in and out of the house… and a place for us to be outside. We loved living in that house, and if we miss anything about it, is the light that poured in from morning to night. Outside our front window was a view of Mount Sopris, picture perfect like Paramount Pictures, which was an amazing focal point.”

The nature that inspired them, other than the obvious mountain-range drama, is startling akin to the landscape scrolls that hang from their walls. The mountains and valleys are strewn with lichen-tinted volcanic basalt, redstone. Juniper trees look like giant bonsais, gray-barked and shredded, exquisitely gnarled – a tumbling delicacy that hauntingly evokes the centuries-old Chinese paintings [in their homes].

As we drive around the countryside they fight over trees, mountains, laying claim to future subjects, dividing up the earth. They point out brooks, individual trees, trickly waterfalls that have already been used. The possibilities and combinations are endless and their absorption is complete.

– Richard Price, House & Garden, August 1986

Looking back, Provisor recalls, “Colorado was a big influence on us in many ways, and we remember our time there with great affection. We both became involved with the art scene in Aspen. I was on the board for a brief time at the Aspen Art Museum while Brad was the artist member on the board of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center (we were both instrumental in helping them develop a painting program).

Brad’s work became even more landscape involved as he worked to combine his interest in literati Chinese Painting and the natural world around him. He even spent time working outside. My work grew leaps while there, and I too incorporated the landscape in my work, but on a much more abstract and psychological manner.”

How did this time in Colorado lead to the genesis of the company today? According to Provisor, “While living in Colorado, I was invited to go to China to make woodcuts in the watercolor manner with Crown Point Press, an important fine art print publisher in San Francisco. That was our first foray into China, and it changed our lives by introducing us to China in a very intimate yet intense way… not as a tourist, but actually travelling and working and producing. On that trip we met contacts who helped us move there for a year, and thus began the genesis of FORT STREET STUDIO. Would this have happened if we were not living in Colorado then? Who knows?”