Anyone who has been to one of the art walks downtown can clearly see that Bozeman has a thriving art scene. But often it can be rough for those trying to make a living in an artistic profession. Because of this, the people in creative industries often gravitate toward each other, creating a local support network. Bozeman possibly has no stronger example of this than The Foundry.
The Foundry opened its doors in September 2013 under the self-title of a “creative syndicate.” It is essentially a conglomerate of several different art-based businesses that have come together to share a common building. The building serves many different functions for the organization — a gallery space for showing local work, a retail space for selling locally-printed graphic tee shirts and other souvenirs, an office for the various businesses and a photography studio and darkroom that can be rented out to the public. The organization truly is made up of a diverse group of people — which is evidenced by just a few of its member businesses.
Intrigue Ink is a Bozeman-based screen printing business that sells everything from tea towels to underwear. All of their products feature designs that are hand-drawn and printed by the co-owners, sisters Paige and Tatum Johnson. Both are Bozeman natives and hold master’s degrees in architecture and photography, respectively. Their products are sold at The Foundry storefront and can also be found at intrigue-ink.com.
Ruthl+ss (pronounced “ruthless”) Photography and Designs is a company run by Bozeman local Justine Cranford. Ruthl+ss specializes in commercial photography and offers services that range from product photography to traditional portraits for seniors, engagements, families and more. To find more information or contact Ruthl+ss go to ruthlessphoto.com.
FINN Designs is another locally run operation that offers a number of design services. They can help develop a company’s identity or branding and create web or packaging designs. For example, FINN developed the most recent logo for the local On The Rise baking company. FINN Designs is headed by Serina Finn, and more information can be found at finndesignshop.com.
James Weikert is also a member of the syndicate, and is an artist that produces original fine art works and prints. Weikert mainly makes large oil paintings that are inspired by the natural world but are less focused on factual representations and more focused on the color and form of the subject. According to his website, he aims to “distil the elements of my subject matter into bold geometric forms, recognizable but abstracted.” To see Weikert’s work or find out more info, you can visit najariangallery.com.
The Foundry truly is something different in the Bozeman creative scene. It is a diverse collective and has much possibility for change so it is difficult to predict what it will do next. When I spoke to Orlando Piva, a member of The Foundry, he said, “We are constantly evolving . . . and there will always be room for change.” Overall, the organization seems to be dedicated to creating a unique platform for creativity and artistic promotion in Bozeman.