Arts Galleries

Come Out for the Grand Opening of Jaime Byrd Contemporary Art Gallery

Wild is the Calm. Jamie Byrd, artist

By Lauren Stepp

After more than 25 years of making art in WNC, Asheville painter and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jaime Byrd has established her own venue in the River Arts District. Byrd and her husband, Adam Cohen, will unveil the new space, Jaime Byrd Contemporary Art Gallery, on Friday, May 3, 4–7 p.m.

A California native, Byrd began studying color theory and art history around age seven. “My father was an art teacher and oil painter,” she says, “so I have spent my entire life painting and being exposed to creativity.”

But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that Byrd gave painting her full focus. Before then, she had worked as an independent filmmaker. The position required extensive travel, which came to an abrupt end in March of 2020.

Welcome Home. Jaime Byrd, artist

In her newfound free time, Byrd picked up a paintbrush and immersed herself in the world of oil and cold wax. “One day, while playing around with creating some social media posts, I decided to make a movie from one of my paintings with special effects and footage I had filmed in the past,” says Byrd.

She then discovered a free online app called Artivive that allowed her to incorporate elements of augmented reality (AR) into her artwork, essentially bringing the two-dimensional paintings to life with sound and movement.

In June of 2021, Byrd introduced the AR-enhanced paintings during a solo showcase at Trackside Studios. Seventy percent of the pieces sold on opening night.

“The films that I create of my artwork give the viewer a chance to immerse themselves deeper into my paintings,” says Byrd. “I create these films as a second piece of art that complements my paintings and allows the viewer a chance to see one interpretation of the work.”

Jamie Byrd’s new gallery space in the Aura Arts building

Situated in the recently renovated Aura Arts building, Byrd’s new 2,000-square-foot gallery gives her a space to debut these immersive works.

“I’m able to share and display larger paintings,” she says. “Visitors are completely blown away when they see the multimedia installation that is a combination of paintings, movies and technology all together.”

Visitors can either download the AR app onto their smartphones or borrow a tablet from the gallery. From there, it’s a matter of pointing the device’s camera at one of the AR-enabled paintings and enjoying an audio-visual experience.

A painting of a lighthouse titled Safe Harbor, for instance, comes alive with the cries of seagulls and the swaying of marsh grass. An abstract piece called The Lovely Darkness transforms into a waterfall of color and sound.

“I want people to feel the joy in the art that I create and be able to take in each piece individually,” says Byrd. “I hope that I create a memorable experience for everyone that comes into my new space.”

Jaime Byrd Contemporary Art Gallery is located at 375 Depot Street, Suite 105, Asheville. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment. To learn more, call 323.418.2973 or visit JaimeByrd.com.

Leave a Comment