Velveteria was -closed in January 2010-located in Oregon and houses some of the oddest works of velvet art. Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin originally migrated to Oregon from California, coming up with the completely bizarre idea to start collecting these paintings on velvet. Well, fifty paintings turned into hundred, and from there, into five-hundred. At this point they were thinking, we have to get rid of them somehow, so what better to showcase them then in a gallery called the Velveteria.
Works like Judaist and the trucker, a young lady with a poodle, Elvis, The Lee Marvin Bulldog, and a Husky named Mike Ditka, are all on display. One of the painting’s signatures reads “hippie”, which I’m assuming represents the period in which it was created, as it certainly describes the gallery owners.
Carl Baldwin has a background in curating; however Caren Anderson seems to just dabble in the art. An honest collecting obsession I think for her, turned into a lucrative business. Caren Anderson was actually a psychiatric nurse prior to opening Velveteria.
It’s a fascinating place, even showcasing the Gauguin of velvet painting. Even with its curious and weird nature, Caren Anderson states that it wasn’t exactly their goal. They grew accustomed to the reputation of “Keep Oregon Weird”, a slogan borrowed from Texas.
With a slumping economy, the Velveteria closed its doors in January 2010. Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin will be migrating back to Southern California where the culture is a bit more diverse, and as Carl puts it, there are less of “these young creatives sitting in coffeehouses and trying to look like James Dean, or whoever the latest guy is."
Hopefully, we’ll see Velveteria once again open its doors in California, where a steady stream of all year around tourists will help it stay alive.