Just over two years year ago, Sam Bariesheff – owner of WA’s Smallest Art Gallery in Balingup – was a construction worker living in Perth. He’d never lived in the country, never trained in art, nor run a business. So, the journey from Cornicing to Curatorship has been a quick and life-changing ride.
Sam’s tree-change to Balingup began at the start of Covid, just before the first lockdown. Sam’s girlfriend at the time (now his wife) said she’d like to leave the city. They began looking into WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) and were open to moving anywhere, as long as it wasn’t Perth. A relative in Donnybrook was the drawcard for the move to Balingup.
After living in Balingup for a year, Sam’s wife (Deanna) was undertaking some NEIS training to develop an online business when she suggested to Sam he consider starting one too. At first he thought he’d start an art studio, even though his art experience was minimal. Then he thought he’d start an art classes, even though he had no teaching experience. Then he thought he’d start a gallery, even though he’d never sold a painting in his life or had any business experience. Then he thought he’d start a printing business, even though he had ….you guessed it!….no prior experience.
Ten months on and now his wife is helping in his business, his art class is growing, there’s a waiting list of prospective artists and the visitors are full of praise about the uniqueness of his offer. He’s even got plans to expand.
As Sam says, ‘He likes to just jump in the deep end’.
You can find Sam’s gallery – WA’s Smallest Art Gallery – just off the main drag in Balingup. It boasts a cosy atmosphere and Sam’s understated charm. He is the complete opposite of what some may dread to find in an art gallery – he is unpretentious and generous; keen to learn and share. He relishes the opportunity to showcase local artists work and to help enliven the town of Balingup. He’s also taking an active role in the Blackwood river Art Trail as the Balingup town coordinator.
Sam can’t ever see himself returning to the city, or to the construction profession. “Balingup is so magical,” he says. ‘And time just flies in the gallery, it’s so much fun.”
[If you’re looking for someone to print your next posters, banners, artwork to canvas, fabric, stickers etc, then get in touch with Sam for a quote on his Large Format Eco Solvent printer]