Whimsical Disney paintings and Thomas Kinkade masterpieces are now marked with clearance tags as Masters Fine Art Gallery prepares to close its doors at its location on Pollasky Avenue in Old Town Clovis.
The gallery, which opened in 1997 in Fresno, is owned by Nick and Vetta Ghosoph. The couple plans to move back to Nick’s hometown of Silverton, Oregon and open a gallery there, along with two additional galleries in other Oregon locations.
It was a tough decision to close the longtime Clovis business, Ghosoph said.
“This is our baby,” he explained. “We’re passionate about this. We’ve never had a bad customer.”
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But instead of retiring completely, Ghosoph said they are taking their clients with them and will continue to do business online.
Masters Gallery already does a good portion of its business through e-commerce, shipping paintings all over the country and even foreign locales like Japan and Australia, Ghosoph said.
Still, he loves the face-to-face interaction with buyers who frequent the Old Town space.
“The art buyer is a unique person — intelligent, enjoyable, can articulate their desires,” Ghosoph said. “We don’t see a bad customer. … Clovis has some incredibly good people.”
The Ghosophs originally owned a high end gift shop in Oregon, but fine art became half of the business when they contracted to sell Thomas Kinkade pieces.
“In 1993 we saw Thomas Kinkade and said ‘We’ve got to carry this artist,’” Ghosoph said.
When they moved to the Fresno-Clovis area in 1997 to be closer to family, Thomas Kinkade Company offered the Ghosophs the district, making them the exclusive Thomas Kinkade gallery in the area. The closest galleries featuring the artist’s work are in Sacramento, Pismo Beach and Carmel.
Masters Gallery was in a smaller space on Clovis Avenue and 4th Street from 1999 to 2009 until Classic Catering relocated from its spot on Pollasky Avenue near Educational Employees Credit Union.
During a serendipitous lunch in Old Town, Ghosoph and his wife noticed the vacancy and immediately called the landlord. Right away, the spot was there’s, and Masters Gallery doubled its square footage to 1,800.
The gallery expanded to include several publishers featuring work from hundreds of artists. Five years ago, Masters Gallery became an official Disney Fine Art Gallery. Also on the walls are paintings featuring Star Wars, Marvel and Looney Toons, among other popular characters and films.
Floral paintings also adorn the walls, along with depictions of landmarks, wildlife, landscapes, sports and — to go along with Clovis Rodeo this weekend — westerns.
Ghosoph began custom framing orders as a favor to customers, completing the work at a price lower than the big box stores, he said.
“I wanted to provide our customers with quality frames without them having to pay high prices,” he said.
While he intended to do just a few custom framing orders each month, that side of the business has boomed to 30 to 50 orders a month — more than Ghosoph can handle on his own, he said.
Ghosoph said he hopes to sell at least half of the gallery’s current inventory so that he won’t have to move it with him to Oregon. A quarter of the inventory had already sold within four weeks of discounting the prices, he said.
“Our prices are already 30 percent lower than Disney is with the art, anyway, and with an extra 20 percent off, that’s a great price,” Ghosoph said. “That’s just our way of showing our appreciation for our customers. It’s a thank you for supporting us for the last 20 years.”
The store will be closed on June 30 — or sooner, depending on how much inventory is sold and when the first Oregon gallery opens, Ghosoph said.
Masters Fine Art Gallery
416 Pollasky Ave.
Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday