Picture this: A woman drives into town, $50 in her pocket with little by way of connections but a dream to be an artist and the overwhelming determination to make it happen.
The trope of the stranger coming into town to start over is inherently Western, with many a cowboy movie starting with the horseman riding through the sagebrush toward a small frontier village, tack clinking. But this story isn’t about someone with a dodgy past to escape; instead it’s another classic American plotline: the kid who sets out to achieve a dream through hard work and single-minded dedication.
The protagonist of this story is Amy Ringholz, a painter of colorful wildlife who has spent the past 16 years in the studio, honing a craft rooted in the Jackson wildlife art scene but eschews much of its tradition. And this year, she has her own gallery, a big space just east of Town Square dedicated to her and her work, with a tagline on the door: “Dreamers Welcome.”
“It goes along with the story line,” she said.
Ringholz has been showing on her own for five years in a small space on the same block as her new gallery, but the new space eclipses the old one by far. The layout, the design, the giant neon “Dreamer” sign hanging from the ceiling all combine to create a space that is an extension of her personality.
Because she runs the gallery and features solely her work, she designed it to her liking, something few artists have the opportunity to do since they often put their work into other people’s galleries. That luxury has been a long time coming.
“It took 16 years of growing my talent and studying my craft,” she said, “to make it into what I feel is a real symbol of Jackson Hole.”
Ringholz will be busy during the Fall Arts Festival. She’ll host a solo show Wednesday, Sept. 11, called “Fresh Eyes,” participate in the QuickDraw Art Sale and Auction and have pieces in the Western Visions Show and Sale and the Jackson Hole Art Auction.
Having a new space has inspired Ringholz to branch out and try new creative outlets. She started working with monotypes, a print created by painting on a nonabsorbent surface and then running it through a press.
“I’ve got this rolling printer press, and I paint on Plexiglas,” she said. “Then I soak a sheet of paper and smash the two together.”
The “smashing” takes what she paints on the Plexiglas and slightly alters it when it runs through the press. She can then add to the print as she likes. The technique is less time intensive than her traditional paintings, and it gives her the chance to offer something to the collector who can’t drop five figures on a piece.
“They’re one of a kind,” she said, “and it allows a person to purchase an original that is around $1,000 to $2,000.”
With originals that might be close to the cheapest in Jackson, Ringholz wants to bring in anyone who is interested in art, not just high-end collectors. She has tote bags, postcards and other small things that fit pretty much any budget, which is part of her goal: to bring everyone through the door.
“It looks like I’m several different people in one space,” she said. “I have something for everyone’s tastes and style.” ￼