Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Year at Saint-Germain Cafe Gallery Means...

Our favourite 2016 Moment: When Mathieu's band KARATE KIDS opened up their summer tour outside of the café. It was a market day and let's just say the vendors and the city were not very impressed with the sound level (and with our "forgetting" to tell them we were putting the show on). It was so much fun!


2016 wasn't the greatest year for the world, but the sadness and upheaval that seemed to be taking place almost daily, didn't touch Saint-Germain Café Gallery. We saw our busiest summer ever. We welcomed new friends to the café and built stronger relationships with some of our older friends. We saw amazing art grace our walls all year long, starting with our PORTRAITS OF IMAGINARY FRIENDS exhibit, then Megan Majewski's phenomenal BEAUTIFUL MONSTERS exhibit and then, to round out the year, our very first abstract exhibit, INFINITY and our very first postcard art auction called PSTCRD. We even had a real concert in the café in 2016 with the brilliant Vancouver band SIGHTLINES.

Our motto for 2017 is SIMPLIFY. The New Year will bring some big changes to the café and it begins with our menu. We will be paring down to a much simpler coffee, soup and bread menu, making Saint-Germain Café Gallery more of a coffee shop and less a restaurant. There are so many wonderful places along Main Street to get a great meal, like Brodo Kitchen and Spice Magic and Craft Corner Kitchen and the Canadian Grill. We'd rather focus more on what we do best: coffee and art (and soup, of course). Yes, our wonderful soups will still be available daily, and we will start to offer a selection of fancy grilled-cheese sandwiches and bagels to accompany the soup. How good is that? But what we really want to offer in 2017 is a solace from our hectic lives. We want you to take your time with us, to have a calm place to converse with friends, or write a book, or draw a picture. We want you to have meetings in our café or take moments with just yourself, sipping on the best darn cup of coffee in town…

Saint-Germain Café Gallery will now offer more milk options for its lattes, including coconut milk. We will now offer simple breakfast options like toast plates and bagels and cream cheese. We'll have a great selection of sweets and snacks, and of course, we'll have our soups for a little afternoon comfort.

Join us in 2017 for amazing new art, new music, new food and a whole new attitude. And thank you so much for everything YOU did for us in 2016. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Gallery Full of Peculiar Beasts


At Saint-Germain Café Gallery

August 21, 2015 – October 28, 2015

Kristian Adam brings his new collection of NymNums to Saint-Germain Café Gallery this summer in a show titled PECULIAR BEASTS. It is an exhibit unlike any other that has been shown at the gallery (or in Penticton, for that matter), and it is sure to spark the imagination of children and adults alike. Adam's finely detailed paintings reveal a host of characters (or NymNums) that, while at first appear magical and childlike, often represent the roles humans have in society, and the consequences our misguided thoughts and actions have on that same society… and the world.

A self-taught artist in nearly every medium, Adam has developed his style and techniques through trial and error. In the past, Dr. Seuss's body of work and works like the ‘Codex Seraphinianus’, which is filled with surrealistic and organic Rube Golberg-like, Heath Robinson-style contraptions, have helped serve as inspiration in creating his whimsical other-worldly landscapes and devices. However, for PECULIAR BEASTS, his inspiration comes from a much smaller force of nature… his four-year old cousin Ava. “Watching Ava draw makes me really nostalgic for that naiveté and spontaneity I had when I was young,” Adam says. “I just didn’t over think things back then. I feel more neurotic about my art now. It can be a bit stressful. So I envy the place that Ava creates from.” PECULIAR BEASTS will include a collection of collaborations between Adam and his cousin Ava.

Adam’s NYMNUMS scurried into the world in 2009 in an exhibition featuring more than 60 paintings and drawings, and a book of 10 illustrated short stories written by Michael Sasi*. The NymNums, which Adam says he created as “a way to live through his childhood eternally,” served as the model for his ANIMALOPOLIS exhibit the following year. ANIMALOPOLIS contained an even larger collection of characters and 13 short stories, which were published in a limited-edition issue of CROW TOES QUARTERLY, an art and literature magazine for children, published by Saint-Germain Café Gallery’s Christopher Millin from 2007 - 2011. “Nature inspires me to paint, more than anything,” says Adam. “And I love creating my own unique vision of it. Animals, humans and their interactions… I strive to portray some kind of empathy through these things.” Since ANIMALOPOLIS, Adam’s characters have appeared in exhibits titled FLOMBAGOO, THE PUMPKIN GANG, PANDACORN PARK and A WOODLAND RECITAL.

Michael Sasi, a longtime collaborator recalls what initially drew him to Adam’s work. “I contacted Kristian about collaborating after seeing his work in a group show at Ayden Gallery (in Vancouver) in the most fortunate circumstances. I was on a date with time to kill before a movie and the gallery was open. [His two paintings] NOMADS and MASS OF THE GOAT opened up new worlds to me, both in my imagination and my career. My involvement in fine art can be traced back to that show. I knew I had stumbled onto something special. Besides the obvious talent, it was the attention to detail that stood shoulders above anything else I had ever seen. Over the past few years, Kristian’s work has tended to focus more on his ideas and characters with greater volume and smaller works. There is more seriousness and subtly to his humour. This is defined as maturity. Kristian has become a master of drawing. Elements of his style have solidified, so much so that you can recognize a Kristian Adam character regardless of the finish or the medium of the piece.”

This maturity in Adam's work could also be attributed to a series of unfortunate events that began in 2010 when he was hit by a car while riding home on his bicycle. In the accident he broke his painting arm. “Then, two years ago I became very ill and could not paint (again),” explains Adam. “Losing my health and ability to do the thing I love most was crushing. The experience was both terrifying and humbling and I am still recovering from it. I am not the same person I was. [PECULIAR BEASTS] is my first solo body of work since I got sick. In many ways, I would consider this show my rehabilitation.”

Kristian Adam’s PECULIAR BEASTS exhibition opens at Saint-Germain Café Gallery on Friday, August 21st. The opening reception runs from 5 pm – 9 pm. The exhibit continues through October 28th, 2015. For more information, please contact Christopher Millin at Saint-Germain Café Gallery.


Some more sparks of wisdom from Kristian Adam and Michael Sasi.

To Kristian:
What is the most difficult part of being a full-time artist?

“To make art requires a sacrifice of time and energy. It’s personal preference how much of those things you’re willing to give up to make art. Personally speaking, for me to be productive and happy I have had to simplify my life quite a bit. Watch FIGHT CLUB. ‘The things you own end up owning you.’ It’s the only cliché movie line I’ve ever found useful. My thought is, if you’re not using it on a regular basis and it doesn't give you inspiration anymore, get rid of it.”

To Kristian:
Can you tell me a little bit about your process? What is your favourite medium? Where do your ideas come from?

“I start with a monochrome drawing as a template. I draw very loose as I never really know what’s going to happen. I start to pull more familiar shapes out of the loose lines similar to the shapes of animals or things you would project when you look into a cloud. I start to place objects that have personal meaning or help create some kind of narrative inspired by an event in my life from the past, present or future. I then create the underpainting with thicker more opaque colors and as I work my way to the top layers of paint, the glazes get thinner and more transparent to give depth. My medium of choice is oils, but I experiment with all of them.”

To Michael:
How would you like the world to view Kristian’s art?

“Kristian is currently the only artist in any medium I know who works exclusively in his craft. His art is his day job. He's built a business out of his passion without compromise or hard sales or an advertising budget. So, he's already ahead of most people. My hope for his work is to maximize visibility and sales, as these things will lead to more freedom to create. Intrinsically, the work is just as valuable if one person sees it or if all of the people see it. I know the ambitions he has for particular shows, and every work requires more energy, more self. More views and more opportunities provide the time and energy to move forward.

“The world has changed immensely in the last decade. People consume more media in one day than they used to consume in a year (fact) and these industries are becoming more fractured as the tools and channels for sharing information expand. As the competition for attention escalates, mainstream entertainment narrows. Nothing worth consuming is created with the intention to appeal to a mass audience. If it happens, great, but that is an outcome that no one can control. Not even Bill Gates, try as he might. The ultimate commercial outcome for Kristian Adam's art is a committed and enthusiastic fan base. You know, people who get it.”

To Kristian:
What does the future hold for the art of Kristian Adam?

“A mango tree, a nice garden, charcoal sticks and some paper…”

*Pick up copies of Crow Toes Quarterly featuring Michael's stories HEARSAY FROM THE RUPERT GREENWOOD CHRISTMAS IS TODAY TALES OF FEBRUARY THE THIRD and MARCH OF THE FAT BABIES at the gallery.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Come and PLAY at Saint-Germain


November 20, 2014 – January 3rd, 2015

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
5pm - 8pm

Saint-Germain Cafe Gallery is excited to present PLAY, an exhibition of art for children and for the children hiding inside of us... you know, the ones just looking for a reason to come out and play. Join us for our opening on November 20th, 2014 from 5pm to 8pm. Along with this being the opening of PLAY, it will also be a grand re-opening of SAINT-GERMAIN CAFE GALLERY under new owner Christopher Millin, and will feature live music by Montreal's CABRON.

From 2007 to 2011, Millin published an art and literature magazine for children called CROW TOES QUARTERLY. The magazine played on the quirkier, darker side of children's art and literature and was just as successful with adults as it was with children. The original art in PLAY is inspired by (and in some cases, directly from) the pages of CTQ, each piece telling a story through what is shown and what is not shown. "Where the painting ends," Millin says, "the imagination takes over..."

PLAY features new work and a few classics by Vancouver's KRISTIAN ADAM and REBEKAH JOY PLETT, Kelowna's HEATHER YIP and Penticton's ENDRENE SHEPHERD. It also features a retrospective of CROW TOES QUARTERLY and includes original artwork from many of the stories that appeared in the magazine.

KRISTIAN ADAM's paintings use a host of whimsical and childlike characters that reflect our roles in society and reveal the consequences of our actions on the future. These imagined creatures -- NymNums -- are what you might expect to see wandering around in his mind all day. Through a variety of techniques inspired by the old masters, this Canadian-born artist creates quirky narratives for his characters to tell. His work has been displayed in the Canadian Embassies of Japan, Korea, and China, as well as featured in books and television. He exhibits regularly throughout Vancouver, BC and in galleries around the world.

The girl with a pet bird of prey / Taught it to hunt and to play / Then once in the park / It was dressed as a shark / And scared all the children away. REBEKAH JOY PLETT lives in the outskirts of the outskirts of Vancouver, BC where she raises her daughter, chases her dog and creates all the live long day. She likes to give back to her community by volunteering and donating part of the proceeds from her Etsy shop to causes close to her heart.

was an art instructor teaching classes for the City of Calgary, Parks and Recreation Department and for a non-profit supporting adults suffering with mental illness. After having children Yip realized she needed to make art for her own therapeutic reasons. She is currently painting and experimenting with all sorts of mediums, including sewing and printmaking.

ENDRENE SHEPHERD, who was born in Vancouver and raised in the rural setting of Kaleden, BC, displayed an aptitude for art-making from an early age. She learned how to handle watercolours from her grandfather, and has not stopped creating since. Her work and process is influenced by both the aesthetics of the natural world and her colourful imagination. Endrené graduated from the University of British Columbia (Kelowna) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with a focus on painting and drawing. Her work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions locally and internationally. She has expanded her repertoire to include illustration, out of a long-held desire to illustrate a children's book (now achieved twice over.) Endrené is a director on the board for the Penticton and District Arts Council, and a member of CARFAC. She lives in Penticton, BC.

Born and raised in a rural northern area of Quebec, mentored closely by Haiti music teacher Denis Alexandre, Mathieu Drolet (CABRON) has performed over 400 times during the last 10 years under different aliases or as a member of bands, including Post-Hardcore act LE CONFLIT, Crust/D-Beat/Punk power trio FEU DE PNEU, and lately has been active as the frontman of East Vancouver based Punk/French/Screamo duo KARATE KIDS, touring Canada twice in 2014, while also releasing three different records in Canada and Malaysia.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Saint Germain Has Just The Wall For You

We're honoured to have the surreal and playful work of Kristian Adam don our walls in the coming weeks, but we're on the lookout for even more talent from Penticton and beyond. Yes, one of our first big tasks at Saint-Germain Café Gallery is to re-establish our roster of contemporary Canadian artists. What we offer artists is an intimate environment with plenty of visibility (and foot traffic) in the heart of beautiful Penticton, British Columbia.

We love paintings, sculpture, photography and mixed media in a variety of styles and subject matter. Whether you are an established artist, an emerging artist, or someone who just wants to share your beautiful art with the world, please get in touch with us. Currently, we accept submissions by email only.

If you'd like to show your work in our gallery please email with the subject line ARTIST SUBMISSION (note, this email address will change on September 15th when ownership of the gallery changes, so please refer to the CONTACT section of the website after September 15th).

Include with your submission:

1. a link to your website/portfolio, or attached JPEGs (4 max.) of your recent work
2. a brief BIO (with contact info.) and your exhibition history

Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we will only reply to you if we are interested in making an appointment, or viewing more of your work. If you have additional questions, please email us at the above email address. And please keep following us to see what shows we're planning for the fall and winter.

Hello, My Name Is...

Late last spring, while I was driving along Main Street, in the heart of downtown Penticton, British Columbia, I noticed a mauve building trimmed in muted yellow with a couple of shops in it. One of the shops was called Saint-Germain Café Gallery.

Having worked in the "coffee-shop biz" off and on for more than a decade and having spent several years back in the 2000s publishing an arts and literature magazine, I was instantly drawn to the café gallery. An amalgamation of my two passions in life: coffee and art… how could I not stop. Once I stepped inside, looked around and tasted the food, that initial curiosity of mine turned into adoration. Little did I know then that only a few months later I would be taking over ownership of Saint-Germain.

My name is Christopher Millin and I am so very excited to become a part of the art and food community in Penticton… to continue on with the great work Brigitte and Stephano Liapis have put into the café/gallery over the past four years… to continue making it a place where you can get a great sandwich and cup of coffee, and see some amazing original art by a wide range of contemporary Canadian artists.

On September 15th, 2014, Saint-Germain Café Gallery will change ownership. What won't change are the creative and tasty soups, sandwiches and salads you love to eat, and the unique, beautiful and inspirational works of art you love to look at.

One change you will see is a little more online presence. I love sharing the amazing things we're going to be doing with the bigger world. Through this blog, through our Facebook page, our Twitter account, or even our Instagram account you will see a bit of the art we're displaying, or hear about the new bites we're offering. These are the places where you will also learn about community events we're involved in and events taking place in our little gallery.

My past also includes writing and photography, and as all writers and photographers know, these are hard things to give up. That's why, when I'm not preparing the best sandwiches in Penticton, or making the best darn lattes in Penticton, or prepping the gallery for new shows, I'm writing about them and taking pictures of them and sharing them here... with you.

Of course, I'd much rather meet you in person, so if you live in Penticton or happen to be traveling through, stop by the café and say hi. Currently, we're open from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday and 9am to 3pm on Saturdays.