KB Gallery

Kenneth B Gallery

Creating the KB Gallery Logo

Reprinted with permission, written by SK Lindsey.

In 2014 I arrived in Florence with the intention of opening a high-end contemporary art gallery and fine art printmaking lab. I rented the loft next to Stuart and Joann who gave me sound advice regarding the of a hand-painted sign vs a commercial grade, off-set production type, so typically produced in larger cities. I learned the extensive history of Stu and Sam Dantone’s amazing contributions to the community and their production of “Fine Art” signage throughout the region.

A wee bit of background

I am a marginally successful graphic designer. As Stu was unavailable, I chose to create my own logo and the gallery was called, “The Kenneth B Gallery and Print Lab Project.” I used an inheritance (that was never fully acquired) to finance the project. The “Kenneth B” name honored both my step-father and brother, Kenneth Biery, and Kenneth Biery, Jr.

My original design
The “B” represented “Biery.” My attachment to the name was profoundly sentimental and emotional. To symbolize this personal connection, I chose to integrate the flag of Bern, a city in Switzerland, where the Biery name originated. Furthermore, my last name, Lindsey, is Scottish and I wanted to combine both Swedish Viking and Scottish elements in the overall design of the building and gallery as well.
The logo was critical to the success of the gallery. Critical because I, most unfortunately, chose an off-the-beaten path location, and an absolutely ruined historical building which required considerable funds to refurbish. A logo can make or break any new business in such a small community, and I needed a powerful symbol to push the project.

TreeHouse Signs

Due to the legacy of hand painted signs in Florence, I decided to employ Treehouse Signs to do the job. Sam Dantone, the owner, and Stu were good friends. Sam and I went back and forth on trying to unify a concept that would integrate the Biery symbolism. It was a difficult task – and I was running off budget for both the logo and sign. Stu saw how frustrated I was and tried to offer “gentle suggestions.” But he was caught between a rock and hard place because he didn’t want to “hijack” his good friend’s business relationship, yet he wanted me to come to some sort of peaceful resolution with the design

Time passed, ultimately Sam and I did not agree on anything, and I was left with my own hideous version of the Bern flag. For an “elegant” fine art gallery, this was a disaster! As a graphic designer, I was trapped in the mind-numbing sentimentality versus creative genius and therefore blocked. Stu recognized the approaching train wreck because he understands the creative process deeply.

Additionally, I’m a hot-headed, impulsive woman. Stu is a kind soul. I leaned on Stu’s advice and patience throughout my entire time in Florence; he is extraordinarily wise and gentle. And, he knew damn well what was wrong with my logo…

The genius of Stu

With the building now fully refurbished, I had only 48 hours to resolve the logo issue for the production of the sign. I was depressed and desperate! But, Stu came through in the most amazing way. I woke up to an email with his proposal for a logo. It was absolutely magnificent! It was elegant, balanced, and bold. The colors were pitch perfect. Huge problem solved!
I called him immediately. He told me he’d stayed up all night creating it (or rather; Joann likely told me, because Stu never sang his own praises.) I was desperate and he saved the day!!! After thanking him profusely, he made me swear to secrecy the origin of the design. He told me to tell Sam that “I” created the image. Stu didn’t want anything to do with any potential conflict that would jeopardize his relationship with Sam.

This pact of secrecy with him was golden until the closing of the gallery. The hand-painted sign by Sam, and logo by Stu was profoundly dear to me. When the new business owner moved in, I forced myself upon them to physically remove the sign for my own keeping. It was all I had left of the project – and quite frankly it was extremely difficult to abandon those memories with Stu.

One 'last but not least' note

I truly believe Stu never accepted any payment for his logo design. That’s Stu. In fact, Stu’s solo retrospective exhibit for the Grand Opening of
the gallery was the talk of the town for years! Stu was very successful and sold many paintings; additionally, he firmly insisted all profits from his sales go to KXCR, the community radio station for that region. This is yet another example of the integrity of Stu, and his dedication to the local community and making this world a better place.

Here are the two versions of the logo — yeah, a huge difference! I will always be extremely grateful and adore the friendship I share with Stu Henderson. Always.

SK Lindsey
Nevada City, CA

Photos by Curt Peters, 2014 Gallery Opening

One Response

  1. Thank you SK for being a pioneer and an icebreaker. I appreciate your contribution to my project, and hope others are inspired to send along their pictures and memories. Florence is filled with stories that intersect with Stu’s sign and design work and I am happy to have a place to gather some of those tales.

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