Embraced by the shores of Lake Minnetonka is a family-run art gallery that is a longtime dream come true. Artist Michèle Villaume-Driscoll and her husband, Edward Driscoll, opened the Villaume-Driscoll Gallery in Spring Park during the pandemic by transforming a 1970s space into an artistic retreat.
Villaume-Driscoll Gallery is a space created for hearts and minds to experience stillness. The couple and their children offer a warm setting as soon as the door to the gallery opens. Where art welcomes the lake, there is something magical about a dream becoming a full-time occupation. “I love what I do,” says Villaume-Driscoll. “I feel so blessed. I’m living my passion.
Together, the Chaska couple are proud to work as a unit and alongside their sons EJ and Michael Driscoll, who handle art installations, accounting matters, deliveries and gallery work.
The gallery is a unique artist’s space and Villaume-Driscoll uses her creative skills to work with different mediums including encaustics, acrylics, inks, metal leaf, resin and Asian papers. “…anything to create texture and movement,” she says.
Driscoll also plays a role in item creation, and encaustic happens to be one of his favorite methods, which uses beeswax infused with dammar resin or crystallized tree sap. “It’s one of the oldest art forms,” he says. These pieces are filled with inks, acrylics and Japanese washi paper.
Asian art can be soothing in nature, and it’s a favorite to include in Villaume-Driscoll’s work. Encaustics are difficult to work with and the process is quite expensive. Normally seen in smaller works, Villaume-Driscoll prefers a larger scale. She describes it as an element of danger, referring to the process of fusing mediums with a torch.
Most of Villaume-Driscoll’s pieces are made on wooden panels. Working on multiple pieces at once allows for the curing and drying processes and allows for recurring manipulation of the work. “I definitely have two to three pieces I’m working on, and depending on the piece, it’s probably a one to three month process,” she says.
Inspiration is a driving force in artistic creation, and Villaume-Driscoll’s work meets broad and beautiful inspiration. “I’m inspired by all artists, from a long time in history to the present day, anyone who has devoted their passion to creating an art form,” she says.
The artist also draws inspiration from the community, seeking out the texture, movement and color that surrounds him, picking up the beauty when he returns to the studio. Traveling is also a source of inspiration, through a wide range of cultural experiences: gastronomy, dance and music, to name a few. “When we are in obscure places, sometimes you meet the local artists who [are] do their job,” she said.
Artistic muses also have their place in the Villaume-Driscoll process, and that includes floral design. She participated in the Art in Bloom exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA), which features floral interpretations of selected pieces from the MIA’s permanent art collection.
While Villaume-Driscoll continues to draw artistic inspiration from the world around her, her fondness for art has truly organic and familial sources. “Since the day I was born, it’s been in my DNA,” she says. “My mother is also an artist, and we shared this passion when I was a little girl.” As a child, Villaume-Driscoll and her mother, Carolyn Villaume, visited museums and galleries, located all over the world. During their travels, the first point of interest was the discovery of local artistic places. She credits her mother for exposing her to the beauty of the world.
Driscoll notes that Villaume-Driscoll passed on this sense of artistic appreciation to their children. “They are both very artistic because Michèle did the same with them,” he says. “They
are both very creative as a result.
4012 Shoreline Drive, Spring Park; 612.719.9499
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