- They don't come much more accomplished than this gentleman.
courtesy of ArtTalk Magazine
Spotlight – Dr. J. Mark Sublette
A love of Maynard Dixon’s art got Medicine Man Gallery owner Dr. J. Mark Sublette into the art business. But it was being exposed to pueblo pottery (his parents were research scientists and art collectors, too) when he was growing up in New Mexico that stoked his love of art.By his own admission, Sublette grew up buying Native American art “the way some kids collect baseball cards.”“I always used to go to Santa Fe, up into the square and the pueblos, and buy from the artists,” he said. “That’s what really gave me the love for it — being around and seeing how things are done.”
In his interview with Art-Talk, Sublette added, “It’s important to educate children about art. I think it’s always a matter of exposure, and it’s all you can do as a parent.”Sublette and his wife have two children, and his 11-year-old son already is an avid art collector. (His daughter, now 5, probably will collect art someday, too.)By his own calculations, Sublette has been in the art business for the past 18 years. His Tucson gallery has been open 10 years — expanding from 2,000 square feet to more than 12,000 square feet today — while the Santa Fe location has been open for seven.
The galleries have grown in content as well as size. Where once only antique and Native American art was on display, the galleries now house early American and Western art, as well as the works of the Taos Society of Artists. Contemporary fine art and sculpture can be found in the galleries, too, including the works by nationally known western artists.
“Eighteeen years ago, I was strictly focused on antique Native American pottery,” Sublette said. “What got me into Tucson was Maynard Dixon. His work ‘turned my screws.’ ”He’s not kidding about that. In an interview with Art-Talk four years ago, Sublette said that he tried to get a student loan once to buy his first Dixon painting. The loan didn’t work out, but that didn’t dampen Sublette’s enthusiasm for the artist’s works. In fact, one room in his Tucson gallery is dedicated to works by Dixon, whose son, John, has loaned photographs, poetry and books from his private collection.
“Art stimulates the right brain, which is rare when you’re a doctor,” Sublette told Art-Talk back then. “You begin to appreciate the feeling it gives you that can’t even be put into words. It enhances you. You look at clouds differently. You look at architecture differently. Everything you see, you see differently.”
Sublette said art trumped medicine as his passion in life back in 1992, when he was offered a chance to work with the medical practice that treats the Phoenix Suns basketball players.“When I was actually offered that job, I realized for the first time that it would mean giving up art,” Sublette told Art-Talk. “I did all the pros and cons — weighted them with a points system — and it became obvious that art had too many pluses. The main thing that was important to me was being around art all the time. So I figured I would try selling it full time for three to five years.” He overshot his mark by a few years, but he’s not complaining. Does he miss being a practicing physician?“Yes, but I keep my license current,” he said. “Part of it you never lose your love for. And you get to make such a difference in people’s lives. But I don’t regret anything I’ve done.
“Every day in the art business is a new challenge. It’s fascinating. In medicine, it can be more important, but getting the right artwork for people can make a difference in their lives, too.”In the world of medicine, it’s a common practice to seek a second opinion. But in the art world, Sublette said he doesn’t see a lot of art being returned once it’s been sold.
The World Wide Web has helped him in another way, too. “I’m very proud of our Web site (www.medicinemangallery.com),” Sublette said. “It has 3,000 to 4,000 objects online, and we keep it current. It’s updated daily. Our Web presence allows people to preview the art that we have. I look at it as a form of advertising, mostly for the out-of-towners.”
(c) 2004 by Art-Talk Newspaper. Used by permission of the Publisher.
SPOTLIGHT 2000 - Dr. J. Mark Sublette
at age 41, has already has a successful career as a physician and
a track record as one of the classiest art dealers in the Southwest.
And the careers overlapped for quite a while, despite the demands
of a medical education, internship and practice and a personal habit
that involved collecting Native American work, specifically pueblo
pottery. (He tried to get a student loan once to buy his first Maynard
Dixon painting. It didn't work. Never mind, though. Sublette's Medicine
Man Gallery now has an entire room devoted to the artist. Get it?
Medicine Man? Physician?)
All this could
only be possible if Sublette's personal passion for a hobby also
happened to be his business. He started loving the material growing
up in New Mexico. His parents were research scientists. He got exposed
to pueblo pottery and loved it from the start. Medicine Man, which
this winter expanded to 10,000 square feet of inside space and a
sculpture garden attached, grew from those simple seeds.
the decision to move away from medicine in 1992. he had run sports
medicine clinic for the Marines in El Toro, CA. Then what he thought
was his dream at the time came true. He was offered a chance to
work with the medical practice that treats the Phoenix Suns basketball
team. "When I was actually offered that job I realized for the first
time it would mean giving up art. I did all the pros and cons, weighted
them with a point system, and it became obvious that art had too
many pluses. The main thing that was important to me was being around
art all the time. So I figured I would try selling it full time
for three to five years."
He didn't actually
give up all contact with medicine but art had something medicine didn't when
it came to his own career. "Art stimulates the right brain, which
is rare when you're a doctor. You begin to appreciate the feeling
it gives you which can't even be put into words. It enhances you.
You look at clouds differently. You look at architecture differently.
Everything you see, you see differently." Despite frantic expansion
activity which really never stops with this guy, Mark still reads
a couple of hours every day about the art he works with, a lot of
it on the Internet now. "You're only as good as your level of knowledge,"
he believes. Medical school taught him that if you apply yourself
and study anything the way you might study biology, you're going
to learn about it and grow.
at this point carries not only Native American art but paintings,
particularly by deceased artists with a concentration on Maynard
Dixon, Spanish Colonial furniture, sculpture and, most recently,
contemporary art. "Contemporary art was our last expansion. We've
devoted a 4,000 square-foot space just for it." A lot of dealers
might be leery about adding so much space and branching out so quickly
into new and sometimes very expensive art tributaries, but risk-taking
seems to be a calculated, cool-headed habit with Mark, He approaches
it with the same methodical technique that led him to his life-changing
decision to sell art. "I look at it carefully, and if expansion
seems the normal thing to do, I do it."
a destination point for people," he says, "And I feel my life will
be more of the same. I can't see me getting out of this anytime
soon. I like most people, but I especially like artists. They've
devoted their lives to doing something different. They get it."
is artists "get," Mark gets too, and so far it has been enough to
keep this highly driven man fascinated not just with art, but with
Used with permission Pulbisher, Art Talk Magazine