Early American, Contemporary Paintings, Sculpture and Fine Antique American Indian Art.
 
 

 

 

About J. Mark Sublette

 

TUCSON - They don't come much more accomplished than this gentleman.

Reprinted 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

 

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.

Sublette made 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.

Medicine Man 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."

"We're already 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."

Whatever 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 life.

Used with permission Pulbisher, Art Talk Magazine