The newest art gallery in the historic Red Fork neighborhood in west Tulsa is the latest to come from plans to bolster the area. In September, local artist Josh Stout held the grand opening for his gallery on the Mother Road at 2609 W. 40th Place — complete with a retro sign outside.
Ten years ago, Stout picked up a paintbrush for the first time. He signed up himself and his oldest daughter, the first of five children, for a painting class. “I was hooked,” he says. “I just wanted to keep creating … experimenting, exploring, which is just my personality.”
Stout was in construction before he was an artist, building custom homes for clients. He also built furniture and designed custom RVs. “Anything that was custom that you couldn’t just drop it off at a shop and say, ‘Make this for me,’ that’s where my niche is.”
It wasn’t a leap when he starting using his creative talents for art, but after a while he needed space to show it. When the building on West 40th Place popped up on Zillow, he and his wife jumped on the opportunity to buy it. Stout’s studio space is on the first floor, and his home is on the second.
They wound up buying the whole block, which he plans to turn into creative shops for artists. Stout also is the Tulsa RT66MS (Route 66 Main Street) nonprofit marketing chair, so he’s excited about further developing the area.
Stout’s studio is an old building that’s its own work of art. “I would say we destructed more than we constructed it,” he says. Sheetrock covered the red brick walls, which required a lot of power washing once uncovered.
Inside, his work on the walls includes knife paintings on canvas, many with vibrant hues. “I’ve used the same primary colors probably eight or nine years now,” he says. “I just found that palette, and I liked it.”
With oil painting, Stout explains, getting the color right can be tricky because the more the paint is touched, the darker it becomes. “It looks very abstract, but it’s precise because I’m going into a certain spot with a certain color, and then that’s it — I don’t touch it again.”
Now that he’s an artist, Stout spends most of his time traveling with his family. “My younger kids have grown up knowing nothing but art and an artist’s lifestyle, traveling … they’re just free spirits.”
In paintings and bronze sculpture, he often depicts stories of Native Americans and nature inspired by his travels.
The gallery is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday- Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday; and by appointment.