Christopher Mantle Gallery
Around 2014, Mantle was walking down Cherry Street and happened to walk into an opportunity. “I see this gallery called Seekers next to the Bead Merchant on 15th St. The owners enjoyed me a lot so they let me have this sort of ‘gorilla stay’ in the space. The deal with this gallery was anybody could come and hang their artwork, they just had to pay for the square footage, like $10 a square foot for the month.”
A few years later, Chris created his own white box, The Christopher Mantle Gallery. And that is exactly what the gallery is, a large white room facing Cherry Street, filled with the prolific and chaotic process of creativity. “A lot of
times the gallery is disarrayed and utilized as a studio, especially the back half. Quite a bit, I’m just throwing paint around, papers are flying, I can’t find the black spray paint and I’m rushing from one event to the next. It’s a fun lifestyle. But on a good day, everything is polished, there are labels on the artwork, and everything has been leveled.”
But if you have ever seen Mantle’s work, that black spray paint he mentioned creates a true masterpiece. His influences bring a complex mesh of cultures that are represented in the powerful images he creates. Motivated by the iconic imagery of Oklahoma, the Scissor-tailed flycatcher, tee-pees, and feathers, along with inspirations from Basquiat and Picasso, Mantle found his signature image; the great bison of the Oklahoma Prairie.
While painting portraits at the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville, Mantle was commissioned by a family to do a series of bison, “I love being able to channel everything I’ve been putting into these portraits into a different subject. From this, the bison was born. People enjoyed it, I started getting entire shows with just these bison. And it hit like wildfire.” That Oklahoma bison did catch like wildfire, for you can see his paintings all over town in homes, banks, and restaurants. New homeowners even build walls to fit their commissioned bison from Mantle.
Chris’ largest bison painting, 16 ft by 5 1/2 ft, was recently purchased for $20,000. But, being the People’s Artist he is, he threw in some extra paintings for free. Often giving generous discounts to those in need, his paintings are a form of giving back, “I try to find ways to make it affordable and approachable and still give my best. As an artist, I’ve
always wanted to give back to food banks, mental health programs, rehabilitation centers, and to programs for incarcerated women, which is a huge issue in Oklahoma. So there’s a lot of empathy for other matters outside of just art and aesthetics.”
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Visiting the Gallery
Chris tells people he is open 24/7, just give him 10 minutes to get there. Variety is the spice of life and his gallery always reflects that variety in his window display. Since his gallery is visible to the busy foot traffic and bustling intersection along Cherry Street, the art he features is constantly changing, so when you drive by on Monday a different painting will probably be in the window on Wednesday.
When it comes to fellow artists he features in his space, he takes a similar approach by curating a week-long show in his studio, giving them that coveted front window display that catches everyone’s attention as they drive by. “I took it upon myself to get a gallery on a street with traffic and put new pictures to get in front of the public to feel more pleasant experiences of happiness and to evoke emotion more often in the community.”
Coming upon 7 years of The Christopher Mantle Gallery on Cherry Street, everything has come full circle for his success. His quest for a white box to show his art has led him to become one of the most desired artists to collect in town. And for the many who own a Mantle painting, including myself, we are sure glad he found his white box, too.
Ready to Plan A Visit?
Find Christopher Mantle Gallery at 1307 e 15th st. Tulsa,OK 74120.
Local Hotels & Restaurants
When visiting the Christopher Mantle Gallery, make sure you take a stroll up and down
Next door you have a casual wood fired pizza place:
Prairie Fire Pie
1303 E. 15th St
And a Chef owned fine dining experience:
The Palace Cafe
1301 E. 15th St
Keep walking east on Cherry Street and you will find even more restaurants and shops,
everything from a cigar bar to a cycle bar and cute local boutiques like:
Chris Mantle's 3 Paintings
After leaving Louisiana to visit his mom, Mantle at 15 years old, painted this piece in the backyard of Turley, Oklahoma. This piece...Read More
For Mantle’s 16th birthday, he asked his mother for a blank book and today it lives in the back of his gallery filled cover to cover it filled with drawings, poems...Read More
This was Mantle’s style when he came to Tulsa from Louisiana. Inspired by a local artist, Ernest Gary from Louisiana, along with the legendary Jean- Michel Basquiat...Read More
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