Doug Horton and family a thriving force in Loomis since 1857By: Brody Fernandez, Reporter
Know and Go:
What: annual Loomis Art Loop with 17 local artists at four studios. Doug Horton is one of the artists.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Info on Doug Horton Jewelry: doughortonart.com
Artist/jeweler Doug Horton is the fifth generation of Hortons living in Loomis.
Horton’s family has been here for more than 160 years, beginning with his descendants homesteading property off of King Road as gold miners and cattle ranchers.
However, Horton is the first artist in the family. He works in metal making and jewelry.
The homesteading property today is home to the Horton Iris Garden, planted in 2003 and open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Mondays at 7440 King Road.
Other artists have set up mobile studios on the property as the Horton family welcomes local painters, artists and photography clubs. Horton showcases his work from a large studio located behind the garden.
After graduating from Del Oro High School in 1981, Horton studied international agricultural development at the University of California at Davis. After college, when Horton moved to Alaska, he became more involved in art. Specifically, he worked in ceramics and his work was and still is featured at the Sitka Rose Art Gallery.
“Alaska is also where I met my wife, Jennifer. We then purchased a boat and traveled quite a bit,” Horton said. “Once I had the boat, I didn’t have enough space to make ceramics but I did have a tiny space available for making jewelry.”
After traveling extensively, the couple moved to California in 1999. He set up a ceramic studio at the family farm. One year later, their daughter, Majken was born. A Del Oro High School senior, Majken will attend her father’s alma mater in Dais next year.
Also in 2000, Horton said that he and several other Loomis-area artists were sought out by High Hand Nursery owner Scott Paris to start a Loomis art gallery.
“We artists were pretty overwhelmed at first with the amount of workload and labor it would take to make this happen and it was pretty surmounting,” Horton said. “But Scott was willing to work hard for us, and with him providing the capital and initial costs of the project, more and more artists were willing sign up and join the collaboration until the 18 of us signed on as the first members and co-op High Hand Art Gallery was born.”
The biggest challenge facing artists, according to Horton, is creating income.
“It’s essential, because most artists cater their art as a night job, while working a day job that provides stable income,” Horton said.
The “gallery life” for an artist is much more realistic than majestic, according to Horton.
“I’ve seen successful artists who go the traditional way of commissioning their work at galleries that go on to make $10,000 a month,” Horton said. “Then an economic hiccup occurs in the market and they make $0 the next month. You just have these high and low moments.”
With that said, Horton praised the new High Hand Art Gallery’s Emerging Artists Program.
“It’s just great they’re doing that for young artists,” Horton said. “A program like that will combat the number one threat artists face; creating a stable source of income.”