Wear Your Art--Novato


Owner: Logan McQuaig

Why Bellingham? “I used to travel all over the country and can honestly say that Bellingham is my favorite place. Personally speaking, it has more than enough stuff to do while maintaining the feel of a close-knit, small city. The people here care about their town and what happens to it. They stick up for its people and for its future. That’s all you can ask of the folks you share a home with.”

Favorite shop downtown? “Dakota Art Store certainly gets most of my money. Those guys are great. As much as anything, there is no shortage of shops or business owners from which to learn.” Logan also wanted to mention Quagmire Company, Blue Collar Skateboards, Unknown, Heroine & Mi Shoes, Iron St. Printing, Old School and Sabbath Tattoo.

One of the regular venues of the monthly Art Walk is Novato, an art-forward retail store with a small gallery and studio built into it. The shop, owned by Logan McQuaig is filled with locally designed and sourced apparel and accessories, as well as artwork. Although the shop has only been open for a little under a year, Novato has existed in some form for a few years now as Logan’s custom-painted canvas shoes.

Logan got into music for a while after he finished school, but had a background in art. Drawing and illustrating consumed a good deal of his time in high school. He fell into shoe painting when he and his wife, Kourtnei, planned to get married in Mexico in 2013. Logan doesn’t like shiny dress shoes, and was working at a Vans store at the time. He had someone set up to paint Vans for the wedding party, but his mom and Kourtnei convinced him to paint them himself. The end result was a dozen pairs of hand-painted Vans and the beginning of Novato.

Kourtnei is credited with finding the name for Logan’s business. Logan was looking for a Spanish or Latin word for another business idea before shoe painting, and is also a big fan of baseball. In Latin baseball, novato means rookie. He was really trying to embrace his inexperience and try new things, so it was a perfect fit. “I only started painting 3 years ago and, with lots of help, now I get to own and run a pretty cool little business where I make art, talk about art and meet amazing new people all the time,” he said.

The shop serves multiple functions. It gives Logan the time and place to work on art, and a place to sell retail. It’s also a good spot for local artists and vendors to show and sell their work. Though the end goal is for the shop to fund Logan working on art all day, he is really enjoying making it what he wants it to be, and not what it needs to be to make money. Recently, Logan switched his focus to working on more personal projects and larger canvas paintings rather than the shoe painting. He would like to expand what he is doing in order to push his own creative vision in his work more.

The Art Walk has been great for Novato. When Logan first opened the shop, he expected to really only sell retail on event nights. The Art Walk is almost always the best day of the month for sales, but he still sells more than he imagined he would on non-event days. Logan and Kourtnei have been participating in the Art Walk since month one, and are always trying to make it a good time. They create a fun atmosphere where people can come in, hang out, talk and look at the impressive art that is featured. Novato typically features art that skews towards a younger crowd, similar to the shop itself. Logan is constantly trying to figure out ways for younger people to collect art, hence his “Wear Your Art” mantra. He wants everyone to be able to collect art, whether it is a painting, a hand-painted shoe, a shirt or jewelry, even if they don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on art.

Stop in at 115 W. Chestnut St. on Friday for a fun time at the Art Walk!

Today's post was written by Kristin Foster, Media Intern.