Among many things, my boss (Hudson Valley-based artist Ryan Cronin) understands socially-conscious comfort. From the split second you walk into CronArtUSA, our cozy headquarters located at the Water Street Market in New Paltz, NY, it genuinely feels like you’ve walked into someone’s living room-- someone’s very colorful living room. I’ve recently taken to calling it the “inside of Ryan’s brain: an unusual and wonderful place to be.” Floor to ceiling, the walls are concealed by Ryan’s playful, glossy work-- the paintings that pulled me into his hemisphere in the first place; usually, there’s an Etch-a-Sketch lying around somewhere because Ryan “takes having fun very seriously” (I’m currently keeping a tally as to how many kids as their parents “What’s this?” when they pick it up, so far we’re at 12); mid-century modern furniture (which, btw, is for sale) invites you in to take a seat, look-up and absorb the work, creating an open yet intimate space that feels abnormally homey; and draped over the furniture you'll find Cronin's latest creation: the throw blankets.
Oh, the throw blankets-- or should I say: those warm and weighted wonders that feel like the perfect hug as they’re wrapped around you. Milled in a third-generation American factory, Ryan’s latest addition to his lifestyle collection indicates a clear shift to prepare our Catskills community and beyond for the impending winter. With eight unique full-size throws and two mini-sized throws, Cronin’s dedication to CronArtUSA’s Be a Part of the Art campaign takes his stunning iconography to the next level: draped around the shoulders of his supportive fan base. We’re not going to adapt Ryan’s hard work to just any product: it has to make perfect sense. It has to be practical. And it has to stay true to Ryan’s vision: art that matters and says/stands for something.
Fundamentally, I think that’s the reason why I’m so appreciative of Ryan’s commitment to both the environment and small business partnerships through his work. Our brand new throw blanket collection respects Mother Earth in a way that I didn’t see coming: produced from 80% up-cycled cotton, each blanket is handmade from clippings that are collected during the cut-and-sew process and recycled into thread. It’s shocking because they’re exceedingly well-crafted, down to each stitch that keeps in the warm and kicks out the cold. Not only that, but our partnership with the aforementioned third generation factory indicates a solvent devotion to the “create local/buy local/support local” concept of business, fostering something much deeper and authentic than a mere two-dimensional transaction: a lasting, trusted relationship.
Which is one of many reasons I’m proud to work for CronArtUSA: we’re paving the way for art to be accessible again. Because what fun is art if you can’t interact with it?
Or at the very least, swaddled around you when temperatures drop and nobody’s outside and you’ve got a cup of tea in one hand and the latest NY Times crossword in the other?
My thoughts exactly.