Susan Ingrid Pitcher
Owner Chandler Fine Art & Framing, SF
Susan was born in Reading, England and immigrated to the United States when she was 2. She said she moved around while growing up and lived in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.
Susan has a BA in Art History with a minor in Glass Blowing and Graphic Arts from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.
During her college years, Susan worked in the Art History Department and the University Art Gallery that showed the work of established artists. She learned about installing art, archiving shows and how to do more with less because of a tight budget.
After graduation Susan was ready to branch out and see more of the world. “A friend suggested that I would like San Francisco. With another friend who wanted to move, we drove across country with maps and directions to San Francisco and Seattle. When we got to Wyoming we decided on San Francisco. It was fall and we thought that a winter in San Francisco would be more appealing than a winter in Seattle.”
“Arriving in San Francisco was great and it was exciting just to be in a new place, but a little bit of a culture shock. The style of communication was different and it proved difficult to find both a place to live and a job.”
First Susan worked in a call center for Williams-Sonoma, during the holidays. She had wanted to get a graphic design job or work in an art gallery and had previously sent out her resume but there were no responses. She answered an ad for an art gallery and picture frame shop, applied and got the job. Susan worked there for 3 years continuing to work for Williams-Sonoma on evenings and weekends. She then moved to Museum West, another gallery and frame shop near the SF Museum Of Modern Art. She did a little of everything and was promoted to manager. She said “The gallery owner was not on site so I was pushed to learn how to do everything. In 2002 when the economy shifted, the owner wanted to close or sell the gallery. I decided to purchase the business and changed its name to Chandler Fine Art and Framing after my maternal grandparents Ida and George Chandler.”
“This gallery is a little different than many galleries because we do picture framing, which involves framing design, sales, and fabrication. Thus I need to order materials, maintain an inventory, keep the production going and meet deadlines. Because the framing business generates the majority of the revenue, the gallery is something I can really enjoy without having the pressure to sell the art to meet my overhead.”
Other responsibilities of owning a gallery are finding artists to represent, building long-term relationships with artists and promoting their work over an extended period of time, which allows their following to grow. Putting on 6-8 shows a year involves arranging the shows, installing the art work, doing the lighting, some framing and marketing.
“The most challenging part of owning a business for me is trying not to worry about things that I can’t control. The most enjoyable aspect of my career is building long-term relationships with artists and clients. I get to know clients and see what pieces they like and learn more about them plus see how art brings meaning and joy into their lives. In addition to following the work and career development of artists, going along for the ride is very satisfying.”
“The qualities needed for this career are like most careers: a lot of hard work, persistence, luck and not to be afraid of an opportunity even if it is scary.
Susan is a dog lover who spends her free time enjoying and caring for her dog.