Business Reviews

Vormehr & Youngquist Gallery

Written by  February 28, 2006

The art gallery operated by Vicki Vormehr and Gail Youngquist is located in Lawrence, Kansas, but these adventuresome ladies often hit the road in order to display their artwork at bike rallies from coast to coast. One such road trip was a short one to the American Royal Complex in Kansas City, Missouri, site of the Cycles n More Bike Show the weekend of January 27 through 29. From our booth across the aisle, the Cycle Connections staff observed that Vicki and Gail’s display was a big hit with show attendees. Much of the artwork featured motorcycles, and it was very difficult to pass this mobile art gallery without stopping to browse. During the bike show, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to interview Vicki and Gail.

CC: I know you attend lots of motorcycle events. What attracted you to this one?
Vicki: We’ve never done a rally this close to home. We are normally at far away events like Sturgis, Laconia, or Laughlin. We’re going to the Daytona Rally for the first time this year. Since January is kind of a slack time for motorcycle events, it worked out well for us to come here. The travel expenses were minimal, and we can go home at night.

CC: How would you characterize the artwork you are selling here?
Vicki: We are showing paintings, mostly featuring motorcycles along with children or horses.
Gail: There are also several with women and motorcycles.
Vicki: Probably about 90% of our sales are to women. It seems that women just really like our work. However, our wine prints are more popular with the guys. One features a red Pinot Grigio with a chopper on the label. We also have prints with white wine, and a cabernet with a vintage motorcycle on the label.

CC: You really have lots of great paintings here. Is it all original?
Vicki: Yes, every bit of it is original.

CC: Do you each have different specialties?
Vicki: I do watercolors. My subjects include motorcycles, landscapes, western art, and artwork to decorate children’s rooms.
Gail: I use a variety of media. My own innovation is enameled line drop art. It’s something I discovered by accident when working with jewelry. I also work with pencil, pen and ink.

CC: How much time do you spend on the road?
Vicki: We normally do four or five bike rallies a year. Some are like ten days long. Sturgis is twelve to fourteen days. We also have a studio in downtown Lawrence. We frame and mat everything, and we do all of the artwork, so we’re working seven days a week. In Lawrence, a lot of the business space is being taken over by national chain stores, driving the rents up. Many of the little stores that made Lawrence so fun with all of the variety that you don’t see at every mall are moving out, and that’s sad.

CC: Where do you set up during the Sturgis Rally?
Vicki: We’ve been at the same location in Deadwood for the last four years. We have a forty by thirty foot booth inside a casino. We are above the Eagle Bar that is the original site of the Number 10 Saloon. We miss out on a lot of the rally because we’re working.

CC: Since you are selling to people on motorcycles, I assume you end up shipping most of it.
Vicki: The first year I think we had fifty-two boxes we had to ship out. We didn’t think about our customers not being able to take their purchases with them. The next year we had prints rolled up so they could take them in tubes. We still ended up shipping a lot of it. We will ship anywhere.
Gail: We found out that shipping to Canada cost about three times as much. That was an expensive lesson.

CC: You mentioned that you are working all the time at the rallies. Don’t you get to party at all?
Vicki: We normally work from ten in the morning until ten at night. We’re pretty tired by that time.
Gail: Don’t get us wrong. Some of our favorite stories come from the rallies. We work hard, but we normally take one or two nights to go out for a little bit.
Vicki: We are right about a bar in Deadwood, and people keep bringing us wine. We can’t do that. We have to work. We do T-shirt printing and rhinestone work as well as selling the artwork.

CC: I’m sure you get lots of offers for motorcycle rides.
Vicki: I’m kind of scared of motorcycles. I wouldn’t mind a ride if they don’t go too fast.
Gail: My cousins had Harleys when I was growing up, and I had horses. I’m not as timid about motorcycles and Vicki is.

CC: Please talk about the prices and sizes of what you sell.
Gail: Prices vary a lot. The prints are very nice, and the colors are so good they look just like the originals. If you want an original, we’ll sell you one, but if you want a really good print that looks as good as an original, we have those too. We do the prints on watercolor paper the same size as the originals.

CC: How did you get started going to motorcycle rallies?
Vicki: I had painted a picture of a little boy in diapers and a motorcycle jacket. Gail’s nephew saw it and said we should put it on T-shirts for little kids to sell at rallies. We decided we couldn’t go with just one thing, so that first year we painted about fifteen different scenes we thought would sell. We put the art on T-shirts and sold prints. It was mostly the grandmas and grandpas that were buying them for the kids.

CC: I’d like to hear about how you prepare to paint and where your inspiration comes from.
Gail: We go to coffee every morning. At every coffee house, they know what we order. We just walk in the door, and they start making it. They ask us if we ever work or just spend all our time having coffee. We tell them we are working even while we are having coffee. We have lots of ideas to go over to decide what we want to put on that canvas to take to the next rally. The morning coffee is how we get started. We get our ideas in order and go on from there.
Vicki: Sometimes we’ll sit at a coffee house with a sketch pad and do a rough sketch of what we are going to paint. Lately we’ve been working on lots of beach scenes, since we’re getting ready for Daytona.

Whatever it is that inspires these two, both have a marvelous talent for expressing their fun-loving spirit and their zest for life through their artworks. Some of their work is shown in the thumbnails below. You can learn more about the Vormehr & Youngquist Gallery and see more of Vicki and Gail’s work on their web site at vyartgallery.com. Be sure to visit them at their gallery, online, or at a bike rally near you.

By Stripe
Lead photo by Mike Schweder


Editor's Note: If you're going to be at Daytona Bike Week this year, make sure to stop by Vicki and Gail's booth at the Wreck Bar & Grill, located at 115 Main Street - Daytona Beach, Florida!

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