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With thousands of colors available, John Grey Painting is ‘going green’

By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

John Grey Painting, which has served the Southwest Florida community since 1967, recently opened a new location in The Sanibel Promenade on Tarpon Bay Road in Sanibel. The new space offers a well-lit gallery/showroom where you can see – and touch – the many new wall dcor options now available.

The old location on San Carlos Boulevard – more of a shop and warehouse – will remain.

“But since 99 percent of our business is on Sanibel, it made sense to open an office and showroom out here, too,” said Grey.

According to John, he started painting in middle school.

“Unless I had band practice,” Grey added. “My parents owned a motel on Fort Myers Beach – the Dream Port – which became the Breakers and, of course, I painted that. In fact, most of my business was on Estero Island and in South Lee. I did paint the Jerry Lewis Theater, the movie theater next to Bailey’s in 1971. It wasn’t until 1992 that a fellow Boy Scout leader, who had an interest in a Sanibel vacation rental service, suggested that I come to the islands and see what was going on.”

It was John Grey Painting that painted the Sanibel & Captiva Island Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center after Hurricane Charley, “with no power available!” he noted. His company also painted the interior of the SCCF Nature Center and all the new buildings at C.R.O.W.

“The demand here has been so great, I never have time to go anywhere else now!” he said.

John’s son, Nate, had been running the office long distance from Dallas, Texas for many years. He has since relocated to Sanibel. John’s older son, Derrick, runs the production end of the business.

John’s guild of artisans works with his painting staff and designer to create beautiful custom interiors that go far beyond traditional wall treatments. This group works with color, light and texture to bring subtle and uncomplicated balance into your living space.

The new service incorporates interior design and color consultation to create a collaborative work between you, the client and the craftsman with whom you share your vision. Not only does John Grey Painting deal with the finish on your walls, John’s artisans can help create those walls – the company is state-certified for sheet rock and is licensed on Sanibel for carpentry as well. Expand the choices for your interior walls from paint, fabrics and faux finishes to a variety of beautiful decorative finishes, Venetian plasters and various forms of wall art.

“We’ve met a number of fine artists who want to participate in what we’re doing,” Grey said. “Michele, for instance, creates Zen-like work. She’s very calm and centered. A graduate of the High School of Art & Design in New York City, she has a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and additional training in photography and Feng Shui.”

According to Grey, Tabitha – who was born and trained in Transylvania, Romania – is very into the “new” techniques. Her Chicago Brick conveys beautifully what that company produced for so many years. Lauren, a graduate of Moore College of Art & Design in Center City Philadelphia earned a degree in painting from Syracuse University. She creates beautiful murals and has received numerous awards, including a First in Acrylics from the Mixed Media Gallery in Doylestown, Pa. and an Honorable Mention in Drawing and Printmaking from the Von Liebig Art Center of Naples.

“Carla is more abstract than the others – some of her ‘Internal Landscapes’ are kind of ‘out there.’ But the more you look at them, the more different images you see,” he added.

Trained in Columbus, Ohio, Carla has pieces hanging in several Fort Myers galleries, including the Alliance of the Arts. She created a Christmas tree for the Ronald McDonald fundraiser at Norris Furniture that is decorated with, instead of ornaments, 25 small original artworks.

“We purchased that and it is the tree that was on display at The Village on Luminary Night,” Grey explained. “And Steve, who trained in Seattle, Wash. and Sarasota, is a specialist in Venetian plaster and many other faux finishes.”

Ruth Beyersdorf, a decorator, has worked through Norris for some time and came on board with John Grey Painting as a color coordinator/design consultant. She and John have developed a relationship with Norris. In fact, The Promenade showroom is furnished by Norris.

“Working with Ruth has expanded our business in a whole new way,” John said.

“But it’s an organic, natural growth,” Ruth added.

She and John are trying to associate with people who can produce true art. They are currently offering some fabulous new finishes. One finish, for example is made from ground up shells in some kind of medium. It produces a very delicate, stucco-like finish. There are other finishes that are “heavier” in appearance, and some resemble the old tin ceiling art.

“Some of these finishes are hundreds of years old,” John pointed out. “The Venetian plaster is a carbon negative finish, better than carbon neutral, even. That’s why those finishes are still around and last for so long.”

Grey also explained how his business is attempting to go green.

“I am now green-advantaged certified, which means we can work on LEED project credits,” he said. “I would like to have a carbon neutral business, but that’s very hard to achieve when your business is painting. Ruth likes to use reclaimed woods for many of her projects, and she’s using more and more natural fibers in floor coverings – sisal, jute, hemp, even some corn products.”

“To have the opportunity to do this is just wonderful,” John continued. “I feel very comfortable with this place… as though I’m working in the middle of a work of art in progress. This is a working artists’ gallery and I think it’s great to introduce these artists to each other and share this effort with them. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to interact with creative people.”

John Grey Painting is offering a color consultation service to anyone who comes in the showroom. They are located in The Promenade at 695 Tarpon Bay Road. The phone number is 472-0590.