As entrepreneurs with inherent likes for creative expression, Ron Hadath and Jim Thompson have opened a new art venue in Talent.

As entrepreneurs with inherent likes for creative expression, Ron Hadath and Jim Thompson have opened a new art venue in Talent.

"It was absolutely serendipitous," Thompson says. "Ron and I met about a month ago as regulars at the Downtowne Coffehouse in Talent. The next thing we knew, we were setting up a gallery."

Hadath and Thompson will showcase their computer-generated artwork at the gallery. They also are featuring ceramics and sculpture by Cheryl Williams and Yvonne Kitchen.

As artists, Thompson and Hadath know how difficult it is to introduce their work and be represented at professional venues.

"We're excited about what the gallery can do for the local art community," Thompson says. "We're getting behind that idea to try and make it work."

A growing number of fine artists live and work around Talent.

Williams, whose sculptures are made in steel and ceramics, lives above the Talent Art Gallery.

"Yvonne and Cheryl are established internationally," Thompson says. "Cheryl's got art in the White House Collection, and she lives right upstairs."

Kitchen lives outside of Talent, and one of her equestrian statues is in a permanent collection at the United States Dressage Federation Museum at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Marble and bronze sculptor Jack Langford works out of the old Southern Oregon Pottery Supply on Talent Avenue. The Langford Sculpture Studio also features glass and steel sculptor David Gelfand and stone sculptor Cheryl Chaddock.

Fine artists Clifford Wilton, Kevin Christman, Gabriel Lipper and Phyllis Towbridge work out of the Talent Studio on South Pacific Highway. Southern Oregon painters Aurora Lupetti and Margaret Dunbar show paintings at The Total Picture in Talent. There's also Proof Studio, a co-op of printmakers on Talent Avenue, and sculptor Claire Barr-Wilson has a studio and gallery on Second Street.

"We have a lot of networking to do," Thompson says. "We hope to turn this gallery into a place that will introduce and represent artists working around Talent and the Rogue Valley. In turn, we hope the gallery will give Talent more of a presence on the regional art scene."

Joe Dunbar of The Total Picture, an art gallery and frame shop, heads up a seasonal art walk and music festival in Talent.

"The art walk this spring was an astounding success," Thompson says. "We put up work from four artists. People were shoulder-to-shoulder in here."

Thompson's and Hadath's digital artwork grew out of personal discoveries. They found the artists in themselves while working at earlier vocations.

"Much of my work was inspired when I discovered the airbrush," Thompson says. "I used to be a technical illustrator for an industrial advertising agency in Shreveport. I developed a masking technique that worked effectively and recognized its possibilities as an art tool. So I began to work with gouache, acrylic, watercolor and some pen and ink, just about anything I could blow through an airbrush. And it worked."

After the advent of personal computers, Thompson translated his technique into graphic designs. He creates large-scale extraterrestrial landscapes such as the one shown on this page, "Lorus-2."

Hadath found himself pushed toward art after he lost his wife about two years ago. His work is inspired by original photographs of sites around the Rogue Valley.

"It started out as an experiment," he says. "I like to take the ordinary and turn it into something unusual and compelling. The discoveries come to me as I work with the images. That's the fun of it. I've found the digital art form to be quite creative."

Talent Art Gallery is at 108 S. Market St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. See talentartgallery.com or call 897-0220.