August 12, 2016
Established in 1992, Fascination St. Fine Art is a fresh and colorful space featuring original paintings, sculpture and limited edition artwork. Here, Owner Aaron LaPedis shares his secrets to finding treasures in unexpected places and how his son inspired him to create a children's book series about embracing differences.
Aaron Lapedis (right) and cartoonist Scott Johnson, who has illustrated the entire A Boy Named Penguin series, sign copies Lapedis' book during Cherry Creek North Art Feast in 2018.
What kind of process do you go through to decide which artists your gallery will feature?
We start by looking into our artists’ background and look at what other galleries they have shown in. We have certain genres of art that we are specifically looking for at different times and if an artist fills that genre, we will feature them. It is a long, thoughtful process that we only do a few times a year.
You are a world-renowned collector, and you explain the secrets to 'urban treasure hunting' at garage sales, thrift stores and storage unit auctions in your book, “The Garage Sale Millionaire.” How did you turn a passion for collecting in to a profession?
Since the beginning it was a hobby. I realized quickly I could make money off items that others thought had no value. Since I had so much fun doing it, making money came easy. Going to garage sales and second hand stores is still fun, and until I lose the excitement of the hunt and the find, I will continue to do it. You should never lose the passion for your hobby, because then it turns into work. So I would say the way to turn a passion into a profession is to never lose the passion.
What was the first thing you started collecting?
Comic books, then coins. After the coins, I quickly switched to art.
Your gallery won the Small Business of the Year award from the Cherry Creek Chamber in 2016. How do you think your location in Cherry Creek North has impacted your business?
Third Avenue is the most popular street in Cherry Creek North and plays an important part in the popularity of our business. But the most important factor is that we have been in Cherry Creek North for 26 years. It is very common for people to need to pass a business several times before they work up the interest to enter that business. We make sure that we maintain a fun, exciting atmosphere to encourage anyone and everyone to enter and enjoy the artwork.
You recently expanded in to the world of children’s books. Tell us about "A Boy Named
Logan Penguin & His Great Adventures" (Note: Lapedis has since written two more books in the series, "The Mystery of the Albino Calf" and "Different is the New Perfect." You can purchase all three books here.)
The book was written for my wife for Mother’s Day. It is about our son and how he copes with the struggles of being on the autism spectrum. As the title suggests, when Logan gets scared or nervous, he would start calling himself a penguin, and he eventually started wearing a cape and solved "mysteries" with his stuffed animals. This series talks about how the penguin alter ego Logan created helped us all better embrace his differences.
So many people loved the little book, so I decided to have it published to share with a larger audience. The book is dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the idea of accepting all people. I feel like we are always judging people by the color of their skin, nationality, personal preferences, or their disabilities and I felt this was a good way to illustrate that we are all very similar.