10 Reasons Artist Gabriel Shaffer Loves Asheville


10 Reasons Artist Gabriel Shaffer Loves Asheville

  • Amanda Lanier

    Amanda Lanier is a quilter and the creator of Hey Baby Craft Co. Her company specializes in quilts and baby quilts, handmade in her home in Asheville. You can usually find her at her house with her...

I was so thrilled to be able to chat with local Appalachian folk artist, Gabriel Shaffer, about his process, how he got started, and what he loves most about this beautiful city. Making art is in his blood; he says growing up around his mother, big-time traditional southern folk artist Cher Shaffer, has been his biggest influence. Gabriel recalls going with her to “old school folk art shows” in the mid-70s, where he learned the lay of the land as they hung his mother’s art on the sides of barns and old buildings. He says he was also really into comic books as a boy; both this and his mother’s influence are hard to miss in his art, especially his more recent pieces. He did his first show in 2004, but got into “folk insider art” in 2005, and has been hugely successful since.

Gabriel’s passions are mixed media, drawing, and collage. He says his process is “all over the place;” he likes collage or cut out elements, but says that his style changes yearly. While you can see that his work varies from year to year, his art is definitely recognizable (it’s insane and completely amazing). Check it out on his website (www.gabrielshaffer.com) or at Horse and Hero downtown-- you can thank me later.

10 Reasons Asheville Makes Gabriel Shaffer Swoon:

  1. HORSE + HERO (14 Patton Ave)- Gabriel has been working and selling his art at this new downtown shop since they recently opened. He says, “I love working there and seeing it on the ground level. Working with owners Brandy [Bourne] and Justin [Rabuck] is awesome. It’s a more meaningful approach to selling art. I’m excited to see how it evolves and grows.”
  2. Ben’s Tune Up (195 Hilliard Ave)- While he shies away from the late-night dance parties, Gabriel says he loves taking his dog there and sitting in their beautiful patio space.
  3. Hi-Wire Brewing (197 Hilliard Ave)- Fun Fact: Gabriel just finished up a beautiful art piece at Hi-Wire with fellow artist, Joshua Spiceland.
  4. Farm Burger (10 Patton Ave)- Gabriel likes to sit in the window seats and people watch at this new-ish burger restaurant.
  5. BattleCat Coffee Bar (373 Haywood Rd)
  6. Waking Life Coffee & Espresso (976 Haywood Rd)- “This is my favorite place to get coffee. I love the dudes there and it’s on my side of town.”
  7. Table (48 College St)
  8. Cucina24 Restaurant (24 Wall St)
  9. The Satellite Art Gallery (55 Broadway St) – “I’m glad that place is still kickin’ it,” Gabriel says, “They’ve always got something good going on in there.”
  10. Universal Joint (784 Haywood Road)- “I love hanging out with my dog at the UJ. Love the patio, love the people there, and my dog loves the tater tots. This is probably the place I go to most in town.”

Gabriel Shaffer
Editor's note: Gabriel won WNC magazine's On the Verge emerging artist competition back in 2009. You can read that feature and see more of his work here