Trade & Lore is a very nice little coffee house on Wall Street in downtown Asheville, just behind my Flatiron Studio. Their coffee and snacks are good, but that’s not the reason I like to go there. Most days, Trade & Lore is the work space of artist Michael Provard. He can usually be found sitting at a table, nursing a cup of coffee and drawing, surrounded by his art supplies. Michael’s drawings are relatively small, so he can produce one or two a day. He rarely has more than the one he is drawing on hand because they always sell relatively quickly. Michael specializes in drawing religious icons that look like they could have originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. I told him he should sell his art to churches and he said, “Well I would, but if I stop by a church I can never get past the secretary. I think it might be because of the nose rings.” So, here’s some free advice to the clergy of Asheville… stop by Trade & Lore and have a cup of coffee or tea.
Not all of Michael’s drawings have religious themes, but they are all beautiful, and made in a style that is uniquely his. Since he almost never has a selection of drawings to choose from, the best way to get one of his creations is to sit down and talk with him. He will tell you what his latest ideas are and you can ask him to reserve one for your purchase. Whether or not you buy a painting, you will meet one of the most interesting artists in Asheville, and probably enjoy a good cup of coffee too.
This is the first in a new series I am calling “Cool people I met.” It turns out buskers aren’t the only cool people in town.