LAUGHLIN — There is something about art galleries that attract and feed the senses, touch the heart and the soul.
A painting, for example, tells a story through color and light, through every individual brush stroke and dab of paint.
Seeing the work of impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, on pieces like Starry Night, is an experience never forgotten — the master’s work brings people to tears.
But, artists need not be known the world over to have the same effect.
Amazing art pieces can be found in the most unexpected places, like Grecco Fine Art Gallery in the Laughlin Outlet Center, 1955 S. Casino Drive.
Artist Florida Grecco is at the helm of a space that houses art in many forms and mediums — from sculptures to jewelry, acrylics to oils and desert landscapes to seascapes.
It is more than a gallery filled with art, it is a combination of all of the things in life that are important to her, Grecco said.
While it gives her a place to indulge her creativity, it’s also a place where area and national artists can display their work, where area musicians come to entertain from time to time and where all are welcome to enjoy it, Grecco said.
Most importantly it is Grecco’s way of giving back to the community.
“When I was in Bullhead, I donated my art to help various causes, like the Mohave High School band, I donated an original painting that hangs in the library,” she said. “I donated to the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce and now that I’m here, I donate something to every event. I love to give my paintings away. Instead of having someone steal it, I’d rather donate it and have them give my painting away. It makes me happy.”
Grecco said she knew from the time she was a small child growing up in the Philippines that she wanted to be an artist.
“Ever since I was 7 years old, I liked to draw,” she said. “My mom had seven boys and three girls and everyday we would go to the sea. All my brothers and sisters loved to go in the water, but I didn’t go in. I just wanted to be in the sun and I wanted to draw, so we go to the sea and my mother gives me a stick to draw over the dirt. Then she mixed it with water to make mud.
“When she mixed the sand with the water, then I would draw. It was like a painting in the dirt.
“She said, ‘after it dries in the sun, we’ll go to the market and sell the art, somebody will buy it.’ They would buy it.”
Grecco didn’t make money from her early art career but she did contribute to her family’s wellbeing.
“We were in the Philippines when I was a girl,” Grecco said. “We didn’t have very much money, so we’d buy food with the art.”
Grecco later moved to Manila where she studied art for a short time. Life took her to the U.S. and eventually she landed in California.
“I started a business in Tustin, California, when I came over here,” she said. “I was the owner of a professional cleaning company. I made money and I had my art.”
When she started a family, art was pushed to the back burner, as she busied herself at her children’s schools, chairing fundraisers and assisting with disaster preparedness, Grecco said.
“Then from California, I moved here and I continue to volunteer — I’m a volunteer addict,” she said. “I recently volunteered to help with the Laughlin Chamber’s Freedom of Expression event held at the Golden Nugget and donated my original art to be sold.”
Her gallery contains an enormous collection of art.
Photography, ceramics, wood, metal, turquoise, water colors, oils and many other artistic interpretations line the walls of the former clothing store. All of its nooks and crannies and dressing rooms transformed into places to hold artistic treasures.
“I have national artists and local artists here,” Grecco said. “I have a lot of famous artists with their work on display, like the Michael Jackson piece with a $6,000 price tag or the Beatles pieces with $9,000 price tags.”
Along with the higher-priced artistry are those that are more affordable, Grecco stocks something for every budget.
“Artists exhibiting at the gallery total about 102,” she said. “Some of the artists who come to display their art are going through rehab of some kind. I display their work for free, and kids from 7-10, if they want to learn, I will teach them for free.”
Grecco’s own work varies in subject matter, such as tropical flowers and birds, and technique.
“Well, I do everything, but I prefer acrylics and I like to do abstracts,” she said. “I do everything art, different kinds. Sometimes they call me ‘Picassa,’ like Picasso.”
Grecco’s inspiration comes from inside, not outside, she said.
“My art is always original and it comes from my heart and my head. I don’t copy from a magazine, I don’t copy from a book,” Grecco said. “Whatever comes out of my head, I just draw it.”
Often those inspirations come at inopportune times.
“When I dream, no matter what time in the night — 1 o’clock, 3 o’clock in the morning — I wake up and then I have to get up and go to the painting. I have to put that in my painting right then because if not, I’m going to forget.”
While fame isn’t her motivation, Grecco said she hopes people will enjoy her work long after she’s gone.
“If I get famous someday, even someday when I’m dead, maybe people will remember me,” Grecco mused. “It’s sad artists don’t get famous until they die.”
For more information, call 928-444-5555 or 702-299-1134. The gallery is open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.