Gentry Blackburn graduated from the University of Utah in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Her first solo show, Frosty Darling, was held at the Downtown Library in the spring of 2005. The show was primarily oil on canvas paintings with a few suitcases painted with acrylics. On March 2, 2007, she opened her boutique, Frosty Darling (recycling the name from her first show), on 177 E. Broadway. At only 24, this young entrepreneur has accomplished quite a bit.
Frosty Darling’s interior is painted to resemble a circus or carnival—the loose theme that the store revolves around. “I don’t want to pin it down specifically. I want [people] to be able to discover it,” beams Blackburn. The floors are light blue and turquoise checkerboard; the white walls are decorated with many of her paintings and framed by a red-and-white striped border that resembles the edges of a circus tent. The register sits behind a counter covered in candy that looks like it belongs in a 1950s drugstore. Behind the register is a dart toss game that customers can play for a dollar. If they pop a balloon, they walk away with a prize. The store matches Blackburn’s bright cheerful personality and the eccentric and eclectic quality of her art.
“It is sort of a surprise that I did it,” Blackburn said, when asked about the store’s opening. Frosty Darling sells an array of unique gifts crafted by local artists. There are button earrings, painted suitcases, aprons, finger puppets, pillows and oil on canvas paintings all created by Blackburn. The store also features work by Trent Call, Dallas Russel, Magdalyn Merie, Travis Dinsmore of Pragmatic Design and many others. “It’s a store for grownups, but I want to make them feel like kids.” Blackburn said. The products are functional, but fun too.
“I love color and shape. I’m influenced by pop art,” Blackburn said of her art. “I’m really inspired by graphic design ads from the 50s. My work is really nostalgia-heavy.” Much of her work and the items found in her store resemble the kitschy quality one would find in a sitcom made today about the 1950s.
Blackburn’s boutique serves to not only showcase her work, but the work of other local artists. Frosty Darling is open from 11a.m.-7p.m. Monday thru Saturday and the third Friday night of every month for Gallery Stroll. Watch out for Blackburn’s next show that will be occurring sometime next year at Kayo Gallery conveniently located next door to her shop.