By Evan Barber
Perrodin Supply Co. is a Springdale-based artists’ supply company, specializing primarily in handcrafted artist panels and canvases. Jonathan Perrodin, with a respect for experimental art, a love for theology and a passion for woodworking — the self-described ‘Owner, Designer, Maker, Mover, Shaker’ — has been crafting panels and canvases on the side for nearly a decade. In January, he started Perrodin Supply Co. with his wife Amber, “to begin offering his woodworking services to a wider audience.”
“I made canvases for about eight years for my wife,” Jonathan said. “When I first started, I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but eventually I got better at it.”
The Perrodins’ Etsy site reads, “After only six months of business, they are both humbled and honored to have worked with nationally and internationally recognized artists.” The company has also started manufacturing minimalist decor items, including distressed triangle shelves, framed Helvetica font cutouts, reclaimed wooden boxes, and framed outlines of Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma; like Sufjan Stevens before him, the intention is to eventually create one for every state. They take custom orders (states included), and offer local delivery as well.
The work of PSC has already seen major employment within the local art community. The Artist Laboratory Theatre’s experimental play “Alley 38,” a meditation on place and impermanence, and set entirely in back alleys and parking garages of downtown Fayetteville, made use of several of Perrodin’s props in its opening scene. For their collaborative painting series “A Place Called Home,” abstract artists Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner also used canvases from Perrodin Supply Co. These were featured at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, as were Perrodin’s canvases at the Arts Center’s annual 5×5 fundraiser, where participants can take a 5×5 canvas home and paint it for the silent auction; local artists get their name out, and proceeds go back into the ACO and NWA community.
Beyond woodworking, the Perrodins have been involved in the creative community in several particularly interesting ways. In the past, Jonathan has curated and engineered several “transformance art” installation pieces in cooperation with Vintage Fellowship Church, designed to “transform” viewers, pushing them into existential feelings of reflection, and re-evaluations of their faith (or lack thereof).
“That was always about the ‘And then,’” Perrodin said. “When people went home afterward, hopefully they would be thinking, praying, reading through these old texts again that they haven’t looked through in a while … Peter Rollins once said, “We let the pastor believe for us,” and with Vintage Vespers, I really wanted to kick the legs out from under people, and get them to reflect outside the church walls. Those installments were hugely important. But there’s definitely part of (the Supply Co.) that hits a nerve that didn’t get hit before, because here there are these tangible objects that get created. So in that sense, this project is more satisfying.”
“We are a mom & pop style business that prides itself on old-fashioned friendships and exceptional products,” according to Perrodin Supply Co.’s Etsy site. Together, Jonathan and Amber hope to “reignite the idea of an old fashioned supply store,” encouraging their customers to invest locally, “and at prices even the Perrodins can afford.”
“Why would someone else choose to shop with us, knowing that we might take a little longer, instead of ordering online?” Jonathan asked. “It’s the same reason someone would choose to shop at the Farmers’ Market. You develop a relationship with your grocer. If there’s some kind of weird vegetable they’re selling, you can ask them, ‘What’s the best way to cook this?’ You get to know the person behind the product, and the experience is more meaningful for it.”