Made in the Carolinas: Blue Ridge Oil Colors
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Even his name speaks of color.
Eric Silver might lead one of the most colorful lives of anybody in the Carolinas.
"I'm the person that makes the paint, tubes the paint, ships the paint, takes the orders and everything," said Silver.
Eric Silver is the owner and sole employee of Blue Ridge Oil Colors in Asheville.
It’s a business he started after working for a short time with another paint maker.
"There is no manual, there's no books on, you know, how to start a paint-making business.” Silver said, “Probably, if I had known what I know now, I probably would be too scared to do it.”
There once were quite a few people who made oil paint for artists, but now that’s mainly the domain of big companies with a few exceptions. Even then, most of those guys are getting older and are closing in on retirement.
"There are some small guys who are trying to bring back the craft and the small-batch mentality,” said Silver. "Some days, I kinda like to think that I'm carrying on the torch, so to speak.”
It’s been a successful venture.
Silver has built a client base of thousands of artists across the U.S. and on almost every continent.
"It is international because of the Internet. Otherwise, I wouldn't really have a business if it weren't for the internet.”
Various makers produce paint with different consistencies. Some are stiff and some are runny. Silver goes for a spot in the middle.
"It's full of pigment, which is what you're really paying for, but you get that kind of juicy. It's a certain quality that you get under the brush that really, it speaks to artists,” he said. “I'm confident in most of my colors as being where they need to be."
While he doesn’t want to show any of his work, Silver is a painter as well as a paint maker.
"I don't think that you could do this without being an actual painter and actually use the products,” said Silver.
While his paintings might never achieve great acclaim, there is still the possibility of his work appearing on a grand stage.
"I've been able to sell to a lot of very, very talented artists who are, you know, maybe someday will be hanging in the museums and that's really, really great for me to, to think maybe my paint will be in a museum,” said Silver.