Robert and Sue Joki
Robert and Susan Joki are your hosts at the little gallery on the lakes. Come visit them most late mornings and in the afternoon during the summer months. The gallery is open to the public daily, from the time the snow melts in late spring and early summer until the snows return and close Lake Mary road in the fall.
Robert Joki is a towering passionate fellow of roaring enthusiasms and numerous hobbies—he races Indy cars, cage-fights UFC style and raises urban chickens and bees. His Sovereign Collection art gallery, across the street from the Portland Art Museum, specialized in early 20th Century American and European art, as well as Northwest regional art. “All art is regional art in a way,” says Robert. “In a manner of speaking Van Gogh was a regional artist.”
Sue Joki worked in advertising at the Oregonian newspaper. She grew up in La Canada, spending family vacations at Woods Lodge on one of Mammoth’s lakes. When the couple, now in their 50s, began thinking of a second-act career, Mammoth was a natural draw. “After 25 years with the gallery, it’s time to do something else while we’re still young enough to do it,” says Robert.
This all sounds like a lot of work for an encore career until you hear the couple describe how they imagine their days. First, they’ll shed their modern trappings and live like 1930s pioneers, down to their wardrobes. “Sue has about 300 pairs of shoes she’s traded for boots,” Robert says.
Sue plans to begin her days hunting wildflowers with an old-fashioned camera with real film. Robert envisions getting up early to fish at TJ Lake. He’ll fry up the trout on the old stove, and then prop up the “Open” sign when he feels like it. “If we’re there we’re open,” he says. “We’re not going to limit our happiness.”