Friday, 21 September 2012

pop up gallery!

since I've finished Uni I have been working at my little "pop-up" gallery....Laine & Co.

It all started when I  had this idea about opening a small community of art studios attached to an outlet where artists and the local community could show and display their work, hold exhibitions run accessible workshops and the likes....I (along with fellow artists !)  wanted to be able  to encourage....and to celebrate... through art  and creativity.

I found what I believed was the ideal venue and set about realising my vision!....alas the local council don't share the same drive or ambition as me and after waiting for 9 months for them to deliver their side of the deal....decided to take a years lease up the road while the council sorted their financial affairs etc....(my initial enquiry was July 2011 and I'm still waiting 14 months later!)
Laine & Co art gallery is a "Pop-up" gallery helping and supporting new and emerging artists. "Pop-up" because I took the opportunity to take a lease for just a year to put a few ideas into practise and test the waters while awaiting the fate of the building 7 doors down the road!...maybe this was a more sensible idea and better than taking on such a huge venture with no experience!...

So....I have been working at the gallery since July....promoting and plugging new artists....offering short solo exhibition space each over 3 weekends....I had so many people wanting to take the opportunity I decided to opt for short exhibitions and offer more artists the experience. I personally find it sooooo hard to get my foot in the door in terms of getting my work as an artist out there, so to be able to offer space for an artist to display a body of work is a good feeling and hopefully beneficial to them too.

The gallery has been open for 6 months now and over the last few months I have come to realise that life as a gallery owner and a new and emerging artist is far from easy!.....sometimes I don' t see anyone all week and rely on my website and online sales!.....strange as I thought people wanted to see art first hand! I don't see the artists who are exhibiting returning to see new exhibitions or attending each others previews....I always feel it's important to show and share support to fellow artists?! I have hardly seen any other gallery owner, yet I attend all of their previews when invited...
I have also come to realise why galleries are so particular and dare I say it strict when it come to the criteria for exhibiting work. Times are hard and people want good quality work that will hopefully stand the test of time. Cheap paint, canvases and frames do not only look unappealing but are also a reflection on the gallery let alone the artist!....I have felt really bad for turning artists down, I know what it feels like to be dashed, I can see it from  both sides and this is one of the jobs I don't enjoy....but I do love it when an artists come to show me their portfolio and it screams "wow" at know, when you get goosebumps and it just instantly hits you!...priceless

As an new artist I have also found it hard to not only settle down and produce what I feel is quality work, a reflection of what I can a much respected and admired artist and friend  said to me recently.... "you need to find yourself!"...and how right she is! but the other issue is also where to start and get my work out there, Scarborough is not the art  hub of the world and I need to spread my wings in terms of exhibiting etc
I also want to be able to offer bespoke gifts along with the art displays....
Jenny Pepper's lovely felt vessels fit in really well
and are beautifully made

Jenny Pepper's felt sculpture...inside is delicately threaded
pebbles and sea-washed glass
These wonderful applique birds are by Emily Bott
and good friend and old work colleague
I have learnt so much from running the gallery in just this short people are afraid to step across the threshold of the gallery, preferring to squash their faces against the window rather than come in....or... sometimes customers lean through the doorway to my studio leaning perilously rather than take that one step further, even when invited!....yet I love the way people are pleasantly surprised when they come in and once they've looked around and ventured into the studio open up and ask loads of questions ...or how people say "how long have you been open?" "this is great" or "are you doing workshops?"...

I also understand that things take time, people seek reliability, familiarity and trust in where they shop....such as the best place to seek out quality, affordable stuff....(although the shop next door has now started displaying second hand goods outside on  the pavement....nice!) .... all these qualities takes time....and sadly money...and one thing I don't have is a money tree!
rag rugging/proddy rug kits I made...
book making ones on the way too!
My original plan was that the art studios would help fund/finance the gallery, I've found that not many small galleries are overly affluent hence the plan that the two would work well together....a constant source of art etc and rent....although there are two of us sharing a studio behind the gallery, it's not quite supporting the gallery financially! the  continuity of the galley will be decided after Christmas...and in the mean time I will continue to experiment, develop and try to find what I can both create successfully and also enjoy small feat!...

...what else have I been doing...

...I was really pleased to receive a huge box of goodies from a-n as a thank you for being a student rep...I loved being able to spread the word about a-n and it didn't take that much to do really.I found the website really useful, I've subscribed to a-n Air and use the site regularly for reviews, opportunities, help, info, whats on.....and as a practicing artist the Public Liability you get free when you subscribe is a bonus! I even took my insurance out for the gallery through them....very helpful and thorough and at a really reasonable rate too!

...Hubby made me go out for a short walk to catch the last rays the other day....he said I needed to get out more. Apparently I spend more time on the computer than ever before.....trying to publicise the gallery and myself so a short walk was called for to brush off the cobwebs and get some fresh air ....little fibber....we walked for ages....view was great tho'!

We also had our meet and greet for our exhibition at The Triton Gallery, looks good, but I felt my work was lacking!...back to the "find myself" scenario!
(will post some photos next time hopefully)

And of course I am working mornings at a local primary get the picture: small chair = knees under my chin!'s definitely opened my eyes to not only how differently upper and lower schools are ran but also how a school can successfully manage their funds to offer a really great environment for both students and's actually ok and gives me an opportunity to not only work with primary kids but also some much needed cashums!

I'm really looking forward to my next exhibition at my gallery by an artist called Marion Atkinson. We met at a printing workshop by artist Dawn Brooks and got talking as a group, like you do!...She's been studying an MA in Fine art at York St John her exhibition is based on a visit to China, it's both intriguing and incorporates textiles so I share Marion's enthusiasm to use cloth within her work.

blimey....rather a long and serious blog!....I need to relax and get those creative juices flowing again, 
'til next time....pip toodle!

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