Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Saturday 8 May 2010

This week I have started to feel that running a gallery is almost like working in an office, and that is something that I would have hated to do.
So why have I got myself into this situation, where so little time seems to be devoted to the things and people that I want to be involved with?
I suppose that it is inevitable really, the more time that I become involved with some artists, the more I have  wanted  to tell the world about them [and us] and as a result more time is spent making telephone calls and writing to people in the hope that I can convince them that this artist or artists 'really' are worthy of a little of their time.
This week has been totally devoted to promoting and designing invitations for this months
'JIM MALONE  2010 Exhibition'.
I would never have before understood that exhibiting a life long hero can be a terrible thing. You tend to put these artists on such a high pedestal in your imagination that whatever you try to do to represent them and their art it will forever fall
short of what you feel that you owe them.
In reality I owe Jim Malone nothing at all. Nothing that is if you can discount years of pleasure that his work has given me. Every day I fill one of his mugs with coffee, enjoy the drink, then for a few moments look at the small mug that I have drunk from and think.
"I love this mug".
One day I know it will get broken, sad as I will be it won't matter when compared with the pleasure that it has given me for the past 30 years.
So here I am thinking "what an awful week",
a week spent writing about someone I have admired for a life time.

Now it's not seeming like a bad week at all, but it has been a week of "administration".
That's something that when we opened I had never understood or realized would be inevitable, so for me it has been a week of frustration.
I have so wanted to talk and get excited by different artists that I have felt trapped.
Until last night, when I had arranged to collect some new work from the artist Jackie Morris.
Jackie lives about six hours away in a beautiful remote location that she often describes on her own blog. In my imagination  I often think of it as "heaven is only six hours away".
Of course it isn't, as I have slowly come to understand that every artist has a life full of troubles and worries the same as we all have, the only difference is theirs occur at their homes and not
there workplace.
Whoops! I got that totally wrong, their workplace is their home, so it is worst.
In the past people like me who had employment, no matter how bad, were able to walk away at the end of the week and return to their sanctuary, "home", and for a while sanity, peace of mind, comfort and relaxation charged up those batteries ready for Monday morning.
What if everyday was Monday morning?
Realities of producing work and surviving are a constant thought with no guaranteed
pay cheque at the end of each month.
Worrying, to say the least.
Along with artists this is where I now find myself.
Somewhere between "heaven and hell", so why should I moan about a week spent doing administration? It is all for a good reason, for myself and artist alike.
It's just that I prefer dreaming talking and getting excited about art, not writing about it.

So, back to the collection of Jackie's art.
I had arranged to meet a friend of hers at a beautiful pub about an hours drive away from the gallery. Her friend, Robin had collected the pictures from her, saving me another 5 hours driving [plus 6 back] so I was very grateful for the reduced journey.
I left the gallery early, something that bothered me as there is always so much there to occupy my time, and no day ever seems long enough.
However, I found myself at the meeting place almost an hour early,
"an hour of wasted time"
Were my initial thoughts and I started to think of the things that I should have been getting on with.
Half a pint of cider later I started to realize that there were no more
important things to do than what I was doing then,
waiting for some beautiful art.
The evening turned into one of pleasure, Robin the courier was such a nice "gentle" man, and
full of so many different stories about Jackie and her current work it wasn't long before I became excited, just hearing about what she was doing and planning.
We talked briefly of her planned exhibition with us later this year, then, of course as the conversation involved the Gallery I bored poor Robin with the tales of "my awful week".
Time flew by [I find it does that when I'm talking]
When I  eventually paused for breath he said "shall we do the exchange" [which caused a few glances, "drug deal going down"] it made me stop and think.
"What a lucky person am I"?
Outside a remote thatched country pub, loading my car up with beautiful art on a tranquil
early summer evening.
Tell me, "how many people are that fortunate"?

So today I have had everything in a different state of complexion in my mind and suddenly a week of designing, then re-designing invitations doesn't seem so bad at all.
It has also been a day of putting out new art, changing the appearance of the gallery and
notifying customers about new work that has arrived.
Apart from the Jackie Morris new pictures , that started selling ten minutes after going on display [to a really nice family] I had some sculptures from a young woman named
Helen Nottage, plus some new pieces from Karen.

Two of Karen's pieces I have photographed and am showing here because they have both disappeared to different American buyers and I want to have a record of them as they were here for such a short time, so short in fact that I couldn't even pretend that they were mine, which is something that I tend to do after a day or so,
after all the shop is my own personal collection.
Just for a while.

Helen's work is of a totally different nature, it is viewed by some people as "disturbing".
To me it is, "disturbingly beautiful".
She came to us two years ago as a young student, shy, nervous and unsure, now to my great pleasure her work is featuring in an auction at 'Bonhams' later this year.
"Bugger", that's another artist through my fingers.
Or maybe not.

Above we have a quick 'snap' of one of Jackie's new pictures [taken through the window], Karen's sculptures and then of course Helen's lovely work.


  1. I hate the realities of "administration," too. It gets in the way of creation. But it apparently has to be done. So I understand what you're talking about. Eager to see what the Jim Malone show looks like when it's up, John. And the new stuff here looks great, so your blog is showing these folks all over the world. Good work.

  2. It will be a little wait Hollis before you get to see Jim's pots. He still hasn't fired them as he is leaving until the last minute so that he feels that he has his best in the kiln. I have to collect them after the firing and won't be back here with them until 4 days before the opening of the show. Potters, what are you like?
    Jim [who doesn't own a computer] did make me laugh this week when he told me " I have been told that it's important that you get them on the internet quickly".
    When I get them I will.