After visiting the Daville Baillie Gallery I was lucky enough to get this in depth interview with Matthew Krouse, its an interesting interview for artists and art buyers in the South African art scene.
1. What is your career background?
I was active in the theatre in the 1980s, in book publishing in the 90s, I was arts editor of the Mail & Guardian newspaper from 1998 to 2014, I worked at the Goodman gallery for three years thereafter as well as for photographer Roger Ballen. I have also written three feature films.
2. What made you want to open your own gallery?
The gallery owner is Darren Neofytou. he bought the gallery to further his interest in contemporary art in the context of a changing Johannesburg. He is interested in supporting the arts from a point of view of sustainability, believing that in order for artists to grow creatively they need to develop alongside their audience.
3. How did you make it happen?
The Daville Baillie Gallery opened 2011 in Hyde Park Square, Johannesburg, and moved to Norwood in 2015. Late in 2017 we moved to the growing development of Victoria Yards (Read more about Victoria Yard in my previous blog post). The journey has involved moving from the secondary to the primary art markets. The latter comes with a new set of demands and it is a space in which we hope to appeal to art buyers who may believe that South African contemporary art is too complex a locus in which to invest time and money.
4.What sets your gallery apart from other galleries?
We have a love of pop art particularly. And we have a deep appreciation of the way in which some artists have taken the country's complex problems and turned them into explorations of colour and humor, works that show the ironies of our very divided world. We prefer the irreverent and hope to create a fun and leisurely environment in which to enjoy good art.
5. How did you find Victoria Yards and what made you choose to set up shop here?
Victoria Yards is a very unusual spot. the combination of vegetable gardening and art making seemed like a journey back to the idealistic 1970s. that after all was the period in which pop reached its zenith so it seemed like tree was some sort of fit.
6. What sort of work do you represent in your gallery?
Pop art, some landscape art, and we get often our hands on important investment pieces
7. What inspires you?
8. How has The Art the Daville Gallery evolved over the years?
We have moved from the secondary to primary markets - and we are developing series's and collections by artists who believe in our mission. One significant emergent artist is the enigmatic graffiti inspired artist simply called Fringe who is now gaining an international audience.
9. What has been your biggest obstacle?
The art world is very stratified… it's vital to keep learning even from the youngest and least experienced. Obstacles are in fact opportunities
10. What has been your greatest achievement?
Opening a new space that is welcoming and fast gaining a respected place on the gallery circuit. And seeing an artist like Fringe going to places beyond the confines of the local art scene.
11. How do you spread the word about what you do?
Social media, the formal media environment, word of mouth
12. What are your ambitions for the future?
Develop relationships with an exciting circle of artists and to introduce collectors and less formal buyers to new names in the art world
1. How and where do you find most of the artists that you represent?
It tends to take care of itself - artists come to the gallery to introduce themselves, we hear about new practitioners and read about them in other forums
2. What is a major no no you see emerging artists do when approaching you? Is there anything that makes you not want to take an artist on.
Over ambitious artists who have not attempted to understand their place in the broader history of the art of our times.
3. What makes an artist attractive to a gallery?
A person who is looking inward and, expressing what they discover through artwork that is trying to communicate something vital about their journey. Honesty is a plus. And if an artist cannot be honest then let their cruelty be wildly attractive
4. How many pieces should an artist have before looking at gallery representation? Framed? Unframed? Is "gallery wrapped" canvas the new black?
An artist should have enough work to show that she or he is on a distinctly self-actualizing path. If the work is rough at the edges it must justify itself by being an outward expression of something inwardly unique.
5. How do you help South African Artists? Have you made anyone famous?
helping artists is really a process of enabling them. Helping them to help themselves. the point is not to make anyone famous but to assist in finding them a voice and an audience.
6. What should an artist expect from a gallery, marketing and sales wise? And conversely, what does a gallery expect from an artist? Is there a period of time after which you decide to drop a non-selling artist?
It's a symbiotic relationship that works wonderfully if each party comes in with the right values and properly managed expectations
7. If an artist markets them self well, what's the advantage to the artist of having gallery representation? In other words, what can galleries offer an artist for the commission they extract?
The gallery provides a place where art can be properly managed and exhibited
8. Can artists have multiple galleries representing them. How many galleries should an artist have, anyway?
Yes, more and more, artists in South Africa are managing to show at more than one gallery. particularly if they are in different cities
9. Describe your perfect artist. How many pieces, what sort of style, what sort of behaviour they exhibit – what does this perfect artist do to make your life as a gallery owner easier?
We don't prescribe how artists should behave or what 'style' of work they should put forward
10. Do you have a dream artist that you would love to represent?
11.In your opinion, what are some of the best ways that an artist can promote himself or herself online? Should artists have a personal website? Should they utilize Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media?
All of the above
1. Why should anyone go to a gallery?
We are fortunate in South Africa to have a wide array of galleries showing art of varying standards. It's a journey of exploration and provides many hours of introspection and amusement
2. I don’t really go to galleries because I don't have thousands to spend. Is that conclusion incorrect?
Galleries are place where art can be viewed. Not only bought
3. Could I ask a gallery owner about getting a special art work painted for me?
This is a rare occurrence but it does happen
4. Do you help people with finance or lay buys if they cant afford it right away?
5. Can I go to the artist and get their work for a lower price?
Yes you can. But artists are guaranteed proper exhibition standards from a reputable gallery, good framing, safe delivery of their works and a higher price if they work through good galleries
6. Why should I buy an original instead of buying a print? If I tell my husband that I'm buying
it as an investment, would I be lying?
Some prints are valuable
7. I went onto your site and saw that you have at some point shown my favourite artist William Kentridge, what can you tell me about working with him and was it a successful show? Will you be working with him in the future again?
We do not represent Kentridge. But we have sold his work on behalf or others who have owned his work previously.
If you would like find out more or visit their site click here http://www.daville.co.za/
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