Well, Here goes - my passion for contemporary art is finally taking a more public, social and concrete form beyond producing a few works of art of my own.
The passion has grown exponentially over the past few years. I started painting and collecting artin 1992. As my own and my family and friends' collections of art have grown, and as my relationships developed with some really great people who own galleries of their own, I began to realise I was not so different from them, these were regular guys, and if they could do it, it couldn't be rocket science, and besides, I had creative ideas of my own....
What was unclear for a long while was 'where' I should start my gallery. I thought of online, then explored various venues in tourist spots in London, Paris and other parts of Europe, then Israel where I was hoping to live eventually, before finally settling on right here on our own doorstep, good old Manchester. There are various personal, social, family as well as financial reasons which helped to clinch this location.
It became clearer to me that what was needed to start a gallery, was access to some start up capital, access to stock of good quality relevant art, a suitable venue, some organizational skill ( not my greatest forte but I am learning fast!!), a dollop of good taste and creativity, a love of people (I think I tick this box!) - and a great passion for art and communicating about art, which I have plenty of. And also perhaps a bit of experience of both successes and failures in the past, to try and make sure this project works out as a success, Please G-d.
I have tried my hand at many fields outside of medicine, Psychiatry and psychotherapy, including managing therapeutic centres, investing in and managing BTL property, opening a gourmet restaurant ( 'Rimonim' in Prestwich), running art exhibitions, and practicing as a healer.
It helps to have a second income to live on during the start-up phase. I am very fortunate to love what I am doing as a Psychiatrist, almost as much as I love art! It will be a delicate balance, but I believe I will manage both lives without either of them interfering with the other, PG, with the help of good capable staff manning the gallery when I am not there in person. I accept there is an element of unavoidable compromise, here.
I really love experiencing the creative side that is coming out big time in me with this project. There are some tense, anxious or pressured moments, as with any new project, but in the relatively fear-free periods in-between, my joy, passion and excitement re-assert themselves, and powerfully influence the quality of my interactions with everyone I come into contact with - clients, friends and artists. It has given me a new confidence in who I am, what I am about, and I should have done this years ago!
Art is bringing together most strands of my personality; creativity, spirituality, faith, Joy, Love, Healing, connection with others, confidence and optimism. There is a lot to be said for making one's passion and hobby the focus of one's livelihood.
The gallery is not only about visual art in their many forms - Oils, Textile, Watercolours, photography, Digital Media etc.., but also about a multi-sensorial expeience, including performance arts such as poetry readings, art demos, public ad lib drumming sessions, musical events, heart- warming background music, entrancing room scents, all these enhanced with a warm welcome and a complimentary drink or a cup of coffee, and maybe a relaxing sit down and a leisurely read on the many strategically placed seats on each of the gallery's 3 exhibition floors.
I am very pleased that I have been blessed with bringing together a beautiful group of amazing contemporary artists, whose talent and differing styles enrich the gallery greatly and complement each other, offering an exciting variety of styles and subjects. I can't wait to introduce them to my gallery's visitors when the gallery opens, Hopefully Mid October ( though hopefully sooner on-line).at our open 'meet the artists' evening on October 14th 2015, PG.
My thanks go to all those who have encouraged me along the way, Martin and Raffi of Collect Art ( Lymm), Ed of Colourfields Gallery in Poynton, Dave Gunning of Todmorden Fine Arts, and my good friend Israel Levy, who is also an amazing artist. My gratitude goes also to my family for being more supportive of this adventure than of most other ones I have attempted in the past, and for their forebearance with 'yet another' of my schemes'! Thanks for your covert and overt support.
At the moment, my biggest challenge is putting together a website for the first time ever, of my own steam! Wish me luck! Brrrr! However, this pales in comparison with the challenges I have faced in the setting up phase, with massive delays in particular with the refurbishments. But TG, I survived it.
The gallery looks superb and the trauma of it all is water under the bridge, and I can honestly say, looking back it has been a massive learning experience. Not for the faint-hearted, even if it isn't so much 'rocket science' but a test of patience (mine and my family's!), Faith, depth of one's pocket (Read: 'massive overspends'!), and hard graft!
I feel deeply in my bones that it has all been worthwhile, even if it takes years for the gallery to repay its set-up loans. How do you measure the value of giving such pleasure, both to myself and to art lovers who are already giving me such satisfying and encouraging feedback?! It is all a labour of Love, a Hobby in the truest sense - wouldnt make sense in any other way!
Above: Me in the gallery after opening - notice the extra grey hairs?!
Below: Me the artist, before the project started, in front of one of my paintings.