One of our readers tipped us off to a fantastic south London gallery, Orso Major, run by Gita Joshi. She kindly agreed to answer some questions about her role, and the gallery she runs. From my perspective as an artist, her responses are exactly what you want to hear…someone who cares about the artist, their work, and curating excellent shows. Drawing Inspiration opens this week with the private view on Thursday. The exhibition will feature the mixed media works of Sarah Hamilton and Gabriela Szulman. Thank you Gita, the space looks wonderful and we can’t wait to come have look.
Orso Major Gallery
What is your job title/role/business?
I am the founder and director at Orso Major which is a gallery that has a focus on works in mixed media by mid career artists. My main role involves supporting the artists that I work with and promoting and selling art work. After that I am also my own IT department, administrator and gallery technician!
What first inspired your interest in Art?
That was a long time ago! Probably seeing a narrative played out on a painting was one of the first memorable starting points for my interest. Everything from religious paintings in Churches to the work of the pre-Raphaelites and beyond. I studied art history at A Level and its the only subject i’ve had any interest or affinity with since. I’ve studied art and architectural history and worked for Royal Commissions, Architects practices and corporates. Seeing how art and design can transform a space and change moods and perceptions has always been fascinating.
What advice do you offer most to new art buyers?
You must love it first and foremost. After all you will have to live with the piece. Don’t worry about where it will go in your home, you will always find a space
What prior experience prepared you most for this profession? What have you learned in the past few years in the profession that you tell other starting out?
As a collector I was buying art by artists who soon after became Royal Academicians, or were nominated for major art prizes. It confirmed my own belief that I had a good eye for collectible art and so together with my work experience in creative and corporate businesses I decided to start a gallery and have a full time life with art. Thus far, it is the best thing I have ever done.
Get handy with power tools, there’s always something that needs doing around the gallery.
What type of art do you select for your gallery?
The gallery has a focus on works in mixed media and process led works. This means multiple media is often used on the paper or canvas, such as car spray paint, charcoal, collage, glass and gold leaf. We have some photographs with embroidery and canvases with transferred images or embedded glass, for example. We also have a selection of linocuts which are very sophisticated in their execution. The process of making is fascinating and working with artists who are driven to produce exquisite pieces gives the finished work a real energy.
How do you make your gallery/business/services known?
The gallery at 19 Lower Marsh is the main place but we are active on Facebook and Twitter. We put out press releases for new shows and try to get listed in as many papers and magazines as possible.
What advice do you offer to Artists who want to submit work to galleries in general?
Don’t approach gallerists and dealers about your work on Private View nights, or at Art Fairs – they are focussed on selling. Pitching your work and yourself by showing art on your smartphone is a no-no. It’s shocking the number of people that think that this is ok. Research that the gallery already represents artists in the style that you produce, visit the space and send an email to gauge interest. I prefer links to portfolio websites than attached jpegs which just jam the inbox.
What are your plans for 2014?
Currently we have a new exhibition called Drawing Inspiration with work by Sarah Hamilton and Gabriela Szulman, and next month we have a photography exhibition by two world class photographers, Doug Peters and Richard Chambury. Late April we will have new work by one of our most admired artists, Janet Brooke. Then possibly a cultural festival in the summer and we’re considering Art fairs for Autumn. It’s all go go go