We caught up with Jealous Gallery Manager Louise Fitzjohn, amidst a busy fair season, to hear all about the gallery’s plans for world domination and to get some handy tips for young, aspiring collectors planning a trip to a forthcoming fair…
Tell us a bit about Jealous Gallery?
Jealous first opened its doors in 2008, in Crouch End. Since then, we have opened Jealous East – which houses two floors of print studios, artist studios and our second gallery. The gallery was born through the passion of our Director, Dario Illari, who wanted to create a screen-printing studio and gallery. Our uniqueness comes from the fact that we make all the editions in the gallery, working collaboratively with a wide range of artists to create them.
We’ve had many an incredible moment, from live printing every year in the Royal Academy for the London Original Print Fair, with artists such as Gary Hume and Gavin Turk (to name drop just a couple!), to working with incredible charities such as The Big Issue to celebrate their 200 millionth copy when we created three collectors covers with Ben Eine.
We also worked with with Art on a Postcard, who raise funds and awareness for The Hepatitis C Trust, with artists such as David Shrigley, Rachel Howard, Anita Klein and John Wragg RA amongst many others to create a carefully selected portfolio of works, with all profits going to the charity.
Other than representing artists work to clients, how do you support your artists?
We work extremely closely with our artists to create their editions, from studio visits to proofing stages; we’re heavily involved and enjoy collaborating with them to make their editions stand alone, and above and beyond their expectations!
We also award the Jealous Prize to MA Graduates, selected by myself, Adam Bridgland (Studio Manager) and Dario Illari (Director). We visit the major London Universities and select winners whose work we find innovative and engaging. The prize includes a studio residency where we create a limited edition print, which is then placed into the Victoria and Albert Museum’s permanent print collection.
They have collected every edition we have ever made in the Jealous Prize portfolio, recognising its cultural significance. The editions are then shown in dedicated exhibitions in our galleries and have previously been shown in Saatchi Gallery. Supporting upcoming talent is a real passion of Jealous’ and this is a crucial part of what we do.
What’s the most exciting thing about working with contemporary artists?
For me, the most exciting part is the variety of artists we work with. We work with everyone from street to fine artists, from illustrators to graduates, from the international to the first-time printmaker. Our versatility as a studio and gallery is so thrilling for me as an art collector and manager!
What does a typical day working at an art fair involve?
A typical art fair day starts with a coffee, of course! But the day is spent talking to visitors about our artists and what we do as a gallery, our collaborations with galleries, artists and museums, plus we do love giving away freebies, such as our infamous badges and newspapers!
I man the fairs every day, so for me it differs from the gallery in terms of the fact that I’m interacting with people all day rather than being chained to a computer! I love the fairs because of that interaction, and AAF attracts such a varied audience that it’s always a pleasure to meet both old and new clients.
Do you collect art yourself?
I do – I think you can’t be in this business unless you want to fill your own walls full of the art you love!
My most recent addition is Daisy Emerson ‘Amazing,’ which is an incredible screen-print edition with bubblegum colours and glitter, plus the most positive message, it hangs over my fridge, which probably says quite a lot about me, but was pretty much the only free wall space I have!
I have many prized pieces, my absolute favourites are originals gifted to me by incredible artists and very good friends of mine, including a piece by Tinsel Edwards, Adam Koukoudakis and a portrait of me painted by my very good friend Christopher Ward while we were at university together.
One day I aspire to own Grayson Perry ‘Hold Your Beliefs Lightly’, its one of those pieces that has stuck with me. I also completely love Jonathan Yeo’s portrait of Grayson Perry, two incredible artists rolled into the one piece!
What advice would you give to aspiring art collectors before visiting an Affordable Art Fair?
The most important thing is to never feel too intimidated to visit an art fair. The Affordable Art Fair team creates a friendly, inviting place to come and visit!
Once you get through the doors, don't be afraid to walk into the stands, to look more closely at the work and craftsmanship of the pieces and ask questions!
Buy what you love, not what other people tell you that you should love; you have to live with the piece, so choose something that stirs something up inside you.
Lastly, don't forget that most galleries have more works by the same artist, either in browsers or in their galleries, so snoop around the stand, talk to the gallerists and if you do find an artist you love but you’re not sure, do a bit of research before you buy into them, sleep on it. My top tip – if you ask for a re-entry pass you can come back another day, for free!
Why do you think we should hang art in our homes, and how do you decide what works to buy and where to hang them?
For me, I hang art on my walls for the love of it. When I wake up every morning and see the work on my walls it makes me so much happier! Artwork can enhance an interior, but for myself, I like to be surrounded with the work I wish I could create and that evokes emotions you just can’t get with anything else.
Where to hang them is a great question, it all depends on the space. I think breathing room is an important factor, although I’m a huge fan of a salon hang, so can’t resist adding to the breathing room to create a cluster!
What was it like exhibiting at your first Affordable Art Fair?
My first Affordable Art Fair was great, seeing how the ‘big boys’ hold an art fair was such a fun experience. The opening nights are always great to be at, with interactive events and music, it brings the excitement back to fairs.
We now have stands at Affordable Art Fair Brussels, Hampstead, New York and Battersea, all quite different but there is always something for everyone and I just can’t help but buy something myself at each of them!
What do you think the future holds for the art market? And what's in store for Jealous Gallery over the coming months?
As Dario, our Director, says, “We sell a luxury product. People will always love different kinds of art, our brain just loves the visual stimulation of it all…or at least mine does! So when everything is digital I think that only means that our online presence will continue to grow and develop, although I would always recommend seeing a print in the flesh before buying.”