Until now, our blog has featured interviews with the wonderfully talented and diverse artists represented by Katherine Richards Art Gallery.
As we look forward to celebrating the gallery’s first birthday and the opening of Katherine’s fifth curated art collection this autumn, it seems appropriate to turn the spotlight on Katherine herself
In this series of ‘Meet the Curator’ blogs, we find out how Katherine’s gallery came into being and how her creative background shapes her view of colour and design
What made you decide to become an art gallery curator?
The Covid Lockdown was a strange time for all of us in so many ways. Lots of people found themselves re-evaluating their careers, their life priorities and quality of life and, as a result, many of them made decisions to change what they had been doing before.
I was one of those people
I have been most fortunate to spend my entire working life achieving things which have been creative, challenging and fulfilling
Working in a wide breadth of creative fields, I have been a hairdresser, graphic designer, sculptor, illustrator, painter, mural painter, theatre stage and costume designer. I am currently the owner of a long-established interior design consultancy working with clients across Brighton and Hove, London and the South East. This experience and variation in my work has been exciting and feeds directly into my interior design projects, which have been fascinating and sometimes wonderfully complex
But a creative business is no different from any other and occasionally the artistic side of things can be lost under paperwork and emails. During that blissfully silent Covid lockdown I found I had the space to think. I spent hours gazing around my beautiful design studio in Hove, sensing that a change was about to come about
That sounds exciting – and daunting – to take your business in a new direction during a global pandemic. What inspired you?
Throughout my time working with homeowners, helping them to understand the importance and effectiveness of making the ‘right’ colour choices and transforming their homes into ones that reflect their lifestyle, I noticed how beautiful works of art are important to many of my clients
Art is often chosen as the finishing touch to compliment a newly designed room, but a favourite artwork can also be the very thing that inspires you to re-consider the layout and feel of a room
I felt I was well placed to show customers how to incorporate works of art into their home, but also to really listen to what they are looking for – art consultancy, if you like – a skill I have honed through my experience of interior design consultancy
Before I knew it, I had reconfigured my studio and set up an art gallery, retaining all the space I needed to allow my interior design business to flourish
So, what makes your art gallery different from others in Brighton & Hove?
I have created an unusual hybrid business. Both elements, interior design and art, compliment the other and are based upon pure creativity. Housing them under one roof makes sense because it offers homeowners a broader choice of ways to refresh, personalise or add character to their living environment. For me, it’s a perfect balance and I am stimulated each day by the art that now surrounds me in the gallery and the colours, textures and ideas which make up my interior design
For my customers, visiting the gallery in Hove is a chance to see how I put together colours, textures, lighting and furniture alongside the eclectic works of art. My own range of exclusive hand-made sculptural lamps and furniture designs are also on display. We are the opposite of a ‘white-cube’ art gallery, and browsers are welcome!
I would also say that for a small gallery, we have big ambitions. In October 2022, the gallery will celebrate its first anniversary and I will have enjoyed curating the artworks of more than 25 artists over five collections, five opening parties and three successful Meet the Artist events
As a gallery, we feel strongly that there is room for everyone – so there’s no elitism here. I have shown the works of award-winning artists whose work has been recognised both here in UK and internationally. I have also shown the works of new emerging artists and some who have never previously shown their work
What do you enjoy most about being an art gallery curator?
It's been a satisfying and exciting year, despite the troubling economic climate, because having the art gallery has meant that I have not only met fantastic, inspiring, interesting people, but I have also been able to immerse myself further into art and design and still feel that thrill when a new interior project comes in or a new artist approaches me
I love being part of the rich artistic scene in Brighton & Hove, both as a maker myself and a curator, and it’s a privilege to represent such a variety of artists in the gallery. It’s wonderful to be able to help art lovers buy the special piece they want and spread the cost through the Own Art payment scheme, if they choose that
The feedback from gallery visitors has been so encouraging – which spurs me on to think far ahead to next year’s collections, and the one after that!
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