Art Dealer Q & A: Emily Rapport of Eat Paint Studio
During this time of Covid-19 social distancing, we figured this would be as good of a time as any to reach out to gallerists and ask them a few questions about their thoughts on the current times, best business practice, and career history. If you have followed CGN for a while then this will come to you as a follow up from our Q&A series from 2017. We hope you enjoy!
Number of years in business: 2
How did you begin your career?
Like most creatives, being a "working artist" means juggling more than one job. My work as a painter and as a web designer are both solitary activities that also depend on communication of ideas and collaboration. In 2005, I became involved as a volunteer for what was to become the “Ravenswood Art Walk,” an annual tour of arts and industry in Ravenswood Corridor. In 2006, I quit my day job to become their first Executive Director. That experience fueled my interest in working with local artists and trying to connect the creative work we do as individuals to an understanding of the larger social role of art. Art is often treated as a secondary, "decorative" element in our culture - for example, artists being asked to do work on spec or donate work for exposure. The real value of art is murky and hard to explain because it's intangible and we are, very much, a material society.
What inspired you to open a gallery?
Since 2004 I have participated in organizing, marketing, and exhibiting in non-traditional spaces, through open studios during the Ravenswood ArtWalk and at The Cornelia Arts Building. My experience in opening my studio to the public showed me that people really do want to experience art. People have a great curiosity about process but going to an art gallery or museum can sometimes be intimidating. Visiting a working studio and speaking with artists directly can be a more personal connection for people with a variable knowledge of art.
As an artist and as a gallery owner, I want to connect art to people's daily lives. When they least expect it, depressed by a long Winter, I want people to look up and see a painting that cuts through the noise and busy sameness of the day.
Is there a unifying element in your program or artist representation?
I don't have a strict program. I am interested in painting, photography, and exhibiting mature and emerging artists.
How are you connecting with collectors and artists right now? Have you added to or increased your digital outreach?
I use MailChimp, Facebook and Instagram - those tools have served me well in communicating with people over the years. I'm communicating less right now, people are dealing with a lot of information, I don't think they need to get regular emails from me too.
Which exhibitions have you had to postpone or adjust due to COVID-19?
I have been planning two upcoming exhibitions; one exhibiting work by an artist who lives in Amsterdam, Leo Kogan, and another possible group exhibition I had been speaking with local artist Kathy Weaver about. Currently, I am exhibiting my own paintings but we are closed right now so I'll work on making fabulous window displays for passersby.
What percentage of your sales have previously been online vs in person (including art fairs)?
Perhaps 10-20% of my sales are online although it depends on the exhibition.
Do you want to share any silver linings, insights or anything else with readers, collectors and fellow dealers?
There's no right or wrong way to look at art. Don't be afraid to go into a gallery and just look around. We want to engage you in work that we are excited about, talk to us - but if you prefer to peruse silently that's okay too.