There is an undeniable freshness about Spitalfields newest gallery. The walls have been whitewashed and the wooden floorboards have been brought back to life, reviving a building that had been in mothballs for some time. Inside a light and airy space over two floors brims with quality art, fresh from the Lollipop Gallery’s inaugural group show named after the street on which the gallery is located.
Situated on Commercial Street between the famous Toynbee Hall and Fashion Street, the gallery makes the claim that it is run by collectors for collectors. Indeed much of the art on display in their inaugural show has been inspired from the personal collection of the galleries owners, themselves lovers of art who enjoy travelling the World to find the newest and most exciting talent. Currently on display, the likes of international big hitters such as JR, Jimmy C, ROA, Liu Bolin and Otto Schade combine with growing local talent such as the exciting Matt Small to give an eclectic mix.
Speaking to Inspiring City about the gallery and it’s plans, events manager Claire Turner explained that although opening into an ever more competitive market there was still room for everyone although the gallery is trying to differentiate by offering something extra. Free street art tours for example and by hosting pop up events such as the recent successful residency from American Artist Amanda Marie, who used the gallery space to create a number of unique pieces for the gallery.
It’s quite a bold statement of intent as the gallery aims to burst onto the scene and build a reputation. Indeed their website offers an exciting glimpse into what we might expect from future events saying, “Our goal is to foster a space that is welcoming, informative and an inspiration for creativity. Our shows will be real shows not just pictures on walls.”
Gallery Assistant and Tour Guide Ryan Holmes said that in the gallery no day was the same. “A normal day would be wall scouting, it would be social media, interacting with artists, changing pieces, hanging things, getting things framed, stretching canvasses. My job changes on a daily basis but it keeps me on my toes and I kind of like that.” And that’s in addition to the free tours he runs which can be booked online, tours he says which he plans to keep evolving “we want to capitalise on the changing face of Shoreditch and the East End and for us that’s the most important thing.”
The gallery has even been dipping it’s toe into the World of street art curation with a particularly impressive piece popping up down the road in the grounds of the Toynbee Hall from French artist Vinie Graffiti and works from Amanda Marie and XO appearing in the grounds of the Seven Stars car park on Brick Lane. Explaining some of the thought process behind getting artists out into the street, Ryan said “As a gallery we have an obligation to show work inside but we also have an obligation to get things into the natural habitat which obviously is the street.
It’s a nice philosophy and we’ll look forward with interest to see what happens next. The galleries opening show ‘Commercial Street’ is still on with an anticipated solo show from Italian artist Sofia Cacciapaglia in the pipeline on 27 November 2014. With some more street art planned for around the area and the gallery also taking part in the First Thursday events it’s an exciting start for the Lollipop.
Inspiring City visited the Lollipop Gallery on 23 October 2014 to see it’s inaugural ‘Commercial Street’ group show it is situated at 58 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LT. Clare Turner and Ryan Holmes were interviewed at the gallery on the same day.