My Life In Art
Courage of Conviction
“If you look carefully at it, all the strands of colour converge into white...it’s not trickery, it’s just what happens when you bring strands of colour together, she’s a talented artist.”
A refreshing antidote to the art dealer’s cliché. This pair of gallerists don’t possess double-barrelled names, they aren’t kitted out with the ripe pluminess of a Sewell staccato, instead their North London brogue speaks of earthier roots, accessible and dare I say it, ordinary ...they’re PLUs (people like us). Justin and Jen have eschewed the pretentions so often associated with the art world and committed themselves with missionary fervour to bring new emerging talent and celebrated artists to the masses, many of which are now enjoying collector’s status. To novice clients like us they managed to gently shoe-horn us into slipper like comfort and choose art for its true value, “Think what do you like...not what will it be worth? That’s where the real value is.”
We christened our eyes on the brilliance of Brigitte Williams, Vincent Bousserez, Charming Baker, Johnny Christmas and Sir Peter Blake. The scales dropped from our eye lids and we experienced a revelation, a Damascene moment from which we could never return. My teenage Athena poster and Habitat print buying days had been firmly cast into the abyss. This was grown up territory we had emerged from our adolescent acne years of art appreciation and moved onto something more adult, more appropriate. In short we had been inspired by the art world’s dynamic duo into starting our own collection.
With the courage of conviction this couple have put aside previous comfortable careers to pursue a path which characterises their passions, interests and motivations. A risk in a culture which is largely dedicated to chasing conformity and the security of a monthly wage and a pension pot. However, in their case risky business has paid off, as founders of the celebrated Catlin Art Prize these curators have amassed a community of followers because of their dedication to apply every fibre of their being into translating art into an accessible, palatable language free from intimidation , condescension and full of encouragement . Since 2005, they’ve been innovating with installations, pop-ups and fairs, marrying contemporary art with a gift for identifying enduring cool (a shallow description for their talent) with sharply cut hair. Explaining their fidelity, Justin puts it very simply, “It’s My Life In Art.”