With Armory Week coming up soon, we took the opportunity to speak with art world insider, Blair Clarke of Voltz Clarke Gallery. Founded in 2002, Voltz Clarke originally focused on private, project-based collaborations and curating international pop-up exhibitions, before the gallery moved to its flagship space on the Upper East Side in 2015.
Read on to learn about Blair's career path as an entrepreneur, the trials and rewards of opening a gallery and what we can expect from Voltz Clarke Gallery during Armory Week.
How did you come to start Voltz Clarke Gallery? What was your career path leading up to it?
Growing up in Columbus, Georgia I always had a passion for art. It was my favorite subject in school and led me to studying both studio painting and art history at the University of Georgia. I soon realized that I enjoyed the gallery aspect of the art world and started Voltz Clarke in 2002. Fast forward to 2015, after a decade plus of private dealing and hosting pop-up exhibitions, I decided to settle into a permanent gallery space on the upper east side.
Were there particular challenges and rewards you have found in entrepreneurship?
The rewards definitely outweigh the challenges! One result of having a small business is that my team wears multiple hats and stays involved in all aspects of the business. Although it may not always be glamorous, at the end of the day there is no bigger reward than seeing our artists and clients happy, fulfilled and enriched by the creative process.
Is there a specific mission of the gallery?
We aim to please our artists. They come from a diverse background and each have their own desires, wishes and goals. When preparing an exhibition, we ensure each artist is happy with the outcome and presentation to the public. Additionally, we are always looking for new talent from across the globe. Bringing fresh art to our clients is why they count on Voltz Clarke Gallery.
How do you market the gallery to prospective and existing clients?
We believe that art should not only be conceptually profound but also visually beautiful and word of mouth tends to be our key marketing tool. Our contemporary artists appeal to a diverse range of collectors in both local and global markets. We want any prospective or existing client to feel comfortable when working with the gallery. My southern roots have helped me approach entrepreneurship in a friendly and positive way. We are always here to support our clients and help them answer any questions they might have, no question is an ignorant question.
Armory Week is coming up soon – what do you have planned?
On March 2nd we have the opening of our exhibition, SEAMS, featuring the work of Jacinto Moros and Stephanie Patton. This two person exhibition brings the American and Spanish sculptors in conversation for the first time comparing each of their seams, folds and curves. With Armory Week happening at the same time it is sure to be an exciting start to the month!
Can you name a couple of up-and-coming artists we should keep an eye out for, and why?
Sasha Sykes, Portrait Photography Commissions by Gail Halaban and a new video artist Courtney Egan we are bringing into the roster.
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