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Monday 16 February 2015

A New Year’s Resolution to blog about emerging art ...

It’s almost Spring and we are approaching Year 3 since our first Pop Up Gallery in Dulwich Village, London, UK. A lot has happened since then. It’s been by default really that JP Art has evolved and developed a nomadic concept. We facilitate Pop Up Galleries, so far focussed in London but hope to find suitable locations further afield soon. This fits in well with our Art Consultancy, the more established side to our business which started in 1995, Cape Town, South Africa.

Looking back, it was probably quite an easy time to start a business during that period. Sanctions had recently been lifted and the country was bursting with creativity and looking for opportunities. It was infectious plus exciting. And it was there I set up our first company in partnership with my close friend, a naval architect, designing and manufacturing custom made, contemporary wooden furniture.

Based in Woodstock, a huge industrial space maybe 5000 sq. ft., in those days it was known not to be the best part of town. We encountered muggings, hostages, our vehicles were stolen. But there was something about the time and place which seemed to still inspire, allow to override these often opportunistic problems to nick the latest Nokia, hijack us on a Friday on the way to the bank or hold us at gun point if we appointed the wrong person to factory Foreman. Our company was called JAK.

We employed around 17 local men and women from the townships who had a distinctly different life experience to ours. We started work at 8 am but our employee’s day often started around 4 or 5 am due to their other commitments and travel. It was rare that anyone called in sick or was late.

Our aim was to create an apprenticeship environment to gain cabinet making skills in a way which would hopefully enable them to work for themselves too. One of their first jobs was to always make a tool box, with traditional joinery and gradually we helped to build their collections of tools here.

I would say this was one of the richest, most enjoyable periods of my life. If it could have continued then that would have got my vote. Our business though couldn’t have survived in Cape Town so with the help of a UK investor I moved back here and we set up JAK UK. A furniture and design company based in Hoxton, Shoreditch to sell and exhibit artworks by emerging South African furniture designers and artists. We also supported various Social Enterprises from there too.

I regularly travelled back and forth to help manage the manufacturing, Channel 4 made a short documentary, filming in colour when in South Africa, interviewing our employees, hearing their perspective and then in black and white back in the UK. My Grandma was alive in those days and she said it went well. Always the one to rely on if you needed the truth!

And generally this was pretty successful, we ended up supplying furniture to Liberty’s London and being involved in numerous, exciting projects. High end residential projects through to meeting the design requirements for private members clubs or art installations in Virgin First Class Lounges and at the South African High Commission. We opened up unique opportunities and continue to work with many of the same clients ten or so years on.

Hopefully this provides a little bit of background. Regular blogs about emerging art, that’s the New Year’s Resolution … more to follow shortly

·        Currently our main aim is to promote emerging UK artists and to hopefully facilitate a couple of Pop Up Galleries this year. We are also preparing for our first solo exhibition working with artist Benjamin Hope and his exhibition is scheduled towards the end of this year


·        Call to Landlords – we are always on the look-out for short lets. Please do contact and we will send you our requirements: info@JPArtConsultancy.com


JP Art Consultancy is a London based nomadic Gallery and art consultancy service which specialises in sourcing local and emerging fine contemporary art and design worldwide.

Also follow us on Twitter @JPArtGallery1 or Facebook for regular art bulletins.

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