Michelle, this month Art2Arts will turn 14, how has the journey been so far?
Yes, 14 years already, gosh it seems to have flown by. It’s like anything it’s had its ups and downs and challenges but overall, I’ve loved the journey and enjoyed seeing new artists join and old artists artwork change over the year. I’ve seen new galleries come and go and feel proud and honoured that Art2Arts has stood the test of time and is still growing.
You are an artist yourself and you have a degree in Interior Design, how did these experiences contribute to building up your business?
As an artist myself I understand the challenges of an artist and try to see the website as a community rather than me just running an online gallery and churning out orders. I care about the artists as much as I do about the customers and try to keep it fair for all. There is a lot involved with running a gallery and the online landscape is always changing but without the artists, there would be no business so it’s important to stay connected with them.
How has being a business owner of a gallery influenced your own artistic style?
Owning a gallery hasn’t really influenced my own work as such. I can, of course, see what is selling but I’ve always stayed true to what I enjoy painting rather than what I think will sell. When I paint I want to paint for me and if I sell it then it’s a bonus.
What does a typical day look like for you?
At the moment (being in lockdown) very challenging. I have a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old baby, my husband is a keyworker so we split our day, I have the children in the morning and he has them in the afternoon.
As well as running the gallery I, of course, have my own artwork when I get the time and I also teach painting classes (online at the moment) I am very fortunate to have a great team working with me such as Teodora who runs our social media and blog, Carol on the admin side and a great web designer Pete, all of whom have been with me for years and seen the website evolve.
Which artists, living or deceased most inspire/influence your work?
I love a wide range of artists, I’m particularly inspired by the impressionist’s and their use of colour and brushwork.
I admire the work of Barbara Rae and her colour palette. I’m very much interested in colour in my work, more so than the subject itself and enjoy trying to push new ways of getting colour to explode on the canvas.
If you had one piece of advice for someone seeking a career in art what would it be?
Stay true to yourself. Don’t try and alter your style or beliefs. I’ve always wanted to sell original artwork and that’s all I’ve ever done. I paint what I enjoy and enjoy the process. I still get a buzz when I make a sell even after all this time.
If you had a dinner party and could invite 3 guests, living or deceased who would they be and why?
David Attenborough for sure. I would love to hear about his travels, his life and his work.
Pablo Picasso. Fascinating artist and would love to get inside his head!
Richard Branson. Being a businessman I would like to pick his brains about a few things lol.
What does the future look like for you?
I will continue to grow the business. The website started 14 years with just myself and has grown to over 700 artists. I’m not looking to overload the site with more and more artists, I monitor the quality of the work and we have an application process for artists wishing to join but if an artist applies and offers something unique and special then we would, of course, love to share their artwork.