New gallery for local talents launched in Shoreditch

“Riots” 2012 by James Cochran. Pic: Heather Saul

A new gallery launched Thursday night in Shoreditch with the vision of spotlighting young, emerging local talents.

Curator and co-owner of the Jester Jacques Gallery, Karen Shidlo said of her exhibitors: “I really believed in [the artists] and I wanted to give them that platform.”

“For a lot of them this is their first chance to show their work to the public and start selling,” said Karen Shidlo.

The brother-and-sister team – Guy and Karen Shidlo – are hosting the Jeunesse exhibition until November 5 at Blacknall Studios. The show is intended as a taster for the public as they have yet to find an established space for their gallery.

“I know that a couple of galleries have closed down. But they’re quite expensive so we’re not going to be [in a] retail space on a street level. We’re going to move up to a first floor office space,” said Karen Shidlo.

Co-owner Guy Shidlo said: “I also have a degree in real estate, so I can really help us find a permanent location.”

The subject matter from the exhibitors overlapped on occasion. “There are two artists who decided to make work about the London riots. One is Reece Whitehead and another is street artist Jimmy C,” said Karen Shidlo.

“We believed [he] would be able to also work on canvas and make prints and sellable artwork, not just street art.”

These artists tackled the riots theme through their own style, whether it was in an abstract painting or spray paint on canvas.

A few of the street artists on show have worked in the local area and residents from surrounding neighbourhoods can now invest in their pieces. Karen Shidlo said, “[Visitors] love that they have a piece that is framed or a real painting that they can buy and hang on their wall.”

Exhibitor Jamie Liam Humphrey graduated last year from the University of Brighton. He creates abstract pieces using mixed media and explained how he got involved with the gallery: “I just sent her an email of my images. Karen quite liked [them],” he said. “We went for an interview… in Covent Garden in a little coffee shop and it just blossomed from there.”

Though Karen Shidlo studied to be a painter at Pratt Institute in New York,she recognised that her interest fell more towards the curatorial side of the industry. “I enjoyed that aspect of work and [realised] maybe being an artist would be too isolating for me,” said Karen Shidlo.

Guy Shidlo, who studied business and marketing, decided to pursue this joint venture as he was interested in applying his skills in a more creative capacity. “Living in east London really inspired me to get involved in the art scene,” he said.

Jeunesse Exhibition is located at Blackall Studios, 73 Leonard Street, EC2A 4QS. The show is open to the public until November 5, 11am – 6pm.

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