FK chats to Jacqui Vidal the director of Melbourne’s Greville Street gallery, Signed & Numbered
Can you tell us when you opened the doors and what was the motivation?
Signed & Numbered opened in late September 2010 – we’re celebrating our first birthday in a couple of weeks. It’s scary to think that a full year has nearly passed – it’s been such a crazy adventure. We launched our online store www.signedandnumbered.com.au the same day our Greville Street space opened so it’s been a full-on ride from day one. I felt that there was a gap in the art market for affordable art. ‘Affordable art ‘ has become this token term that you hear thrown around so much, especially in the Melbourne art market. I was really fed up with going to an affordable art fair and seeing all these fantastic works way out of my price range. I couldn’t help thinking ‘affordable for who?’ So I decided to open up S&N, a small gallery where you’ll find limited edition works on paper within the $40 – $300 price range by brilliant Australian artists like Vexta, Ghostpatrol and Kareena Zerefos, with a few international artists thrown in the mix.
What is your background and what lead you to where you are today?
I was an event manager living in Byron Bay during my early 20’s. I still dabble in events, taking on a few short contracts here and there. I love events but I’ve always wanted to own my own business and be my own boss. I’d just come back from an amazing year away, traveling through Europe and South America with my boyfriend, and we saw such amazing art for sale on the street and at local markets. I really loved rummaging through boxes of prints and the casual environment of the whole scene. With S&N, I’ve really tried to keep that feel – setting the space up like a record store with individual artist stations that customers can flick though.
What do you love about your surrounding area?
Greville Street is going through a bit of a come back at the moment. Some fantastic new shops and cafes have opened in the last year and now sit alongside old time residents like Greville Records and Retro Clothing. The whole strip is so eclectic and has a great indie vibe going on. As most of the business owners work in the shops and cafes themselves, it creates a real sense of community. Plus, there’s no shortage of cafes to grab a good coffee before I open- I usually take my pick from Is It Café, A Shop Called Milton or the new kid on the block St Edmonds.
What advice would you give artists/illustrators starting out?
Just do your own thing. Create what you love rather than what you think will sell.
What qualities do you look for in the art you stock?
We’re a bit unconventional. We don’t really have a criteria or boxes that we tick off. If we love it, we’ll sell it. It’s as simple as that.
How can artists be apart of the store, and how are they selected?
If artists would like to see their work included in our line-up, they can send through 3-4 low-res images to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll have a look at them and let them know.
What do you find the most challenging part about running the new business?
Juggling work commitments with being a first time mum. I have a beautiful baby girl Ellis who is just 3.5 months old so life’s crazy at the moment.
What exciting things are you looking forward to this year?
We’re about to introduce a fantastic new artist named Kaff-Eine . Before now, her art has mainly been seen on the street, usually on discarded items. Her style is a bit of a rarity in the street art scene as its quite illustrative in nature. She’s created a beautiful range of hand watercolour limited edition prints for us. They’re hitting in the floor in a week so stay tuned or join our e-newsletter to be notified of their release.
Such a cool space! A great place to relax and handle the art as you browse, let’s you feel really connected with the pieces so you know just which one you love and can buy with confidence. Cool frames too! A great addition to prahran!