STROKE OF GENIUS: PARLOR GALLERY MARKS FIVE YEARS
Five years ago, Jenn Hampton, Jill Ricci and team, in a… err, stroke of genius, opened the doors to Parlor Gallery – the city’s best and internationally-known celebration of up-and-coming and established artists.
Hampton and Ricci put heart and soul into each show, curating a collection pieces that fit most every effusive adjective.
I spoke with the ladies in celebration of Parlor Gallery’s fifth anniversary and learned about the artists they helped discover, foster and make attainable to new and long-time art lovers.
TBP: You have created an environment that connects artists with art lovers in unique and beautiful way.
Hampton: I started with doing art shows at Asbury Lanes and it seemed to me that people that came to shows really got into buying art because the price was accessible to them and that was exciting to see. I assumed that this would translate into a gallery experience as well. It is still very much one of the goals of Parlor.
We want everyone to feel the joys of art collecting and we want new artists to sell their pieces and be encouraged to make more.
It feels so good to see someone that might have not thought they could buy art have the experience of being moved by art and then be able to take it home. We offer prices that everyone feels comfortable with. In every exhibition you can find something from $50 to sometimes $10,000. We never limit the art we show based on prices.
TBP: Many of the artists you have exhibited over the past five years have grown in prominence in tandem with Parlor Gallery.
Ricci: One that comes to mind immediately is Jordan Eagles who we have worked with since the beginning. We’ve shown him at least once a year and every year he just keep improving his technique and becoming more well known in the greater world of art.
We work hard to identify artists that are about explode or are at the beginning of their explosion. Jenn and I have lists of artists we have been following that have now become so big that we probably can’t show them now because their schedules are full for years.
Hampton: I am really excited to see Jill Ricci’s work become so popular and collectible that she now has galleries that show her work in NOLA and Boston. We have watched (Asbury Park’s) Porkchop get some much deserved attention at the art fairs in NYC and Miami. We started showing an amazing artist, Victor Grasso, who has had great success with a recent museum show at the Noyes Musuem as well as with many private collectors.
We continue to show artists that get national recognition, like the taxidermy and mixed media sculptures of Peter Gronquist, We also love that we are starting to have our own roster of artists that we show on a regular basis like Ellen Stagg, Ray Geary, Hiroshi Kumagai and Adam Wallacavage.
TBP: “1826 Days Later,” featuring local artists, and Andrea Joyce Heimer’s “Suburban Mythology” are the gallery’s dual fifth anniversary shows. What’s next?
Ricci: We’re moving into a format of featuring tried and true artists in solo or two-person shows in half of the gallery and curating smaller group shows around them. Our anniversary show is an example of that. We will still be doing large group themed shows a few times a year which will showcase a larger number of artists.
Hampton: Also, Parlor is doing more art fairs on the west coast and internationally. So we can also do our little part in helping put Asbury on the map, so to speak. Art is such an important part of this city. We are glad to be a part of it.