Located conveniently at 310 Tinakori Road in Thorndon, Artrium gallery hosts new themed exhibitions every 4 - 5 weeks. Meaning there is always a vast selection of new and affordable art available to view and purchase.
We caught up with Ami to hear about all things Artrium.
My husband was offered a job opportunity here, and we thought it would be great to raise our 2 kids with more of a 'world' view of life - instead of just in an American culture. We are always up for an adventure and thought this could be great, and so far it is.
What are your three favourite things about living here?
The people, the art community and the laid-back attitude of life everyone seems to have. A real feeling of being relaxed instead of stressed all the time.
How would you describe today's NZ woman?
NZ women are really lucky to be in this country. NZ women are strong, intelligent and seem connected to each other and family. Women's social groups seem to be a vital part of communities here. It is also nice to see an environment and culture that really accepts and supports women as mothers, allowing a year off work to be a full time mom. I think NZ women are progressive as well, being into health, fitness and well being.
Was it difficult starting up your own business? What have been the highs and lows?
Yes is was difficult, especially when so many galleries are closing up and people warning you all the time - "this is a really bad time to start a business." I didn't know really any better - since this was my first one. Also I have had lots of criticism from more established artists and other gallery owners saying "You'll never make it in this business".
Every day, every week and every month is different. Some weeks sales are really good. It's like a roller coaster ride, but I guess most retail or new businesses are. I never know what people will like, or buy. I like to keep a big variety of art, styles, prices, something for everyone.
Follow your dreams, and plan as much as possible, but expect the unexpected. Put aside as much money as you can in the start for those slow times or additional costs that come up. Don't listen to those who are negative or try to drag you down, trust your instincts and don't take all the advice you get. Make good connections and talk to and meet as many like-minded people as you can. With hard work and a bit of luck anything is possible.
How do you make art affordable for people?
We support emerging artists - so they have not made a name for themselves yet, so the pricing is really affordable. We also offer lay-by, and can work with really any budget. Most of our art is priced under $1000, and our average price for an original painting is about $500. We also have a nice selection of small original works for $15, we offer limited edition prints as well which is a great option without a high price tag. I believe that anyone that wants a piece of art - should be able to buy it. I also feel that art chooses the buyer, and if you want it, we can make it happen.
If someone wanted to exhibit in your gallery, what would they have to do?
Any artists that want to exhibit just need to take a look at the website, and email in a couple of photos of recent art that is available now. We have a theme each month, so there are lots of options and possibilities for almost any style to be considered. We have limited space, and unfortunately can't take everyone, but we try accommodate as much as we can.
How do you know when you see a great artist?
I think great art tells a story, is full of depth, evokes emotion, and has something to say. I believe art is more than just a decorative piece. I also want to see that the artwork is presented to a gallery standard, professional and quality materials have been used. Art is subjective, so I don't let my personal opinion or taste influence my decision. I have sold plenty of quality art that I would not have in my house, things that I may not necessarily like, but I can appreciate the art for what it is, what is says and what it may do for someone else.
Tell us a bit about why you like to help emerging artists?
I found it a bit scary and intimidating approaching galleries. If you haven't exhibited before, some galleries would not even consider looking at your work. I wanted to create a friendly space where artists can feel comfortable and have some guidance and support as well. I always love selling that first work for an artist - and making that phone call to let them know, that makes it all worth while. That feeling never gets old!
Is there anything else we need to know about Artrium Gallery?
Artrium is Wellington's coolest little gallery and everyone should check it out.