Ever since famous street artists such as Banksy hit the scene, this special form of art has experienced a wave of commercialisation. But still, you may ask yourself: “Street art in a gallery? isn’t it supposed to be out on the streets?” yes indeed, but you would be surprised how well this concept works. Bringing in street artists to paint inside also means the pieces last longer and are not hidden in some unknown carpark for no one else to see. Check out this video I made about the process of bringing street art into a gallery, featuring The Kemp Gallery.
The Kemp Gallery opened up its doors last Thursday and is an important addition to the street art scene here in Dublin, providing space for up and coming artists to showcase their work. I’ve chatted up to gallery owner Steve, an artist himself, to talk about the Dublin scene and what’s the idea behind it:
What made you put street art in a gallery?
It’s a start of a progression to an art form, that becomes more and more popular. Obviously, there is a commercial side to it as well, but the main reason is to give the guys, the painters, a chance for the public to see their work, in a proper environment and for it to be open and accessible to anybody. I think its time, that this genre of art got this kind of exposure and got treated the same as all other types of art.
Is it the first one of its kind in Ireland?
I don’t know if it is the first one in Ireland […] but the idea was to do something different with it. The logo I came up with is “Regard the Art. Disregard the Rules”, so if we want to do something, we will do it. Even like tonight, with the paint on the walls in addition to the canvas, not everything is for sale, a lot of it is for its own artistic display.
Yeah most of it is on the walls, so how do you actually sell it?
The idea of Intro, the opening show, was basically to bring street art indoors and to have half and half; where its half piece is on canvas and the other half on walls. So you can go and buy the canvases. You can even go and buy the wall if you want, its gonna cost you but its not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Do you think its a needed addition to the street art scene here in Dublin?
Absolutely, yeah. I think its a vital change to be honest. I think the time is right, a couple of years ago it might haven’t been a great idea but the opportunity is there now and I think it is the right time to do it. Time will tell, its like any adventure, you don’t know if it is gonna work or not, but if you don’t try […] we are gonna do things here, that aren’t like a normal gallery procedure. Im thinking about certain things in the future, that will be not unheard of but not the norm.I want to embrace that, rather than doing things because that’s what everybody else does.
Are you happy with the outcome?
Yeah, I’m absolutely delighted. The turnout is great, the art is great, the artists have been brilliant. They have been painting all day, last Sunday, giving up their time. They have all embraced the project, I don’t know if it’s because I am an artist myself and that’s why they trust me more, but they all took it and ran with it.
If you want to see more of the work by massively talented urban artists, including stencil artist ADW, JMK and Mels2, check out the Kemp Gallery’s first exhibition, titled INTRO, which is on display for seven weeks, ending on the 5th May.