Blame my parents.
They are the one who were dragging me into museums in Florence at the age of 6.
And never stopped.
Not unlike some parents who force-fed their kids into learning music theory and piano, they “taught” me how to appreciate art. I can walk into a museum and recognize, understand, and talk about art history, to some degree. I still walk into a museum whenever I have a chance to this day. As an adult, I even started collecting on a small scale. Japanese woodblock prints among others. It’s not unlike any other collecting habit, you analyze, buy, auction, trade from fellow collectors that you meet online or during your travels. So it’s always been a part of me. But it never occurred to me to make the link between my job – label manager, in the metal world, for almost 15 years now, and the art world. Until now.
One day, we had a street sale at our office in Philadelphia. We had a booth, so did our friends at Relapse, and John Baizley from Baroness, also a famous artist, came along to sell his prints. We started talking and exchanging ideas. We ended up trading one of his rare pieces against an Hiroshige print that I had. I quickly came to understand something his bookshelf confirmed to me later: he’s part of that musical scene, but also interested in art. But not only that, his talent could be recognized outside the metal scene. Not unlike Dave Mc Kean, Alex Ross, or Bill Sienkiewicz from the comics, I believe that many famous music graphic designers and artists have the potential to reach and influence both the art world and pop culture on a greater scale.
The idea started to grow. I talked to a few other artists.. Seth Anton Siro, Valnoir… I then realized there is an impressive collection of talents acting in the metal scene right now. And their style palette is very, very wide. This wasn’t always the case however. Metal art went a long way. It was always strong and always had a strong image. Make no mistake, there have always been great covers and cover artists but it used to be much more “dragons and gore”. It wasn’t always as diverse and interesting as it is now. There are a lot of great graphic artists, but more interestingly their style and medium approaches are very different. Some of them are already recognized and are doing prints on their own. So why create this website? Simple. That’s the difference between a museum and a one artist exhibition : the overall is greater than the sum of the individual parts. I decided to contact each artist. Some of them I knew, but most I had never talked to. I introduced them to the idea and a very large majority of them reacted positively. Also, of course, we gave them total freedom :
The artist decides what he wants to sell, at what price, and how limited it is. The gallery has nothing to do with it.
Also the artist prints himself – we do NOT print on behalf of the artist. This is not a poster company.
Here, if you’re a band looking for an artist, or just curious, you have the cream of the crop, the best the scene has to offer, all in one place.
You will come here for one artist and will find out about another. You’ll come for a $20 poster and find out about an original oil painting that would definitely look good in your living room, but has a few digits more.
Most of the art pieces will be exclusive to the gallery. Not all of them though, because some artists didn’t have the time to do something exclusive, or they have their own shop running. But in any case there shouldn’t be any price difference between this gallery and the artist's own gallery.
And because, after all, that scene is more than a music scene. It’s a lifestyle. We’re wearing the shirts, we’re going to the concerts..
But had nothing decent to put on our walls.
So this is a gallery. This is graphic noise. This is the bridge between an art gallery and the metal world.
Opening at the end of june , representing more than 20 artists.
Last but not least : I fully intent to promote this gallery in the art world and create exhibitions around the world to show the art world that our scene is much, much more than their stereotypical, cliché, manufactured image. Any decent art critic would recognize the talent in this gallery.
Michael Berberian, June 11th, 2013