HU: What made you start Hang-Up Gallery and what was your vision for it at the beginning?

 

BC: My professional life started out in publishing, working in magazines. I worked at a bunch of music and lifestyle titles before ending up at the art and design title Wallpaper*. This was an amazing title to work on in so many ways but I knew deep down this was not going to be forever as I was looking to do something myself. I made some very good contacts from the magazine though and my time there was a catalyst for getting into the art business. Hang-Up was really born out of what was initially a hobby and a passion for collecting limited edition prints, particularly Banksy work, around the mid 2000’s.

Hang-Up's first office in Shoreditch. 

 

A friend, one of the designers from Wallpaper*, made a website for me and it went from there. It was way before selling art online was ‘a thing’. Everyone thought I was pretty insane to even consider it as an option and most thought it was not going to work. The “gallery” was run from my spare bedroom with a PO Box in Clerkenwell to try and make it sound more credible. The website enabled me to peddle the wares; a small assortment of Banksy prints and artworks from a handful of artists I worked with at the time.

Hang-Up's new office. 

 

After a year or so the working from home took its toll (mentally it’s tough on your own all day) so I took out some desk space in Shoreditch. I met some interesting people from this which lead onto moving to an amazing penthouse on Leonard St in Shoreditch. As amazing as it was I quickly realised that being on the top floor as an art gallery with a tight staircase was not the future - getting the works in and out was a logistical nightmare.

A couple of years later I moved to the first permanent ground floor gallery space in Stoke Newington and employed my first permanent member of staff after five years! It was only at this stage I think I started to have a real vision for the possibilities with showing artists and selling work.Hang-Up's first permanent ground floor gallery on 56 Stoke Newington High Street featuring Magnus Gjoen's inagural exhibition.  

 

We have gone on from there to have put on close to 40 exhibitions and sold in excess of 6,000 artworks ranging in value from hundreds of pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds. We now have a full-time team of six alongside various contract employees working at the gallery and work directly with a fantastic roster of artists.

Outside view of Hang-Up's new entrance.   

 

HU: When looking at new artists to work with Hang-Up what is it that you look for?

BC: Artists that the team and I like, artists who are not afraid to push boundaries and that I believe will resonate with our collectors.

Over the years we have worked with some fabulous artists. It feels good to have been involved with artists in the early years and then seeing them become successful full time commercial artists. This has happened on a number of occasions for us with artists including The Connor Brothers, Magnus Gjoen, Tim Fishlock and Lauren Baker all of whom had inaugural exhibitions at the gallery. As a gallery we very much enjoy working with emerging and mid-career artists and helping to develop their careers.

Ben with The Connor Brothers' James Golding at the opening of 'So It Goes.' 

The Connor Brothers' inaugural  show 'So It Goes' at Hang-Up Gallery. 

HU: We have now moved to this incredible new space, which we are going to be launching very soon. What is the significance of this move for you, is it a new chapter for Hang-Up?

BC: Moving house is a nightmare, moving a commercial gallery is an epic nightmare. The main reason for this is that art galleries come with so much “stuff”, not just inventory but all the other packing materials, crates and whatever else. It was therefore important for me having moved four or five times already in ten years that the space we moved to this time was going to be the final move for some time.  We needed to get it right! The process took close to two years, a year to find the space and then another year of design and build work.The Branch Place gallery before renovation works begun.  

 

The space is very considered and myself and the build team went to great lengths to make sure that everything not only looks great but has been future proofed.

We own the building now with a 980 year lease so I am confident to say that we’re pretty grounded in Hoxton now. We have only just moved in but it already feels very much like home.

Our new home, post-renovation.  

 

HU: Can you tell us a bit more about the upcoming launch party. What should visitors expect?

 

The event on the 28.11 is to celebrate the launch of the new gallery space. It’s an opportunity to thank those who were involved in the journey to get there and to show off the space and the artworks.
Most of the artists showing have created work for the occasion and everything I have seen so far is really special. We also have a couple of print releases on the night from Tim Fishlock and The Connor Brothers.
Oh, and we also have a fully stacked bar of tequila as well. What can possibly go wrong?

 

kennardphillipps exhibition at our first gallery space.

Ben with his partner, Danielle, at one of the first exhibitions at 56 Stoke Newington Road. 

HU: What has been a learning curve/lesson learned/most surprising lesson in the last 12 years of running a gallery?

Reputation is key in the art business (or any business for that matter) and we have always strived to have really positive relationships with all our artists and collectors.

The other thing that is very important is your team, without the team the gallery is nothing and we have been very fortunate over the years with our recruitment and have a very loyal, hard working (and fun) team.

Ben with gallery manager, Laura, at one of our exhibition private views. 


HU: What advice would you give someone wanting to go into the art world / start a gallery?

 

BC: Don’t follow what everyone else is doing, look at what they are doing and then see how it can be done better to make your own mark.


Thank you for your time Ben!

We cannot wait to welcome you to our new gallery space at the official launch on Thursday 28th or any day after that. For more information on our Launch Exhibition click here and don't hesitate to get in touch to request the show's catalogue or make an appointment to view.

See you at the show.

Till then,

Hang-Up Team 

 

 

 

 

 

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