Eat Work Art SPOTLIGHT: FAWW Gallery
We spoke to Sarah Kravitz, founder of FAWW Gallery (Forget About White Walls) to hear more of her journey from a "penniless teenage mum" to running a fully fledged gallery representing over 20 international independent studios and artists spanning across several continents.
First of all, can you tell us about yourself and your journey with FAWW gallery?
The three biggest fears immigrant parents have for their kids is taking drugs, being gay and choosing art school over Law. I’m partial to at least one of these, and when I broke it to my parents that I was going to drop out of my elite British schooling (which they had worked so hard to afford) because I wanted to open a gallery on Brick Lane market and sell screen prints from Eastern European artists who drew naked witches and masturbating women you can only imagine how that went down like a led balloon.
I can’t remember who was quicker to drop to their knees and recite the Hail Mary but I was sent on my way with a suitcase in hand. My parents thought I’d get hungry, thus come to my senses and beg for forgiveness, but I actually got pregnant instead, oops!
As a penniless teenage mum, it's fair to say that the odds were stacked against me. I managed (by some miracle) to get a scholarship to study Art History at Goldsmiths University which awarded me a financial prize to aid my studies. This was the much needed capital I required to start up my gallery because, let's face it, who was going to give me the money to open a gallery with wild eastern block artists? And getting a gallery job in Mayfair was out the question because at the time inclusivity wasn’t fashionable so Vicky Pollard was the only thing they saw when I came knocking!
Six years later with some highs and lows - much to my parents and many others disbelief - those naked witches and masturbating women had become the gallery's best selling prints; distributing the edition not only in London but across Europe.
Our little market stall in Brick Lane turned into two permanent London locations and our limited gallery representation of Eastern Block artists turned into over 20 international independent studios and artists spanning across several continents. I probably could have prevented some premature grey hair from choosing a more subtle career but than again, that's a look in East London these days, I guess it’s win, win!
Prints by Nina Bunjavec printed at Matrijarsija Studio in Belgrade, Serbia
What do you think sets FAWW Gallery apart from its competitors?
Our collection, prices and clients.
Firstly our collection - it's a fusion of avant-garde design, surrealism, contemporary art and abstract expressionism.
Whilst many would view our posters to be just that... a poster, the experience of the artist followed by composition, thought and technique which goes into producing these prints should be given the same status as a work of art. Just because it's not expensive and isn't on canvas doesn't mean its worthless.
Every print is imported from the origin of the country we selected it in to maintain its authenticity and I feel there is a real lack of authentic works. Too many 'Keep Calm & Carry On' mass produced posters floating around London. Taste has become too simple and people have developed a lazy eye as a result of these over produced, simplified ideas & aesthetic which are just meaningless slogans written on coloured paper.
With prices starting at £55 and averaging cheaper than a pair of Doc Martens it probably makes us the cheapest gallery in London, but that's exactly our point! With the price of living going up, who's got money to spend on good art?
So we are here to put good art back into peoples homes without anyone having to break the bank, and I believe that's what's made us so popular over the years with the young generations especially.
Having said that prior to opening FAWW I notice there was a huge gap in the market for a gallery that was approachable as well as affordable. How many times have you every walked into a gallery and felt a bit out of place because you're not so sure what you're looking at and everyone working in the gallery is either too cool for school or just judgemental? How is it possible that a place of creativity could also be equally conservative and dare I say... flat?
FAWW Gallery's collector base comprises some of the most interesting people I've ever met, they're all super down to earth and open-minded.
We choose to host "parties" rather than private views because it's so much more fun for our clients and followers. At the end of the day we are celebrating the work of some incredibly talented artists, so it only fair to have a party!
Sarah Kravitz at the FAWW Gallery Netil Market unit.
Can you tell us about your current exhibition at Netil House?
Our last show was with Dunja Jankovic which is pure abstract Briget Rileyesk work, I wanted to do something completely different and I feel this year we will focus more on illustrative works so Boris Pramatarov has set the standard high for this years curatorial focus as he takes illustration to master level.
There’s no question his talent is abundant, the original ink works look like they’ve been digitally rendered when in fact the small scale impressive patterns are all hand drawn with ink, sometimes taking months to complete. It's quite rare to find artists work so long on one piece at a time. It's refreshing and I’m sure inspiring for other artists to see when there is always this pressure from galleries to complete works on tight deadlines ready for sales.
One of my favourite parts of Boris Pramatarov’s exhibition ‘Fractals’ is the inclusion of his father's work. His father was also an accomplished artist and Boris has definitely been inspired by his fathers work. It's really lovely to see the bond between father and son through this communication within the artworks. Albeit completely different, you can sense how they feed into one another.
Another great thing about Boris' work is the diversity between medium, prints and originals are available to purchase. This means everyones budget is catered for.
Print by Boris Pramatarov
What's it like being a member of the Netil Market community?
I love sharing the space with so many other like-minded people and creative business. There's a real buzz in the building and staff are very friendly and helpful.