Art Lovers Australia opens gallery on Gold Coast

Published by: Solstice Media | 2-Feb-2021
One of Australia's largest online art platforms created to help make buying original art accessible to everyone has upended pandemic business trends by expanding from its online offering to open its first bricks and mortar gallery.
Art Lovers Australia founders Nancy Donaldson and Jarrod Knight have made the move, opening the gallery on Saturday January 30 at the Brickworks Annex at Southport in the rapidly developing arts precinct on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Donaldson said the demand for original Australian art through their online platform had been so strong that they were confident the gallery would flourish despite the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on many businesses and the general trend of operations to focus their sales capacity online.

We always wanted to have an art gallery, Donaldson said, adding it would also serve as a window to the online store.

We seem to be doing everything in reverse “ we started on social media, moved to a website and now a gallery.

But we are launching with a ready-made audience. We have built a community before we open our doors.

The purpose-built gallery space will showcase the works of more than 700 artists from the Art Lovers Australia online stable.

The gallery's premiere exhibition is titled Home and headlined by Petra Meikle de Vlas and Kathleen Rhee, each of whom have produced diverse interpretations of what home' means to them.

Meikle de Vlas employs mixed media to create dynamic and intricate pieces inspired by her home in Far North Queensland, while Rhee uses acrylic on canvas to produce beautifully calming works influenced by her love for Australia's natural environment.

The exhibition will also showcase still life, Indigenous, abstract and landscape art pieces.

Donaldson and Knight, who are both artists, launched Art Lovers Australia online in 2016 as a way to link creatives to a wider audience and make art more approachable.

There aren't enough spaces to support every artist so we wanted to become that bridge to showcase their works, Donaldson said.

We also felt like traditional galleries have a certain place in the market, so we had to position it differently in order for it to work.

One of the ways they went about taking the work of local artists to a wider audience as well as showcasing to everyday homemakers how easy and accessible it was to fill the walls with original art, was by partnering with renovation TV shows The Block and House Rules.

It was a move that helped put local original art and Art Lovers Australia on the home renovation map.

The partnership was a major boost for home-grown creatives including Gold Coast artist Tania Blanchard, whose artwork Some Like it Hot is featured on the cover of Art Lovers Australia Book 2020, who earned major interest from buyers following the television exposure.

The Burleigh Heads artist's Confetti Rain was the design focal point of a studio room makeover by The Block 2017 contestants Ronnie and Georgia. The piece also made a spectacular backdrop for The Block's 2017 auction day.

Gold Coast award-winning artist Kellie North also benefitted from her appearance on The Block 2019. North's three pieces from underwater portrait series Sound of Silence were selected by The Block 2019 contestants Elise and Matt, helping them to a win for their formal lounge room renovation.

Gold Coast artists Jeska Valk said she received an immediate profile boost after the same contestants, Elise and Matt, also chose her detailed portrait Mother for their bedroom makeover.

Donaldson said while the Art Lovers Australia website would still be the focus of the business, the gallery would give customers the opportunity to view their favourite artists' works up close.

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