Good Press gallery is a newly opened venture in Glasgow that’s well worth a look. An independently run gallery and bookshop, it presents visual art, contemporary illustration, self and independently published zines, books and other printed matter. We like what they are doing, so asked them a few questions.
Why are you called ‘Good Press’?
Good Press is kind of a joke with our good friend David Bailey, illustrator and ‘CEO’ of Good Grief! a small press store in Manchester. We were asked to do an exhibition together, Good Grief! and Museums Press, as part of the festival Future Everything in Manchester. We called the exhibition Good Press! and it was great to do something with a friend and create a pretty basic and lo-fi outcome for what is a pretty big and formal festival.
Anyway, it was just before time came that we were moving Glasgow and we would joke with Dave that when we got there we should franchise Good Grief! and open a store in our new hometown, and so Good Press was born, not as a joke, more a homage.
Who is in charge?
Sometime Matthew, sometime Jessica, but always Matt and Jess. We don’t really think of it as formal as someone in charge, we’re pretty easy going and the space and the reasons we’ve started this are pretty relaxed, so we run it, I wouldn’t say we’re in charge.
How and why did you decide to set up Good Press?
Its something we always wanted to do and its a natural progression for us to go from Museums Press, the small press we run, to provide a space for artists, that aren’t always catered for, to show and sell their work in an accessible and affordable way.
Also, we felt that the areas of visual arts and illustration and independent publishing aren’t really covered in Glasgow, or loads of cities in the UK really. Glasgow is a great, great city and if you want to go out and see an art show, you won’t struggle to see amazing things, but its very contemporary art focussed. The same goes for books and magazines, Aye-Aye Books and GmbH are both really incredible shops and do have a few small press titles but there is a lot missing that people will outwardly say they want to buy.
The original intention for Good Press was to be in a series of unused spaces or shops around Glasgow to raise awareness and also use some of the abundance of unused shop spaces. This became difficult, actually impossible to do as estate agents and the council weren’t very responsive and made it financially unfeasible.
We are in a kind of unused space now…thanks to the very, very generous Colin and Tara at Mono, we’re using the back of the bar and cafe, it was closed off as its a big place, but we’ve set up a home for now and we’re very happy.
Financially this is not your usual gallery, how do you raise the money to keep this wonderful idea alive?
Good Press is our only gallery, and will be the only name we have a space under. We’ve done loads of exhibitions with Museums Press and other projects, but Good Press is where we’re focussing a lot of our efforts. Its now become a full time job/hobby/life for us.
We cannot and do not want to be tied to any kind of financial situation I guess is the first thing. Any financial ties then compromise the values and …. of what we want and should do. By being independent of all those formalities we can give more directly back to the artists, publishers, makers, community, anyone who visits!
We took part in a ‘crowdfunding’ exercise to get going. People were very generous and that gave us a good means to get started. Others chipped in also, our friends Kenny and Laurie put on a fundraising gig, more friends Callum, Dylan and Edwin did another in Manchester. Everyone has been very kind and giving in order for us to get on our feet.
We are very keen to located in either a shop or retail surrounding. It makes the accessibility and general atmosphere of the space more relaxed and less formal. Again, if it wasn’t for the kindness of the people at Mono, which is pretty much perfect, I’m not sure what we’d do. Affording the costs involved in running a space in a good location and a good size is something a bit beyond us at the moment!
How else do you differ from the usual gallery/bookshop?
The art in here is very different to any gallery here in Glasgow, and the stock is pretty different to the other bookshops. We are working within a certain area, a niche if you like, with independent publishing.
I guess to start, most of the exhibitions here will have available works at affordable prices, in The Family Show, all the works are £30, and they’re all original works, which is criminally cheap, the same goes for the books. There is a range here, something for everyones taste and pocket.
We’re also very open about what we do. If you ask us how we came about the artwork or the artist, we’ll tell you. If you want to know anything about commissions and how we pay for things, we’ll tell you. Equally, if you want to sell your publications here, we can do that for you. If you want to exhibit your work at Good Press, let us know. We try to and hope that we’ll always be approachable and open to everything we can do for as many people as possible.
How did you come to decide on the theme for your first exhibition, ‘The Family Show’?
We felt that a large group show with many varied styles would help show people what to expect from Good Press. Its also to help raise some funds to get further exhibitions going. The premise of the exhibition is 30 artists donate 30 pieces of work, one each, to sell for £30 a piece, with the funds then go onto giving as much back in future though exhibitions and keeping us going. All the artists were very kind, donated there work and much of it has sold enabling us now to carry on.
You worked with 30 international artists to put together ‘The Family Show’, how did all these people come together?
Most were artists we’d worked with through Museums Press and therefore already knew them and really loved their work. As Good Press is the next step for us it was natural for us to want to include many of the same artists. Many of these people have become friends and have the same outlook on art so they were more than happy to help out and understand what we’re trying to do and didn’t hesitate to get involved. It was a lot easier than you’d think, getting 30 pieces of work from 30 people around the globe to one spot in Glasgow, its easy when they’re such nice people as well as amazing artists!
Give one reason why people should walk through the doors of Good Press and see ‘The Family Show’?
Because all of the work is original, affordable and amazing. Thats three right? One reason… its just good.
If you could pick only one item from the show or your gallery to have in your own home what would it be and why?
Really, really, really hard question. There is a really nice chair in the space, we’d probably take that home.
Finally, big and bold or small and intimate?
Nice and friendly. Oh, and also really super cool.
If you think this sounds grand, Good Press Gallery have just opened a brand spanking new exhibition, Communicate & Circulate. So, if you are in the area make sure you pop on in!
For more information and to see some wonderful artworks, take a look at: www.goodpressgallery.co.uk