Online art galleries are fast becoming a popular alternative to selling and buying art in a traditional gallery. My guest this week, Michelle Gibbs, established Art2Arts online gallery in 2006 and I caught up with her recently to find out more about the business and the art itself. Welcome Michelle…
Hi! My name is Michelle Gibbs. I’m an artist, online gallery owner and art tutor.
What inspired you set up the Art2Arts online gallery?
I started the gallery when I began selling my own artwork. I then started to admire the work of other artists and asked them if they would like to appear on the site as a ‘guest artist’ and the gallery grew from there.
Online art galleries are gaining popularity – what are the advantages for the artist showing their paintings online? What are the advantages for the customer?
The advantage for the artist is that they are showing their work to a much wider audience, including giving the artist the opportunity to sell their artwork abroad. The customer can access a much broader variety of artists, without having to pay the much higher gallery high-street prices.
Art2Arts prides itself on its policy of not selling mass produced prints & having only original artwork on offer. How important was it to you that you instilled that policy?
This has been our policy from day one and will never change. In a world of mass-produced things, with places like Ikea, we all wind up with the same things and I think it’s important to be unique and it’s more rewarding knowing you have an original hanging on your wall.
You are a full time artist as well as a part time art tutor. I do love your paintings – the “Deep Blue Mountain” painting of yours really caught my eye on your site. Do you have a favourite theme that you enjoy to paint?
I am inspired by the sky, I love cloud formations and I don’t think we look enough and appreciate the world around us. I love seeing the world through artist’s eyes. I enjoy painting landscapes in oils but equally love the freedom and spontaneity of creating my more abstract themes.
It is obvious looking at your paintings that you are inspired by your travels. What place/country has given you most inspiration? If you could visit any place in the world to get inspiration for a set of paintings, where would you go?
I have been lucky enough to travel a lot and you’re right, it’s evident in my work, however I’m also inspired a lot by the English countryside. I live right near the beach and am always heading over when I see a beautiful sunset or a moody sky to capture it to paint, so you don’t always have to go far to seek inspiration.
When buying art for yourself or when you visit art galleries, what sort of paintings attract your attention? Any favourite artists, past or present?
I have a few paintings from artists from Art2Arts. I also like to buy paintings from local artists when I travel. I recently visited Venice and watched an artist draw a scene of Venice in Charcoal which I couldn’t resist buying. I’m inspired by many artists both past and present, the obvious ones being Turner, Constable and I particularly admire the impressionist painters.
I’m sure every artist has some form of art theme that they just cannot master as well as other themes – some avoid drawing people, others animals etc. What theme are you not so keen on painting?
I’ve never really painted animals, they don’t appeal to me at all. I did paint my dog as an exercise recently but I would never want to start taking commissions for pets. I enjoy doing the odd portrait painting, but more for me than from a selling point of view.
There are many fabulous art museums/galleries throughout the world – I personally love the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – have you got a favourite? Is there any that you haven’t visited yet but is on your bucket list to do so?
Where do I start…..so many! I recently travelled around Italy so we went to so many art galleries and saw some amazing work. I really enjoyed the Penny Guggenheim in Venice and Florence.
Apart from yourself, you have many fabulous painters showing in your gallery. Are there any painters excelling in a particular theme? Any unusual artwork?
We always have our really popular artists that are always selling a lot of artwork. The two that stand out the most are:
Caroline Ashwood – Abstract artwork
CK Wood – Poppy paintings
Art2Arts is based in the UK – are the paintings available to be bought/shipped overseas?
Yes, we offer international shipping so most of the artist can be sent anywhere in the world.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I like to dress up when I go out, however despite owning a variety of heels, it’s like watching bambi walk! I do prefer my flats lol! But I will suffer in the name of fashion.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)
I have a book fetish, in fact I really need a bigger bookshelf, so I am on Amazon a lot and it’s dangerous because you only have to click one button and it’s on it’s way. I’m always buying art books.
Oh Michelle… I’ve a book fetish too and that Amazon click button is fatal!!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Well I’m pregnant at the moment so sadly it’s going to be flat comfortable shoes and big baggy clothes. Not very exciting.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots, more comfortable and I’m always cold so they keep your feel warm.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Art2Arts
Congratulations on the forthcoming birth, Michelle and thank you for sharing your art with us. Well, dear readers, do you love visiting art galleries? What about street art? I saw some stunning street art scenes in South France …and the artists around the steps of Montmartre in Paris. What galleries/places can you recommend?
All photos have been published with kind permission from Michelle Gibbs
Deep Blue Mountains – Michelle Gibbs
Patchwork Landscape – Caroline Ashwood
Ethereal Poppies – CK Wood