Featured Tin Shingle, Jessica Porter
Jessica Porter is an art gallery owner who you want on your side, be you an art-preneur, an art collector, a person who just likes looking at art, or a person looking to buy art in an affordable price range (ah, but what is "affordable" when it comes to art, as it's all precious?). Based in New York City, Jessica recently experienced a dream come true when she opened her gallery, Porter Contemporary, in its own space in Chelsea after it gained traction in a shared space in the Flatiron district. She is also the founder of the Art To Gift, a collection of original artworks — paintings, drawings, limited edition photographs and mixed media works — conveniently sold online, with most pieces priced under $500 for starting out art collectors
Jessica's career spanned a wide range of jobs, but always followed her artistic passion. Read her full bio here on her profile page in Tin Shingle, and read more behind the scenes of how she started her gallery in our interview with her below:
What inspired you to get started?
I knew a lot of artists who were amazingly talented who didn't have representation or were unhappy with how they were being represented and I knew lots of people wanting to buy art so I figured, how hard can it be to just open a gallery in New York City and match all these people up?
What was your background? Was it in what you were doing now?
I actually started out in the museum world, primarily the Smithsonian, but never felt it was a perfect fit for me. I eventually tried to incorporate my language background with art and found myself doing sales and marketing for an international art shipping company. That was great and I learned a lot but I felt it had limitations.
I finally ended up in law school because I had an interest in stolen art issues and even fantasized about working on the stolen art file for the FBI. From there I got back into art and wanted to be more of a facilitator and discover new artists so I worked in a few galleries while practicing law and the seed grew to start my own.
What challenge have you had to face that led to a big growth for your company?
About a year and a half ago, I moved the gallery from a shared space in the Flatiron to its own space in Chelsea. This was difficult on many levels but it has proven to be a wise decision in terms of the gallery's long term growth and visibility.
What do you have going on in your business right now that you're excited about?
Right now I'm very excited about our solo exhibition of Jason Bryant's paintings in the gallery. I have worked with Jason since the gallery first open 6 years ago and it is amazing to see how much his career has grown and how his work just gets better and better. I love coming into the gallery to paintings of glamorous movie stars and bright graphics! The exhibition, Smoke & Mirrors, has really been attracting a lot of museums and curators as well as collectors. The show is up through October 20.
Where would you love to see your business in 5 years?
In five years I'd love to be moved to a larger, ground floor space for the gallery and have several artists I work with into museum collections.
I hope to have had a vacation by then as well...
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If you're a budding art collector, visit Jessica's Art To Gift, where you'll be treated to all sorts of affordable pieces of art you can buy right now! And if you're in NYC, do visit her Chelsea gallery to experience the exhibitions!
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