The owners of the local art gallery Le Kopshop feel their project is definitely “worth doing”. As Harvey Mcleod said, he and his partners may not be making millions in profit yet, but they are happy to represent the work of street artists in Montreal.
“It’s too early to say exactly how profitable it will be, but it’s definitely working” Mcleod said.
Mcleod is joined by Sebastien Marin and Frederik Hryszyn in running the small downtown gallery.
Le Kopshop, on the corner of Roy and Colonial, opened at the end of June this year. The three owners are pleased with the response it has received so far. With the garage door kept wide open, the gallery is inviting to passersby who have any interest in art and/or creative projects.
The gallery’s name comes from the “Kops Crew” of Montreal, a group of graffiti artists, djs and musicians in the city. Kops Crew have become well known in Montreal for their mural artwork and the huge parties they throw.
Mcleod, Marin and Hryszyn used their connections within the Kops Crew as inspiration for their new gallery. Aside from selling the artists work, the gallery also offers mix cds put together by local djs. The owners of Le Kopshop are artists and musicians themselves. They want their gallery to represent the many different forms of art. Marin is a local musician, Mcleod is a sculptor and a jeweler and Hryszyn is a graffiti artist himself. Harvey’s jewellery is sold at the gallery, along with limited edition t-shirts and prints of the artists’ work.
Mcleod said Le Kopshop aims to make art more accessible to people. The gallery owners understand that not everyone can afford to buy a canvas work valued anywhere from $300-$1500, so they came up with a way to make the art work more affordable. Artists are given the option of using certain pieces to be printed on t-shirts. The shirts come from American Apparel, and the art work is made print-ready before being sent to a professional printing company for the final production. The shirts are sold for $30 each.
Although the owners of Le Kopshop already have a lot of connections with the art community in Montreal, they say they are open to any artist who wants to show their work. Since their opening, the gallery owners have been approached by many artists in the city. The three owners go through a selection process to assure that the aesthetic of the gallery is maintained.
“These walls aren’t for rent” Marin said, “we try to work with people we want to work with.”
The owners want the tone of their gallery to stay within the realm of street art. They agree to display the work of any artist who fits in with that general vibe.
When asked about the street art scene in Montreal Mcleod said he noticed a change in the last decade.
“They [started] moving graffiti artists into galleries, and everybody was like ‘Oooh, buy them, they’re famous!’ and then it just sort of just died off.”
Mcleod said the art displayed at Le Kopshop isn’t exactly graffiti art, but is “graffiti-inspired”. He said there is a difference between putting graffiti art on a canvas, and doing another type of painting that is inspired by the colours, subjects, and techniques used in graffiti art.
“A lot of these guys have moved on from painting the street” Mcleod said, “they’re now a little bit older, and they’re doing more professional things.”
Mcleod said many of the artists who display their work at the gallery are primarily concerned with being working artists. He said a friend of his does editorial drawings for a local newspaper as well as creating his own personal art. As long as these artists are working in their field in some way, Mcleod said, they are satisfied.
The guys behind Le Kopshop are happy to give these artists a space to show their work and, hopefully, sell a few pieces as well.
Marin said Le Kopshop has been building up a regular clientele and that certain artists have been very successful in selling their work.
The next show at Le Kopshop will be held towards the end of September.
For more information visit :
www.kopshop.com or stop by the gallery at 111 Roy (corner of Colonail).
It is open from Tuesday and Wednesday from 2pm-6pm, and Thursday to Saturday from 2pm-9pm.