Emerging and established artists alike know that an art career isn't always an easy path to walk. Commercial success is often only achieved after an artist has reached the end of their career, and in the meantime, galleries stand to profit exponentially while the artist struggles throughout their life.
One underlying problem is that many artists find it difficult to market themselves. Creating good art and selling good art are two different things. In addition, art dealers and galleries aren't always transparent.
Aspen Gallery aims to challenge established concepts in the art world, focusing on contemporary fine art photography by emerging artists. The gallery curates work from new talents who have a distinctive vision and a recognizable handwriting, and is committed to both making art attainable for new collectors and raising awareness among established art buyers.
Aspen Gallery was founded by Johnny Patience, a fine art photographer, writer, and educator. Focusing on fine art photography for almost a decade, Johnny has extensive experience in the art world and believes that the concept of an artist-led gallery has many advantages over a traditional gallery run by an art dealer.
"A problem I saw relatively early in my own career is that classical art galleries are often very non-transparent. They charge high commissions, but tend to be vague about what they're willing to commit to in return. I often had the impression that gallery owners put their own interests before the interests of the artists they represent, and were more focused on driving revenue than helping someone build a sustainable career," says Patience.
"We're doing things a little differently: we aim to price art competitively, and are able to attract a new type of art buyer while charging less commission to make up the difference for the artists. We are also completely transparent about how much we sell, to whom and when. We want our artists to have the opportunity to form a long-term relationship with their patrons. We are well-networked and committed to finding young talents earlier in their career to create real value for established collectors."
Long a symbol for strength in community, aspen trees grow as a group; interconnected by their roots, they support each other by sharing resources. Aspen Gallery's collaborative approach is unique in that each individual success benefits all represented photographers. The gallery also awards an annual $5,000 Artist Fellowship to honor artistic excellence and advance the careers of emerging artists.
The gallery has won one of America's most highly regarded contemporary fine art photographers: Gary Briechle. Briechle's first monograph "Photographs" was released in 2012 by Twin Palms Publishers representing 10 years' worth of his artistic process. Briechle was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015 and is also a member of Aspen's curatorial board.