Gristle Art Gallery (US)

Gristle Art Gallery: What to expect as an artist and art collector

Time and time again, Circus Living has featured artists whose works exhibit macabre or morbid characteristics but what about the art galleries who work hard to promote these artists? What about the gallery owners and representatives who place a lot of effort into planning exhibitions, staging these artists' artworks, and ensuring their works are seen by interested art collectors?

I thought it was about time the art galleries who promote the artists who fit this type of niche - macabre and morbid art - are also featured. For Circus Living's 3rd art gallery feature, Zoë Williams of Gristle Art Gallery located in New York City is featured.

I personally believe that artwork is something we each experience individually, so it may be that people find dark art easier to relate to, more true to life, more visceral, but in the end I think each person has their own reasons.
For art collectors interested in Gristle Art Gallery located in NYC, Zoë Williams provides a glimpse of what to expect when you visit the gallery.

For travellers in NYC catching one of Gristle Art Gallery's exhibits looking for other attractions to visit, Zoë suggests several unique places and events.

For artists looking to exhibit their macabre artworks at Gristle Art Gallery, Call for Artists info is also provided in this page to help you get started.

Looking for more art galleries exhibiting 'morbid' art?
Circus Living is compiling a list of morbid art galleries for you.

What is your full name and what is your role at Gristle Art Gallery?

My name is Zoë Williams and I am the gallery curator. I have been curating shows at Gristle since December 2016. In addition to curating, I am also an artist (you can see my work at if you're curious!).

How did Gristle Art Gallery come to be? What inspired its development?

Gristle started as a tattoo shop and grew into the combination space it is today. The gallery showcases lowbrow, pop-surreal, and dark art from the best local and international artists, while our tattooers specialize in 100% vegan tattoos. We also regularly host community events, like fundraisers and pet adoption events. We are inspired by both a love of art and a love of animals!

What kind of shows does your art gallery exhibit? Based on your experience dealing with artists and art collectors, in your opinion, why do you think there is a fascination for the dark arts?

We do about 7 shows per year, mainly group shows on different subjects. As animal lovers, we frequently choose animal themes - my first show Unicorn focused on the critically endangered Saola; we also started an annual cat show (Cult of Meow) this year. We try to choose topics that compliment the work our artists are already making and allow lots of room for interpretation. I personally believe that artwork is something we each experience individually, so it may be that people find dark art easier to relate to, more true to life, more visceral, but in the end I think each person has their own reasons.

Domonique Alesi's artwork at Gristle Art Gallery. Read Circus Living's feature on artist Domonique Alesi.

What can artists come to expect should they choose to show their works at your gallery? What can art collectors expect?

Artists and collectors alike can expect an emphasis on surrealism, portraiture, and an abundance of creatures both real and imaginary. We are particularly interested in artwork that shows high technical proficiency as well as creativity and concept, regardless of whether the artist is well established or just starting out in his or her career. We also believe that artwork can be affordable and accessible, so please don't be afraid to reach out to us if you see something you like!

Are there any must-go-to locations, attractions, or events for travellers interested in the spooky or the unconventional around your area?

We are located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and easily accessible from the L subway line (Graham Ave stop). There are so many things to do in and around NYC, it really depends on your individual taste! Atlas Obscura hosts a very popular "Oddities Market" a few times a year at Brooklyn Bazaar that is definitely worth checking out if your visit coincides with one. The nearby Pine Box Rock Shop also hosts regular vegan and animal-friendly events. For a quieter outing, the historic Greenwood Cemetery is an excellent choice!

We also have a sister gallery and event space in Philadelphia - The Convent. Shows and events at The Convent are by invitation only, but if you're in the Fishtown area we highly recommend checking it out!

Does your gallery accept new artist works? Are there specific events whereby you require submissions? How can we stay updated on your gallery’s call for entries?

We occasionally do open calls, but in general our shows are by invitation only. We are currently open to submissions and I personally review everything that is sent to us! The best way to submit is to send us an email with a link to your online portfolio. Please don't send download links (Dropbox, Wetransfer, etc) or try to contact us via Facebook or Instagram!

Do you have any tips or advice for artists looking to have their artwork displayed in your gallery?

We are open to new artists, however you should check out some of our past shows to see if your work will be a good fit for our aesthetic. We mainly show painting and illustration with some sculpture, but since the space is shared with our busy tattoo shop (, we are limited to wall-hanging artwork. Fellow animal lovers and local artists (NYC & Philadelphia) are especially encouraged to apply!

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