Speakeasy Art Gallery (US)

Speakeasy Art Gallery: An Interview with Paul Jach

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 2nd art gallery feature, Paul Jach of Speakeasy Art Gallery located in Boonton, New Jersey is featured.

I can't put a finger on exactly why certain audiences find creepy to be cool. Perhaps it's a way for us to feel a connection to our own mortality.
For art collectors interested in Speakeasy Art Gallery located in Boonton, New Jersey, Paul Jach provides a glimpse of what to expect when you visit the gallery.

For travellers in New Jersey catching one of Speakeasy Art Gallery's exhibits looking for other attractions to visit, Paul suggests several unique places and events.

For artists looking to exhibit their macabre artworks at Speakeasy 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.

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

Speakeasy Art began as somewhat of an art collective doing pop up shows in NYC and North Jersey. As an artist myself, I was given the opportunity by a music promoter to display work in clubs, bars and lounges where he was putting on events. So the name of the gallery came from that. It also fit the less traditional nature of the work we were showing. I had never considered curating before but I had this opportunity and wanted to share it with other artists whom I knew and respected. In 2009 one of those artists discovered the charming Main Street of Boonton, NJ and asked if I was interested in opening a brick and mortar space that became Speakeasy Art Gallery. In 2011, the space moved across the street and my wife Kristy Brucale Jach became co-owner.

What kind of shows does your art gallery exhibit?

We rotate our art every two months, usually 4 solo shows and two group shows a year. As far as content, we exhibit art that we personally respond to and our tastes are diverse, so as a result, the art on our walls is as well. The artists in our gallery don't all necessarily fit into a category and we're proud of that. We tend to shy away from over the couch abstract or landscape that you may find in a lot of upscale galleries. We try to push the envelope a bit more than that. That's not to say that we aren't open to everything. If an artist does a more traditional style exceptionally well or puts a unique twist on it, we may give it a chance. Overall though, our aesthetic is similar to that found in publications like Hi Fructose and Juxtapoze.

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?

I suppose people's fascination with dark arts is similar to why I listened to Black Sabbath and loved watching monster movies when I was younger. I can't put a finger on exactly why certain audiences find creepy to be cool. Perhaps it's a way for us to feel a connection to our own mortality.

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

Since my wife and I are both artists ourselves, we aim to be an extremely artist-friendly gallery. So most importantly we keep things as fair for the artists as possible. Even though we are successful on the business end of things, it's not why we do it. We are truly passionate about the work we exhibit, it's far easier to sell art that you sincerely care about. Because of this we tend to have conversations with collectors about the art rather doing a cheap sales pitch. Also, we like to go the extra mile with the presentation when we are able to. Most of the time we paint the walls in some way or create custom shelves and pedestals to match the work of each artist or group show. People have told us that our space looks like a new gallery each time they visit. So collectors can expect diversity; if the current show isn't for you, chances are the next one will be.

Speakeasy Art Gallery Exhibition

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

My wife and I have also formed the community arts organization in the town where the gallery is located, Boonton Arts (www.BoontonArts.org). We have done three murals in town with plans for more. During the summer, we hold a very popular event called Dog Days of Summer where artists decorate blank fiberglass dogs and cats that are displayed on our Main Street and are sold to raise money for local animal shelters. In October we hold a Pumpkin Illumination and Luminary Parade. Boonton is also where the b-movie, The Toxic Avenger, was filmed. The historic Darress Theatre in town often does screenings of that movie and other cult classics. There are a few other galleries in town too. We all work together putting on a first Friday Art Walk every month.

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?

Not only are we open to emerging artists, we are constantly on the lookout for new talent. At the bottom of each page on our web site, there is a link to join our mailing list to receive emails about our artist calls.

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

Please don't pop in on us with your portfolio in hand. You can email us at submissions@speakeasyart.com with a link to your website or attach a few samples of your work to the email. We receive too many email submissions to respond to them all. You will hear from us if we feel your work would fit a solo or group show. We do keep submissions that we are interested in on file and do revisit them. Also, take a minute to check out our past exhibits to assess if your work would fit in with the general aesthetic of the other work we have shown. If you didn't hear back from us and you have changed your style or created a new body of work since the last time you reached out, it's okay to send an updated submission. Please be as professional and respectful as possible.

Speakeasy Art Gallery Exhibition

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