We are really pleased to host Comme Ca Art in our window this month ahead of their participation in Buy Art Fair later this month. Based in the Northern Quarter, Claire Turner has been running Comme Ca Art since 1994. We caught up with her to find out a little bit more about CCA and the artists Claire represents.
What made you decide to establish Comme Ca Art in 1994?
My friend and I had recently graduated. My degree was in Interior Design and Alyson’s was in Fine Art. The city was changing and there was a upsurge in the cafe bar lifestyle. We decided to exhibit Alyson’s work in one of the local bars called Generation X and it grew from there. We programmed exhibitions of local artists work and more bars, restaurant, hotels and even Selfridges at the Trafford Centre, approached us to do the same for them. Within a year or two we had over 15 venues and the Arts Council contacted us to set up as a business with help of an European Funding Grant. It was very organic and we were lucky the Arts Council championed our early years. Alyson left in 2002 but CCA has continued to produced high quality art exhibitions. It’s been a great journey seeing artists and their works evolve over the years and I’m hoping to continue to do so.
How many artists do you currently have on your books?
Lots! But there’s approximately 20 artists we work with on a regular basis. This can be anything from commissions, exhibitions and one off sales to our clients.
What can people expect from your stand at Buy Art Fair?
We try to do something different every year. This year we have two new artists, Stefanie Trow and Neil Douglas, (both artists are on display in the Fred Aldous window), who will join other artists including Katherine Beefheart, Robert Walker, Joe Simpson and Susan Aggarwal. We’ve also got something up our sleeves aimed at people who are new to buying art. You’ll have to visit the stand to find out what it is!
How do you find the artists you would like to represent?
I’ve been lucky artists seem to find CCA. This is mainly through other artists recommending CCA or contacting me about an artist’s work. I’m also an avid Instagram user and I’ve contacted a few artists through Instagram. If I see something I like, I always try to follow up and find out who the artist is. I’m currently working with six artist / printmakers from Hot Bed Press. We have an exhibition of their works on show at the CCA Gallery based in the Lowry Hotel. This came about by me being asked to select the works for the Hot Bed Press stand at the Buy Art Fair in 2014. I loved the artworks so much I knew I wanted to do something with them through CCA and that became the current exhibition. It’s beautiful. You should go and take a look!
Why is it important for you as a gallery to take part in Buy Art Fair?
Buy Art Fair has become an important date in the Manchester art calendar. It brings a whole host of galleries, artists and creatives together under one roof. CCA is one of Manchester’s most established Art Dealers and Thom Hetherington, (The BAF CEO), came to me years ago to see if I thought an Art Fair in Manchester would work. The proof is in the pudding as the Fair gets better and better every year. I see a lot of happy people leaving the Fair with a new artwork under their arm. I know how exciting it is to get home and hang a new piece of work. The buzz of finding the perfect piece of art for somebody never fades. The Fair is a great way to engage with people who are genuinely interested in not only the art but the artists who produce the works.
Where can people see your exhibitions?
In the Fred Aldous window! We also have a long running relationship with the Lowry Hotel where we have a CCA Gallery space. The exhibitions change over every eight weeks. We showcase artists who are either from or have lived / worked in Manchester. It’s a fantastic way to bring artworks to an ever changing audience. We’ve sold works that now reside in places as far a field as Russia, New Zealand, Iceland, the USA and most of Europe.
What are your plans for the future?
This is exciting… We have recently moved into a 2,000 Sq Ft loft space in Hope Mill, Ancoats. We are in the process of turning it into a CCA Gallery. There’s so much natural light, think New York Loft. Our aim is to create not only a gallery space but a place where people can visit to meet artists and see how they create their works. As it’s a private gallery I get to do whatever I want so there’s lots of ideas spinning around at the moment. Hope Mill already has a great vibe, AWOL Studios are a big part of the Mill, it’s one of the biggest Artist Studios in Manchester. I’m hoping CCA will be a great addition. We will be opening with a big launch party before then end of the year so watch this space!
You can find out more about Comme Ca Art on their website www.commecaart.com/