tim faulkner + margaret archambault
tim faulkner gallery
In May of 2006 Tim Faulkner was forced to relocate from New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina, for a minute he had intention of moving back after everything settled down. In December of 2007 he opened the first location of Tim Faulkner Gallery out of a 140 square foot room on the third floor of a building on the 800 block of the East Market District in Louisville, Kentucky. After some time, he moved the space a couple of blocks away, met Margaret whom then joined the gallery.
In December of this year, Tim Faulkner Gallery will be celebrating 10 years. In those ten years, Tim and Margaret have welcomed hundreds of artists, poets, musicians, and non profits into their truly communal and experimental space. We got the opportunity to chat about the difficulties and praises of owning a gallery, designing exhibitions, being artists, and the importance of knowing when to shut the f' up and just follow the rules.
Five-Dots: When was this gallery established?
Tim Faulkner: Tim Faulkner started in 2006, we have been in this location in Portland for three years.
F-D: How long have you been with this space or in your role as curator?
Tim: It’s always been just myself, or myself and Margaret.
Margaret Archambault: Yea, when it comes to the gallery it’s always going to be just us making the decisions.
F-D: Who else is on your team?
Tim: We have a select few people that help around here; we have a team of staff that assists with the venue, and we couldn't do all of this without them.
Margaret: Kyle Blust is our building manager and right hand for the venue, he's irreplaceable. Tim and I couldn't run this beast without him. We also have our gallery assistant, Gabby Wagers, who assists with installing exhibitions and talking with gallery visitors--she's also a life saver.
F-D: When you moved in here, did you have an idea for how you wanted to run exhibitions or did it develop organically amongst the team?
Tim: It was pretty organic, we are running this place in the same way that we have always ran the gallery, it’s just on a bigger scale.
Margaret: We do two group shows a year, one in the summer (which, as we all know, is generally the slowest time of the year for galleries) and one in the winter. The remainder are solo exhibitions. One of the bigger things that we have [accomplished] is never having missed a First Friday opening. Even when we moved from Butchertown to this location— we moved in January and had an opening the first Friday of February. It’s really important to us that we are consistent in maintaining new shows and work constantly.
Tim: There is always something going on, no matter what. In addition, you know, it’s hard to categorize this space. It’s contemporary; the work is informative, smart, timely. . .
Margaret: That collective short term memory of the public is a challenge— you absolutely have to have something new and interesting happening constantly. But to get back to your initial question: we get exhibition inquiries at a pretty high rate, we almost always meet with them and if the work is good, but perhaps they don’t have enough of a body of work, we’ll allow them to show while we have another exhibition running. Just so they have the opportunity to have some work in the public. This place is a platform for ‘you’ as the artist to be the best at whatever it is that you do.
F-D: What is this gallery’s main goal or function?
Margaret: To provide a way for artists to be artists, for us to be artists, to bring art into people’s lives in a way that maybe it wouldn’t be available otherwise.
Tim: To offer a place for artists whom perhaps don’t really know their way around the gallery world yet. They just know that they’re passionate, and the skill is there, but perhaps the portfolio isn’t there yet. We want to provide them with a space so that they can get there; they can get their portfolio to that spot where they can get into bigger exhibitions and galleries.
Margaret: It benefits the artists and it benefits us.
Tim: It also benefits our collectors— they don’t want to see the same work every time they come in— having new work and artists that [are underrepresented] keeps the space fresh.
F-D: Has the location of the gallery influenced your work selection or selection process in any way?
Tim and Margaret: Nope, not at all.
Margaret: Now, even though we don’t allow the neighborhood to affect our decision making in the gallery, we do execute a lot of events for Portland and we have done a lot of collaborations with other businesses in the neighborhood: we’ve done things with Neighborhood House, The Table, Portland Little League . . . we have really put in an effort to be an open door for the community.
F-D: Can you describe a typical day for yourself?
Margaret: There is no typical day. Every day is different. We look at our master calendar. Everything is in there, and it dictates our day. And it’s pretty rare that we get a day where we can leave, and just. . .do something that isn’t involved in the space.
Tim: That’s always been an issue for us, with living in the space, it becomes hard to ever walk away because we have so much to do. It’s really never-ending.
Margaret: We’ve actually created a new problem in that [with the success of Tim Faulkner] we are so concerned with making sure all of our artists are successful; that we don’t have enough time to maintain our own practice.
F-D: What kind of style or aesthetic do you think is most applicable to this space?
Margaret: (half jokingly) Cool. Awesome. . . I don’t know. . .
Tim: We’re a contemporary gallery. We don't have a particular look that we go for-- other than the work just being good.
F-D: Do you think that this gallery has a general thematic preference? Or does it change from exhibition to exhibition.
Tim: No, there really isn’t. You need to work, be relevant, the work has to be [appealing].
F-D: What other programs, non profits, or locations do you have strong ties to?
Tim: We are a large destination for the Portland Art and Heritage Festival, happening September 9th. We work with the Mayors Council and Metro Council. . . It can be anyone. Again, if someone needs the space, then we’ll figure out a day and they can come on in and use it.
F-D: Does the history of the community or social issues affect exhibition selection?
Margaret: No, we are the same gallery that we have always been. The gallery selection process isn’t going to change according to our address. We might have certain events that are more accommodating to different price points; but other than that, no.
F-D: But you don’t stray away from community or social issues, either?. . .
Tim / Margaret: No, not at all.
Margaret: We have a lot of pop up exhibitions that can be concentrated on whatever good welfare sentiment. For example the Side by Side show was a group of kids from the Portland neighborhood showing their work, they got to keep 100% of the profits of anything they sold, and they had a blast.
F-D: What influences outside the visual arts inspire and impact your approach to designing exhibitions or programs?
Margaret: I mean. . . there really isn’t anything. By the time we are designing the exhibition we already have the work and it’s about making all of it work together.
F-D: What does having a physical space to show work within your community mean to you and how do you make it a useful, productive space for everyone?
Tim: We get up, we go to work. Obviously it's important to us, it's our entire life.
Margaret: With living here too, it uh. . . makes it all encompassing.
F-D: Do you see your space as relating to any current movement or direction in visual art or culture?
Margaret: Yes and no. We have always, even in the very beginning when Tim was over at the very first location, had the support of the graffiti artists around town. And. . recently there has been an influx and extra attention turned to public art and mural making. . . and you know, you can see our connection there.
Which other galleries might your work be in conversation with?
Margaret: We’re close with everyone over at OPEN Community Arts Center. We donated some space for a fundraiser for The Mammoth when they got rained out of their location. Paul Paletti and Paul Swanson [of Swanson Contemporary] are great, and all of the folks that have been around for a while. We work with everyone, but unfortunately we don’t get to go to them [their spaces] a lot. We don’t really get to go out too often, and when we do it’s to go somewhere unlike what we do every day.
F-D: Do you have a motto or creed that as a curator you live by?
Margaret: Ready to hang means ready to hang, although I guess that would be for artists. It’s still true, ready to hang means ready to hang.
Tim: Just be professional.
F-D: What about those who want to start their own gallery?
Margaret: Just do it. You can totally do it.
F-D: What if you don’t have experience?
Margaret: It doesn’t matter, you’ll figure it out. Especially if you’re an artist yourself: you already understand composition and color and theory. Just go for it. The biggest hurdle is getting over everyone telling you ‘no’.
Tim: Know that it’s going to be mentally, emotionally, financially, just, hard. But it’s worth it and you should go for it.
F-D: When asked; what do you tell people you do for a living?
Tim: I don’t get asked that a lot anymore.
Margaret: I tell them I own a gallery and I’m an artist. It's pretty straight forward.
F-D: What risks have you taken in your work, or for your work?
Margaret: All of them.
Tim: You know, we don’t know they are risks at the time, but later when we are talking about all of the things we did, just to make sure that this place was always open. . . there’s all kinds of things. But even so, with us being ten years old and having done all of those things, I still feel like I’d rather tell you that answer ten years from now.
F-D: Words of wisdom?... a motto, favorite quote?
Margaret: I guess, if there is someone who is thinking about starting up a space like this. . .you know, for a long time, we were underground and because of that we got away with a lot. We’ve had to get used to asking for permission rather than forgiveness. Now we are very much above ground. We are legal now. You’ve got to stay on top of your shit. You have to know what is expected, and you have to stay ahead. Follow the rules. . .
Tim: You’re not going to win when you’re up against the fire marshal.
F-D: Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?
Margaret: I’m excited about my show, Tens; A Single Century to Live, it'll be opening Friday, October 6th. I’m painting the largest canvases that I’ve ever painted. Outside of my own, our fall exhibition line up is pretty exciting and we are pumped to see how it goes.