As a slick website with 10k Instagram followers, you’d never believe Georgia Spray is currently running Partnership Editions solo. But it’s thanks to her exquisite taste that novice art buyers keep coming back for more. She handpicks a selection of artists who she knows will be a hit with creatives looking for curated but (truly) affordable art. Offering up a collection from 16 artists and counting, Georgia knows the perfect person to fill your empty wall. We speak to her about the journey.
Why did you set up Partnership Editions?
I studied History of Art, then worked at The White Cube Gallery, Christie's, and an online auction house start-up called Auction Room. When I became an art consultant, friends were asking where they could find art within a certain budget. I saw a gap in the market for a platform where people could feel more connected to the art scene, which in the past has been considered quite elitist.
How does it work?
Artists on Partnership Editions create exclusive artworks for us and take a percentage of the sales. The site’s content also plays a big part; I want readers to feel as if they’re meeting the artists so they have context before buying. Our demographic tends to be a lot of creatives and entrepreneurs who work in similar industries that crossover, such as fashion or interiors.
When you’re taking on a new artist, what do you look for? How do you find them?
I find artists through word of mouth, Instagram, Open Studios and Degree Shows. I only sign up artists who I feel personally invested in because I curate for a specific audience rather than a wide spectrum. I’m always drawn to artists who display an aesthetic immediacy (wanting to show it off instantly) whilst offering something beneath the surface (a strong narrative or challenging concept).
Why is the UK art scene special?
It has an amazing history in terms of galleries and art schools, which act as a great source of inspiration. The community is important too; knowing that others around them are succeeding is a huge push for emerging artists.
Social media is very important but artists often have a difficult relationship with it. What’s your advice to them?
No artist should feel pressured to bare all as creating art can be an intensely personal thing. Some use Instagram like a performance piece but above all, it should feel natural. It’s not the be all or end all.
You’re open about your pricing on the website i.e. never going above the £1,000 price mark, why is that?
It’s about democratizing the art world and making it less intimidating - often at art fairs, there are no price tags. Most pieces on Partnership Editions sits at around £250, which some people would spend on an outfit they’d only wear once.
Which artist should we be looking out for next?
Isabella Cotier - I call her the “contemporary flaneur.” She sketches people passing on the street and really captures the loneliness and hilarity of London. Isabelle Hayman is also amazing and she’s self-taught - she paints from her imagination with ink, including plants and accessories.
What do you hope to achieve in the next five years?
I would like to expand internationally and also incorporate guest curators. It’s important to include tastemakers who work in different industries to bring in fresh perspectives.
Can you tell me about the retailers you’ve worked with in the past?
Collaborations are really important because it takes art out of the traditional gallery space to make it more accessible. We did a collaboration with Rixo who had a pop-up on Carnaby Street with Rose Electra Harris - it was the perfect fit. Workshops are also a fun way for people to witness the skill and craft behind the work; the next one is at Mortimer House with Venetia Berry.
What would you advice would you give to artists working with retailers?
The messaging needs to be very clear - who the artist is, how someone can buy their work, and so on.
If Partnership Editions were to launch a store, where would you appear?
Redchurch Street, definitely. A lot of the artists I work with are based in East London.