Today we’d like to introduce you to Hall Felker.
Hall, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Originally from Nashville, TN, I became passionate about art at a very young age. As a young adult, I moved out to San Francisco Bay Area pursuing the arts at San Francisco Art Institute. While in school for my painting degree, I began working at the school’s professional art gallery. I remember my first day, they handed me a wall sander and a mask to remove a mural from the exhibition we were changing out. Eight years later, I’m the operations director of Mirus Gallery. I use this story to tell all my new interns, that I’ve personally started from the bottom. It took many years of hard work, often underpaid or working totally for free to gain the experience I have now.
My start with Mirus Gallery was actually six years ago as an exhibiting artist. I showed a series of my paintings in a group exhibition “Through the Looking Glass” featuring a line-up of all women artists with work focusing on the feminine gaze. Some of my friends from school were working there at the time and showed the curator my work. I mention this because a lot of artists come to me asking how to get artwork in a gallery. I’ve found it’s through a lot of networking and every connection can open the door to a new opportunity.
Fast forward to three years ago, I was hired as the Gallery Manager at the original San Francisco location. It was my dream job opportunity. A year later, I helped open our second location here in Denver, CO. The response here from the arts community has been so exciting. Since then we’ve exhibited hundreds of artists from all over the world, specializing in New Contemporary, Urban and Psychedelic art. I’ve gotten to work with some of my very favorite contemporary artists such as Felipe Pantone and Mars-1 amongst so many others.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Definitely not. There were so many years of uncertainty. The “starving artist” life is certainly not glamorous. I think a lot of my public life people see me at the gallery openings when I’m dressed up and we are celebrating. It looks like a lot of fun, and it is. It’s also incredibly hard work that can be very physically demanding and long hours.
After I graduated college, I had no idea what to do or how to survive. I was working unpaid internships combined with an extremely low paid retail job in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Trying to stay creative when you are stressing on how to pay your bills can be very challenging. I stayed vigilantly committed to the arts. I curated exhibitions for free in small local spaces. I really have to thank those small businesses for giving me a chance!
Eventually, years later, I landed a full time job as a gallery manager at a small space in Oakland, curating exhibitions of local artists. Looking back, the low paid retail experience ended up teaching me so much about running a small business. While I couldn’t see it at the time, those experiences were so essential to the success I’ve had.
Mirus Gallery – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Mirus means extraordinary, astonishing and strange. This is really the curatorial backbone behind the art we exhibit. We feature a program of contemporary artwork by emerging and mid-career artists in both solo and thematically organized group shows. Mirus Gallery highlights work that emphasizes skill and process and aims to engage viewers on a sentient, emotional and evocative level. The gallery was started by Paul Hemming in 2012 in San Francisco. It’s under the umbrella company “Zen Compound” which strives to integrate contemporary art, music and technology through its businesses. Our sister business here in Denver is next door, Temple Nightclub.
As Operations Director, I’ve personally been overseeing the exhibition programing in both cities, as well as art fairs in Miami, New York and LA. It involves wearing a lot of hats and a lot of multi-tasking. I oversee a small staff, all sales, international shipments, exhibition installations, and online platforms just to name a few… I’m extremely detail oriented and it’s really the defining feature I think needed for the job. The skillset is so specific, from writing press releases to constructing large wooden crates. I oversee every moving part and there are A LOT.
I’m most proud of some of the large scale installations we’ve done at Scope Art Fair during Art Basel in Miami the past three years. They have required quite a lot of planning and coordination! The outcome has been spectacular and it’s incredible to me to be able to present something that big to tens of thousands of people. It’s really been a dream come true.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think everything happens for a reason, good and bad. I have had the universe align so perfectly for me at certain times that I’m completely in awe. I’ve also had years of consecutive hard times where I really have felt like giving up. I think it’s the yin and the yang of both that really make a person.
- Website: www.mirusgallery.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @mirusgallery @hall0grm