Ben Mortimer writes for Bleeding Cool:
Given how busy the man is, appearing in about four or five films every year, it’s a wonder Bleeding Cool hasn’t caught up with Sean Pertwee before. And yet, surprisingly he’s managed to avoid us. Until now.
Back in February Pertwee made a somewhat unusual career move for a successful and well regarded actor by opening an art gallery, Pertwee Anderson & Gold, in the heart of London’s Soho.
We recently caught up with him at the opening of their new exhibition, Un-Think, by the artist Nancy Foutes.
On setting up an art gallery
We [Pertwee and business partners Simon Anderson and James Golding] used to buy, as a conglomerate, pieces that we liked. We started collating lots of interesting pieces, and I’ve been collecting for quite some time anyway. My house became a little bit of a gallery in Islington.
So we started collecting, and thought about what the next step was, and then the crash happened. We had an idea, Simon had an idea of forming an online gallery, and then we decided that we wanted to go for something more palpable. So, what do you do in the height of a recession, you actually create something more palpable, more fun, more theatrical, so Simon gave us the confidence to go for it.
On the way the place looks
From that it’s a team effort, I involved Dennis Schnegg, who’s a set designer, we thought that’s the best way because everything you see here is fake. This is an old recording studio. We wanted to give it a ‘parlour’ feeling, to make it more accessible. This is how people used to sell art in the seventeen hundreds, eighteen hundreds, so we wanted to bring that back to Soho, and use it as a point of reference.
So we decided to set up here, and make this [the office/sales room at the back of the gallery] like a Hogarthian back room, and next door is a private viewing room.
On the effectiveness of Schnegg’s set building
I wasn’t here unfortunately, but a lady from National Heritage came in and said, “Ah now, this is exactly what I’m talking about. Undiscovered little gem. It survived two world wars you know”. Which made us laugh, because everything you see in here is us.
On making the place smell nice
We went down to Floris, because we like the idea of a parlour gallery, and everything like that. So we went to Floris, because I was in a rather nasty furniture shop with my wife, looking for a lamp, and I couldn’t work out why I didn’t want to leave. It was the scent that they had. So we went to Floris, and said, “we’ve got this bizarre idea, we want to base our gallery on those from 1750 [the era of] Beau Brummell”. This is where Beau Brummell used to play cards. So we spent the afternoon with her, this fantastic lady called Sheila. With the original materials that they had in those days, they redesigned the scent for us.
On the effect owning a gallery has had on his career
If I’m brutally honest, it actually helps, because you don’t have that hunted look in your eye when you go for meetings because you think “I’ve got a million and one things to do back at the gallery”. It helps polarise and focus you much more. To be honest, the best thing about having this gallery, and being partners with these two, is that we actually, if briefly, possess some of the most wonderful art that I could possibly dream of actually putting on my own walls.