Atlanta's newest gallery is the brainchild of artist and designer Greg Mike. Tucked into a crisp new loft in the Old Fourth Ward's Studioplex neighborhood, A Better View is a multipurpose space, housing a gallery on the ground floor and Mike's creative design agency upstairs.
The gallery's first show, a group exhibition of comic-inspired works by Marks Mothersbaugh, Mitch O'Connell, and Anthony Ausgang among others, opened this past weekend during Studioplex's art walk. The show is a sign of good things to come, updating Roy Lichtenstein's half-tone paintings into a fresh, contemporary context. Judging by this and their upcoming calendar, the gallery is tapping into West-Coast-styled, lowbrow aesthetic that's been largely missing from Atlanta's art scene, though it would fit right in with something like San Francisco's Fecal Face.
Mike is an accomplished artist in his own right (he has a solo show, Popstars and Cokeheads, opening at Butter Gallery in Miami later this month), but he was happy to talk about his role behind the scenes and getting this new gallery put together.
How did A Better View come about?
I used to do a lot of fashion design and I had a company called Carpe Denim. We grew and sold that about two years ago. After that, I owned a tradeshow that started in Atlanta and moved to Miami called Trafik Tradeshow. It has, like, 300 contemporary apparel clothing lines.
Through all the connections that I made through the tradeshow, people started asking us to do consulting work. So, thats how I got into the consulting side of things, but I was doing consulting and working these other guys, my three other business partners at the time. They ended up moving to New York and they got focused on other projects, so we all went our own ways.
I went to school for visual art and Ive always been a visual artist. So I wanted to go in that visual art, creative lane than just being strictly fashion and, you know, high end runway crap. So, we split then and that's when I formed ABV to do consulting under that name. Weve been working under that name for probably about a year, just doing commission-based client work and putting on shows, but now we finally have the space to do the storefront and gallery.
How old are you?
Thats a lot to get done by twenty-eight.
[laughs] Yeah, thanks.
Whats your plan for the gallery?
Well be doing a different show each month with the opening on the last Friday of the month during the [Studioplex] art walk. The first four shows are all artists outside of the state, like this one, The Panelists, is sixteen different artists curated by this guy KRK Ryden.
So, youll be bringing in curators?
Well have guest curators and well do some shit, too. Like, when I come out with a new body of work, Ill do a solo show here probably. One of the designers that works with us does visual arts, so well do his show here.
Seems like yall have a sort of west coast style.
Its funny you say that, because theres an agency [Medicine Agency] that represents me in San Francisco for visual arts stuff. I went out there and I did my first solo show last year.
They knew that Id been doing all this design work and whatnot and they had a similar concept. So, they were like, Why dont we work together and form a partnership? Because of that, Ive been able to work with them, utilizing their calendar to book some artists, too. Its funny that you say that because they created a similar agency there, where they have a shop and their design studio is downstairs.
It was one of things, when we working on creating this, we realized that there isnt anything like that in Atlanta. I mean, you have boutiques and you have design firms, but you dont have a space that can be multi-functional for a gallery, event space, to sell clothing, and do design work upstairs.
At the end of the day, our goal is to form an alliance where we can launch an artist or a brand or a show or whatever and have it go from San Francisco to Atlanta to Miami to New York.
The Panelists, featuring work by Mark Mothersbaugh, Mitch O'Connell, and others, runs until June 20 at A Better View.
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