Emilya Colliver is the woman behind Art Pharmacy, an online gallery that sells the work of undiscovered artists at inexpensive prices.
Colliver spent her early career working in well-known art institutions, Hauser and Wirth and The British Museum among them. She thought up Art Pharmacy, which provides an accessible collection and playful pop-up exhibitions, as a reaction to these intimidating spaces. “We make it a bit of fun. After my traditional education in art history, and working in those big traditional galleries with white walls, I’ve been trying to cut down the pomposity of art. We all wear lab coats on our opening nights with little nurses caps,” says Colliver.
Art Pharmacy gives emerging artists exposure and allows art enthusiasts build their collections. Its philosophy is simple: “Art is about whether you like it or not. You can start your own collection. Just trust your gut feeling. It’s not about being fashionable,” explains Colliver.
“All the arts need help here in Australia,” says Colliver, who has always been driven by a desire to discover and nurture talented artists. She adds that collaboration across the arts is what makes festivals like Sydney Fringe so important.
“I’m just trying to break down the barriers in art,” says Colliver of her endeavour, which is also designed to help buyers of art become part of a subculture by interacting with artists at Art Pharmacy events. “It’s really about getting to know the artists and I feel like that’s what people are looking for these days. It’s not just buying a product. People want to know the story behind it and that’s what we offer.”
Art Pharmacy’s interactive gallery space, The Lab, launches on Thursday September 4, and will house a series of exhibitions and talks as part of Sydney Fringe Festival.