The art dealer industry is still largely confined to the brick-and-mortared spaces of cold auction houses. Indeed, the South London art scene has largely operated under the commercial radar, content with its own obscurity and niche, but immensely valuable market.
Together, art lovers and amateur painters Harry Beer and Will Jarvis have endeavoured to maintain this obscurity with their gallery, The Sunday Painter. Jarvis and Beer’s choice of location supports this view – South East London has emerged as one of the city’s most popular locations for artists and creatives, on a par with the expensive and highly-gentrified Shoreditch and Hackney areas.
Launched in 2009 as a project space for Jarvis and Beer, TSP gathered momentum after doing a series of shows in a South London pub, close to their former University campus. A series of pop-up shows followed, leading to the now-celebrated space designed for the city’s emerging talent.
Years since the pair’s debut and The Sunday Painter now represents a raft of artists including Piotr Lakomy, Leo Fitzmaurice, Rob Chavasee and Samara Scott, with Alex Rathbone joining the gallery as the most recent addition.
Now with a permanent and growing residence, the brainchild of Will Jarvis has rapidly evolved, with the celebrated gallery occupying spaces in prominent art fairs across the world such as NADA NY, MiArt and Frieze London. For this young art entrepreneur, moving against the grain has been largely attributed to the company’s success.
This point can be summarised in the choice of name: Jarvis and Beer were labelled “Sunday painters” by university academics during their first dissertation meeting. Running with the name as a joke, the label has stuck, creating one of the most interesting enterprises offered by South London’s art community.