Posts Tagged ‘art’
Sunday, April 5th, 2009
Bounding into Kirk Original’s Covent Garden store on a balmy mid-summer morning, Alex Proud strides in with his typically ebullient charm and the same untameable energy which has seen his internationally renowned photographic gallery, Proud Galleries, expand its remit over the last ten years to become one of the capital’s favourite and most frequented gigs ‘n arts venues at both its central London gallery and Camden gig hang out.An habitual Kirk Originals wearer who point blank refuses to entertain any other eyewear brand, Alex’s cool and assertive independent spirit has proved a great match for the quirky, individual flourishes of Kirk Originals style as both Proud Galleries and Kirk Originals share an enthusiasm, passion and creative flair for the creative arts and in particular, the edgy, excesses of rock and roll. Proud Galleries’ success in aligning itself with the sharper end of London’s band scene came about when Alex took on a rock exhibition as a favour to his new secretary whose husband, Bob Morris was a photographer who’d worked with the Sex Pistols and Bob Marley. “We got more press coverage for that show and about 10,000 people came to see it. More people than we’d had in ten years came in one month. We knew we’d hit something so we decided to stay with that and dedicate the gallery to rock and roll photography.”
Having ascertained the pulling power of the rock star game, Alex and Proud Galleries immediately followed up with exhibitions that included the likes of Nirvana, The Jam, The Rolling Stones and newer names like The Libertines. With Proud Galleries’ ability to spot trends and move quickly on them, Alex feels that a reason for Proud Galleries’ success has been its inclusive attitude to new talent, promoters and artists. “Proud Galleries should always be quite different. There’s so many forms of music that we play but I try to stand above it and listen to the opinions of younger, far more, trendier people than myself. That’s enabled us to stay young ‘cos I don’t try and superimpose myself on it too much.”
“As a result when with something like the Libertine’s exhibition, a lot of people thought we were made to take them on and that people were already comparing them to the Beatles. I was more like “wow, really, alright, let’s have a look at them”. It was probably the only photographic exhibition that has had a riot outside when 3000 fans turned up. So I think that the focus on youth might have been why we are able to pick things like that a lot faster than other people.”
Opening a second gallery in Camden to complement the Buckingham St Gallery was what initially gave Alex the idea of taking Proud onto a hitherto unexplored level, fusing the rock photography with a cutting edge gig venue.
With over a thousand bands a year playing at Proud Galleries in Camden and upcoming photographic exhibitions set to feature The Clash, Led Zeppelin and an exclusive Elton John 70’s show, it would appear that Proud Galleries’ resurgence has proved a great affirmation of their commitment to creativity, something which Alex observes that the galleries share with the ethos of Kirk Originals.
“I think both Kirk Originals and Proud are independent brands and driven by a desire to create something different. There’s a pride in the independence, the quality and a pride in being independent. That’s probably the biggest similarity between Proud and Kirk Originals.”
Originally introduced to the joys of Kirk Originals eyewear by a mutual friend, Alex reckons “that there was common ground between us, a little bit passionate, a little bit leftfield” and he readily admits that it was love at first sight.
“I just put them on and was like “Oh my god. I was born to wear these glasses.” I’ve worn them every day since for about a decade. Honestly people do stop me on the tube asking me where those glasses come from. To be honest, I wouldn’t approach me on the tube but I suppose my Kirk Originals make me approachable and kind of lovable.”
With that endorsement readily and easily given, talk turns to Proud Galleries and Kirk Original’s ongoing artistic visions and before Alex flies out with the same consummate, vigour with which he entered, he expands on Kirk Originals’ and Proud’s ongoing commitments to the London scene, a compliment that we’re happy to take from London’s foremost gallery / venue owner and one of the capital’s most charming hosts and goodfellas.
“I think with both Kirk Originals and Proud, there’s an openness in your attitude to creativity and creative people. Hopefully we see original talent there and want to embrace it. With Proud, I do truly hope that people see an originality and find a home there, that’s what I want them to feel.”
Alex featured wearing Pan in Brown from the Saturn Collection.