We walk off a street in Palma and into the office of Drew Aaron – owner of Gallery Red – and we could easily be in New York City. It’s an innovative space, structured by glass panelling and adorned with contemporary art. Each piece invites closer inspection, which in turn, starts our conversation. Drew casually points to Damien Hirst in the corner and then to a painting gently laid on his desk. “This has just come in today. It isn’t going anywhere.” He delicately picks it up, curling a smile. There is an invisible web that connects each of his pieces, a dialogue that Drew explains is the secret behind every great art gallery.
We sit down and Drew is as expressive as the art around him. He is dynamic and passionate, a characteristic that echoes his previous career in the United States. We ask how he chooses pieces for Gallery Red and he replies with one word: “instinct.” “I can tell you within five seconds if it’s a piece I would want to own” he says, pointing to several pieces of art around him that provoke a response. He pulls out his phone, talking of ten new artists he is in communication with – and not by phone or email – but on Whatsapp. “It’s a relationship business… I’m always looking for that next wow-piece.” He pauses before continuing. “My philosophy when buying for the gallery is the same as when collecting for myself, I only purchase pieces that I would be excited to hang in my own home.”
We are intrigued. “How do you put together a gallery show of ‘wow-pieces’”? He smiles. “It’s all about how the artists speak to each other… it’s about juxtaposition.” He describes it as a slow process of mixing and matching. “Trial and error” he concludes, describing a recent experience he had creating an entire floor-plan for a show before scratching it. He sits back in his chair, “things often get worse before they get better…” We smile, that can be said for a lot of things.
When we ask about how his clients choose their artwork, Drew explains that the process is very much the same. Finding the right piece takes time, which is why he lets his clients take the art home before making a decision. He gestures the works around him and we can’t help but look over his collection once more. The work we first saw lying on his desk catches our eye and we marvel at the tiniest brushstrokes. “It’s so detailed, it could easily be a photograph!” we say. Drew nods his head, Hugo Alonso is just incredible isn’t he?” He angles it towards the light on the cusp of uttering two words… “wow-piece.”
Photos by Sara Savage