Tusk Gallery was “born” in the early days of the 21st Century. Prior to that we had been known as Graphic Impressions and specialised in up-market custom picture framing and wall art prints. By the time Tusk began it’s life we had been involved in some facet of the art industry since 1979.
A lot of people ask if the name was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album “Tusk”, the short answer is NO. It was February 2002, Georgie and I were away for a weekend celebrating a significant birthday. We were about to start a new art business in Melbourne’s inner north and we didn’t have a name for it. I was looking through a glossy travel magazine and there was a great picture of 2 elephants with their tusks intertwined.
I simply said ” Hey Georgie, what about calling it Tusk Gallery” she said OK and that was that.
The very first Tusk Gallery was in Rathdowne St, Carlton North. We also had a picture framing business in Camberwell called Graphic Impressions.
In late 2005 we were offered a large space in Chapel St, South Yarra. This had been a gallery of sorts and it was ideal. I must admit, looking back, that taking on South Yarra was somewhat impulsive just as Rathdowne St was.
Impulsiveness has always been synonymous with Tusk Gallery.
A year later we visited Europe over Christmas/New Year. I dropped into Bangkok on the way home specifically to search for an artist named Kitti. That’s all I had ….. a name. Miraculously, I found him and through Kitti Narod I discovered a hugely rich art scene in Bangkok that in many ways changed the direction of my life over the decade to come. That was a turning point for Tusk Gallery. Over the next decade there have been Tusk Galleries in South Yarra, Fitzroy, Kalorama and Camberwell. We’ve done many art shows in Melbourne and Singapore. As our profile improved we got more and more Australian artists on board. Names like Lisa Morgan, Sarah Hickey, Felicia Aroney, Miertje Skidmore, Kerry Armstrong. In early 2014 Indonesian artist John Martono started exhibiting with us. The quality, beauty and diversity of the art we exhibit is of the utmost importance to us.
Another funny thing is that in 2014 contestants on The Block television show have been buying art from us which prompted us to go full circle and start all over again publishing our own wall art prints through a separate business we set up called Artscope Fine Art Publishing. The whole wall art/print thing has made a huge resurgence as more and more people are looking for inexpensive (compared to original art) artworks for their walls.
We were up on top of the Dandenong Ranges at Fiveways Lokkout in Kalorama 2012-2014
In 2014 we did a pop up Tusk Gallery in a fabulous old grotty ex old fashioned supermarket. Huge space, huge job setting up on the cheap. Lots of fun.
We had been in Camberwell since 1986. A few years before we closed Camberwell we rented the shop space on Burke Rd to join with our Harold St space. It was great but the rent got so out of control that we eventually had to leave after 31 years.
So. here we are now in Melbourne’s outer east. Two levels of Gallery space plus a huge warehouse for our wall art prints.