By Fiona Green
Andrew Coningsby owns the Coningsby Gallery and Début Art, at 30 Tottenham Street, with Helen Driver as Gallery Manager plus a staff of eleven.
“I was always interested in art at school,” says Andrew “but when I left, I worked as a suit for three years handling millions. Eventually I wanted to be involved in something more creative, so I decided on this enterprise.
“My first venture was Début Art from home in the mid 80s and I moved here in 1994. The place already had a reputation as ‘Shirtsleeves’ with Nancy Fouts and Malcolm Fowler and I moved into their unique space, which fits us well.
“As the name suggests, Début Art takes the best of what is new and helps the artist get it out there.
“We are unusual in that we specialise in exhibitions for commercial illustrators. From a vast data base we hold of leading company commissioners – which has grown through personal contact over the years – we match our artists. Last year, we expanded and took on Helen as manager.”
“I was working in India in Illustration and Graphic Design”, Helen says, “with a company represented by Début Art, so I knew of their reputation before I joined. Some work I did then was used by the NHS in Britain to make medical stuff accessible and fun. I went to art school in Cambridge and freelanced as a graphic designer, helping curate or write reviews for News International, Creative Review and Eye.
“For the future I’m planning a relaunch of our website which provides access to the artists we represent, as well as ongoing exhibitions of their work here.”
“For fine artists,” Andrew continues, “we offer our gallery space as a starting place to show their work at reasonable prices, which begin from around £800 a week for a first Show. David Downton, the famous fashion illustrator sold most of his first show here and now he is a serious name in the business. Other names with us are Vince McIndoe, Helen Brough, Guy Reid and Dave White whose show is coming up in April.”
‘Americana’: An exhibition of new work by renowned artist and illustrator Dave White.
The exhibition runs between 11th – 30th April 2011, Monday – Friday,
9.00am – 6pm & Saturday 16th April, 10.00am – 5.00pm
The Coningsby Gallery 30 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RJ