Artist Ronald Draper officially opened #TheDraperSpace to the public on Saturday, April 4th. Mr. Refined Magazine had the privilege to attend the private viewing party. Though located in the Bronx, the space is reminiscent of the Chelsea art scene in the 1980s, industrial on the exterior and all things pop art on the interior. The building houses other creative artists. Sculptures, prints, oil works, and furniture pieces line the corridor for an eclectic mix that is visually orgasmic.
Attendees included: Sharene and Guy Wood of Harlem Haberdashery & 5001 Flavors, Kells Barnett of Harlem Haberdashery, Guy Wood Jr. of Harlem Haberdashery, and designer Terry Winston. For more pictures from the event, click here.
We had a chance to talk with Ron about his gallery space, collection, and opening.
Mr. Refined (MR): What was your inspiration for this collection?
Ronald Draper (RD): The pieces on display aren’t of one collection. Some are brand new, some are a few months old. This arrangement was showing the many ways I can do things artistically. You have hanging work, direct installations, furniture, creative electronic installations and a few other creative ventures.
MR: What is the back story for “Life Is?”
RD: The “Life is” collection was the collection that I used to raise the money needed for the initial costs of #TheDraperSpace. After doing so many and realizing how people responded to them, I thought it made sense for me to create my own. You have lived your entire life up to this point for this moment. Everything that you have done, seen, heard, said, and thought of is why you are in this very moment.
MR: What is the story behind “Don’t Come Here to be Average?”
RD: That happened by accident. That piece was the drop cloth that I had used up until the opening day of #TheDraperSpace. After the last few pieces, I wanted to do something to commemorate everything that came before the opening and begin a new chapter of #RonaldDraperART. So the way I closed that chapter was to retire the drop cloth. I chose that quote because of how much I despise the idea of being average. If I wanted to be average, I wouldn’t be where I am now. My studio would not even exist if I settled for average. And now that I’m here, I definitely don’t come here to be average.
MR: Please tell our readers about the history of the blazer and its significance in every exhibit.
RD: The red one on display now was from my first solo exhibition. Before every show (excluding the Grand Opening), I have a 5001 Flavors custom blazer made to wear. I embrace style and its rightful place in the art world. Menswear has a presence in everything that I do. For the days that I’m running around in sweats, sneakers, etc., I still want that presence to be shown.
MR: The Keith Haring inspired piece just makes me want to smile. What was the thought process behind that piece?
RD: The original idea was a bit different, but I’m glad that I switched it up. I’ve always wanted do a piece that was directly bolted in to the wall, so I took the opportunity. Keith Haring has been my favorite artist since I can remember. So why not start off with something KH inspired? That and his figure gave me something fun to cut out of wood.
MR: Is your gallery meant to be a Keith Haring inspired “Pop Shop?” By that, can the public come and purchase pieces off the wall or do they need to bid?
RD: No bids needed. First come, first serve on the availability of displayed work. If you come in and you like what you see, feel free to purchase. If what you want is already sold, then lets step into my “office” and start the process of building something custom for you.
MR: Is your gallery open to the public? If so, what hours can they view the collection? Where can our readers stay up to date on your latest events?
RD: As of April 4th, it is now open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday, Thursdays, and Saturdays: 12-6pm. All other times will be by appointment only. Check the website for any change in hours.
MR: What’s next for Ron Draper?
RD: Working, working, and more working. I am developing myself as a gallery owner, artist, and art teacher. What may come of it, you may never know, but I DO know that I can’t live without trying!
*Hint hint: Mother’s Day art workshops are on the way*
For more about Ron Draper and his gallery, the first and only black owner of an art gallery in the Bronx, stay tuned to: RonaldDraperART.com.
The Draper Space
175 Walnut Ave (btwn 135th & 136th Streets)
2nd Floor, Suite 212
Bronx, New York 10454