The Houses

Small House Gallery Ext Dims OPEN CALL header.jpg

Quick notes on the Summer Open for Confirmed Artists:

When: 

EXHIBITION DATES: 1st – 31st AUGUST 2021

CUTOFF DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 3rd JULY

DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF DELIVERED WORKS: 17th JULY 2021 

(But preferably the week before!! Work arriving after the delivery deadline is not guaranteed to be shown, because curation will already have begun, but will be reviewed on a case by case basis)

Charges: £3.00 via PayPal.me/SmallHouseGallery would help towards covering the costs of running Small House Gallery. (If you honestly can’t pay that and still want to submit work, get in touch – we don’t want money to be a barrier)

DEADLINE FOR COLLECTING WORK AT THE END OF THE SHOW: 12TH SEPTEMBER 2021 (18:00 HRS)

(PLEASE arrange collection of your work by 6pm on 12th September the latest. We don’t have storage space to keep hold of it beyond that date, and we won’t be able to take 25 boxes of artworks up the hill on foot to the post office and piss off everyone behind us in the queue while we take up the counter for an hour – that’s probably not much of an exaggeration, either! – so if you want your work back, please liaise with the curator, and/or have a courier or a friend pick up from the address you sent the work to in June/July, or the studio, depending on dates/times of pick up. Thanks for understanding.)

The ‘properties’ in the Small House Gallery family:


SMALL HOUSE GALLERY ONE

Interior and exterior dimensions:

Scale of dollshouse is 1:12. There is flexible mains electric lighting fitted throughout = 3 x swivel spotlights per floor (12v)


NB: We expanded our family of Small House Galleries over the Winter lockdown. Small House Two is the same as Small House Gallery One (the iconic original) but with the addition of a lower ground (basement) floor and the possibility of improvising a fifth level on the roof.

We have also unexpectedly acquired a vintage handmade designer-pimped dolls house that we are calling Small House Cottage, which is actually the largest of the three houses, with two storeys, 8 bedrooms, generously proportioned stairwells and landings, two chimney-breasts, a built-in kitchen, large-print wallpaper and carpeting. We haven’t installed any lighting yet, and we might decide not to. It would suit work that can handle a certain kind of experimental approach to its display.

And, as if that weren’t exciting enough, we’re hosting Mac’s Garage (a toy made by artist Iain MacLaren’s father, long outgrown by Iain’s now teenaged son). While it’s in our studio, we’re calling that project Small House Garage; it’s a perfect little venue for indoor/’outdoor’ sculptural works, video on handheld devices, and miniature light installations.

(Preliminary pictures of the new ‘acquisitions’ are below; complete dimensions for all three will follow suit when time allows.)

Small House Gallery One still lives in the art studio, along with temporary micro pop-up Small House Garage (on the roof of the she-shed).

Small House Two and Small House Cottage are on display in the family kitchen of a private residence, therefore can only be viewed online.


SMALL HOUSE TWO

with its additional lower ground floor / basement:

(Above) Left: Small House Two having just been renovated with indoor lighting and a stucco frontage (or painted pebble-dashing) – it came with a black painted roof, which was impossible to remove, so we went with it, we think it looks good with the new frontage. We’ve kept the rubber wood trim unpainted (for now). Small House Two is currently residing on a kitchen table in a secure family home in South London. It’s too big for the current shared studio space. Right: Small House Two interiors, shown in full colour, with 6″ x 6″ paintings on paper by Edori Fertig (Meditations in Blue, 2021) in the top three floors, and furnished as a lobby / reception area in the lower ground floor extension.

(Above) Left: ‘God’s Eye View’ of the Small House Two basement annex (pre-renovations); Right: Front elevation view of the lower ground floor of Small House Two and the site office (before the decorators and electricians arrived)


SMALL HOUSE COTTAGE

Not as small as the title would suggest:

Bloomin’ ‘eck! Getting good photos of the Cottage has been proving challenging!

This is partly due to:

1) its large, awkward dimensions making it hard get it all in without letting in even more solar or ceiling light glare

2) the 2-sidedness and see-through-ness

3) its location (on an side table in a bright bay window in a family kitchen just big enough to fit it, and not big enough for it to be moved to a less problematic spot in terms of solar glare/lens flares

3b) those photographic glare problems don’t allow for a straightforward, low maintenance, low investment solution (enough free labour, sweat equity and pocket money go into the project already, so in a way getting any photos at all of the house is a miracle, but then again, it’s nice to at least try to make it look good / better).

4) the 2-sidedness makes it hard to neatly/discreetly install electrical lighting

We’ll crack the conundrum, eventually. We’re hoping you won’t let that stop you from picking up the gauntlet and wrestling creatively with this awkward but rewarding dolls house / micro gallery yourself.

Preliminary floor plans for Small House Cottage:


SMALL HOUSE GARAGE

(Below) Small House Garage (aka Mac’s Garage) is on indefinite / temporary loan to us and is perfect for even small scale sculpture, cell phone videos and tiny light installations. We are not certain of the scale yet. (It was hand made from scratch and may not consistently conform to any standard scale. Dimensions coming soon if we’ve still got it for, or beyond, the Big Small Summer Open)

Works seen in the sample photos are: Caduceus (pewter sculpture, by Victoria Rance), Voice Portrait of Seamus Heaney (spectrogram of the poet’s voice printed on acrylic cube, by Giovanna Iorio), Pincushion Snowplow (toy car turned pin cushion, by Liz Honeybone) and Miniature Museum (small found trinkets in decorated gum packaging by Edori Fertig)


FAQs

Q. Are there any fees for submitting or exhibiting?

A. We truly wanted to keep the project completely free to artists, and we managed to do so for the first 6 months of Small House’s lockdown revival.*

But we can no longer afford to offer this opportunity for free. We just can’t. We either charge a nominal fee (asking for tips/donations didn’t work) or we shut it down. We’re trying to get to the point where we’re attractive enough to arts funding bodies, or for corporate sponsorship, or ‘something’, but we’re not there yet. Maybe with double the amount of followers, or triple – not sure what it it’s going to take. The completely free model is unsustainable; we’re too far out of pocket for the the time, care, attention to detail, and unpaid labour, the wholly self funded purchases of parts/equipment/materials required to maintain even just the physical ‘buildings,’ not to mention the upkeep of the online stuff which is integral to the project’s survival.

So we’re charging a nominal fee for applying and a nominal amount to exhibit with us if selected. We want to keep it down to a fair and accessible amount, but we ask that if you can afford to give more, please do so generously.

FEES:
£3.00 to SUBMIT a PROPOSAL for a show.**
£15.00 (minimum) if SELECTED. (This second ask does not apply to the Summer Open)
(To pay, copy and paste this PayPal.me address into a search window >>>>> PayPal.me/smallhousegallery <<<<< )

We want to keep it low so that selected artists who are truly struggling will not be barred from showing work with us.
IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY MORE, PLEASE DO. That additional money can then be used to help another artist exhibit. It will help us keep the project ticking along more smoothly, less precariously, and potentially saves us from the need to resort to begging for donations or tips. We’re leaving it to you to decide what amount ‘more’ comes to.

We’re not trying to profit from artists. We’re trying to survive, same as many of you. We want to keep art alive in our everyday and connect with other artists around the world, promote their work to new audiences, expose them to new opportunities. We need to pay the studio rent and the unexpected expenses that arise for the project along the way. We’ll have to trust people not to take advantage of our good intentions for this low fee honour system structure. (We’ll just have to shut it down if that happens. There’s nothing to be gained in feeling exploited or martyred. Championing art is important, but not at the expense of our wellbeing and self respect, so please be cool and on board with the social contract here.)

*(The project started in 2016 and, yep, it was free back then too, but it was more of a personal project – open only to artist friends who never got to take advantage of the opportunity before it got literally shelved on top of a wardrobe and forgotten about. We began renovations late into the first Covid lockdown out of sheer boredom, and then the first Open Call went live just before the second lockdown began.)

**(Additional donations or tips are always appreciated and definitely help towards the project’s overall upkeep. We still haven’t come near to breaking even in terms of personal financial investment which is why we are otherwise unable to be able to afford to continue.)

Q. Do you take commission on artwork sales?

A. If you are lucky enough to sell any of the works through or as a result of your Small House Gallery exhibition, we would appreciate a commission of 20% for that/those sale/s. If a sale comes through to you and the buyer mentions having seen it on our website or social media platforms, we would be really chuffed if you would honour that arrangement, but we cannot and would not want to enforce such a thing. It’s really just a nominal courtesy, and would help towards admin and running costs. If you would like to offer a higher commission in line with what ‘real’ galleries take (35-75%), we wouldn’t say no, but that’s only if you’re feeling super flush and want to be mega-generous! In our experience 20% feels fair all round, and we’re operating on an ‘honour-system’ rather than demanding a contractual obligation. That may evolve and change in future, but for now, it’s pretty loose and easy.

Q. Is there a deadline for submissions?

A. At the moment there is no deadline for submitting.

We are unable to take submissions for solo shows at the is time.

We were actually going to close the project down in January 2022 due to lack of funding and overwork, but instead decided to cut the shows down to one per month (instead of three) and are still going applying for funding to help with this. It means that all the artists that were chock-a-block booked between September (after the Summer Open) until January (when we were going to re-evaluate, and maybe have to close down) are all going to be spread out from September 2021 to September 2022, one artist per month, and see how we get on with that.

(July 2021 was the last month of carrying on with 3 solo shows a month. Burnout was imminent and probably inevitable working at that pace for no pay.)

Q. Where is Small House Gallery based?

A. Mainly, it’s based in the online webosphere. But for purposes of sending your work and viewing it, currently it’s in a (lockable) she-shed (an ex-darkroom) within a shared art studio in South London (UK), off the tube line but well-served by loads of buses and a near to handful of overland train stations. It occasionally will travel to other exhibition spaces at the invitation of curators for group shows and open house events. You will be informed in advance if the Small House will be exhibited in another 3D space during your show’s proposed timeline, or if an opportunity to show in another gallery arises while your work is being shown; it will not be moved to another location without your knowledge and explicit consent.

Q. I am an artist based abroad. I am interested in sending a proposal for the Small House Gallery. Do you accept proposals if the work is shipped? Or must the artist be present and install the work?

A. Yes, absolutely, if you can make sure all shipping and customs costs (including insurance) are covered. And if you have definite installing needs and send clear instructions with your initial proposal and even more explicit instructions with the shipped work, then you shouldn’t need to be present.

Not currently taking submissions for solo shows due to lack of funding to continue beyond this year (2021).

Q. I want to show video(s) in the Small House. Do you have projectors, tablets or phones I could use for my exhibition?

A. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not. Artists need to supply their own equipment for showing video*, and to ensure that they are in good working order for the initial shoot, at the very least. Since the show lives predominantly online, this may be enough time to secure your show in viewers’ imaginations, and on the website for posterity, even if the physical ‘real life’ show can’t be sustained for longer than that due to lack of handheld screens or whatever. You can perhaps source devices from sites like Gumtree, or a local neighbourhood network (ie. the Next Door App), or borrow from friends and relatives, or even try to secure a loan or sponsorship from one of the makers or suppliers of the devices themselves. If it’s just for a limited time period, it’s not unheard of. There may also be the possibility of finding a/v equipment in an online swap shop forum, lending library or hiring club — these definitely do exist out there for borrowing/hiring/renting art-making tools and film-making equipment. You’d have to meet certain criteria – invigilation, security, insurance – but it’s doable. (For example, if you’re in Wales, you could try artsconnection.org.uk. For London there’s fatllama.com/.)

*(We can only accept digital equipment if you are sending it by domestic post from within the UK. Sorry.)

Q: Do I have to post my work to you? Can’t I just send digital files for you to upload them to the website?

A. You can only send digital files as supporting documentation for your application and for us to use as promotional material for your show, but the physical works need to get here as well.

Even if the work is digital in nature, decide how it’s to be shown – prints? video? other? then send the physical works, and if necessary, the means to show them as you wish them to be viewed. You can also send your small screen devices such as old mobile/cell phones, or mini projectors, or whatever it is to show digital works with (but not if sending from overseas – see above question).

Any devices or equipment need to fit in the Small House spaces or be physically attached to the house somehow without damaging the structure.

We cannot provide small-screen devices or mini-projectors to show your work for you.** Maybe at some point in the future, if we are able to get sponsorship or a grant this will change and we’ll be able to purchase something along those lines(?) but for now, it’s a ‘nope’. If anything changes in that regards, we will announce it here.

**(We have done this once, but only because we were lent a projector for a certain period by an artist who had just showed with us, and we were able to offer an overseas artist a show of projected works when his physical show fell through due to extenuating circumstances, and the timings of the two exhibitions happened to coincide.)

Q. Can I send digital files to you for you to print out, do I need to print them myself and post hardcopies to you?

A. As we are not a funded gallery, we can’t afford to pay to print out copies of the works from files you send us. If you send us money to cover it (plus fees for time and labour involved in finding printers for you and organising deliveries) then perhaps we can help out, but it’s definitely preferable that you do all that admin and legwork and just post the finished product to the gallery.

Q. I can’t afford the submission fees, or the printing of my work, or the postage/insurance/customs taxes to get my work to you. Can I still apply?

A. Right now we are are not accepting proposals for solo shows, but if this changes in future:

If there is a financial need barring you from participating, get in touch, and if we have enough support from other artists’ contributions to cover costs for you, we will do our best to help. Unfortunately at the moment we have no funding and there aren’t enough artist contributions to cover running costs, but this might change.

If you have any questions, concerns or requests, you can get in touch >>>>here<<<<.

Q. Will there be a preview and closing party for my Small House Gallery exhibition?

A. Not at this time, sorry. If this changes, you will be informed and announcements made.

Q. How long will the Small House Project be going on for?

A. For as long as it lasts. Several months, maybe a few years, we’ll see! It depends on how long we can sustain it as a self funded venture, or whether we are able to secure financial support through collaborative sponsorship or a grant of some kind.

UPDATE: Until January 2022 (unless we are able to get funding). Check back in October/November 2021 to see if we are accepting applications for shows in the New Year (2022)

UPDATE 2: We will now be able to show one show per month from September 2021 until September 2022. But the calendar is fully booked.

Q. I want to propose an intervention that could destroy the surfaces or integral structure of the Small House Gallery. Would that be accepted?

A. Destruction of the Small House Gallery would be a very undesirable and upsetting outcome, and is therefore is highly discouraged. All damages would need to be paid for and made good again by you, and could result in your having to foot the bill for it being expertly remade to a high enough standard from scratch (then repainted and re-wired properly) which would not be cheap. Replacing the house alone costs between £600 and £1500 (depending on if it’s Small House Gallery One or Small House Two, and that’s not counting the electrics and decor, materials and labour.
Some interventions, however, might be open for consideration as long as they do not risk or cause permanent damage to the surfaces or structure of the Small House Gallery, or if they do risk, imply or intend permanent damage or destruction, contractual assurances would need to be agreed with regards to costs of making good again, or replacing and re-fitting/decorating to a high standard the gallery so that it is restored to exactly the state it was in before the application was submitted and agreed. The cost of which would be determined as and when such a proposal is submitted and accepted by Small House Gallery, and if the terms are agreeable to you, we’ve got ourselves a show.
(Looking at you, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Wilson, Cornelia Parker.)

UPDATE – since we are not taking proposals at the moment, it’s best to strike all the above waffle out… But someday, maybe Rachel Whiteread or Cornelia Parker will want to do something extraordinarily small with us. You never know…

Further questions? Get in touch.

Socials / Fb @SmallHouseGallery / insta @small_house_gallery / twit @Small_House_G_