December 2007, Interview with Yasha Young of Strychnin Gallery

Chris Osburn Interviews Yasha Young of Strychnin Gallery

With locations in New York and Berlin, it was only a matter of time before dark art peddlers, Strychnin Gallery, set up camp in London. Just in time for Halloween 2007, Strychnin's East London gallery near Brick Lane opened with "Kings and Queens and Childhood Dreams," a group show featuring works by the following international artists: Beth Robinson, Madeline von Foerster, John Santerineross, Francois Escalmel, Kevin Titzer, Scott Radke, Ansgar Noeth, Dan Quintana, Virginie Ropars, Chris Sickels, Christopher Owen, Lisa Mei Ling Fong, David Stoupakis, Angie Mason, Christina Graf, David Hochbaum, Claudia Drake, Daniel Van Nes, Raf Veulemans, Richard Kirk, Tim Roosen, Lori Field, Chet Zar, Ver Mar, Kristen Ferrell, Catalina Estrada, Alexander Sterzel, Sylvia Beeman, Wayne Martin Belger Chris von Steiner, Brian Horton, Matthew Bone, Natalie Shau, Danielle De Picciotto, Gothic Hangman, Jason Jacenko, Manuel Cortez, Elmer Presslee, Marc Janssens, Lesley Reppeteaux, Scott Holloway, Viktor Koen, Maria d'Agostino, Miraschi, Chantal Menard, Seymour, Kukula, Mimi S., Bijou, Diva, Laurie Lipton.

Also on hand for the event was Strychnin Gallery Managing Director, Yasha Young, with whom I conducted the following interview about her decision to open in London.

- How would you differentiate a "Strychnin artist" from other artists, types of art?

I think the main difference for a Strychnin artists is the collaborative effort that is behind the entire Strychnin idea - our artists are always collaborating with one another and move fluently from city to city and country to country knowing they have always a place to stay and a place to work and show wherever we place them or they want to go. There is an extra ordinary level of commitment to the work and to growth - there is an edge to their work and the mediums they use.

- So, why London and why now?

London has been calling us for some time now and after experiencing several shows that I was part of or worked on I decided, 'this is it - let's go for it!' and when I found the space I was convinced -also the market there has still this hunger to experience the new, the unusual and the wanting to get out there and discover new artists whilst often in other venues discovering and encouraging new work or a new artist is no longer part of the mission. It seems too much of a risk and too much investment.

- How's London different than Berlin and New York?

NYC, with the new concept, has become the place where I am showing group shows - mixes from artists from all over the world to show them to a new market and to introduce buyers to the unknown. In conjunction with the music industry and the film industry, we are creating the ultimate experience for the first time next year in the summer!

Berlin will be always dedicated to breaking new people into the traditional market and giving them the prestige and the ability to be able to say that they have successfully shown in one of the most progressive and difficult cities with respect to art and new art movements at the moment. London is the place to show when you have successfully conquered the other two - and I am saying that with a smile.

- What was the inspiration behind the "Kings and Queens and Childhood Dreams" exhibition?

It was a homage to the UK and their Royalty and my introduction of all these amazing artists - an idea to see what US artists would create and what their take would be on a culture that is completely different or unknown to them - all of this of course with a twist - and for the second downstairs show the idea of how once dreams come true they do not always turn out the way we hoped to - and how difficult it all can be and will be and the idea of what happens when parents leave the room and we are left alone with the monsters under out beds and the ghosts on the ceilings and the whispers in the closet?

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is an American transplant living in London where he has a blast working as a freelance photographer, writer, consultant, blogger and more. 

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