A brief history
Gecko Studio Gallery is owned and operated by Kerry Spokes and Michael Lester. We are situated at 15 Falls Rd, Fish Creek between 9 Acres café and the Fish Creek Community hall. We opened for business on the January 8, 2007 after 5 months of set-up. The building was once a drapery with a lovely old floor and four metre long display case and counter. We have a zipper bar from the drapers which we would love to use as a brush stand but we don’t have the space for it. There is a good vibe about the building and a lovely vista of the gardens opposite.
We view the business as having six main aspects – exhibitions, framing, art materials, jewellery and gift items, art workshops and Gecko Studio Gallery art products.
At Gecko Studio Gallery we aim to showcase a wide variety of contemporary art forms mixing local artists with invited artists from Melbourne and beyond. Exhibitions have ranged from acrylics, oil paintings, watercolours and drawings through to pin-hole camera photography, marbled paper, chicken wire sculptures, paper collage, glass, stitched and painted silk and, of course, printmaking. We love printmaking in all its many forms.
Our reputation is growing and we find we are being approached by more and more artists while we have our list of artists we are seeking to exhibit with us.
Our first opening
Exhibition #1 – Neil Stanyer helped us out with photographs of the Australian bush which was great as we didn’t have anything planned when we first opened – there was too much else to think of. We had our official opening on February 18 2007, in +40°C heat where we opened our next exhibition titled ‘Decorated Paste Papers’ by Michael Lester. Col Suggett, sculptor and designer from Venus Bay, gave a speech “celebrating the conditions and outlook in this part of the world that allows the creation of such vibrant multi faceted art businesses such as Gecko Studio Gallery”. Col complimented us on the presentation of the gallery and the framing of the artworks on exhibition.
With the exception of two early exhibitions, each exhibition is represented on the Exhibitions page of our website with the artist’s CV, artist statement and some images from the show. We now have a group show each year on a theme – 2008 saw ‘Piece de Resistance’ where artists put forward a special work each, 2009 was Pattern where the artists had to do pattern artwork on five small canvases we gave them, 2010 was assemblage, 2011 was a show on the theme of ‘Opposites Attract’, etc
We always have an exciting line-up of artists booked into the next year. The next three exhibitions are always outlined in our monthly newsletter. Exhibition openings are on the third Sunday of each month between 2 and 5pm, and all are welcome.
At the rear of the gallery is our stock room where there are selected works by artists from previous exhibitions and a large range of prints in folios at reasonable prices – excellent for gifts.
The Gecko Studio Gallery newsletter is posted on our website on the second weekend of each month but there is a mailing list where we send out an alert email with a link to the website whenever we have posted the latest newsletter. We promote our next exhibition, talk a little about what else is happening in the gallery and then promote exhibitions, events and concerts throughout the district. We welcome material about upcoming events being sent to us.
We connect with our community through hosting Prom Coast Arts Council meetings (Michael is President and Kerry is Vice-President), visits from the local cubs, Fish Creek Primary students, Sth Gippsland Secondary College art students and local art groups from Bass Coast Shire, Courthouse Gallery in Yarram and the Fish Creek Art Group. We sponsor the Prom Coast Arts Council Inc’s ‘Great Southern Portrait Prize’, set up an annual artistic endeavour award for a Year 12 VCE student at South Gippsland Secondary College and donate to various community and sporting groups. We also work closely with the other galleries in Fish Creek and the surrounding area.
On a personal level, since starting this business we have never been so busy in our lives. We are so fortunate though to be doing what we love. We get to meet so many interesting people, host a new and exciting exhibition each month and all in beautiful Fish Creek in South Gippsland.
Plans for the future? In the years to come, we plan to have trained staff taking over a certain portion of the day to day running of the business so we can concentrate on Gecko art works – Kerry’s art, cards and tile designs and Michael’s work on the tiles and a return to his bookbinding roots to make items for sale in the gallery. Kerry’s artwork is an integral part of her business so anything she produces is translated into art cards, decorated tiles, prints and original artworks for sale.
We joke that with four galleries in Fish Creek that we reckon we may have more galleries per head than say, New York. It sounds good so no-one could be bothered to test the mathematics. We also say that Fish Creek boasts one automatic door over in the Celia Rosser Gallery and that’s how we like it. In the last few years Fish Creek has steadily developed a name as an ‘arty’ town with a good feel about it, a place to stop a while and soak up the atmosphere and the vibe. We are pleased to be part of that atmosphere and vibe.
At Gecko Studio Gallery we aim to present a wide variety of contemporary art forms mixing local artists with invited artists from Melbourne and beyond. Exhibitions have ranged from acrylics, oil paintings, watercolours and drawings through to pin-hole camera photography, marbled paper, chicken wire sculptures, paper collage, glass, stitched and painted silk and, of course, printmaking. We love printmaking in all its many forms.
Our reputation is growing and we find we are being approached by more and more artists while we have our list of artists we are seeking to exhibit with us. We have a selection process for artists approaching us for an exhibition.