Inga Irvine opened her art gallery, North 55 Falmouth, with the help of a £6,500 Start up Loan.
North 55 Falmouth brings together the original work of UK artists in a vibrant mix of painting, mixed media and bespoke jewellery. North 55 aims to sell high quality original art and collectables at affordable prices. As an alternative to mass produced art, North 55’s products are either crafted or chosen in house to “provoke thought, emotion and imagination.”
Having worked as teacher and having gone through a divorce, Inga decided that she couldn’t carry on with her job and look after her two girls at the same time, so consequently decided to set up North 55 Falmouth with her new partner Jack. Her entire family has an artistic background, with her brother having been exhibited in the Tate Modern and mother also an artist, so setting up a gallery was a natural choice.
Inga, an abstract artist herself, and partner Jack create the works that are on sale in the gallery (described as “almost three dimensional in nature”), which are inspired by both memories and the Cornish landscape. North 55 is primarily aimed at the younger market compared to many other galleries that are higher end and tend to target older or wealthier demographics. Furthermore Inga has made it a primary focus of North 55 to maintain a local connection within many of the pieces exhibited and sold from the gallery.
In addition to artwork alternative household items, like chopping boards and benches, as well as jewellery are available alongside a household range made from locally sourced soaps, waxes, candles and cushions. The latter range is primarily in the store to provide sales during the quiet winter months. By contrast summer sees heavy sales, with tourists being a major buyer of the artworks, including those from Europe, where North 55 has exported to before.
Recently hotels in the Middle East have been in contact looking to purchase Inga’s artwork and she has also been invited to exhibit in Dubai. Inga believes this is primarily because her works fits well in contemporary spaces as they are big, vibrant and edgy. The fact that the work is her own means she can undercut other galleries who have to add a premium to paintings by external artists.
In 2016 Inga bought husband and mother ‘onboard’ too so it has turned into a truly family business. They purchased a van at Christmas to keep up with local demand for their art and have had large works purchased by three big hotels in the town as well as elsewhere! Works continue to sell worldwide and they have quite a following in Germany. They also had their third child in 2016 too, ensuring they are kept busy.