The Almogan Art Gallery was founded by my girlfriend Limor and I, in Rishpon village in Israel.
In February 1997, after a few months of renovations and preparations, we officially opened the gates of the gallery to the public. We exhibited and sold works of both acclaimed and emerging artists.
As the owner of the gallery, I had the privilege of having my own permanent exhibition space and we also built a cool shack in the yard as my studio. Exhibiting my fresh and even ‘wet works’ directly from the easel was exciting.
I loved interacting with the different characters who entered the gallery and learned both the positive and negative distracting effects of observers’ feedback.
One day I was approached by a lady and her daughter, who were hooked up on one of my paintings. They complimented me for my vision, originality and composition and mentioned it is fairly priced.
Then, they asked me to produce the exact work at the same size, only with Brown colors instead of Green, so it would suit the furniture in their living room. While knowing that some artists make a living by commissions, I was personally quite in shock. I replied politely that I cannot, and went out to the garden to relax.
I was traumatized by this and such other events, realizing that nobody really cares about my soul and subconscious, nor about my visions and the ideals I’m trying to deliver. Most people just look at my work as a design item that either fits into their decorated home or not.
That comprehension was one of the reasons I looked for other sources of income, developed an investment career and kept painting mostly for myself.
The gallery was a great experience, but financially wise, it was always on the edge.
When the landlord informed us that the local municipality is taking over our garden in order to broaden the main road, we knew it’s time to leave and move on.
Working in the gallery was my first significant exposure to the art world. I gained valuable curating experience, as we selected and curated a variety of artists and exhibitions. I learned the ‘secrets of the trade’ of the experienced artists we worked with and whom I thought highly of, and most importantly my self recognition as a genuine artist was formed.
We named the gallery after the Almogan tree, the Hebrew name of Erythrina coralloides (coral flame tree), as its red coral like flowers blossomed in the gallery garden.