What is Guts Gallery?

Guts Gallery is an art gallery who supports underrepresented contemporary voices, through initiating relationships between established and emerging artists, creating a platform and support system they are often denied.

Why did you feel the need to create a new gallery?

The distribution of wealth within the arts operates on a model which mirrors that of wider social austerity; it disproportionately benefits people who do not experience racial oppression, gender or class discriminations, this has to change. The traditional structure that most galleries work in accordance with needs to be refreshed and updated. The art world is falling behind compared to other industries, and I am not prepared to follow a tradition.

Would you say you are an outsider of the art world?

That's quite a hard question to answer, I guess because I went to an art university I am not an outsider. However, I do feel my background and financial position has made accessing this world difficult.

© Ellie Pennick - Founder

Why the name Guts?

To have Guts to do something and to go with my Gut feeling, its to the point, no messing.

Can you explain what sort of inequality you experienced in the art world/ system personally?

There is still undeniable misogyny in the art world. There are a lot of female gallery directors at the moment, which is fantastic, but the white, straight, older male is still predominant. It’s tough, a lot of people don’t take me that seriously, for other reasons besides my gender as well, but there is still a struggle, you just have to look at the percentages to see!

What’s your long term aim?

I tend not to think about that, I take it day by day, having a long term aim can be detrimental, as everything changes so quickly.

Have you seen any progress (re underrepresented groups) since you started in the art world?

Because Grass root galleries and collectives are proving to larger institutions, it is possible to represent and support underrepresented artists, institutions have upped their game. But there is still a long way to go.  

What is the process for artists who want to get involved with Guts? Do you find artists or do artists often come to you?

It is a two-way thing, I find artists on Instagram or email them, and they do the same with me.

Who are some artists that we should keep an eye on?

Shadi Al-Atallah, Corbin Shaw, Lucia Ferrari, Daisy Parris, Lydia Blakeley, Douglas Cantor, Trackie McLeod and all the artists I have worked with, who you can find on our Instagram.

Daisy Parris
©Lucia Ferrari

You have just recently done an Instagram-only exhibition - ‘When shit hits the fan’ do you mind telling us how that came about and if you think this could be the future of exhibiting?

All of Guts Gallery's upcoming exhibitions have been either cancelled or postponed, I had phone calls with artists who were panicking about income and having no other choice but to go onto universal credits. I could of either sat in isolation waiting until this blew over or put my ethos of supporting underrepresented contemporary voices into action by navigating this set back through a digital Instagram exhibition.  This could well be the future of exhibiting, however, nothing can beat a physical exhibition.

© Kate Dunn
© Corbin Shaw

Being an artist did you ever imagine that you would create a gallery?

No way,  I never studied business so I am teaching myself everything from scratch. I have been brought up to be vocal about when I think something is wrong, and to put that voice into action. I think that mindset has got me into the position I am in now.

© Guts Gallery

Do you continue to practise art?

Unfortunately, I do not have time to carry on creating artwork. I miss it so much but helping other people/artists is more important to me at the moment.

For teens who want to go into the art world, do you mind telling us a bit about your journey and education?

Instead of going to my local college after secondary school in North Yorkshire, I applied and somehow got a place at Leeds College of Art. I worked my arse off washing pots to afford the train fare there and back. It was worth it, the tutors there taught us at University level and inspired me to move and study art in London. I applied to Chelsea College of Art, got in and studied my degree there for three years. After leaving university in the Summer of 2017, I was accepted onto a Sculpture Masters course at the Royal College of Art. However, due to limited funds, I was unable to study there. This spurred me on to think about how I could create a business venture that could benefit other struggling artists like myself.

Who do you admire in the art world and why?

The artists I work with and the Guts Gallery team, their drive, talent and determination for change in the art world are the very reason why Guts exist. It is such a privilege to work alongside them, they are an inspiration to me.

Guts Gallery Team

Many teens find art unapproachable and too complex, what would your advice be for them to get more comfortable?

This is something Guts Gallery is challenging. Art should be accessible to everyone and shouldn't make people feel this way. My advice would be to try and look past the bullshit, view artwork for what it is and who the artist is. Ignore the complex arty-farty worded press releases and enjoy the exhibitions, art is to be enjoyed and you have every right to have a place in the art world and don't let anyone make you feel like you don't.

"My advice would be to try and look past the bullshit, view artwork for what it is and who the artist is. Ignore the complex arty-farty worded press releases and enjoy the exhibitions"

For more check out:


Guts Gallery on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/guts_gallery/

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