Christer Domeij had a career in the financial sector but grew increasingly tired with the black-and-white philosophy. Nowadays, he is a familiar face in Vasastan, Stockholm, attracting art lovers with the figurative paintings of Domeij Gallery.
Christer trace two central pillars of his life to one and the same party. That evening, there were plenty of artists present who gave him a healthy reflection on life goals; far from the right-or-wrong and money dominated mentality he was used to. Artist Annika Johansson was one of the artists that Christer chit-chatted with that evening. Today, they live together and Annika just finished a solo show with the gallery to give room to another great artist Kristoffer Axén show.
Was falling in love with Annika the single reason you started the gallery?
No, but she certainly influenced me. I didn’t know the art market but as a team we knew artists and that enabled me to take a chance.
If you open a restaurant you need to invest in plenty of inventory, hire a lot of employees and so on. With a gallery, it isn't really a lot deep-wallet investments needed. The really tough part is to select and attract the artists. For that I have friends who advise, and my partner helps out a great deal. Of course, I pick the bits that I personally enjoy!
How would you describe your role? Is it as an editor or a manager?
More as a manager that package, market and display the art; and fight to sell it.
Whoever purchase art should value that an artist could actually have worked with the the piece for a very long time. Quality art must be allowed to cost a little. We value other crafts, and to paint is certainly a craft.
What do you enjoy the most?
I love meeting the artists. Their rationale is different and how they put value to things. Then there is the customer - those who pop into my gallery. They need to be taken care of and cultivated in a different way. To mix the business side and the artistic calling gives me a rush.
How does it work when you start collaborating with an artist?
Nowadays it's rather simple with social media and the Internet. If I discover an artist I usually ping him or her directly, and set up a time for a first studio visit.
I have realised that the artists must be allowed to create whatever they want, that always turns out best for both of us. I don’t set out to control but it's difficult to fully let you as I have to consider that the work have to sell by the end of the day.
What is the foremost challenge for you?
People that appreciate art value something that most people don’t recognise. The most difficult part is getting into the people who prefer to buy a poster or the ones that spends tonnes of money on other lifestyle indulgences. Education is a big part. You have to educate people constantly to create an appetite. To be honest, could say that I have figured out the best approach. Yet!