Karel Stoop is an interesting DeKamer coworker. He has been part of the community since January 1, 2013 – so we are getting ready to celebrate 10 years together! Karel is a life-long artist and also the founder and director of Galeria Zero, a contemporary art curator and promoter of international art events. His organisation promotes and encourages visual artists through exhibitions and other relevant resources.
Despite the perception that only startup and tech companies make use of coworking spaces, Karel proves otherwise. Art and creatives also belong in coworking spaces!
Before the start of Galeria Zero, Karel was an artist himself (and still is). He promoted his art and over time started recruiting other artists to promote their art with him, in a group or community. Exhibitions in the way he executes them now, took form when Karel started promoting different artists at the same time.
What is Galeria Zero?
Galeria Zero is a service for physical and contemporary artists to promote themselves by means of international art exhibitions. The organisation is a bridge for artists who are trying to increase exposure of their work, offering them the opportunity to collaborate with others in the industry and showcase their talents to a wider market. Galeria Zero curates and facilitates a number of exhibitions for artists in the hub.
“Every year we organise a few,” says Karel “but obviously during the pandemic it was more difficult.” Before the pandemic the exhibitions were global and hosted in countries like the United States and China. “Now, we are more focused in the European space,” Karel explains.
The previous year their largest event was held in Berlin. In the past couple of months they also had an event in Venice. This year (2022) has picked up momentum, with many events lined up including some taking place in Berlin, Madrid and also Paris.
How can artists get involved?
Karel works with many international groups. To be part of the exhibition an artist must first submit their work to Galeria Zero. Karel and team will then decide if the artist’s work is a good fit and whether or not they can perform or display their art.
The submission process works in the following way:
- First, an artist submits their work through the Galeria Zero website.
- After that, Karel and his team examine the work and approve it to be displayed at the art exhibition.
“Almost all types of art are accepted for the exhibition: painting, photography, sculptures, and even performance arts,” says Karel.
Once Karel has examined all of the submitted artworks, he creates a concept that ties all of the pieces to an inspired theme for the display.. After the theme has been decided on, the creation of the art exhibition is set in motion.
“The only critique in my process is that they are professional artists and that I identify with their work somehow,” says Karel.
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Galeria Zero during the pandemic
During the pandemic, many businesses struggled financially and some even closed their doors. Despite the challenging and uncertain time, Galeria Zero managed to still keep their doors open.
“Though, it was difficult, economically,” admits Karel. Still, he was able to have some successful exhibitions during this time, which kept him afloat. Another approach he took was to create catalogues and magazines for additional income.
During the years art has shifted to become more online, so some aspects of Galeria Zero were not lost. Though, Karel explains, having an in-person experience is far more valuable.
The pandemic gave him plenty of time to prepare for future exhibitions.
The most exciting part of his job
Karel considers himself a fortunate man. “What I enjoy most about my job is all of the people I get to meet from different countries and different cultures,” Karel says. He also enjoys creating art for the exhibitions and being part of it.
Problem solving is also a great deal of his daily tasks and he enjoys the challenge. “There are many challenges that we have to face, especially with customers,” Karel explains. Being a creative person and running a business is part of the challenge, but Karel admits that he loves doing both.
In closing, Karel says that “attending an art exhibition is something amazing.” He continues to describe it as an interactive way to experience art, “which is something you cannot experience online”.