In Conversation.

Jerico Tracey

 
Gallerist Jerico Tracy on art as a lifestyle and her personal creative palette. “I work a lot on intuition and I have a really open relationship with my artists.” “I wear a lot of blacks and whites … predominantly to not take away from the artwork.”
“I think a lot of the time people think it’s styling art for a room or something like that. But actually the word ‘curate’ comes from the Latin [phrase] ‘to care for’, and that extends beyond the normal context in a commercial space, because you also care for it throughout selling the work.” For Sydney-based gallery director, curator and consultant Jerico Tracy, the possibility of a career within the art realm was realised at an early age. “My mum used to take us overseas every year, we would go to Japan, Rome, etcetera. So from an early age I got the chance to travel and spend a lot of time in art galleries,” she explains. “Spending time in the Picasso museum in Paris when I was 14 or 15 really had an impact on me. It’s a beautiful building and the curatorial program changes quite often, and obviously he has such a huge body of work, so it was just really inspiring to be in that place.” Thanks to this formative creative immersion, Tracy pursued a specific educational pathway, studying art history before undertaking a master’s degree in art curation at Sydney University. Alongside her part time work at a local auction house, Tracy also received a scholarship to work at the iconic Christie’s London. “I was a staff member there so I got to work with some of the most amazing artworks in the world, and within the private sector they just go from private collection to private collection, so they’re only really on view for the auction for two weeks.”
The desire to establish a gallery space of her own felt like a necessary next step for Tracy. “I started working with [Danish artist] Christiane Spangsberg, and representing her. So then I was doing the art consulting, I think at one point I had 19 works in my one bedroom apartment so I needed to get an office. And then I thought if I can have an office that's safe enough to store art and just bring clients, maybe I should just open a gallery.” Tracy officially opened the doors to her Woolloomooloo space, Jerico Contemporary, in January 2017. “I think part of the ethos of the gallery is to make everyone feel welcome ... So we say hello when everyone walks in, and we have music playing so it's not a quiet space,” she explains. “I think that there's a perception that galleries can be really pretentious and unwelcoming, and we really want to change that. You can't be wrong when it comes to liking art.”

What do you look for in an artist if you want to represent them and their works?

Talent, originality and execution.


What do you seek out for your own personal art collection?

I have a lot of photography – I think it's a really underrated medium, at least commercially.


How do you feel your professional practice influences your personal style?

I have always preferred and opted for a neutral palette – I wear a lot of blacks and whites … predominantly to not take away from the artwork. I think that if I dressed in a really loud way, depending on where I am or what artist I'm working with, I could be a bit jarring.


What can we find you wearing on any given day?

A lot of denim and T-shirts, or denim and a dress shirt, because you can dress it up and down. Some days I might be installing or I need to be comfortable, but then I might be going to an event or having clients at the gallery so it's quite easy to wear pants and denim because it allows me to change my outfit quite quickly.


Is there a piece of advice that someone has given you over the years that you’ve found really valuable?

I think picking up the phone … People are really reluctant to answer the phone or give someone a call, and I think that's the easiest way to communicate so nothing gets lost in translation. It’s more immediate.


Do you ever have periods of self-doubt and, if so, how do you deal with it?

Not really when it comes to the gallery. I work a lot on intuition and I have a really open relationship with my artists … So I just work in a really natural way where everything's possible.

 

Is there a place in the world that you find to be particularly inspiring?

I always find Paris particularly inspiring ... it holds a lot of memories for me. I love that many of the galleries were the artist's home that have now been converted into a space.

 

What's your vision for the future of the gallery?

I think my dream for the gallery is to expand into different countries … I've been talking with a lot of people about doing gallery swaps so they would take this space and I'll take their space in New York or London. So that's the next plan for next year, and then I'll just take it as it comes.