Our Guest Editors Unit London

By Jo Phillips

When you are having a cup of tea and you hear about an art gallery in a shop, no, not a white cubed space of a shop but a shop on a high street; not a retail space that became a gallery but a retail space that was simply used as a gallery on Chiswick high street of all places; well you have got to smile haven’t you. You have to think to yourself, well someone has got some chutzpah.
So, well it had to be investigated, didn’t it? So it turns out that two young gents in 2013, Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt, who were art students in the same class, wanted to do a group show for themselves plus another 12 emerging artists, so they created their own. The show, titled “Looking for U”, was the beginning of a journey with the aim of putting the people back at the heart of the art experience.

Over the past 12 years, Joe and Jonny have built a gallery with an audience of millions (via several locations like Soho’s Wardour street or Hanover Street in the heart of Mayfair), both online and in their gallery spaces in Soho and Covent Garden. They promote, develop and sell their artists’ work and are always in close communication with them, all with the goal of exposing innovative artists to a 21st-century audience. By now, they are amongst the youngest gallerists in London.

Inspired by Joe and Jonny’s journey, we created the Unity Issue from the things they love and the ideas that inspire them. Looking at art from all different kinds of angles, we celebrate the journey of becoming an art lover from start to finish.

How about the way change works? How it can bring new directions? Did you know, for instance, that the Red Hot Chili Peppers changed their line-up several times? The band is a favourite, so we had to include it.
Or what about the connection between art and the movies? Art doesn’t always first hit you in a gallery space, it may be in the cinema or simply on TV.

As Joe and Jonny are passionate about getting art out to all what about a read on how to start a collection?

Or find out more about London, the beloved city of the boys. Were you ever aware just how many creative people through the ages have lived here?
The Unity Issue is all about celebrating artists and their work, regardless of their age and background. Every piece in this special issue is inspired by Joe and Jonny, so get to know the boys behind the gallery a little bit more.
The space they managed to do this in was a store in a high street in the outer edges of London. Well, in theory, anyone creative enough to want to show art because they love it should be able to show it anywhere.

Since its inception in 2013, Unit London has strived to provide a unique and experimental platform for the world’s most distinctive emerging talent, showcasing their work to audiences across the globe in a manner which aims to be both authentic and indiscriminate.

The gallery is responsible for the prominent rise of numerous important contemporary artists and remains firmly committed to the principles of nurturing, championing and developing the most exciting emerging talent – regardless of their age, background, or status.

The gallery continues to be recognised for its expansion and diversification of contemporary art audiences, using new technologies and pioneering approaches to communication. Rather than operating upon principles of exclusivity and social status, Unit London endeavours to act as a narrator, telling the story of today’s most gifted artists to a mainstream, global audience.

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