If you were to stumble across Revenue Chambers, a beautiful sandstone mid-19th century grade II listed building in the heart of Huddersfield town centre, you might expect it to be full of offices and meeting rooms. However, venture inside and you’ll find a selection of studios housing a carpenter, a poet, a musician, and a few artists. One of those artists is Gareth Savage.
Originally from Bristol (though we won’t hold that against him), Gareth moved to Huddersfield when he started studying at the University of Huddersfield in 2011. He studied music, which probably explains why he’s part of a band and has a solo project called Pyroxenite.
Making the sensible decision to stay put in Huddersfield after completing his studies, he started to take his lifelong interest in art more seriously in 2015, focusing on 2D and digital psychedelic art. Armed with a name and a paintbrush, he took a leap in 2018 and opened his studio. Sareth Gavage Art now had a home.
Under normal circumstances, Gareth would operate an open-door policy at his studio, for potential customers to view his work or passersby to pop in for a cup of tea. He would also be heading out to art fairs and markets, towing a crate of artworks around on public transport. This turned out to be fairly impractical, “as the amount of art and merchandise you need for a stall is substantial” said Gareth.
Another problem presented itself; deciding which opportunities to apply for. “Having been to several fairs and markets where I’ve not sold anything, it can be easy to lose motivation quite quickly”, Gareth explained. The cost of a pitch at a market, plus various other costs can quickly make a day at market result in just about breaking even at the end of the day.
Sareth Gavage Art was yet to face its biggest hurdle – Covid-19. Gareth quickly diversified and went online with his artworks. As he already ran an online store selling environmentally friendly clothing, selling his paintings online seemed like a natural alternative to selling face to face. “I hoped that with the changes due to Covid-19, selling art online might become easier than it was previously”, but Gareth feels he still hasn’t found quite the right outlet for his art. However, he maintains a positive attitude in regards to selling his work, saying “I’m confident that everything will work out. The best advice I’ve heard is to not give up.”
Gareth is rightfully proud of his clothing business, as sustainability is a topic very close to his heart; “all the clothing is printed on organic cotton, using non-toxic vegan inks, is printed in a renewable energy-powered factory and comes in plastic free packaging.” Not content with that, Gareth merges his quest for sustainability with Sareth Gavage Art, reusing materials where possible, painting on reclaimed wood, sourcing second hand frames and researching more environmentally friendly paints. He regrets not thinking about the impact of toxic paints on the environment when he was younger, and has come up with an ingenious yet impractical solution! “Dirty paintbrush water is full of toxins, and I had been pouring it down the drain. Now I collect the liquid and allow the water to evaporate, leaving only the solid waste products behind.” As having troughs of evaporating liquid hanging around isn’t exactly ideal, Gareth plans to move on to using more environmentally friendly paint in the future.
Looking to the future, Gareth hopes that the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of the Arts and the financial stresses involved with being an artist, as well as the plight of those who rely on the gig economy as their only income source. Echoing a sentiment often mentioned on social media, he said “it feels like the Arts have been sacrificed, whereas other sectors have received support”.
You can catch up with Gareth and Sareth Gavage Art on his many social media accounts, check out his blog, browse his Etsy store and even indulge in some musical entertainment with the links below: