Monday 20 November 2017

The loves of my life: Gallery owner Denise Donnelly


Doorway Gallery owner Denise Donnelly. Photo: Mark Condren
Doorway Gallery owner Denise Donnelly. Photo: Mark Condren

The owner of the Doorway Gallery on South Frederick Street tells Elle Gordon about her passions and peeves.

The person

My partner, Michael, has given me so much fantastic support over the 17 years of being together. Without him, there is no way I could have continued to keep the gallery open, take part in international art fairs and have my two girls! As a woman in business, I think Ireland makes it extremely difficult to work and have a family. This business is 24 hours - you never switch off - and without the support of my partner, the gallery would not exist.

The memory

Opening my first gallery at 24 years old; I'm 38 now. I remember my first sale - it was on the exact same day, and it was a painting by Lucy Doyle. That's when I thought, 'OK, it is meant to be. I was meant to open a gallery'.

Moment of the day

Making a sale, and particularly with a customer who shares the same appreciation that I have for a painting.

The song

Michael Kiwanuka, Love & Hate.

The movie

Free Fire starring Cillian Murphy. It is complete chaos from start to finish, with a very funny undertone and everyone trying to survive - it reminds me of the art business!

The hero

Artists; without their vision and imagination, the world would be a dull place!

The book

The Fear Of 13: Countdown To Execution, My Fight For Survival On Death Row, by Nick Yarris. His creativity and development made an impression on me … his sheer lust for knowledge and his determination to survive was so inspirational. He was such a creative person, which was a virtue that saved him from mental insanity. He embraced his life and wasn't bitter.

The outfit

Anything bright and lots of jewellery.

The accessory

My jewellery from Alex and Ani.

The gadget

My phone, using my new app for the gallery. The artwork can be brought to life by scanning, using image recognition. Magically suck the artwork into your phone and it can tell you all about the artists. Customers can send me a photo from their living room and we can place the image of the painting on their wall and they see what it will be like in situ.

The pet hate

People who lack integrity. I'm a person of my word; I expect the same from others.

The friend

Deidre Carroll. She is the former owner of the Bridge Gallery. She has years of experience in the art world, knowledge of the artists, and is also a true friend.

The beauty product

Bobbi Brown eye corrector.

The holiday

Woodstown Strand in Waterford. We have a holiday home in Waterford, so we try to get down there as much as possible. I have had some memorable trips away with my partner, Michael, and my two daughters, Eve and Hollie, and Coco, my whippet.

The piece of advice

Work hard and invest in art. Surround yourself with good people. I'm a firm believer in working hard; you only get what you give.

The hotel

The Westbury.

The bar

Number Twenty Two, South Anne St. I love the jazz on a Saturday night and the food is great, with a fun atmosphere.

The drink

Espresso corretto con sambuca from Dunne & Crescenzi

The hobby

Collecting art - that's my addiction.

The part of my body

My hands - they show all the hard work!

The celebrity

Pierce Brosnan. A couple of years ago, he bought a few pieces of art from us. He was extremely charming and friendly. He showed us his own paintings, and they were very good. He has a solo show launching in Paris in the near future.

The virtue

Empathy and honesty. I have a deep understanding of artists and their insecurities. In particular, my mother trying to survive in the art business, supporting three children as a single parent. It's made me very aware of how difficult a profession it can be. I'm not just a gallery owner trying to make a profit; I have true passion, and a mutual understanding of the customer and the artist.

The vice

I'm a workalcoholic.

The smell

The smell of an artist's studio: oil paint and varnish.

The taste

First thing in the morning it's my spirulina, and the last taste at night would hopefully be a nice glass of fine wine.

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