From artist to entrepreneur

Hermes director Emily Jones.

Business owner, Emily Jones, has dreamed of running her own gallery since she was a little girl. During Nocturne 2013, the NSCAD graduate realized this dream and opened Hermes on North Street. These days the proud entrepreneur is busy developing strong relationships with the artists she represents and planning intriguing upcoming shows. Since Jones is an artist herself, I was interested in how she made the professional transition from artist to entrepreneur. Recently, she spoke with me about her exciting career move and the new space.
What inspired you to name the gallery “Hermes”?
I named the gallery after the Greek god Hermes, who is the god of commerce, athletics, literature and poets and so many great things. Hermes is a bit of a trickster and is also known for the winged foot which represents speed. I thought that all of these elements really encompass how artists need to be multi-talented, industrious and think on their feet.
Can you tell me a little bit about your evolution to becoming an entrepreneur?
I graduated from NSCAD 10 years ago and have worked in various galleries, including Dalhousie Art Gallery, Zwicker’s Gallery and the Khyber Centre for the Arts. I went off to Chicago to do my MFA but eventually returned to Halifax. I had always known that I wanted to open my own commercial gallery one day and the timing felt right. I am a painter myself but I now feel that opening Hermes and representing artists is my art project and I find it very satisfying. I can’t imagine anything more fun and challenging than selecting interesting pieces and getting to work with artists everyday.
Is there a theme among the artists you represent?
I want a variety of new art that leans towards contemporary in style by emerging and established artists mostly in the region but extending out across the country. Overall it will be Canadian talent, but I’m certainly open to artists from other countries as well. However, I do have a strong interest in artists who live and work here. It’s where my heart is and I really think that Nova Scotia is such a magnet for creativity.
How do you feel about the gallery location?
I’ve always lived in the North End. It’s lively and up-and-coming and I feel that it’s the best place right now for a new commercial gallery. Most of the other galleries are downtown and I think it’s great to bring that business to the North End, especially with all the people who are moving to this neighbourhood and businesses opening. They will all need interesting artwork for their walls!

Artwork by Kate Walchuk.

Artwork by Kate Walchuk.

Currently, Hermes is featuring works by Andrew Hunt, Hangama Amiri, Colin Canary, Cliff Eyland, Kate Walchuk and Mitchell Wiebe among many others. Art from Hermes can also be viewed at Lion & Bright Cafe on Agricola Street.
Artwork by Andrew Hunt.

Artwork by Andrew Hunt.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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