Interview: Isaac Lilos on Arty Globe

We quickly spoke to Isaac Lilos, founder of Arty Globe business to ask him about how its grown, his visions for its future and also provide us with a bit more about how its run day to day!

You can find the full interview below:

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B: So first off, where do it all begin?

I: Where did it all begin? Well it all began funnily enough when Hartwig and I visited a friend of his in Amsterdam, and that friend Thomas had a little doodle of Amsterdam that Hartwig drew years ago for a gift-card design. Hartwig actually even framed it on the wall, and I remember seeing that for the first time framed in that way, and it looked so cute and different to me. I remember thinking that I hadn’t seen anything like that before. I really believed something could be done with such a quirky and fun style of drawing which inspired me to get things off the ground, and start to develop this beyond a hobby.

B: Was it initially just about developing his portfolio first before you developed onto a market-stall?

I: Yes, I mean it took a couple of years to convince him to get to the point of actually developing from doodles to large scale drawings before we could even think about commercialising his work, long debates were had about content and even the nature of committing to time and deadlines as this was something he always did alongside his architecture. However once he sat down and completed ‘London Looking North’, he was quite taken aback by what he achieved. He even tired around ad said to me “I never realised that i could actually do this!”. From there, it took quite a few years to build up his portfolio, develop his style and for us to actually figure out how best to push it publicly. We considered licensing, but that turned out to not be for us so we decided to develop our own products on a market stall basis to begin with. We started out on Jubilee Market (Covent Garden) but discovered quickly that it wasn’t the right crowd, however we developed the confidence based on peoples queries and questions to find a better location that was more of a fit. A friend recommended Greenwich Market to us, we quickly got permission to trade there and the rest is history!

B: The transition from stall to shop was extremely short (6 months), how was that possible? Did it’s popularity warrant the step up or did you just decide to take the plunge?

I: I think it was a combination of things, first of all out confidence thanks to how people responded to the products in such a positive light, with those in particular being the interest of locals. It made us feel as though this wasn’t just a seasonal business and had the potential to trade year-round. We decided quite quickly that based on that confidence, as well as the fact that I was finding it hard to manage a market stall in terms of set-up and maintenance thanks to 7am starts, long pack-up times and a bit of an OCD when it comes to presentation, it became clear we needed to source somewhere to call home with everything out on display at all times. It was also a case of knowing that it wasn’t the right environment to show off Hartwigs work in the best light, as you can imagine a lot of the products we have at the moment are sensitive to moisture and susceptible to damage, so having a place for everything to be displayed nicely in a gallery-like way and also safe became of importance. Luckily something came up on the market and thanks to me being able to successfully network (a trait which I’m proud to uphold) with the appropriate people in the area, and our first step was made. Taking to people was paramount regardless, as we were new to the area as we had just relocated from Lincoln, so it was important that we made ourselves known, developed some contacts and made some positive relationships locally, which certainly paid off. We managed to secure a shop on a 6 month basis, which proved popular enough to warrant us extending the lease and then building ourselves up further to our current permanent retail unit on the market.

B: If someone was in the position you were back then and wanted to make that jump, what advice would you give?

I: I think the advice would be network. If you have a passion and a vision, people will engage in it or at least advise you on who could. You need to get people to share your excitement, without it I think its very hard to be able to convince someone to get on your side. We’ve always had that approach, and its certainly worked well for us!

B: Describe the day to day goings on at Arty Globe, and whats the most rewarding aspect in your opinion?

I: Theres certainly many! I think the biggest one you face, especially as a small business owner is to overcome your own lackings or even personal issues that may come in-between your day to day tasks. Leaving things at the door is certainly something you have to really try and make sure you manage, because otherwise the other things suffer day to day. Cashflow can also be a big challenge as its a key part of any business as it can provide limitations. Trading can be seasonal here, so when its a quieter period we have to change how we do things to adapt to our cashflows. These are things however we’ve certainly managed well, as were still here and better than ever.

In terms of whats most rewarding, it certainly has to be just being here and meeting the individuals that come in and praise Hartwigs work, our products the shop in general, and let us know they are coming back. In particular its the people who make a point to return years and buy more things from the range, or just come back in and say hello. It reminds us all that what we do has really made an impact and that people really care and that we’ve created something really special.

B: What makes you decide what you feel is best to sell in your range? What goes into that decision making process?

I: I think theres a few elements here, first of all its definitely about what already pre-exists that sells product with artwork on. We also have to ensure they are UK made so that does limit us to a degree, and we also consider wether on not its something that we ourselves would want to purchase. We would never tend to sell anything for the sake of something purely for the purposes of profit, or create products that revolve around fashions and trends that we would struggle to sell long term. It has to be unique, useful but also display Hartwigs work in the best way possible, so these are all factors we consider when we want to either introduce something into the range, or make a decision to commit to a product serving a longstanding purpose in our shop. Our choices don’t always work out, and we have removed items from our range in the past that haven’t performed as we hoped, so there is an element of trial and error involved. Its also important to us to have a ix of products and various price points, as accessibility is important to us for our customer so that everyone can have a piece of Hartwigs art, wether that be in the form of a jigsaw postcard or a large canvas.

B: What do you think is the most popular product that you sell?

I: By far its our jigsaw puzzles and I think thats down to the fact that Hartwigs art itself is extremely quirky and fun. Marrying that with something that you could liken to the same experience when you do a jigsaw itself, i think has really captured peoples imaginations and has ensured it as a staple product in the shop. Coasters are also up there with some of the most popular products larger down to its lower pice, tea towels also prove extremely popular here and sell extremely well.

B: What would your dream product be?

I: I cant say its something I’ve thought about in great depth before, as I find it hard to think beyond what ‘works’, but I will say that, we did do something for the ‘Edinburgh Jungle City’ which involved unitising his Edinburgh artwork and wrapping it around a 3D version of a crocodile. Being able to do that with other objects was always something I would have loved to do but never though it could work on a shop basis. Marrying practicality with his art is kind of what we are about, so its something I would love to consider in the future if I could justify it financially.

B: Lastly, whats next for Arty Globe?

I: I think the next thing for us definitely is branching out from Greenwich. Its something we’ve discussed and talked about for such a long time now and in the form of wholesaling our more established product lines but also in terms of displaying Hartwigs art in separate locations and getting our products into other stores in the UK and online, and really taking this business to the next level. Hartwigs current UK map development and what it could do for our range, as well as the pre exiting ‘Our Wonderful Planet’ work we think have th universal appeal to achieve success outside of our Greenwich store. As mentioned before, we have the confidence and we believe we offer something unique, practical and above all beautiful so we really want to get more people to see it in a variety of ways.

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Our Jigsaw Postcard Range

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These are one of our most popular products here at Arty Globe, if not the number one! Its a huge favourite for may reasons, not only because of how unique people find them, but also how accessible they are within our range. Its the perfect souvenir, wether it be something you keep for yourself or actually send to a loved one via post.

As usual, we offer a great range of designs to choose from which cover Hartwigs ever popular ‘London Icons’, Various views and crops of the City of London and its landmarks, and obviously Greenwich itself. Just like a lot of our other products that we offer at Arty Globe we offer not only full colour, but also retro and monochromatic variations of the landscape and landmark themed designs, ensuring you get a level of choice that ensures you really manage to pick a favourite.

Each postcard comes with an envelope attached, ensuring it’ll arrive to its destination safe and sound (as with the nature of jigsaws, they come apart.), all you need to do is write your message and assign the appropriate postage.

 

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Fancy one for yourself? You can access the full range of our Jigsaw Postcards on our website here starting from as little as £4, with discounts available of multiple purchases.

If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional however, and fancy flexing your creative muscles a little then these jigsaw postcards could be right up your street! Perfect fun for kids, but also a great way to kill a bit of time as an adult too, providing a beautiful way to send a message to a love one at the end!

You can access the full range of our Jigsaw Postcards on our website here at £6 each, which is currently a very special price!

 

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Greenwich Market – Royal Visit

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We touched on the official opening of the market last month, not only to mention the opening celebrations but also the arrival of the incredible new signs to compliment the brand-new roof. What we didn’t mention however was the impending arrival of a famous face and not just any face at that, but a royal in the form of Prince Andrew!

He made quite the entrance, opting for a green Bentley to get him here before making his presence known whilst being shown around the market, one of the many stops the Prince is currently taking as part of his tour around the country. Locals and business owners a-like couldn’t wait for his arrival and as you can see in the pictures above. There was quite the turnout, with one lady in particular not being able to resist showing off her patriotic passion, greeting the Prince in a spectacular looking union-jack inspired outfit.

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Its really an exciting time for the market here in Greenwich, the improvements have really injected a new interest in the area, which has been great for business and the overall feel. The market really is at its best when its alive with shoppers and visitors alike, and what with the evenings getting lighter and the weather getting warmer we cant wait to see what these improvements bring. If you’re in the area make sure you come and see the changes, but also pop into our store and visit our downstairs gallery space!

Our Square Print Range

Aside from the obvious favourites when it comes to the products we offer here at Arty Globe, such as our our jigsaws, mugs and of course our aprons, Hartwigs art as a stand-alone product has understandably always been something that’s just as popular. One of the brilliant things about our Gallery Shop is our in-house facilitation to print to order which means we can not only offer limited but also open edition images that cover the broad and exciting portfolio that Hartwig himself now holds in the form of canvas, framed and mounted print.

We offer prints in various sizepoints, designs and finish, but by far one of our most popular and most loved ones which we want to mention here, are our open edition square mounted and framed prints.

The perfect size for any room, wall or mantelpiece, It’s also one of the most accessible ways for people to own a piece of Hartwigs unique perspective. Probably the biggest draw of this product range is the ‘range’ itself which to date is extremely broad, and is only set to get broader. Hartwig has worked on a huge amount of locations that don’t just cover the City of London, but also spread across the whole of England and Scotland including Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh.

   

 

It isn’t just London which gets a look-in in terms of choice here, various other locations feature in the selection too, meaning if you’re visiting or thinking for the perfect gift for a friend from a foreign location to remind them a little bit of home, this could be the perfect thing.

Hartwig’s images of Sydney, New York, Paris, Rome, Venice, Berlin and Barcelona have all been re-composed for this range, with more sure to come as Hartwig gradually expands his portfolio and also his travels.

 

It’s not just the many locations that were proud to offer but also a vast selection of styles to choose from. As you can see in the image of Paris above, there’s single colour monochromatic, black and white, retro and of course, full colour options to choose from meaning the absolute ultimate choice for all tastes and needs.

As mentioned before, these prints come in a choice of mount only and framed editions, giving you the choice to display them as you wish to suit your home, or have the hassle taken away with the image already placed into one of our high quality black frames.

It doesn’t stop there though, we also offer a small selection of our own custom curated double and triple mounted versions for those who fancy something even more special who still love the look of square crops. We also offer discounts on group purchases in this range in case you have your own idea as to how you want to group your own together at home!

 
Fancy one for yourself? You can access the full range of our square prints in framed and mounted variations on our website here as well as in our gallery shop, starting from as little as £18. 

The ‘Our Wonderful Planet’ Range

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Easter is coming, as is the March Equinox and the clocks going forward an hour so what better way to celebrate these changes to our planet than to talk about something that fits that very mould! One of our most popular visual pieces here in our Arty Globe shop is without a doubt Hartwigs extremely special and extensive map of the world, aptly entitled ‘Our Wonderful Planet’. Featuring an extensive amount of iconography relative to every continent exposing its wildlife, cultures, landmarks and traditions, as well as featuring the planets that surround us as well as the worlds airlines. Its an extremely popular piece as you can probably tell!

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We touch about this a lot more with a post Hartwig has made on his own blog about the piece, which can be found here.

In terms of ‘Our Wonderful Planet’ as a product however, size really does matter here. Because its such an extensive piece with lots of little fine details and things to pick out, this image is spread into our ranges that really help keep things expansive and visible. We offer art prints of this in a variety of size-points (from 70 x 50cm or even made to measure) as well as also offering it as an open edition canvas also in a range of sizes.

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Perhaps our most popular product that features this image however is the jigsaw ranges we offer in our store. We have a 1000 piece cardboard variation which goes with a variety of other 1000 piece jigsaws in our range, as well as a 500 piece Wentworth wooden jigsaw featuring those infamous ‘Whimsey Pieces’ which are designed to be tricker and feel a little bit more special to the touch. We also used to offer an extremely special 1500 piece wooden version of this image which priced an extremely tough challenge to complete in its entirety! However this is something we no longer produce.

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You can purchase one of these jigsaws online or in our store for £25 and £59 each.

Interview: Hartwig Braun

As we’ve mentioned extensively over the past few months here on our WordPress, one of the biggest events that we’ve been involved within in recent months is the opening of the downstairs exhibition space dedicated to Hartwig’s creative process, so we fired the artist in question himself some questions about his experience of the private opening and his thoughts on the space itself.

 

First of all, how was the opening?

I remember it as a very nice evening because there was a constant flow of people and it was never empty. As soon as the first people started coming in there was always someone new and there were even people who then said well now… they had the feeling that they had to even vacate downstairs to let more people in! I noticed how many people there were, but of course because I was constantly engaged with conversations and talking to people and answering questions my vision of the night was a little bit blurred.

It was certainly bustling for a good few hours! How was the response for you personally?

It was nice, I mean there wasn’t a huge amount of questions thrown my way because the exhibition itself was designed to answer questions in itself, of course people still did take the opportunity to come over to me during the evening and ask me certain things.

Were there any comments in particular that really stuck with you?

Yes, I think mainly the question which comes up also now that people ask me well… “What do you use?” you know, what media do I use and what research do I do? I’ve even had people ask me if I take a helicopter and go up and view the perspectives I draw myself and fly above London or other places when in-fact I merely just analyse lots of arial photographs, along with viewing London from higher places where possible. Words such as ‘Impressive’ and ‘Mind-Boggling’ which I’m assuming is down to how they’re witnessing the process develop and the different steps in the space is also always nice to hear from people.

People are well aware of its purpose to them but tell us a bit about why you wanted to have this space in the first place? What does it mean to you?

Its just very nice also to really show things, originals, drawings and sketches which until now were hidden away in the studio which were unseen by the public, which is personally something I like to see as a viewer of art myself. Being able to see the stages of the process and the development of something quite rough to refined is something I’m interested to see so being able to show my process in the same light is something I’m very happy and proud of. Every single piece of work isn’t made from perfection its moulded into it in stages.

What is your favourite part of the downstairs space? What are you most proud of?

Well its always difficult to say if you have favourites! All the finished pieces are a bit like children in a way, it’s hard to like one more than the other. However the big framed originals such as the London Looking West due of its sheer size and also as its one of the newer pieces with the most developed style and technique make it a favourite of mine. It’s hard not to view it as the centre-piece of the exhibition and I do feel extremely proud of it now in its framed state and not just on my studio table! Its able to be appreciated in the way it should now and not just stacked together loose.

The drawing-board collage that you see as soon as you come down the stairs is also something I love because I find that It really has something with those super imposed different sketches where you can see the different phases and something really coming to life it makes for impressive viewing to me and is nice to see as a whole piece, its also epitomises everything that we wanted to show downstairs in a single installation.

Whats next for you and your finished pieces? Is there scope for an external show?

I would say two things. we have this space now, so I’m thinking whenever a new major big piece is going to be finished that we can use the space somehow to unveil it in a special way moving forward. Reshuffling the pieces into he show itself is something we also would like to do from time to time but having an external exhibition somewhere in a new space is certainly the current dream wether that be a localised space displaying my latest ‘Greenwich’ image in the spring or maybe even somewhere further into the centre of London showing a variety of finished works and line drawings!

 

Guest Book Entries

Once again this week we’ve been inundated with praise for our downstairs exhibition in the form of the comments visitors have been leaving in our guest-book! We’ve picked out favourites once again the week, its a bit of a bumper edition! Are you one of them?

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