Welcome to Walpole

An interview with Maddox Gallery CEO, John Russo

With five locations in the UK, Switzerland and the US, Maddox Gallery has quickly established itself as an international powerhouse within the world of contemporary and modern art. To find out more about Walpole's newest member, we today interview John Russo, the Gallery's CEO, on his vision for the business, why collaborations are so important, and what the future holds for art and culture - from the rise of ‘red-chip’ artists to Non-Fungible Tokens.
14th Oct 2021
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Welcome to Walpole An interview with Maddox Gallery CEO, John Russo

Tell us about Maddox Gallery?
Maddox Gallery is a luxury brand that showcases some of the world’s finest contemporary art from emerging, established and blue-chip artists. In five years, our Mayfair gallery has grown into an international group comprising of five locations across London, Los Angeles and Gstaad.

As a gallery, we’re committed to creating an inspiring and welcoming space for both our artists and collectors and dedicate time to discovering and nurturing new talent. As the business has continued to grow, we’ve taken our expertise in the collecting of contemporary art and applied it to investment, which we offer through our Maddox Art Advisory service.  

Why did Maddox Gallery become a member of Walpole?
Walpole are synonymous with the very best in British luxury, and the mission statement of the organization couldn’t resonate more with our own brand ethos. As a brand, we are committed to celebrating and protecting creatives and their craft. Being able to do that now with a network of likeminded businesses and their leaders is such an incredible privilege.

What is your vision for the business?
As the business continues to grow, we plan to expand our gallery network and our artist roster to bring Maddox to new territories and audiences. We’re also looking to further grow our team and build out development programs to allow our emerging artists an even greater platform from which to launch their career with us. 

Maddox Gallery is involved with the GQ Men of the Year Awards, why are collaborations such as this important to the business?
We are indeed long-term partners of GQ and their annual Men of the Year awards ceremony, which is always a fantastic event. For us, collaborations are not only key from a client perspective and for business development, but it’s also more importantly about coming together to celebrate creativity, to innovate and to create truly one-of-a-kind experiences for your audience.

Do you have any arts and culture insights you can share?
So much is happening in the worlds of art and culture, from the rise of what is coined ‘red-chip’ artists to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The shift that I find the most interesting, however, is the effect that these trends have had on the art collector landscape. According to the latest Art Basel x UBS report, and from our own experience here at Maddox, the highest level of spending following the pandemic has shifted to millennials, and more specifically female collectors, across the art world.

The last 18 months has been challenging for all businesses with a bricks and mortar presence, what do you see as the lasting impact of the pandemic on Maddox Gallery?
Like many brands within the sector, the pandemic forced us to shift from an in-person direct customer approach to utilizing our digital channels to their fullest capacity. From integrating digital experiential viewing rooms and exhibitions, to applications that allow clients to view the artwork within a home setting, the pandemic allowed consumers to discover a newfound confidence in exploring and purchasing art online.


Quick Fire Questions

What was your big break?
Such a great question! We are often tempted to look back at the road not taken or a fixed point that created the domino effect of where we end up today in our lives. For me, many, many years ago, a businessman in my hometown gave me a role as an executive within his company. That chance he took on a kid fresh out of university was a catalyst to a lifetime of experience that led me to being the CEO of one of the most dynamic companies in the art world.

What inspires you?
As part of my role, I am fortunate to meet a large number of budding artists and there is nothing more inspiring to me than meeting a someone who is truly creative and wholeheartedly committed to their craft.

What piece of advice would you give to someone wishing to work in the luxury sector? 
To immerse yourself in the luxury world as much as possible. Attend luxury panel discussions, special exhibitions or brand initiatives. Understanding the luxury sector goes beyond purchasing luxury products and there are so many opportunities available to experience the creativity and craftsmanship behind this incredible sector, especially post-pandemic with everything being streamed virtually as well as in-person.
What does British luxury mean to you?
British luxury represents the absolute finest in creativity, craftsmanship, quality, innovation and heritage. It looks beyond the physical sale of a product, and instead celebrates the process or the story behind that product, offering unique experiences that allow clients to truly feel a part of their world.

What’s your favourite luxury - and piece of art?
At the moment my favourite luxury is definitely time; we’ve had such a busy year and have two solo exhibitions to close 2021 with two of my favourite Maddox artists, David Yarrow and The Connor Brothers.
Whether it’s your favourite film, book or artwork, the real question is: What piece of art evokes a feeling or a memory?
We all have that book that we can curl up with on a rainy day, or the movie that makes you happy when you’re sad or makes you cry when you’re feeling vulnerable. Picking a favourite is really our desire to tap into a moment or a memory from a time in our past.

Street Art, for example, is my favourite genre of art because it really started to find critical acclaim during my childhood, so I identify it with growing up. I also believe that with graffiti being popularized and accepted now as a form of art, that the illegal street art of Basquiat, Haring and Banksy will continue to be relevant and to dominate the art market for the next century as an art form that can no longer be created in the same way.

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