Monaco's newest art gallery promises to “bring art to brighten the world.” At the official launch party Thursday of the Alan Walsh Gallery on rue Grimaldi, the British artist tells Forbes Monaco, “After coming from the dark place of coronavirus, more than ever we need to celebrate color again in our lives.”
The 37-year-old says he wants to add vibrancy and youth to the Monaco art scene with his “Andy Warhol meets Art Deco” paintings. “My dad was an engineer for Formula One racecars so I grew up with motorsport magazines while my mom read Vogue. I was inspired by the illustrations.”
Although he was born in North Yorkshire, the connection to the Principality runs deep for Walsh. “My dad worked designing race cars and I spent my childhood on the F1 circuit, flying off to Monaco and Monza for the weekends.”
Walsh dreamed of winning the Monaco Grand Prix but after a brief spell racing karts in the U.K with Lewis Hamilton and Gary Paffett as teammates “it was clear I did not have what it takes to be a champion.”
He was kicked out of school at a young age for being a dreamer but continued with his passion for art, eventually moving in 2004 to Sydney, Australia, where he worked for some of the world’s best ad agencies. It wasn’t until 2010, however, that he held his first solo exhibition, a collection of ten Côte d'Azur/Grand Prix poster prints. Five years later, having left the agency business, he partnered up “with a couple of other creatives” and opened a small gallery in the beach suburb of Bronte.
“My dedication to my career was sleeping above the gallery on the store room floor as I couldn't afford both an apartment and gallery.”
Things took off and his art was soon hanging in the office of Toto Wolff, team principal (at least for the moment) of Mercedes AMG Petronas. Gallery number two was opened in the south of Sydney and commissions followed from Bombay Sapphire Gin, Coca Cola, Grey Goose Vodka, Tag Heuer Watches & Porsche—to name but a few.
In 2019, Walsh randomly reached out to Monaco’s Blue Coast Brewing, who were launching a seasonal ale, Lager No. 3, in honor of Australian F1 driver Daniel Riccardo, winner of the 2018 Monaco GP. “He is a fan of Riccardo,” Shane Heminway (below, second from right) a founding partner at Blue Coast and Senior Broker Powers Properties MC, tells Forbes Monaco,” and wanted to design a special label, which we loved.”
Walsh, who has been named artist-in-residence at the Hotel Martinez in Cannes, moved to Monaco last August with his Australian wife, Emily.
With his painting selling between €900 to €7,000, the response to the gallery’s opening has been an instant success. “The market here is unique, with some clients buying several works in one go. It is also the first time I have seen couples agree on art and buy on sight.”
Walsh will have a studio off the gallery’s courtyard, and art enthusiasts will be able to pop by and watch the artist work over a glass of rosé.
“I may not be able to win the Grand Prix but I can be at the top of my field and connect Monaco to my love of motorsport,” he adds with a grin.