Robyn Berkeley has built a legacy of fabulous finds and incredible Australian artistry through Berkeley Editions Fine Art since 1978. Robyn has continuously explored and found gorgeous art made throughout urban and regional Australia during this time. Through visiting galleries in all corners of Australia, Robyn hopes to promote the importance of regional art galleries and the abundance of local artists and cultural centres we have to offer.
Who is Robyn Berkeley?
Robyn Berkeley is an Australian-born artist and curator, who after studying nursing, took the bold turn at the age of 21 to open her own PR company, Robyn Jones Promotions. Her Sydney-side company was branded as the “best little PR company in town”, dealing with a variety of fashion and finance companies, Metaxa Distillery, Sydney Uni, Pan American Airlines, Perrier Water, and even the opening of the Fijian Hotel in Fiji.
What Spurred Berkeley Editions?
Robyn’s career in art curation and exploration was clearly not her first venture out of school. After a close friend of Robyn’s learned she had to return to Italy, the friends made a pact to go into business together, providing her friend with a business opportunity to return to Australia. Together, they created a hand-made printmaking business originally known as ‘Fine Arts International’ with the motivation of revolutionising the typically black and white printing scene of the times into one of colour, vibrance and boldness.
“If I want something on my wall I would want it large and colourful.”
Moving out of their comfort zones, they wrote to the top ten Australian artists of the time, and received only one response. Arthur Boyd was a leading impressionist painter and his response was one of endearment and support, “well if you girls are going to give this a go, so will I”.
The Sun-Herald, Sunday, April 16, 1989
And there began, in 1978, the roots of what is now today known as Berkeley Editions Fine Art. With a single artist and a captivating dream, the print publishing company continuously evolved and grew, changing alongside the dynamic art world Australia had to offer. Working exclusively with Arthur Boyd for three years, Berkeley Editions slowly began to expand to work alongside David Boyd (Arthur’s brother), then later with Margaret Olley and Charlie Blackman.
Berkeley Editions was the only Australian gallery to participate in the first Tokyo Art Expo in 1990; a prestigious global art exchange that brought established international artists from around the world into one fabulous event.
The Transformation of Robyn Berkeley & Berkeley Editions
The Australian Design Series. Autumn/Winter,
1990. ‘The World of Corporate Art’
Before social media, art curation and exploration developed through word of mouth and exhibition openings. The Berkeley Editions name grew to a wider audience over time, becoming a consistent source of quality Australian art and prints. Eventually, artists sought out Berkeley Editions directly, as their bold take on prints provided opportunity for artists and their work to truly shine.
Berkeley Editions was one of two Australian printing studios at this time, and the niche market they were targeting allowed them to work alongside art consultants, interior designers, and local artists, becoming a wholesaler for artworks and prints.
“It’s such a joy working with the artists, because they are all a little bit crazy, you know? They are just wonderful people, they are usually people who have more than one interest.”
Even with the introduction of social media and online curation, modern contemporary artists still seek representation with Berkeley Editions. One of these well-known artists is Craig Ruddy, who currently has the work ‘Dark Emu’ showing in the Archibald.
With the introduction of mass-production prints, there have been struggles for hand-made prints across the globe. Making handmade artwork costs so much in time, resources and patience alone, creating a higher cost for better quality works.
“Handmade prints will retain their value. With prints, the value of the print goes up as the artist’s career escalates.”
Berkeley Editions New Adventures
With lockdown restrictions easing across Australia, Robyn is looking forward to re-exploring Australian galleries and local art hot spots. She hopes to continue the Berkeley Editions legacy of building exposure for these crucial and important artists across Australia’s rural and remote areas. Local artists are a key foundation of our society and a way to imprint the memory of our time and our experience onto current and future generations. Berkeley Editions will continue to explore the hidden treasures our rural areas have to offer, and bring them to Australians everywhere.
For a quick glimpse back in time at the 2011 State Library evening celebrating 30 years of Berkeley Editions and their contribution to the arts, watch below:
By Monique Bedwell|2021-01-06T17:26:58+11:00January 6th, 2021|News|Comments Off on Behind The Scenes: Berkeley Editions Fine Art