Geelong’s Boom Gallery’s a million miles away from art snobbery. Long-time mates Kate and Ren turned a passion project into a fully fledged business in a couple of short years – now they sell wares from local designers, they’ll make you a coffee, and they’ll show you which filters to use on Instagram. If only all galleries were so easy-going.
Ren: I’m Ren, full name Renato. Born and bred here in Geelong – dad is Italian, mum is Dutch – what a combo!
Kate: Hello, I’m Kate. Likewise born and bred in Geelong. Former teacher, mother to three, busy with all things Boom.
R: I have known Kate since my late teens but became friends in my 20s – more like family than friends though.
K: I would never have imagined doing this, but Ren floated the idea with me about five years ago. Amazing where ideas can lead you.
R: I’m the ‘Ideas Man’ but this one only started developing after we visited a really amazing old woollen mill in South Geelong, which is now the home of Little Creatures. Such great spaces and all I could imagine was artwork on all the walls.
K: Boom grew from that first visit to the woollen mill and many sessions of talking through the options and ideas. It all galvanised in a really exciting way for me when for the first time the big roller door at 11 Rutland St. slid open to reveal the beautiful space that would become Boom.
R: We began Boom with a group of artists that we already knew. We are currently representing three artists from Queensland and these have all been found through Instagram which is a pretty powerful tool for visual. Our overall aim is to represent the work of artists that can stand their own ground on a national/international level.
K: I love the ability of instagram and blogs to find about interesting people doing amazing things. It’s not time wasting when it’s important research for work.
R: One of the big benefits for us in running a regional gallery is that we are able to meet and work with most of the artists from our region and develop strong links with other arts related institutions from the region.
K: We feel we are doing something really important, providing a space for many of the talented artists in the region to show their work and also creating a space which is vibrant, interesting but importantly, accessible to engage with a broader audience. There are not many galleries in our immediate region who are doing what we do, so we feel that we are making an important contribution to regional art and to the cultural character of our city.
R: The creative scene is growing and growing in Geelong. A really great culture is bubbling away ….. with new ventures, projects, events, etc, manifesting all the time.
K: It’s pretty amazing really, there are many exceptional artists and organisations that produce and present work of really high standards. Back to Back theatre company are one of Geelong’s incredible artistic success stories, with many international awards and accolades for their work ( it would be great to see their profile raised at a local level, there would be many Geelong residents who are not aware that Geelong is home to such a brilliant theatre company)
R: The biggest unexpected surprise for me is the amount of people I have met through Boom. My biggest struggle is trying to remember everyone’s name, where they fit in, but Kate is excellent at this!
K: Our business can evolve and change when we have said ‘yes’ to opportunities and have had an open mind. An example of this would be the chance we had last year to host a lecture series with The Brainery Store….. such a successful and inspiring experience and great to work with someone with such professional excellence as Sarah Cooper.
R: Anything touched by the master – Nathan Johnson (Coffee Cartel).
K: Boom Gallery / The Dirty Rascal of course! Also Coffee Cartel.
R: Anywhere down The Great Ocean Road
K: Byron Bay, Wilsons Promontory
R: Catching up with friends over wine and good food.
K: I love going out for a walk or run, reading and going to the beach with the family.
R: The Geelong Botanic Garden‘s probably our family’s favourite place in Geelong.
K: there are fantastic walking/cycling paths right along the Barwon River. Some busier sections but other really beautiful and quiet sections
Best Road Trip
R: A slow drive up the east coast of Australia in a ’60 Ex-Army Land Rover ambulance. Sleeping all sorted using the rear patient beds. The thing was still covered in big red cross signs – Good times!
K: Driving with a friend across South Africa, we were pretty naive and had some amazing and some scary experiences.
Dream Road Trip
R: Driving around the UK in a classic british sports car.
K: To drive around Europe, we have done a little bit but would love to see more – so much beautiful scenery but also so much wonderful history.