By Meda Kessler
Photos by Aaron Dougherty
Studio Cufflink aims to redefine the modern gallery
Why open an art gallery right now? Studio Cufflink founders Joey Luong and Doug Gault say why not?
“We put the project on mothballs about five years ago,” says Luong, who is a graphic designer at Ernst & Young but also has a background in interior design.
Gault works in the tech industry with Oracle but was drawn into the world of art by a lifetime of visiting museums and galleries. “Our original plan was to build a live-work space with a gallery on the first floor,” says Gault. “In fact, the lot was not too far from where we are now.”
Construction prices forced them to reconsider their original plans and, instead, they opted for a space in the Dickson-Jenkins Lofts & Plaza in Fort Worth’s Near Southside development. The 1920s building started out as a home to a clothing manufacturer and later housed a printing company.
Today, it has been divided into retail and commercial space on the ground floor, with residential units above. Massive concrete support pillars, exposed ceilings and expanses of steel-framed windows give the building its industrial look.
And it is the perfect new home for Studio Cufflink.
“On a trip to San Antonio, we checked out a small gallery located in a strip mall,” says Gault. “It was the owner’s personal space and filled with lots of art. This building felt right and would allow us to create a gallery that doesn’t look like your average gallery. It would be more like your living room. We want people to see how art looks in a contextual space.”
The couple hopes to represent five to six contemporary artists, established and emerging. Included in the lineup are Fort Worth’s Marshall Harris and Linda Shobe. Look for tabletop pieces by Ross Bonfanti, a Canadian sculptor who turns old stuffed animals into concrete mixed-media works.
Luong and Gault have one of Bonfanti’s works in their personal collection. Their Fort Worth home is filled with photographs, paintings and other sculptures. Some pieces are sourced from local galleries and flea markets. One work once belonged to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Studio Cufflink is open by appointment only and hopes to host group shows and other events. The source of the gallery’s name? “The space is unconventional, and we wanted the name to be different, too,” says Luong