Discover Up-and-Coming Artists at White Space Omotesando

The white floor paint has barely dried, and the smell of the colorant only just faded. A few weeks have passed since the opening of White Space Omotesando, a tiny rental space designed for artists looking for a spot where they can showcase their work.

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It took a lot of imagination, three layers of paint and a new lighting concept to convert the dimly room it used to be into a bright, open and welcoming space. “I might regret the white color very soon,“ sighs Justin Carson, who runs the gallery. “This will require a lot of maintenance,” he says while trying to scrub off some black footprints from the wooden floor. But he says it with a big smile. Because despite all the hassle and workload which came with the renovation, opening an open space for artists made his dream come true. “I don’t know anything about art, but I love art,” says Carson, who in his other life deals with real estate.

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When I first visited there was a Japanese painter displaying his artwork in the 40-square-meter room, and a couple of weeks later the focus was entirely on European art. Carson wanted to create an affordable, approachable place for upcoming artists, who might not have a name yet, or a gallery who represents them. It is also perfect for those who simply lack the finances to rent a gallery space in an upscale district like Ginza. Students, for example, get a discount on the full rental price. Rental rates start at just ¥25,000 per day or ¥150,000 for one week (¥100,000 for students).

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White Space, located in a quiet back street just off the bustling Omotesando Dori, can be leased by all kinds of creatives: there was recently a secondhand clothing sale, and another fashion label is interested in using the small gallery as a pop-up store to test market demand. As the space is pure white (including the furniture, music system, and even the bathroom), the room creates a plain backdrop for whatever items are on display, letting the art do the talking.

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The concept seems to work well—bookings are increasing, although all reservations so far were made through word-of-mouth recommendation. One attractive feature to mention, which most galleries do not offer, is a free food and drinks service for the opening party. “Beer, champagne and food for 20 people for 90 minutes,” is how Carson describes it. It’s a smart move: a glass of champagne can do no harm when it comes to encouraging people to purchase a piece of art.

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The Deets

Address: 4-1-18 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

Tel: 070-3108-3201

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