When Andy Warhol created the Factory, he surrounded himself with the brightest artists, pop stars, creative thinkers and writers.
Painfully hip, a destination for the most exclusive parties in New York and a breeding ground for exciting art, it pushed boundaries and became a refreshing collective that changed the face of the artworld.
“I guess it’s ended up not too dissimilar to Andy Warhol’s art factory. We make, we sell, we have friends that sell” says Chas Williams, artist and founder of Edinburgh’s VAB Lab, an exclusive art gallery that opens for limited periods – including now, during the Festival – and is bringing street-inspired art to the heart of the Old Town.
“Art, parties, music. We are a working studio and gallery - we are ever evolving, as is the world around us.”
A well-kept secret in the city’s vibrant art sector, VAB Lab is, indeed, set to evolve further. Until now VAB Lab’s diverse selection of urban art and collectibles was mostly only available for visitors to its Holyrood Road base and the occasional art fair.
Now it is heading online – giving everyone from serious art collectors to people simply seeking a striking statement piece for their home, a chance to browse and buy.
“We are Edinburgh’s most exclusive gallery, only open to the public two or three times a year,” explains Chas.
“Our first e-commerce website will feature more than just art; we also have on offer many artefacts such as red telephone boxes, yellow submarines, life-size sculptures, and other rare artefacts. Our website will be packed with extremely desirable items. Not just pictures for hanging on the wall.”
The gallery – which when not operating as an exhibition space is a workshop for VAB Lab’s artists and a focal point for exclusive invitation only events – opened almost four years ago as a base for contemporary artist Chas Williams own creative flow.
With a background that spans art, auctioneering, graphic design and other disciplines, he wanted an outlet that would bring his interests together with fellow artists, as well as act as a meeting place that could provide an inspirational spark.
The result was the VAB Lab, which Chas describes as “now Edinburgh’s most exclusive gallery”.
Since then he’s brought new, international artists to the art market, as well as sold works by Banksy and – the inspiration for the VAB Lab – Andy Warhol.
The current exhibition ends on August 27, when the VAB Lab returns to being an artists’ workshop, before its next exhibition in November at the Edinburgh Art Fair at the Corn Exchange.
First, Chas describes VAB Lab’s next step: “To go online and cater for our expanding and ever evolving business. Art, parties and exquisitely great creativity”.
Visit VAB Lab’s new website at www.vablab.com