We promised to tell you our collective story and our individual stories. We think it is pretty unique - first up; how did we start? Murray Clode tells the story of how it all began in early 2016.
The 5 minute decision that started it all
Macandmor did not have a long gestation period nor a long labour; the decision to start Macandmor took 5 minutes. I got a phone call one day from Sally Cooke at Downtown Tauranga asking - "Would you like to bring a bit of life and colour to a corner of the arcade?" After a few some discussion on the nuts and bolts the matter was settled with a simple "Yes. When?"
Well, 'When' turned out to be straight away.
Two days before opening in late March 2016
Now I had to figure out how.
I had never been in retail before and never run a gallery. Pretty much the only things I had in my favour were that I knew a few artists and could organise things. I needed art to go in it, people to help run it, ways to take payments, and ways to let people know about it. The walls needed painting (it is white for galleries right?), and I needed a storage area.
I started to contact artists and tell them what I was doing. The art that we managed to get quickly was fantastic - artists had some wonderful work available. They really wanted another venue for their work so they were very supportive.
Out of that initial contact also came the people to run it. Every so often one of the artists would offer to help behind the counter (the metaphorical counter - I didn't actually have one) and I just kept saying "yes". So now we were a 'we'.
We got an eftpos machine, some bubblewrap, some picture hooks and my old kitchen table for a counter. We needed some signs but still didn't have a name.
Some of the first paintings up. The first we sold was Christie Cramer's work "Over the Hill" on the left. Simone Anderson, Kristian Lomath, Jo Pedersen, and Jackie Gray's work are also in the photo
What's in a name?
All sorts of names were being kicked around and none of them were gelling with me. One early customer was adamant that we needed a posh sounding name and trotted out all sorts of double-barrelled 'Smith & Caughey' type names. I told her what was going through my head and she said "Oh no. That is awful! It means nothing"
Well, what I had told her was "Mac and More" and I was pretty uncomfortable with it as well. It was way too centred on me (MAC are my initials) and way too $2 shop I thought. You'd think with what she said, and what I thought, then that name would be buried somewhere but I really liked the music artist Macklemore .
In the absence of anything else tipping me toward other contenders, that little similarity between 'Macklemore' and 'Mac and More' convinced me to go with Macandmor. Ever since I've been battling with the other seven possible ways that people (mostly the artists) want to spell it!
Early imagery for our Facebook page banner photo
We strive to have a collective persona where we are open, friendly, and unpretentious. You can possibly see from this story that, with our roots, we couldn't be anything but those things!
That is the story of our birth. John and Christie have been with the crew right from the start. Some of the artists we had then are still with us now. We still get people coming in and saying "are you a pop-up?". Somewhere along the journey we had to stop saying "yes" and start saying "no".
Next I'll tell you some lessons we've learnt along the way - not all of them we are proud of having to learn!