Johnny Messum is the founder of an experimental art space housed in a 13th-century barn that celebrates the creative narrative across genres from ceramics to the spoken word. He has also assisted with the running of the Messums Gallery on Cork Street, one of Mayfair’s finest in the 55 years since it was established.
There’s also Messums Online Exchange, a trading platform that combines the firm’s expertise with a platform to connect buyer to seller. ‘I look at it as evolved arts management business,’ he says. ‘All of our component parts come from looking at what the art world is doing well, how we can improve things and looking at what we can do in the future.’
Transparency and clarity, on both sides of the table, have been the foundation of the business since it first opened its doors: ‘People want to buy and sell knowing they’re buying authentic goods and at an established price,’ he says. ‘They want advice to do that and we can provide all of this.’
The company helps to engage new collectors through its ‘friends’ programme and ‘start a collection’ offering. ‘People still quote it as the moment they first got into collecting and finding things they’ve bought and found to be really good value,’ he says. ‘It’s always the most satisfying thing, the zero-to-one moment where a wall goes from blank to hosting art.’