“One Question” with Margin Art Collective


Margin Gallery is a not for profit collective art gallery dedicated to nurturing artistic expression co-founded by Nima Taradji.

Margin is a member oriented community of artists helping each other expand their visions and create new work. The member artists represent a diversity of styles and media, yet they share a desire to explore new directions in their artwork.

Margin Gallery’s mission is to create a suportive environment where emerging artists feel comfortable experimenting and taking risks with their work.

Neoteric Art: Why did you feel the need to start Margin Art Collective and has it been a success so far?

Nima Taradji: From the time I was a child, I was brought up with the belief that there are no reasons for one to submit oneself to authority without a very good and compelling reason.

I worked for almost ten years in Los Angeles in the field of photography and during that time became discouraged by what I felt to be the desire by gallery owners and art and photo directors to not take a chance on new ideas. It appeared to me that the business side of the art business required introduction to those in charge by others in charge before one’s work was to be recognized—no matter its quality.

I further got discouraged by what I recognized to be a lack of diversity in the art that was being shown in the local galleries: I truly did not care to see for the 100th time the work of Moholinogy and/or Ansel Adams and/or Weston and/or Bresson etc etc etc… I had seen their works in books, museums, galleries… I simply did not care to see them again. Yet, because their work was sellable, as a gallery patron, I was condemned to see them over and over again.

All the while, all around me, I knew of and kept getting acquainted with young, smart, innovative photographers and artists who were waiters and clerks by day and artist at all other times. No one was showing any of their work or even wanted to take a chance on them because, it appeared to me, that in the world of art, what sells is good art. And no one buys new talent unless they are introduced by old… And not many have that opportunity.

At that point, along with some friends whose thought process closely matched mine, we started Hello Artichoke Cooperative Art Gallery. After renting a space we proceeded to show our work, free from any third party’s imposed idea that quality and sellability go hand in hand. Because we did not care about selling since we did not need to—our space and future shows did not depend on it—we dared to take chances, and experiment along with showing our work. And we did sell. A lot.

After a couple of years, I decided to go to law school and moved to Chicago. Hello Artichoke continued its journey another two or three years before, for reasons unknown to me, closed its doors. Following law school I began a carrier as an attorney here in the Chicago area and formed my own law firm. Ten years passed and I did not touch my cameras.

It was not until 2004 that I began thinking about forming another gallery. This time, however, I knew lawyers not artists and I longed for the company of artists. After thinking about the idea for months, I finally decided to get the project off the ground and ran notices on every bulletin board I could find that catered to artists.

The idea for Margin Gallery was the same as its predecessor. Margin Gallery is a sanctuary of sorts allowing emerging and established artists to show their work where the editor is no one but the artist. There are no restrictions on the type of art shown. And no restrictions on the editorial content of the art shown.

I recently came to experience firsthand editorial dictatorship randomly exercised by gallery owners. Margin Gallery Members decided to have a show at a local gallery called Ossia. After many discussions, in the last minute, Ossia owner notified us that nudity was not allowed! Because some of Margin Artists’ work contains nudity, they would then be excluded from the show. These artists would be excluded simply because of the moralistic, didactic and moralizing nature of the restriction based on nebulous reasons and justifications. Margin Gallery as a group then decided to forego participation and cooperation with Ossia.

This sort of myopic behavior would not happen in Margin Gallery. We do not cater to the prevailing morals, and daily trend and ideas of beauty. We cater to the whims of the artist. Margin is a gallery by the artists and for the artists. We do not moralize, preach and dictate what art is and/or should contain, mean, imply, stand for or signify. And experiencing this freedom is the reason why Margin exists.

Margin Gallery has been very successful in the past two years where it has operated in earnest and with full membership. The current members and information about them can be viewed at the Margin website. We are actively looking for emerging or established artists who want to take a chance on themselves and do what they do best.