Chantal Malek knows what it takes to be successful, whether she’s wielding a palette knife full of acrylic paint or a monthly balance sheet. Not only is Malek an internationally renowned abstract artist, but she also owns Galerie d’art Céleste in Saint-Sauveur.
Malek studied art with a university professor for a year, and then a mentor taught her how to repair, restore and frame canvases. She also taught many acrylic and oil painting workshops. Yet she continued to dream big.
“After 10 years of exhibiting in Montreal and Quebec City galleries, I asked myself, ‘Why not open my own gallery?’,” recalls Malek, who launched her 1,500-square-foot gallery in 2000.
Malek wanted a warm, welcoming space in which to showcase her own work, but she was also determined to support and promote the work of other Canadian artists. Currently, the gallery represents close to 40 painters from Quebec, across Canada, and around the world.
“I felt that if I established my gallery in Saint-Sauveur, which draws visitors from around the world, I would eventually be selling paintings internationally, and that’s exactly what happened,” says Malek. “One day, I had a gallery owner from Beirut, Lebanon come in and since then I’ve been exhibiting there. And many of my artists also sell their work globally.”
Malek carefully selects from among many talented and experienced artists to gather ones with a variety of styles to display in her gallery. She deliberately chooses artists whose work is different from her own, so customers have plenty to choose from.
Some of the popular artists in her gallery include Lyse Paquette, Kelly Paterson, Lynn Garceau, Josée Forest, Michel Dion and Raymond Quenneville. Art collectors from Toronto, Gatineau, Ottawa, Hull, New York and Dubai are among Malek’s best clients. Her sales director Jacques Doyon is a big help on that front.
“We’re known for our talented stable of artists; I have lots of buyers whose art collections are worth $40,000-$50,000 or more,” Malek says.
While she has always enjoyed teaching art, she now focuses on selling, restoring and framing paintings.
“My coup de coeur is that I have the best of both worlds: I paint and sell my work, and I run the gallery,” she says. “What I love is that people don’t feel pressured here. I never influence clients in terms of what to buy. I’ll only tell them after they buy a painting if it happens to be mine.” •
Galerie d’art Céleste
285 Rue Principale, Saint-Sauveur, QC