Profile: No Guts No Glory

While Exeter may be overshadowed in the South West by its edgier big brother (…aka Bristol), the city does have a few things going for it in the art scene. Enter No Guts No Glory; an independent shop in McCoys Arcade which shows off illustrating talent from all over the UK, from the likes of Sandra Dieckmann‘s kooky critters to a recent showcase of Jamie Morrison‘s photography.

So with this shop proving to be the Devon honeypot for all activities creative and fresh, we thought we’d pop down to meet the dynamic duo behind it all.
Enter Nathan Blaker & Hayley Marchant…
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When investigating what are the ingredients behind a fruitful business, the obvious answer is passion for the job: loving what you do often leads to doing something well. And this is definitely the key to Nathan & Hayley success. They describe their store as “a platform for emerging artists and illustrators”, stating that they try to support and promote up coming illustrators as much as possible. It is through designing T-shirts for the shop that the illustrators make money enabling them to continue their work.
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On top of this NGNG enables artists to garner well-deserved attention for their amazing work, which often leads to private commissions. The business encourages a network for artists, buyers and shops using the premise as a tool for spreading the word about new talent. Therefore the business is viewed more as a project than just a shop!
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When we investigated further into how they meet all these amazing artists we were told that the process varies each time, sometimes illustrators write in to them; having seen the shop and enjoyed the work on display. Often connections are created through art fairs however sometimes there are particular artists whose work Nathan and Hayley admire, and so they contact them directly (read: nervously email from home!). The main aim is to then create a sustainable relationship with the artists, so they know whom they are working with and what they are doing.
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The shop was opened by Nathan in 2009, when he decided to start the project in response toa perceived lack of creative outlets for affordable art in Exeter. It started with mainly photography and T-shirts however has developed over the years with Hayley joining a few years ago from a similar project in Bath. The work they foster now is always “full of youth and passion”, with the aim for the future being to reach out and support even more artists in what they are doing- which could even result in moving to a bigger space.
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Whilst there are big plans for the future of this shop and the vibrant pair behind it, the family network they have created from their mini-hub in Fore Street is heart-warming. They live down the road and are friendly and encouraging to all the other small boutiques in the arcade. With their values remaining at the core of everything they do (the T-shirts are organic cotton, all their artwork is affordable), they sight no final destination for them or their work. It is however clear though that this beautiful boutique has become a vessel to bring about new projects which we be constantly evolving over the next few years.
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Find out more by checking out their website here – or swing by the arcade on the first Saturday of every month where they take part in the craft fair.
Babs & Revs
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