Elroy Shadrach, a London-based media manager, shares how he went from admiring art to forging long-term relationships with galleries online.
“I started buying art when the pandemic kicked off,” says London-based collector Elroy Shadrach. “If it takes my fancy, I can’t resist.”
In just a year’s time, Elroy, a media manager, has amassed an impressive collection of art—all of which he purchased online. We spoke with Elroy over the phone to learn how he went from admiring art at a distance to filling his home with pieces that fit his unique tastes.
About Elroy Shadrach
Elroy, 48, has built a career working behind the scenes in news media. Born in London, Elroy spent seven years in Qatar working in the TV news industry before returning to his home city in 2015, where he now lives.
On starting his collection through the web
“If there’s one thing I love and have always loved, it’s art,” says Elroy. Relatively new to collecting, Elroy began acquiring art in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic—partly as a way to pass the time, but mostly as a passion project.
“Some people are on gambling sites or fashion sites,” he says, “but I’m always on art sites, just looking at and admiring art.”
Through his online art browsing, Elroy discovered the French artist Joanna Glazer, and he quickly became enamored by her paintings. “I’ve now bought over 10 of her works, and I just bought two more,” he shares.
Despite never seeing Glazer’s works in person before they arrived at his doorstep, Elroy forged an instant visual connection with the artist. “I think what she does is so interesting,” he explains. “She’s varied and not one-dimensional. In the paintings I have [by her], there are a variety of styles within what she puts on her canvas, and I’m just really taken with her art. It’s a simple question of ‘I like what I like.’”
How did this art enthusiast make the transition into a keen collector during a global pandemic?
Elroy says he dove headfirst into the online art-buying experience after discovering Artsy’s recommendation algorithm. “[Artsy] is very good at going, ‘If you like this person, check these people who are similar; if you like this gallery, check these galleries,’” he explains.
For many collectors—both new and experienced—Artsy’s intuitive interface and simple transaction process make it easy to discover a work and add it to their collection, sometimes within minutes.
On forming relationships with galleries online
“Courtesy of Artsy, I’ve developed a recent relationship with Maddox Gallery,” Elroy shares. “I contacted them and they introduced me to [their] stable of artists. I’d just purchased two of Graceland’s works when they turned me on to Dawn Okoro, and I was like, ‘Oh, I like what she does.’ Luckily for me, there was a piece I could afford to purchase. If the price is right, then great—I’ll buy it there and then.”
In the case of Maddox Gallery, Elroy’s inquiry about a single Graceland work blossomed into a fruitful gallery-collector relationship and built the next block in his growing collection. “I would suggest that all galleries step their game up in terms of replying to inquiries,” he says. “Some galleries have definitely not gotten my business because they haven’t replied in a decent amount of time, or at all.”
Elroy’s opinion is supported by data: Two-thirds of all reported sales on Artsy occur when a gallery responds to a collector within 24 hours.
On what’s next for his collection
“[Artsy] has exposed me to lots of Black American, British, and African artists,” Elroy says. “Black art is really doing well in terms of private collectors. Many of these artists’ works are on Artsy, and a lot of them just say ‘sold,’ ‘sold,’ ‘sold,’ which is good news for the growth and recognition of Black art. There’s a lot I’d like to purchase more of in 2021 and beyond.”
Elroy collects art he loves and aspires to pass that sentiment along to the artists whose works now fill his home. “I hope that the artists I buy from receive the news that their art is selling,” he says. “Your works are valued, your works are coveted, and your works are being sold to people on Artsy.”