Husband-and-wife team Erik Hall and Amy Spassov opened Hall Spassov Gallery in downtown Bellevue in 2006. Accomplished artists themselves, they opened the gallery with a show of their own work, but since then had featured the work of other artists alongside their own. That changed last week, however, when Hall and Spassov opened a two-person show of their own work to celebrate 10 years in business.
The gallery first opened in the basement of Robbins Brothers jewelry store. The pair have distinctly different styles, in art and in business. “We know what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are, and we kind of fill each other’s gaps,” Spassov said.
Even though the Eastside is affluent and is home to many art collectors and enthusiasts, Bellevue is a challenging spot for an art gallery, the couple said. Downtown Seattle is the hotbed of art activities, and was even more so a decade ago.
The pair looked to tap into that hub of activity with a second gallery in Pioneer Square that opened in 2014. It stayed open for just one year, closing last summer. “That was something we always wanted to explore and were curious about,” Spassov said, adding that the experience was more an exploration of where to take the business next, and never was about operating two locations.
“We answered all the questions that were bugging us forever, and ultimately Bellevue was just outperforming the Seattle space eight dollars to one,” Hall said.
Now the pair is firmly established in Bellevue, with a gallery and studio space just blocks from each other. The studio still occupies the basement of Robbins Brothers, housing inventory and a wood shop where frames and shipping crates are made by hand. The studio also serves as a work space for Spassov and a motorcycle garage for Hall, who began restoring vintage motorcycles about four years ago.
“It’s a nice break from painting honestly,” Hall said. “It’s just engaging both sides of the brain, because there’s a very technical side but it’s still really creative.
Captions for photos at top:
- Two of Spassov’s pieces in progress in a corner of the studio.
- Spassov’s vintage motorcycle, restored by Twinline Motorcycles, sits next to Hall’s near the studio’s rollup door. Above the bikes hangs the only piece of art on display in the studio, painted by Hall.
- The Hall Spassov Gallery inventory is organized and stored at the studio.
- A piece by Ellwood T. Risk rests near the gallery’s inventory.
- The gas tank of Spassov’s new motorcycle is getting her signature treatment.
- Erik Hall and Amy Spassov in the studio.