Mark Gask - Owner of gallery i
Not many of us are lucky enough to have found our calling at the age of 15, but Mark Gask is one of them. Even before he was old enough to drive, Mark ran his own business selling art door-to-door in the English Midlands; his customers would choose from a range of historical English landscapes or Dickensian scenes to be framed to their own tastes by the young Mark. Determined to continue being self-employed after a move to Newcastle, at the age of 19 he bought his own off-licence, the youngest person in Tyneside ever to do so; he also bought some rental properties, and then a corner store – but all the time he was still framing pictures.
By the age of 21, he was MD of his own art wholesaling company, sourcing and selling art into galleries. But then disaster struck in the recession of the early 1980s; from owning two galleries and employing five sales reps, he lost it all. In 1984 he moved to Scotland, looking for a new start and now armed with a marketing degree. He started selling art door to door again, but this time it was old stock from his previous ventures. He worked six days a week to get himself back on his feet, and eventually moved to Aberdeen, where he found an untapped market. In his first week selling in Bridge of Don, he earned £6,000. With money from his new business rolling in, he set up a framing workshop in Huntly.
Soon, he decided to open a gallery, and identified Inverurie as an up and coming town. In 1997, and with his partner Kim, he turned a bankrupt carpet shop in Inverurie into one of the largest galleries in the North-East: gallery i. As you'd imagine with someone as driven as Mark in charge, his new gallery has not stood still. In 2000 he bought the shop outright, and remodelled its 2,000 square feet extensively, to include a coffee shop and upstairs framing studio. Drawing on his years of experience and international travel as a buyer in the art world, Mark and gallery i have been responsible for bringing the work of several important artists to the area, including Jack Vettriano and Doug Hyde.