Spruce Gallery’s Saturday launch promises to be saucy and stimulating

Ten weeks after Spruce Gallery’s soft opening, the Ortigas-based magazine shop and gallery will officially launch on March 9 with what they promise to be a saucy, sensory, and stimulating Saturday. 

What gives? Well, not only are they going to hold a party with street food and sexy grooves, but they’re also hosting a “tantalizing glimpse into the world of contemporary queer photography” through an art photography exhibit and the launch of BOYS! BOYS! BOYS!’ book and seventh issue. 

Founded by Ghislain Pascal, BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! describes itself as the “home of queer and gay fine art photography.” Showcasing the works of 73 photographers across 34 countries, the title is hosted by London-based The Little Black Gallery, which Pascal also curates. 

“BOYS! BOYS! BOYS!, aside from being highly visual, is an artistic and emotional publication. Its editorial and curatorial standards are exacting! It’s also one of the few exciting titles that straddles the line between art and magazine; so, format-wise, it’s quite similar to Spruce’s content,” says Spruce Gallery co-founder Ric Gindap. 

Ric observes that in today’s current cultural landscape, there are still people who are hesitant to showcase individuality, or even a semblance of difference, out of fear. He notes that this bland and “safe” milieu doesn’t exactly stir powerful sensations, emotions, and feelings; hence, the decision to spice up Spruce’s official launch with the queer magazine. 

“When Ghislain Pascal of BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! proposed to send art photo prints, we jumped at the chance to be the first to stage the traveling exhibit in Asia. Plus, we could use a bit of spicy sauciness in our lives, so the choice ticks a lot of similar boxes between BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! and Spruce,” Ric adds. 

Mathias D by Michael Sondergaard. The magazine, focusing on queer and gay fine art photogarphy, features the work of 73 photographers across 34 countries.

Holding a queer launch is as daring and provocative as opening a print-focused shop, what with the constant clamor regarding the medium’s longevity amid an increasingly digital landscape. Ric and co-founder Bonnapart Galeng know this well, that’s why they took their time before officially launching the gallery. 

“We were trying to gauge a lot of things: the taste temperature—meaning, what kind of titles, content, formats, and genres Manileños prefer. We also wanted to get the pricing right. As we have previously mentioned in another interview, we want the cover prices to be accessible. Instead of earning three-fold or almost quadruple profits to make up for logistical, customs, and handling costs, Bon was determined to pass on the savings to the Spruce believer instead.”

You can’t find an empty rack in Spruce Gallery, what with their diverse selection of print titles sourced locally and abroad.

Ric also noted that the ten-week period allowed them to get their rhythm in step. “We’ve learned that logistics, publishing windows and release dates, shipping, inventory, and the like are all challenging to synchronize! Oftentimes, this is why we rarely post new things on Instagram because when we do, the excited maghags will scramble to get copies, and it might take a while before new shipments arrive. We can’t have empty racks!”

Ric and Bon’s fears might just become true this weekend though, as Manila’s print-obsessed maghags will surely flock to Ortigas this Saturday for what’s expected to be a milestone event for the metro’s print industry. 

Spruce Gallery’s official launch will take place from 5PM to 10PM on March 9, 2024. The shop is located at the Upper Ground floor of City & Land Mega Plaza at ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For more details about the launch and the space, Spruce Gallery on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Features Associate

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