Todd Stolarski and Freeman Chen of the art gallery/vinyl store HRLDRY were gung-ho about the LA Zine Fest from the start, and now look at them: hosting both the LA Zine Fest Zine Library and the reading to commemorate Artnoose’s 100th issue release. We’re lucky to have these movers-and-shakers on board.
We don’t usually do background checks, but we do use interviews strategically. It’s not subtle, but it gets the job done. Thankfully, they have nothing too scandalous to hide. Well, at least Freeman doesn’t.
How did HRLDRY come to be?
Freeman Chen: HRLDRY began as an event company in 2011, throwing one-night ragers in warehouses throughout Los Angeles. The idea of HRLDRY was to host many different types of events, ranging from electronic music concerts to jazz concerts to comedy shows, but keep it all under one family, hence the heraldry-inspired name. After a number of successful events, the next logical step was to open a space where we could host our own events without renting spaces one night at a time and also run a business and office space during the day. The Hub by HRLDRY was opened as an event space and art gallery in mid-June 2012 and the record store was revealed in late September.
What drew you to the space where HRLDRY is now? Had you been looking in the area or did you just accidentally find this awesome location?
HRLDRY is located in what is becoming known as Hel-Mel, for the intersection of Heliotrope and Melrose. The up-and-coming nature of this neighborhood fit perfectly with our business in its nascent stage. Most of the surrounding businesses are also very young and thus there is a great sense of community between all the owners. We are all excited to work together and really make Hel-Mel the next Silver Lake or, who knows, Hollywood.
What’s been the best part of running HRLDRY so far? What’s been the biggest challenge?
The best part of running HRLDRY has been meeting and collaborating with all the artists and musicians that come through the space. There is so much talent in Los Angeles and everyone is working with anyone and everyone to make it big. It is very inspiring to see so many people, for lack of a better term, on their grind. The biggest challenge was probably getting it all up and running the way we imagined it in our minds. All we can ask is for people to come and enjoy themselves, whether it’s for the records, a concert, or an art exhibition.
How do you find artists to invite to do a show in the gallery? What should someone who wants to have a show at HRLDRY do?
As of right now, most of our artists find us simply through word of mouth. Visitors of the gallery will say, “I have a friend who makes art that might fit well here,” so we have them email us some samples and if it is in line with our aesthetic, we put them in the next rotation. Anyone who is interested in showing at HRLDRY should feel free to email email@example.com. We are always accepting submissions.
What would your dream event or show be for the space?
Burial. One can dream right?